Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Only Five States Remain Solidly Republican: UT, WY, ID, AK, NE

Posted Jan 30, 2009 at 1:29 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by the Gallup organization reports a national  electoral map that has grown markedly Democratic over the past few years: "An analysis of Gallup Poll Daily tracking data from 2008 finds Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Hawaii to be the most Democratic states in the nation, along with the District of Columbia. Utah and Wyoming are the most Republican states . . . What is immediately clear from the map is that residents of the United States were very Democratic in their political orientation last year. . . All told, 29 states and the District of Columbia had Democratic party affiliation advantages of 10 points or greater last year. This includes all of the states in the Northeast, and all but Indiana in the Great Lakes region. There are even several Southern states in this grouping, including Arkansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky. An additional six states had Democratic advantages ranging between 5 and 9 points. In contrast, only five states had solid or leaning Republican orientations in 2008, with Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska in the former group, and Nebraska in the latter."

Obama Popularity Boosts Democrats in Congress

Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 5:02 AM by Maurice Berger

Diageo/Hotline Poll of 800 registered voters conducted in late-January finds that President Obama's popularity is helping to boost voter perceptions of Democrats in congress: "Now that Democrats control both the White House and both Houses of Congress, Democrats in Congress currently find themselves as beneficiaries of President Obama's high favorability and job approval ratings . . . 49% of voters say they approve of the job Democrats in Congress are doing, while only 26% of voters who approve of the job Republicans in Congress are doing. And, while the 111th Congress has been in session barely three weeks, the Poll finds that the Democratic candidate leads the Republican candidate 46%-22% in a generic 2010 congressional election match-up, with 27% of voters saying they are undecided."

Slim Majority Support Stimulous Package

Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 1:46 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new poll, a scant majority of Americans support President Obama's proposed economic stimulous package pass by the House last night: "As President Barack Obama tries to win over reluctant Republicans on his economic stimulus plan, a slim majority of the American public wants to see Congress pass the roughly $800 billion package of new government spending and tax breaks . . . 52% of the nation's adults are in favor of Congress passing the plan and 37% are opposed, while 11% have no opinion." A new Rasmussen survey, however, shows support for the package dipping well below maojority numbers: in the poll, likely voters support the measure 42% to 39% with 19% undecided.

Most Voters Expect "Real Change" From Obama Administration

Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Diageo/Hotline survey, "75% of voters are “confident” that President Obama will bring “real change to the way things are done in Washington, D.C.” This represents a nine-point increase from the 66% of voters who said they were “confident” in his ability to bring real change in the Diageo/Hotline Poll conducted immediately after the Presidential Election. The Poll also finds that 76% of voters hold a favorable impression of President Obama, while only 15% of voters hold an unfavorable impression."

Obama Riding High In Red States

Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 1:12 AM by Maurice Berger

The ideological divide evident in Election 2008 between the so-called blue and red states may be dissipating. According to a set of polls released by Rasmussen Reports, Tennessee and Texas--two states that were safely in John McCain’s column on Election Day--now report surprisingly high approval ratings for President Obama: "In a snapshot look at attitudes in McCain country, Rasmussen Reports finds that concerns about the current economic situation appear to override traditional political considerations. In Texas, for example, 62% of voters approve of Barack Obama’s performance to date, including 41% who Strongly Approve. 35% disapprove, with 19% who Strongly Disapprove.Only 47% of Texas voters had a favorable opinion of Obama in the last poll before Election Day . . . 60% of Tennessee voters approve of Obama’s job performance, including 39% who Strongly Approve. Thirty-five percent (35%) disapprove, 21% of whom Strongly Disapprove." Obama's approval rating in the state in a pre-Election Day poll was 45%. 

Most Voters Think Obama Is More Liberal Than They Are

Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 4:17 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Rasmussen poll, most Americans perecive President Obama as more liberal than they are: "Nearly half of U.S. voters (49%) say Barack Obama is politically more liberal than they are, as the new president begins to tackle the country’s economic problems with a massive spending-and-tax-cut bill. 9% believe he is more conservative, and 38% rate his political views about the same as their own . . .  5% are not sure."

Obama Begins Presidency With High Approval Ratings

Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 2:06 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, President Barack Obama receives a 68% approval rating from Americans In the first job approval rating of his administration: Only 12% of Americans disapprove of how he has performed thus far, while 21% have no opinion. "Obama's 68% approval score is on the high end of the range of initial job approval ratings Gallup has recorded for the previous eight presidents who were elected to their first term. The low percentage of Americans disapproving of his performance is fairly typical for new presidents -- although Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both started with much higher public disapproval."

