Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Rasmussen: Consumer Confidence Up Slightly

Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 12:53 AM by Maurice Berger

Are Americans getting a bit more optimistic about the ailing economy during this holiday seasn. A new Rasmusen Consumer Index survey suggests that consumers are less anxious than they were even a week or two ago: The Consumer Index, which measures the "economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, rose a point on Monday to 61.9, its highest reading since December 12. Today's index is up two points from last week, but is down two points from the first reading of the month." Any improvement in Americans perception of the economy will be helpful to presisdent-elect Obama, whose first priority is to restore confidence in a public (and business community) that as grown increasingly pessimistic about the future. 

Voters Remain Pessimistic About Economy

Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 1:59 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Rasmussen Reports survey suggests that Americans are not expecting an upturn in the economy any time soon. Nationally, only 9% of adults rate the economy as either good or excellent. 61% disagree and say the economy is in poor condition.

Voters Mixed In Their Views Of Government Economic Regulation

Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 1:57 AM by Maurice Berger

American voters have mixed feelings about government's role in managing the economy, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey. 70% of respondents say a free market is better than one managed by the government. Just 15% prefer a government-managed economy. 15% remain undecided. But as Rasmussen notes, the recent economic crisis had led led "mixed feelings" about government intervention: a majority of voters--a healthy 52%--also believe there is a need for more government regulation of big business, although 35% disagree. 13% are unsure.The survey concludes that voters overall "are more ambivalent about the federal government’s role in the current economic crisis. 48% worry the government will do too much, while 41% fear it will do too little. 11% are not sure which is a greater concern. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of voters agree, however, that government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors. Only 15% of voters don’t believe that is true, and 20% are undecided." This ambivalence suggests a very tricky political landscape for the incoming president who must balance the need for federal regulation with broadly held views about American capitalism and economic freedom and self-determination. 

Most Americans Support Obama Stimulous Package

Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 5:25 PM by Maurice Berger

According to a new CNN/Opinion Research survey, 56% of respondents say they favor the stimulus package that President-elect Barack Obama is proposing; 42% were opposed.The poll concludes: "Two-thirds of the public thinks the stimulus package will do just that, with 17% saying it will help the economy a lot and another 50% feeling that it will help the economy somewhat. 21% percent say the stimulus package won't help the economy very much and 10% say it won't help at all. Yet, respondents appear to be split on the issue of government regulation of business and industry, with "39% saying there's too much government regulation and an equal amount saying too little. 20% said the amount of government involvement is just right."

Happy Holidays From PollTrack

Posted Dec 24, 2008 at 3:46 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack would like to wish you a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy & safe 2009! We will be taking a short break from Thursday, 25 December through Sunday, 28 December. We will be up and running on Monday 29 December, with new posts on our three pages: Presidential Blog, Writing on the Wall, and Voices on the Ground. For those contributing to The Obama Project: we will get back to upon our return next week. Many thanks for your support and loyalty!

Voters Continue To Oppose Auto Bailout

Posted Dec 24, 2008 at 1:43 AM by Maurice Berger

A new national poll reports that nearly half of U.S. voters (49%) "oppose President Bush’s decision to extend $17.4 billion in emergency taxpayer-backed loans to the failing U.S. auto industry, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. 38% are in favor of the president’s decision, which he announced Friday, while 13% are undecided. The day before, Bush acknowledged that he has been forced to turn his back on many of the free-market principles he believes in because of the severity of the country’s economic situation." President-elect Obama also supports the auto bailout.

New Hurdle For Obama: Voters Are Growing Pessimistic About The Economy

Posted Dec 23, 2008 at 1:10 AM by Maurice Berger

In a new hurdle for the incoming Obama administration, voters are growing increasingly pessimistic about their personal finances. According to a new Gallup survey, About 40% of Americans on average are "currently worrying about money, sustaining a slight but significant increase in worry compared to readings before September of this year . . . Americans' self-reports that they worried about money began 2008 near 30% on average, and then rose to an average of about 35% through the end of the summer. Then, as was the case for other consumer economic measures Gallup tracks, financial worry begin to rise in mid- to late September, coincident with the highly publicized credit crisis. The average worry level peaked at about 45% in early October, and has fallen back slightly since, generally remaining above the 40% level. The notable exception was a drop in financial worry around the Thanksgiving holiday . . . The large sample sizes involved in this tracking -- about 3,500 interviews per seven-day rolling average -- underscore the conclusion that while the increase in worry is not large on an absolute basis, it is significant and meaningful." PollTrack notes that such negative sentiment can actually contribute to an economic downturn, functioning as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy in which consumers--fearful of their personal economic future--begin to radically alter their spending habits.