Interactive Chart: Presidential Approval Ratings--1945 to 2006

Posted Jan 23, 2009 at 1:38 AM by Maurice Berger

The Wall Street Journal has an oitstanding interactive chart of presidential approval ratings from 1945 to 2006. The Chart allows you to match approval ratings with key events, both national and international, that impacted the presidency. For the WSJ chart click here.

Half of Americans Think Election Of Barack Obama Will Improve Race Relations

Posted Jan 22, 2009 at 4:11 AM by Maurice Berger

Nearly half of Americans in a new poll believe that the election of Barack Obama as the nation's first black president will inevitably improve race relations: "48% believe his inauguration signals the start of a new era of race relations in the United States. 32% disagree, while another 21% are undecided . . . African-Americans are much more convinced than white Americans that Obama’s inauguration will change race relations. Three out of four blacks (75%) say this will be the case, compared to just 43% of whites. Over a third of whites (35%) do not believe this to be true, compared to just 19% of blacks. Over a quarter of adults (26%) say they are very hopeful that the start of Obama’s administration will lead to a quick turnaround for America, and another third (34%) are somewhat hopeful. Only 15% say they are not at all hopeful for a rapid improvement and 22% say they are not very hopeful"

Gallup: 60% of Americans Tuned In Live To Inauguration

Posted Jan 22, 2009 at 1:51 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup poll, six in 10 Americans tuned in live to the presidential inauguration ceremonies on Tuesday. Another 20% heard or read news reports of the event while 20% caught none of it. Gallup observes: "The live audience included 70% of nonworking Americans, but also 53% of those currently employed -- suggesting that many workers either took the day off or had the opportunity to watch or hear the ceremonies at work. Americans were clearly more interested in the inauguration of Barack Obama than they were in George W. Bush's second inauguration four years ago. In 2005, only 40% of Americans said they watched or heard the inaugural ceremonies live."

Americans Think Obama Will Make Good On Most Of His Promises

Posted Jan 21, 2009 at 2:05 AM by Maurice Berger

Americans have confidence in Obama's ability to make good on his promises, according a to new Gallup Poll: "Ensuring that all children have health insurance, doubling production of alternative energy and reducing health care costs are the promises Barack Obama have made that most Americans want him to keep . . . There is agreement on the top three across partisan lines although by different margins. Democrats agree on this top three by even higher percentages than the overall public. Independents rate them in the top 60s, and Republicans in the low to mid 50s. As to what Americans believe Obama will be able to accomplish, enacting a big public works program tops the list (80%), followed by increasing U.S. military strength in Afghanistan (68%), ensuring children have health insurance (62%) and lifting restrictions on government funding of stem cell research (61%)."

The Daily Beast: PollTrack, Some of The Savviest Electoral Analysis Around

Posted Jan 20, 2009 at 3:46 PM by Maurice Berger

Tina Brown's much visited website The Daily Beast just published a profile of PollTrack on its Buzz Board--the page on which famous people (and also just plain smart ones) recommend their favorite things, from websites and books to movies and shops. Patricia J. Williams, the renowned legal scholar and columnist for The Nation picked PollTrack (following on her profile of the site on her madlawprofessor blog). For the full text click here. They've also included an invitation to participate in The Obama Project and a few lines on our political director--"one of these polymathic statistical whiz kids who happen to have a passion for politics."

Official Obama White House Website Launches

Posted Jan 20, 2009 at 5:18 AM by Maurice Berger

Those PollTrack readers interesting in keeping track of the first days of the Obama president may want to click on this link and go to the official White House website. The Obama iteration of the site launched at noon today, just minutes after Barack Obama became the nation's 44th president. The site will include updates on presidential activities and initiatives as well as an ongoing White House blog.

Obama's Inauguration: Most Watched In US History?

Posted Jan 20, 2009 at 2:07 AM by Maurice Berger

It looks like President-Elect Obama's inauguration may be the most watched in US history. According to a just released poll by Rasmussen Reports, "75% of U.S. voters say they plan to watch at least some of Barack Obama's inauguration live next week, including 28% who plan to watch it all, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. 21% say they will not watch any of the presidential swearing-in ceremony and the activities surrounding it on January 20, and 3% aren't sure."