43% of Americans Think Obama Transition Did Nothing Wrong In Blagojevich Scandal

Posted Dec 22, 2008 at 7:05 AM by Maurice Berger


A new CNN/Opinion Research survey indicates Americans are split on whether aides to President-elect Barack Obama did something inappropriate in their contacts with embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich: 12% of those questioned say Obama aides did something illegal, with another 36% feeling Obama aides didn't act illegally but did do something unethical.43% say no Obama aides did anything seriously wrong."

Voter Confidence In Obama Remains High

Posted Dec 22, 2008 at 1:03 AM by Maurice Berger

According to the new Rasmussen Reports Presidential Approval Index 41% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way Barack Obama handling the role of President-elect while 16% Strongly Disapprove.These numbers suggest a stability in public perceptions of the new president. The number who strongly approve of Obama’s performance has changed little since the election. "The number who Strongly Disapprove, however, has fallen in half—from 32% immediately after the election to 16% today." As PollTrack has noted before, Obama's approval rating is one of the highest for an incoming president. Indeed, a just released ABC News/Washington Post survey indicates that voter expectations for the president-elect are riding extremely high: "77% believe he’ll be able to improve the United States’ image abroad, and 64% to 68% think he’ll be able to end U.S. involvement in Iraq, implement global warming policies and make significant improvements in the health care system." Yet, as the survey's authors note, there may be a down side to such high expectations: "The danger to Obama is that unmet expectations can produce a negative response. At the same time, expectations are highest among his core supporters, Democrats, who are less likely to turn against him. Republicans are far more skeptical."

Democratic Brand Could Be In Trouble With Voters

Posted Dec 19, 2008 at 3:19 AM by Maurice Berger

In a sign that the Republicans may have an opening in the Blogojevich scandal (and that Obama may have a looming PR problem), a new Rasmussen survey reports that a "number of voters are unsure which political party they can trust to deal with government ethics and corruption has climbed to its highest level since June." The poll found that 39% do not know which party to trust. Trust in both the Democratic and Republican Parties "is also at the lowest levels since June. Now, 36% trust the Democrats more, while 26% trust Republicans more. In November, voters trusted Democrats more when it came to corruption by a 38% to 31% margin."

Marist Poll: American's Very Impressed With Obama Transition

Posted Dec 18, 2008 at 6:56 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Marist poll of registered voters, Americans are very impressed with president-elect Obama and his transition: "A considerable majority of registered voters in the United States are giving President-elect Barack Obama high marks for the job he’s doing during his transition into office.  63% say they approve of his performance while just 10% of voters disapprove.  27% are on the fence, reporting they are unsure about how the president-elect is doing.  In the wake of this year’s bitter campaign battle, prominent partisan differences linger.  86% of Democrats approve of President-elect Obama’s job performance.  36% of Republicans agree while a large proportion of the GOP -- 42% -- is unsure about how the future president is doing.  Independent voters align with the Democrats.  61% give President-elect Obama a thumbs-up for how he is handling the transition period." Additionally, the Democrat exceeds the expectations of many Americans: '83% of registered voters in the United States say the president-elect is doing better than or about what they expected him to do during the transition.  This includes 56% who say Obama is meeting their expectations, and 27% who feel Obama is doing better than they anticipated.  Democrats are more likely than other voters to think the President-elect Obama is doing better than they thought he would." These numbers are by-and-large extraordinary for an in-coming president.


Concerns About The Economy Are Highest in Three Decades

Posted Dec 18, 2008 at 1:18 AM by Maurice Berger

Voter concerns about the econony are as high as they've been in three decades, since the fiscal meltdown of the mid-1970s. According to a new ABC News/Washington Post survey, "job insecurity is its worst in 33 years of polls; holiday spending plans, their worst in data back 23 years. Americans report cuts in work hours and pay, and concerns about making the rent or mortgage, heating the house, paying for retirement. In all it’s an extraordinary loss of confidence – with repercussions in families across economic and political lines. . . 63% now think the country is in a 'long-term economic decline,' up from 49% 10 months ago; just a third say the economic system is still “basically pretty solid.” And while economic distress tends to be greatest among lower-income Americans, the biggest increase in views of a long-term decline has been among the better-off, hammered by the stock market." In a separate barometer of the nation's economic health, Separately, the weekly ABC News Consumer Comfort Index is in "the midst of its worst stretch since it began 23 years ago: Just 7% of Americans say the economy’s in
good shape, 22% call it a good time to spend money and fewer than half, 44%, rate their personal finances positively."