Americans Expect Great Inauguration Speech

Posted Jan 19, 2009 at 1:47 AM by Maurice Berger

A Gallup/USA Today survey conducted January 9-11 2009 suggests that most Americans expect an extraordinary inauguration speech tomorrow from Barack Obama: "Americans have set a high bar for Obama on his inauguration speech. 56% expect it to be excellent and another 30% expect it to be good. 55% percent had expected George Bush's inaugural to be excellent or good when he took the oath for a second term in 2005." Even more extraodinary are Americans expectations for the Obama presidency: 62% believe Obama will be an outstanding or above-average President, 25% say he will be average and 11% say he will be below average or poor. Obama himself fares better than his cabinet-level appointees. 45% say they are outstanding or above average and 38% say they are average."

Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll: Obama Enjoying Sky High Approval

Posted Jan 16, 2009 at 2:20 AM by Maurice Berger

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reports that with less than a week before taking office, President-Elect Obama  enjoys exceptionally marks on his handling of the transition, with 71% of respondents approving: "On a series of measures -- from being seen as easygoing and likable to being perceived as a good commander-in-chief -- Mr. Obama rated higher than President George W. Bush or former President Bill Clinton did shortly before they took office."

Americans Like Clinton At State Department

Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 3:21 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll reports that while U.S. voters like Secretary of State  Condoleezza Rice better than her designated successor, Hillary Clinton, most are confident that Clinton is up to the task of being America’s chief diplomat: "62% are at least somewhat confident in Clinton’s ability to address the international challenges facing our nation in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gaza Strip. 34% are Very Confident . . . 15%, however, are not at all confident of Clinton’s abilities to deal with these issues."

Majority Of Americans Rate George W. Bush One Of The Worst Presidents

Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 2:07 AM by Maurice Berger

President George W. Bush is leaving office with one of the lowest approval ratings in history. How do Americans see him relative to other chief executives: as one of the worst. According to a new poll, 57% of Americans say Bush is one of the "five worst presidents in U.S. history . . . Just 6% say he was one of the five best, and 34% place him somewhere in between. Republicans aren’t much help to the retiring 62-year-old GOP president. While predictably 81% of Democrats rate Bush as one of the five worst presidents, so do 20% of Republicans. 65% of Republicans put Bush in the somewhere-in-between category, while only 11% say he was one of the five best chief executives."

Patricia J. Williams Rates PollTrack One Of Three Favorite Websites

Posted Jan 14, 2009 at 6:54 AM by Maurice Berger

The renowned legal scholar and cultural critic Patricia J. Williams--a regular columnist for The Nation and The Daily Beast and recipient of the prestigious MacArthur "Genius" Grant--has just rated PollTrack one of her favorite websites. Here is the text of her citation:

Tracking Elections From The Ground Up

Although relatively new on the scene, PollTrack offers some of the savviest electoral analysis around. Its political director is Maurice Berger, an art curator for institutions ranging from the Whitney Museum of Modern Art and the New School’s Vera List Center to the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian.  He is also one of those polymathic statistical whiz kids who happens to have a passion for politics.  Trust me, this is a great combination. The latest feature of this site is something called  “The Obama Project.”   It is "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 daily–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

Voters Trust Republicans More On National Security

Posted Jan 14, 2009 at 6:27 AM by Maurice Berger

In what may well be a problem for the incoming Obama administration and the new Democratic Congress, voters by a statistically significant margin trust Republicans more on matters of national security. According to a just released poll, Republicans hold the biggest lead over Democrats on the issue of national security since early September: 48% of voters trust the GOP more to handle national security and the War on Terror, while only 40% trust Democrats more. In December, the GOP held just a four-point lead on the issue. Trust in the Republicans hasn’t been this high since September 6, when they led the Democrats 50% to 40% on the issue." Unaffiliated voters give Republicans a staggering edge on handle national security--51% to 31%.

Election 2008: Early Voting The Wave Of The Future.

Posted Jan 14, 2009 at 12:08 AM by Maurice Berger

Dr. Michael McDonald of the Department of Public and International Affairs George Mason University has recently undertaken an extensive (and excellent) analysis of state-by-state early voting paterns in Election 2008. His conclusion: traditional Election Day voting patterns are changing rapidly: "In the presidential election of 2008, approximately 39.7 million or 30% of all votes were cast prior to Election Day, November 4, 2008. This is a significant increase from 20% in 2004 and part of the upward trend experienced since 1992, when 7% of all votes were cast early. These numbers are likely to increase in subsequent presidential elections as more states adopt early voting and more voters become comfortable with the practice." In another analysis, McDonald determines that the actual number of people who voted for president in 2008 was 131.3 million people. Expressed as a rate, this was 61.6% among those eligible to vote, an increase of 1.5 percentage points over 2004. "Since reaching a modern low in 1996, turnout rates have been increasing for three consecutive presidential elections--an increase that disputes the conclusions of many political scientists that the temperament of the American voter and voting itself have invited declining turnout rates: the decline in civic society, lowered trust in government and the tuning out of the electorate by television, among others: "Indeed, turnout rates are now in the low sixty percent range, the same level as the "high" turnout rates in the 1950s and 1960s. This despite the inclusion of lower participatory 18-20 year olds in the electorate and what I preliminarily estimate to be a half to three quarters of a million rejected mail-in ballots."

Obama's America (Part 6): The State Of The Nation--Foreign Affairs

Posted Jan 12, 2009 at 6:27 PM by Maurice Berger

Overall, Americans appear to be happier with the state of US foreign policy--and the state of the world itself--than with the present-day economic situation. American perceptions about the Iraq, for example, improved dramatically in 2008. A USA Today/Gallup poll taken this  summer reported that "nearly half of Americans say the U.S. troop surge in Iraq made the situation there better, up from 40% in February and just 22% a year ago. Accordingly, the percentage believing the surge 'is not making much difference' has declined from 51% a year ago, and 38% in February, to just 32%." In late summer, Americans were split down the middle on the issue of whether the United States should set an explicit timetable or target date for the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq -- "when it is made clear that withdrawal is a given in either circumstance." Americans view the Arab-Israeli conflict with surprising optimism (despite the recent confligration in Gaza): "52% now believe it is possible for Israel and the Palestinians to live in peace, but just 35% think Obama is likely to help end the conflict during his presidency. Only 12% say Obama is Very Likely to help bring the two sides together, while 23% say it is not at likely." As for Americans view of terrorism: despite warnings of a possible attack during the early months of the new administration, a poll this fall found that "while a new bipartisan report concludes that the United States remains 'dangerously vulnerable' to terrorist attacks, most Americans do not fear being directly affected. Only 38% are very or somewhat worried that they or a family member will become a victim of terrorism. This is down from 47% last July, and from a high of 59% in October 2001, but is still short of a post-9/11 low of 28% in January 2004."

Obama's America (Part 5): The State Of The Nation--Military Morale

Posted Jan 11, 2009 at 7:34 PM by Maurice Berger

One important factor in an incoming president's foreign policy and defense profile is his relationship to the military. Some presidents have assumed office with strong backing from military personal and leaders (Ronald Regan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush). Others have had a more difficult time, most notably Bill Clinton, especially after his attempt (in the first days of his new administration) to allow gays to serve the the military, through the still controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. It looks like service members view president-elect Obama as a negative rather than positive force according to a Military Times poll of active-duty service members. Six out of 10 respondents say they are uncertain or pessimistic about Obama as commander in chief, , according to a Military Times survey: "In follow-up interviews, respondents expressed concerns about Obama’s lack of military service and experience leading men and women in uniform. . . . Underlying much of the uncertainty is Obama’s stated 16-month timetable for pulling combat troops out of Iraq, as well as his calls to end the 'don’t ask, don’t tell' policy to allow gays to serve openly in the military, according to survey responses and interviews. Most active service members still trust George W. Bush more than the incoming president: When asked who has their best interests at heart — Obama or Bush — a higher percentage of respondents picked Bush, though Bush has lost ground over time. About half of the respondents said Bush has their best interests at heart this year, the same percentage as last year but a decline from 69 percent in 2004." Obama's support increases significantly among African-American service members--eight out of 10 said they are optimistic about their incoming boss. One important caveat: The responses are unrepresentative of the the military as a whole, undercounting minorities, women and junior enlisted service members. Still, these numbers suggest that Obama may have a bumpy road ahead in his role as commander in chief.

Jobless Rate Jumps to 7.2% In December

Posted Jan 09, 2009 at 5:11 AM by Maurice Berger

In yet another dauting problem facing the incoming Obama administration, the jobless rate has risen to 7.2% in December:The economy shed 524,000 nonfarm jobs last month according to the Labor Department. More than 11 million Americans are now unemployed, the most in nearly 25 years.