THE OBAMA PROJECT: Call For Submissions

Posted Dec 17, 2008 at 5:17 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack has just come off a very successful campaign season, tracking the most exciting presidential election in a generation (along with more than 20 US Senate races). With more than 220,000 visitors in the first two-and-half months of our launch we had visitors from every state in the union and 108 nations. One feature of the site, VOICES ON THE GROUND, invited contributions from artists, writers, observers, scholars, students, and others who helped us track the election from the perspective of where it mattered the most: with voters on the ground.
As we approach the inauguration of President-Elect Obama, VOICES launches The Obama Project--an online forum for commentary, analysis, poetry, photographs, and YouTube content that explores the following questions: What Does The Election of Barack Obama Mean To You? And What Does it Mean for The Nation?
We ask you to submit texts (from a single line to 2,000 words), photographs, or content you've posted on YouTube. We will be uploading content on an ongoing basis through the inauguration and beyond. You are also welcome to submit materials that relate to Election 2008 but do not fall within the purview of The Obama Project.
To submit texts or images, go to the "Participate" tab on the yellow tool bar in the lower right of the VOICES page. You may also send texts (and photo attachments) directly to However you submit materials, PLEASE: include your full name and your city and state or location (if outside the US)
We very much look forward to hearing your voices on PollTrack.

Voters To Obama: Withdraw From Iraq

Posted Dec 17, 2008 at 2:07 AM by Maurice Berger

While voters are generally optimistic about the future of Iraq--and the relative success of the US military involvement in the nation--they are growing increasingly eager to see the US withdraw from the conflagration. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll reports: 56% rate the US military "surge" a success, agreeing that the United States is making "'significant progress' restoring civil order in Iraq, up from 40% in April. (The rest may be reflecting on the ongoing, if less numerous, car-bomb attacks there.) Even more, 65%, are now optimistic about Iraq’s prospects in the year ahead, up 19 points from last year to a new high since 2004. Some of that stems from better ratings of security there; some, instead, from greater optimism among Democrats and Democratic-leaning
independents encouraged by Barack Obama’s election. In any case it’s in the broader analysis, beyond the situation on the ground – the cost in lives and dollars vs. perceived benefits – that nearly two-thirds continue to call the war not worth fighting. And as that view is unchanged, so is its intensity: Fifty percent feel 'strongly' that the Iraq war was not worth it. Fewer than half as many, 21%, strongly feel the opposite – tying the all-time low in strong support for the war. Such views put some heat on Obama; not only do 70% say he should withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, but, among many high expectations for the incoming president, 64% think in fact he will end the U.S. involvement there."

Nationally Voters Suspect Obama Team Involvement in Blagojevich Scandal

Posted Dec 16, 2008 at 5:13 AM by Maurice Berger

If voters in Illinois are willing to give the Obama team the benefit of the dount vis-a-vis the Blagojevich scandal, nationally the president-elect is not doing as well. According to a Rasmussen Reports poll of registered voters, 45% "say it is likely President-elect Obama or one of his top campaign aides was involved in the unfolding Blagojevich scandal in Illinois, including 23% who say it is Very Likely. Just 11% say it is not at all likely, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey taken Thursday and Friday nights." A new ABC News/Washington Post poll reports that a "tepid 51% say Obama’s done enough to explain any discussions his representatives may have had with Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who’s accused of seeking bribes in his selection of Obama’s successor. The rest either say Obama’s not done enough (34%) or are unsure (14% more)."

Illinois Voters Are Uncertain About Obama's Involvement In The Blagojevich Scandal

Posted Dec 16, 2008 at 1:13 AM by Maurice Berger

The voters of President-Elect Obama's homestate of Illinois remain uncertain about his relationship to embattled Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich: According to a new statewide survey of registered voters, 32% say there is no way that the incoming president was involved in the Blagojevich corruption case, even as questions mount over whether an Obama adviser discussed the president-elect’s vacant Senate seat with the Illinois governor or his staff. "Only 13% say it is Very Likely that the president-elect was involved, with another 13% saying it is Somewhat Likely, according to a Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Illinois voters on Wednesday night. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say it’s Not Very Likely, with six percent (6%) undecided." 