Obama's America (Part 4): The State Of The Nation--Political Expectations

Posted Jan 08, 2009 at 5:52 PM by Maurice Berger

In what may be a plus (but also potentially a hindrance), Barack Obama begins his presidency with an exceptionally high approval rating--now hovering around 70%. Even more remarkable, according to a recent national poll of adults, 32% of Americans choose Barack Obama as the "man they most admire living anywhere in the world today, putting him in the No. 1 position on Gallup's annual Most Admired Man list." To put Obama's standing in perspective: Obama is the first president-elect since Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 to top the list. And he has done it with a runaway high figure. For comparison, as president-elect in December 2000, George W. Bush was mentioned by just 5% of Americans, ranking him fourth. In December 1992, president-elect Bill Clinton ranked second behind outgoing president George H.W. Bush, with 15%. And in 1988, then president-elect Bush achieved third place, with 9%." Almost as important for the incoming administration:  Hillary Clinton earns the top spot for Most Admired Woman, named by 20%." Clinton's numbers are significant given the highly public and important role she will play in the White House. Obama's numbers suggests that the president-elect is coming into office with a good deal of political capital--an electorate that both admires and respects him. Indeed, a recent CNN/Opinion Research survey reported that 76% of Americans believe Obama is a strong and decisive leader. (By contrast, just 60% of voters felt the same way about George W. Bush when he took office in 2001.) "That's the best number an incoming president has gotten on that dimension since Ronald Reagan took office in 1981," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "The public's rating of his leadership skills is already as high as George W. Bush's was after 9/11 and easily beats the numbers that both Bush and Bill Clinton got at the start of their first terms in office." And what do Americans expect Obama to actually achieve. According to a Washington Post/ABC News survey, it's quite a bit: 70% of Americans expect Obama to improve the U.S. image abroad; 68% expect him to bring about health care reform; 67% say he will implement policies to deal with global warming; 64% believe he will end U.S. involvement in Iraq; and 46% percent believe he will improve the economy." The the issue of the economy is significant in this poll, out because it is the only one of these goals in which a majority (52%) don't believe Obama will succeed. In the end, high hopes sometimes lead to dashed expectations if the public perceives a new president's initiatives as failed, problematic, or counterproductive. PollTrack will closely watch these numbers over the next few months to see if this extraidinary public goodwill continues and flourishes.

Obama's America (Part 3): The State Of The Nation--A Sobered Opposition

Posted Jan 07, 2009 at 5:59 PM by Maurice Berger

Will president-elect Obama make good on his promise to end partisan bickering in Washington? The answer may well determine the relative success or failure of his new iniatives, especially his effort to pass a comprehensive economic stimulous package. With little less than two weeks to go until the new president takes office, recent opinion polls suggest that Obama has made remarkable inroads with self-described "conservative" Americans: "The extent to which Barack Obama is experiencing a post-election wave of good will from Americans is born out by his base of supprt among these espondents: "close to half of political conservatives -- 45% -- say they are confident in Obama's ability to be a good president. About the same percentage (46%) disagree." The 45% who say they are confident in Obama contrasts with the mere 23% of this group who supported him over John McCain in the election. In the end, "this relatively strong endorsement from conservatives boosts overall confidence in Obama well beyond the 53% of the national vote he received on Election Day." Overall, upawards of 65% to 70% of Americans now say they are confident Obama will be a good president, while only 27% are not confident and 8% are unsure. PollTrack suggests that the higher Obama's approval numbers with conservatives (and Republican voters of all stripes), the easier it may be for him to garner cross-over support in congress for a range of initiatives. This support may well tunr out to be the political cover right-of-center politicians will need to support Obama's programs.