Despite Sky-High Approval of Obama, Democrats Are Growing Wary Of The Nation's Futrure

Posted Dec 15, 2008 at 4:47 AM by Maurice Berger

Despite record high approval ratings for President-Elect Obama, party members are growing increasingly pessimistic about the nation's future. According to a new Rasmussen survey, "just 22% of Democrats now say the nation is heading in the right direction, down from an average of 27% for the full month of November." The poll also found that just 15% of Republicans and 13% of unaffiliated voters say the nation is heading in the right direction. Overall, a staggering 79% of Republicans, 69% of Democrats and 80% of unaffiliated voters now say America is heading down the wrong track.

Voter Confidence In President-Elect Obama Remains High

Posted Dec 15, 2008 at 2:17 AM by Maurice Berger

Despite the withering economy and a scandal brewing in Illinois, voters continue to give very high markes to the transition of President-Elect Obama. Voter confidence in the incoming president hovers near seventy percent--69% expressing confidence, 23% disagreeing according to the latest Gallaup poll. Rasmussen adds an additional level of qualification, now reporting that 43% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way Barack Obama is handling the role of President-elect while 16% Strongly Disapprove. Overall, 67% of voters somewhat or strongly approve of Obama’s performance so far while 30% disapprove, results similar to Gallup but with a slight uptick in voters who disaaprove of the new president. 

Despite Obama's Support Voters Wary Of Auto Bailout

Posted Dec 12, 2008 at 5:11 AM by Maurice Berger

Despite the support of president-elect Obama and the current president, George W. Bush--and passage by the US House of Representatives--registered voters remain wary of the auto-industry bailout, according to a new Marist Poll: "With action on the legislation expected in the U.S. Senate as early as today, 48% of U.S. residents nationwide disapprove of Congress providing federal loans to the automakers while 41% approve of the federal assistance. Looking at registered voters in the United States, the numbers are similar. 48% of registered voters nationwide disapprove of the plan compared with 43% who support the action. There is a partisan divide on the issue. A majority of Democrats -- 53% -- approve of the measure while a majority of Republicans -- 61% -- disapprove of the plan. Independents are more in line with Republicans. 51% of these voters disapprove of providing federal loans to automakers compared with 40% who approve of the idea." Indeed, this divide is reflected in the Senate's inability to piece together a coalition in support of the bill.

LA Governor Republican Bobby Jindall: Not Running in 2012

Posted Dec 12, 2008 at 1:27 AM by Maurice Berger

Politico reports that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, "seen by many Republicans as the most promising standard-bearer for a remade party, said at a Richmond, Va press conference that he isn't running for president in 2012.  At a news conference Wednesday with Bob McDonnell, Virginia's 2009 Republican candidate for governor, Jindal was asked if he was interested in being president, AP reports. His answer: "No." Jindal said he's planning to run for reelection in 2011, something that would make pivoting to a national campaign logistically and politically tricky."

Obama Enjoying Wide Popularity

Posted Dec 11, 2008 at 8:54 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, president-elect Barack Obama is enjoying unprecidented popularity during his transition: "Obama is enjoying a bigger honeymoon than his recent predecessors ever did. Just consider these numbers in the latest NBC/WSJ poll: 67% say they're pleased with Obama's early appointments, 75% believe that the level of his involvement in making policy has been exactly right, and his fav/unfav rating is 67%-16%. By comparison, a month after their initial presidential victories, Bush's rating was 48%-35% and Clinton's was 60%-19%. These scores -- combined with the fact that nearly 80% believe Obama will face bigger challenges than other recent presidents have, and 90% who say the nation's economy has gotten worse over the past 12 months -- seem to have given Obama some leeway with the American public. "We're seeing a president who has been given a longer leash by the American public," says NBC/WSJ co-pollster Bill McInturff (R). 'This is not a traditional start of a presidency where people give you just a couple of months.'"

Americans Remain Optimistic About The New President

Posted Dec 11, 2008 at 12:56 AM by Maurice Berger

Some voters are "proud" of Obama's historuc victory; others are "afraid." But overall, Americans remain optimistic about the president-elect, according to a new survey by the Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg: "Americans are hopeful, optimistic and proud of Barack Obama winning the most historic presidential election this country has seen, according to a new Los Angeles Times/ Bloomberg poll. About three-quarters of all Americans have mentioned a positive adjective in describing their feeling about Obama winning the election. Although it is a small sample of blacks, more than two out of five of all blacks said they were proud, while whites are more evenly split between hopeful and optimistic. Just 8% of whites said proud. Interestingly, 29% of Republicans and 31% of conservative Republicans said they are afraid of an Obama administration (perhaps still feeling animosity after the brutal negative campaigning against Obama). Yet, there is a reservoir of good will surrounding him and the team he is assembling, although many think he won’t be able to fulfill all of his campaign promises."

2012 Begins: Mitt Romney Reported To Be Running

Posted Dec 10, 2008 at 2:00 AM by Maurice Berger

The race for the White House has just begun anew. Not for 2008, of course. But in 2012, one name has emerged as a Repiblican challenger to Barack Obama: Former Massachusetts governer, Mitt Romney. According to the Boston Globe, Romney "is laying the groundwork for a possible White House campaign in 2012, hiring a team of staff members and consultants with money from a fund-raising committee he established with the ostensible purpose of supporting other GOP candidates." The article goes on to report that Romney has raised $2.1 million for his Free and Strong America political action committee (to help Republican candidate's accross the country), but notes that only 12 percent of the money has been spent distributing checks. "Instead, the largest chunk of the money has gone to support Romney's political ambitions, paying for salaries and consulting fees to over a half-dozen of Romney's longtime political aides, according to a Globe review of expenditures." In other words, Romney is building the groundwork for a 2012 run.

Obama's Approval Rating "Sky High"

Posted Dec 09, 2008 at 4:07 AM by Maurice Berger

With the kind of approval rating usually recorded for a president as the nation rallies behind him in a natuural disaster or terorist attack, president-elect Barack Obama is riding high in the polls. A new CNN/Opinion Research survey reports: "79% approve of Obama's performance so far during transition, with 18% disapproving. Obama's approval rating is 14 points higher than the approval rating for President-elect George Bush in 2001 and 17 points higher than President-elect Clinton's rating in 1992, CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. Obama's current approval rating is also more than 50 points higher than President Bush's current approval rating, which now stands at 28 percent --- with 71 percent disapproving of the way Bush is handling his job as president."

Americans Afraid Of Terror Attack In New Obama Presidency

Posted Dec 09, 2008 at 2:16 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Rasmussen Reports poll, a hefty majority of Americans fear a terror attack during the first year of Obama's presidemcy. (Indeed, major terror attacks on US soil occured in 1993 and 2001, during the first year of the Clinton and Bush administrations respectively.) The breakdown id as follows: "59% say a terrorist attack in the United States like the one last week in India is at least somewhat likely in the next year. 23% say it is Very Likely. Just 5% say such an attack is not at all likely to occur here in the next 12 months."

Black Voters Twice As Confident As Whites About Country's Future

Posted Dec 08, 2008 at 5:39 AM by Maurice Berger

The election of Barack Obama as the nation's first black president has had one immediate effect on the attitudes of African-American voters according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey: "38% of black voters believe the nation is heading in the right direction, while just 16% of white voters agree. Rasmussen Reports national telephone surveys found that 53% of black voters say America is headed down the wrong track, along with 77% of white voters." this represents an increase in black voter's optimism from pre-election numbers, one that can be ascribed to Obama's historic victory: "During the week prior to Election Day, just 10% of black voters said America was heading in the right direction . . . confidence about the nation’s future bounced among black voters the week after Election Day, when 40% said the nation was moving in the right direction . . .  just 19% of whites agreed at that time."

Mike Huckabee Tops List of 2012 Republican Hopefuls

Posted Dec 08, 2008 at 1:40 AM by Maurice Berger

President-elect Barack Obama hasn't even been inaugurated, and CNN/Opinion Research is out with a new poll handicaping the race for the Republican nomination in 2012. In its survey of registered voters, former Arkansas governer Mike Huckabee tops the list at 34%. Sarah Palin, John McCain's nominee for vice-president, comes in second at 32%. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is in third place in the poll, with 28%. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich draws 27%. And former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani comes in fifth at 23%. 