Obama's America (Part 2): The State Of The Nation--Energy

Posted Jan 06, 2009 at 5:44 PM by Maurice Berger

With just a few weeks until Obama's inauguration, Americans remain worried and cautious about the state of energy and the nation's dependence on gasoline and other fossil fules. Nearly two in three Americans (64%)--according to a recent Gallup survey--report adjusting their driving habits in significant ways in response to surging gas prices earlier this year, but only 12% have reverted to their old habits as prices at the pump have plunged. Even as the price of a gallon of gas has fallen below $2 in most areas, 52% of Americans say they have not gone back to their old driving habits." These numbers suggest that Americans are reacting not only to the gravity of the energy crisis, but also are anxious about the economy and the effect of high energy and oil prices on their pocketbooks. As Gallup concludes: "the plunge in gas prices is similar to distributing a huge tax rebate by how much individuals drive. Like the tax rebate from earlier this year, lower-income Americans tend to be most likely to spend the rebate, but all Americans are likely to save a large portion of any tax rebate. In part, it may be that most Americans have not gone back to their old driving habits for fear that pump prices will surge once more in the future. Just as likely, however, particularly for upper-income Americans, returning to old driving habits may be a lot like spending money -- something left for better times." It will be interesting to see the public response to energy use if oil prices begin to climb, the response of the White House and Congress, and the effect of both on the public's accessment of the Obama administration in the coming year.

Obama's America (Part 1): The State Of The Nation--The Economy

Posted Jan 05, 2009 at 10:42 PM by Maurice Berger

Over the next week, PollTrack will publish a daily, six-part series--Obama's America: The State Of The Nation--that will examine public opinion and the attitudes of American voters about a range of issues facing the new president, from the economy and energy to voter expectations about the new administration. Collectively the series will offer a comprehensive look at the state of the nation through public opinion on the ground as Obama takes office. Today's topic: The Economy. Public reaction and response to the economic crisis has been mixed in recent weeks. For one, voters remain pessimistic about the economy: Nationally, only 9% of adults rate the economy as either good or excellent. 61% disagree and say the economy is in poor condition. Voters tend to support president-elect Obama's proposal for a comprehensive and massive stilumlous package: 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,  the recent economic crisis had led led "mixed feelings" about government intervention: 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. Still, 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. These numbers suggest a highly vulnerable electorate, uncertain of the best way to handle the present economic crisis, unsure of how much government can do, but generally confident in the new president's ability to handle the situation.


More Americans Self-Indentify as Democratic

Posted Jan 05, 2009 at 3:44 AM by Maurice Berger

Perhaps as a testament to voters' high regard for President-Elect Obama, Rasmussen reports that the number of Americans who consider themselves to be Democrats rose again in December to 41.6%: "That’s up two-tenths of a point since November and the third straight monthly increase in the number of Democrats. Only once since Rasmussen Reports began tracking this data on a monthly basis in 2002 has the number of Democrats been higher. In May, as the Obama-Clinton primary battle neared its conclusion, 41.7% of Americans said they were Democrats. At the same time, the number of Republicans declined a full percentage point from 33.8% in November to 32.8% in December."

Liberals Love Obama, Republicans Gaining In Enthusiasm

Posted Jan 05, 2009 at 12:53 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup poll, liberal Democrats remain confident in president-elect Obama: support for Obama among liberal Democrats is holding steady at 93% "despite news reports that his core supporters are disappointed with some of his cabinet appointments and other decisions. Meanwhile, in recent weeks, Obama's ratings have improved among conservative Republicans, up from 23% to 29% . . . Now, a slim majority of moderate and liberal Republicans, 51%, say they are confident Obama will be a good president, up from 44% in November. Conservative Republicans remain largely skeptical of Obama's abilities, but in recent weeks his stock has risen slightly among this group, from 23% to 29%."

Coming Next Tuesday: OBAMA'S AMERICA: The State Of The Nation

Posted Jan 02, 2009 at 4:06 PM by Maurice Berger

Starting next Tuesday, PollTrack will publish a daily, six-part series--Obama's America: The State Of The Nation--that will examine public opinion and the attitudes of American voters about a range of issues facing the new president, from the economy and energy to voter expectations about the new administration. Collectively the series will offer a comprehensive look at the state of the nation through public opinion on the ground as Obama takes office.

Americans See A Better 2009, Despite Fears About Economy

Posted Jan 02, 2009 at 3:23 AM by Maurice Berger

Americans remain optimistic about 2009, but still fear the effects of a recession most believe will be long-term. According to a new poll, Americans have a bit more confidence in 2009 than in the year that just passed, but 50% of adults believe the country will still be in a recession this time next year. 24% say 2008 was a good or excellent year, and 3% say it was the best year ever . . .  38% rate 2008 as poor. 32% expect 2009 to be good or excellent, with 5% more predicting it will be the best ever. 23% say it’s going to be a poor year." By contrast, a year ago 54% rated 2007 as either good, excellent or one of the best years ever for them personally. Only 20% gave it poor marks. 68% expected 2008 to be excellent, good or the best, with just 7% predicting poor.