Obama's Illinois Senate Seat Replacement: Voters Want Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.

Posted Dec 05, 2008 at 5:08 AM by Maurice Berger

Who will replace Barack Obama as Illinois' Juinior Senator? The task will be left to Rod Blagojevich, Illinois’ Democratic governor whose own approval numbers remain among the lowest of state chief executives in the country. According to a new survey of Illinois voters, "Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. is the clear favorite . . . . among the party’s top five candidates to succeed Barack Obama as the state’s junior U.S. senator." Rasmussen Reports hancaps the hypothetical race as follows: Jackson, a "Chicago congressman who has been openly campaigning for the job has the support of 36% of Illinois Democrats . . . Tammy Duckworth, director of Illinois’ Department of Veterans Affairs, is next with the backing of 29%, followed by state Attorney General Lisa Madigan with 17%. Another congressman mentioned for the post, Rep. Jan Schakowksy, has eight percent (8%) support, with Emil Jones, president of the Illinois Senate, at two percent (2%). Just seven percent (7%) of Democrats are not sure which candidate they prefer." Blagojevich has promised to appoint Obama’s successor during the Christmas holidays.

Obama Fundraising: A $400 Record Setting Million Advantage Over Mccain

Posted Dec 05, 2008 at 1:25 AM by Maurice Berger

ABC News reports that the final fundraising figures for Election 2008 are staggering and historic: "President-elect Obama campaign raised roughly $745 million for his 2008 presidential campaign. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., raised roughly $320 million, including the $84 million from entering into the public financing system." ABC News reports that this total excludes funds from the Democratic and Republican National Committees: "When those numbers are taken into account, we expect the Democrats to have raised closer to one billion dollars, compared to roughly $630 million for the Republicans. Which means the President-elect had, roughly, a $400 million advantage."

Will President Bush See His Approval Ratings Rise?

Posted Dec 04, 2008 at 5:22 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup is out with an interesting analysis of the approval ratings of lame duck presidents, evaluations that usually rise as the leader's terms drwas to an end: "It is common for presidents who are about to leave the White House to receive a bump in their job approval ratings between Election Day and Inauguration Day. Of the eight post-World War II presidents who left office after serving two terms, declining to seek an additional term, or being defeated for re-election, six saw increased job approval ratings in their final two-plus months in office . . . The largest spike occurred for the elder George Bush, of whom only 34% of Americans approved in October 1992, shortly before Bill Clinton defeated him for re-election. Immediately after the election, Bush's approval rating jumped to 43%, and by the time he left office, his rating had increased further to 56% -- a remarkable increase of 22 percentage points . . . Harry S. Truman and Jimmy Carter are the only two post-World War II presidents whose approval ratings did not improve after their successors were selected." Recent public opinion polls indicate that George W. Bush's end-of-term popularity registers a modest rise, on average +4%. 

Black Democrats As Conservative as Republicans On Some Moral Issues, Like Homosexuality and Stem Cell Research

Posted Dec 04, 2008 at 1:18 AM by Maurice Berger

According to CQ Politics, while black voters in California overwhelmingly supported Democrat Barack Obama for president, their views on homosexuality were far more closely allied with Republicans: "When Californians voted for Proposition 8, providing for a state-wide ban on same sex marriage, exit polls showed that 7 out of 10 black voters supported the measure. Gallup has followed this up with an analysis of its polling data from May 2006, May 2007 and May 2008 showing that on this issue, black Democrats are as conservative as Republicans. Thirty-one percent of black Democrats said that homosexual relations are morally acceptable compared to 61 percent of non-black Democrats and 55 percent of Democrats overall. That number put them more in line with Republicans among whom only 30 percent found such relations morally acceptable." African-American Democrats were also closer to Republicans than non-black Democrats on a number of other so-called moral issues, including stem cell research and sex outside of marriage but does NOT carry over into abortion and the death penalty, issues on which black voters are far more liberal than most Republicans.

Obama Transition Effort Highly Regarded By Public

Posted Dec 03, 2008 at 4:12 AM by Maurice Berger

American voters like what they're seeing with regard to President-Elect Obama's transition efforts. According to a new  USA Today/Gallup Poll, Obama gets soaring marks for his handling of the transition and his choices for the Cabinet . . . even at a time the public is downbeat over the economy. More than three of four Americans, including a majority of Republicans, approve of the job Obama has done so far — broad-based support he'll need as he faces tough decisions ahead." The public also has a very positive opinion of the new president's cabinet appointments--by 69%-25%, they approve of his pick of New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State; by an even wider margin, 80%-14%, they approve of his decision to reappoint President Bush's Pentagon chief, Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Rasmussen: 55% of Voters Are Confident That Obama Will Solve Economic Crisis

Posted Dec 03, 2008 at 2:01 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll out from Rasmussen reports that a majority of voters are confident that Obama--and his economic team--can solve the nation's economic woes: "55% of Americans are at least somewhat confident that Barack Obama's economic team can lead the country out of its current economic problems. 25% are very confident. Only 13% are not at all confident in the new team, and 5% are undecided." Interestingly, investors are less enthusiastic about the Obama economic team, with 48% somewhat confident in the president-elect’s choices, including 20% who are very confident. 63% of non-investors are somewhar confident, while 32% are very confident. 16% of investors are not at all confident in the new economic team, compared to 10% of non-investors.

Obama Victory Not Tied To Voter Surge

Posted Dec 02, 2008 at 4:22 AM by Maurice Berger

While Obama was able to count on an increase in intensity of support and turnout among African-American, Hispanic, and young voters, his victory was not built on a surge of voters (as his campaign had hoped). According to Bloomberg News: The Democrats "bet on an unprecedented surge of new voters to carry him to victory last month . . . but [Obama] won without the record turnout . . .  About 130 million Americans voted, up from 122 million four years ago. Still, turnout fell short of the 140 million voters many experts had forecast. With a little more than 61 percent of eligible voters casting ballots, the 2008 results also didn't match the record 63.8 percent turnout rate that helped propel President John F. Kennedy to victory in 1960."The reasons for this shortfall were complex and varied: "Many disaffected Republicans stayed home. Young voters, particularly those without college degrees, didn’t turn out in the numbers that the Obama campaign projected. In states where the presidential race wasn’t in doubt -- such as Obama strongholds in California and New York, or reliably Republican outposts such as Oklahoma and Utah -- turnout was lower than in 2004."

Partisan ID: Slight Gain For Democrats AND Republicans, But Dems Lead

Posted Dec 02, 2008 at 1:44 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Rasumssen survey reports that partisan identification is up for both parties since the election, but the Democrats continue to have a significant advantage: "In November, 41.4% of Americans considered themselves to be Democrats, 33.8% said they were Republicans, and 24.7% were not affiliated with either major political party. Both political parties registered slight gains since October when 40.3% of Americans were Democrats and 33.3% were Republican."

Bloomberg News: How Much Did Race Matter In Election 2008?

Posted Dec 01, 2008 at 5:03 AM by Maurice Berger

A just published Bloomberg News analysis examines the subject of race and whether the racial breakdown of election 2008 represented a new Democrat-tilting realignment. His conclusion: the republicans may be in trouble, yet if the racial and generational composition on Nov. 4 had been identical to four years ago, John McCain may well have won: "A deeper look at the changing shape of the electorate suggests more fundamental problems for Republicans. Their core constituencies are shrinking, and the wedge issues that used to plague Democrats are now more divisive for Republicans. . . . Non-whites comprised 26 percent of the electorate, up from 23 percent in 2004. Obama carried 80 percent of these voters. African-Americans turned out in record numbers, and almost all of them voted for the first black president. Republicans once hoped to score well among Hispanics, the fastest-growing slice of the population. They were 9 percent of the electorate last month, with almost three times as many Latino voters as just 16 years ago. Obama carried Hispanics, 67 percent to 31 percent, according to exit polls. That gave him a cushion in heavily Hispanic-populated states like New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado -- all of which were in the Republican column four years before -- and in places like Iowa and North Carolina, which have growing Latino populations."

Obama Well-Regarded By Most Voters

Posted Dec 01, 2008 at 1:35 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Rasmussen Reports survey suggests that President-Elect Obama is in a very strong honeymoon phase with voters: "42% of the nation’s voters now strongly approve of the way Obama is performing his role as President-elect while 19% Strongly Disapprove. Overall, 63% of voters somewhat or strongly approve of Obama’s performance so far while 34% disapprove." These numbers compare very favorably with recent presidents.