Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Republicans Rate Poorly On The Economy

Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 1:04 AM by Maurice Berger

White President Obama continues to enjoy high approval on his handling of the economy and other problems facing the nation, the Republicans fare very poorly. A new ABC News/Washington Post Poll Reports that the Democratic Party leads the Republicans by 56-30 percent in trust to handle the country's main problems. "That has slightly improved from 56-23 percent in December, as congressional Republicans found a unified voice in opposition to the stimulus. But the December number was the Republicans' worst in ABC/Post polls since 1982; they still have far to climb."Additionally, the Democrats hold the edge in partisan affiliation: 36% in the poll identified themselves as Democrats, just 24% as Republicans. On average in 2003, by contrast, the parties were at parity, 31 percent apiece."

Americans Have Mixed Feeling About Various Aspects Of The Stimulus

Posted Feb 26, 2009 at 1:18 AM by Maurice Berger

A USA Today/Gallup poll reports that Americans have mixed feelings about what the stimulus package should support: "The Obama administration and other advocates have argued that the massive government spending on these programs is necessary to keep a bad economic situation from getting far worse. Critics have found fault with the amounts of money involved and the long-term impact or the lack thereof. And the American public? A review and analysis of recent polling assessing the various government initiatives makes it possible to summarize American public opinion as follows: 1) Americans are generally behind the $787 billion stimulus plan (officially known as the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act"), signed into law on Feb. 17, although with significant reservations; 2) Americans are solidly in favor of aid to homeowners facing foreclosure; 3) Americans are solidly against giving further aid to the auto companies; and 4) Americans are generally against the idea of providing further aid to ailing banks (although support for an actual government takeover of failing banks is fluid and depends on how such a process is described)."

ABC News: Obama's Approval High, But Also Average For A New President

Posted Feb 25, 2009 at 1:20 AM by Maurice Berger

According to ABC News, President Obama's relatively high approval rating--on average now around 62%--is impressive but not unusual for a new administration: "There are a couple of data points worth keeping in mind as we await President Obama’s address to the nation tonight - and as we digest an aide's claim today, as Jake Tapper reports, that his strong approval rating is earned." One, while his rating is high, it’s also dead average for a new president. The other is the impressive partisanship beneath it. We have approval ratings for each of the last nine elected presidents after their first month in office, back to Dwight Eisenhower. (We’re leaving Johnson and Ford aside.) There’s been a healthy range, from a low of 55 percent for George W. Bush after the disputed election of 2000 to a high of 76 percent for his father 12 years earlier. (I’m using ABC/Post polls since Reagan, Gallup previously). But the average? Sixty-seven percent. And Obama’s? Sixty-eight percent, as we reported in our new poll yesterday. His initial rating, then, is strong – but it’s also generally typical for a new guy." PollTrack cuations that any poll--even the most accurate--is just a snapshot in term. Events on the ground can change public perceptions about a political leader in an instant (George W. Bush's gargantuan jump in public approval after 9/11 is a case in point).

Public Thinks Mortgage Subsidies Reward Bad Behavior

Posted Feb 24, 2009 at 1:56 AM by Maurice Berger

A majority pf American adults--55%--believe the "federal government would be rewarding bad behavior by providing mortgage subsidies to financially troubled homeowners." Among investors, 65% hold that view. A new poll reports that among all adults, just 32% disagree. 77% of Republicans and 60% of those not affiliated with either major political party believe the mortgage help subsidizes bad behavior. Most Democrats--51%--disagree.

Consumer, Investment Confidence Again Fall To Record Lows

Posted Feb 23, 2009 at 1:15 AM by Maurice Berger

Americans are growing increasingly gloomy about the economic crisis and their ability to weather it: "The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures consumer confidence on a daily basis, fell two points on Monday to 55.5. That’s the lowest level of confidence ever recorded in the seven-year history of the Consumer Index, and the fourth time a new low has been set this month.The Rasmussen Investor Index fell nearly four points on Monday to 56.9, also a record low. For the Investor Index, the previous low had been established in mid-December.

The drop for both has been fairly significant. The Consumer Index has fallen eight points over the past month and 39 points over the past year. The Investor Index has fallen nine points over the past month and 45 points over the past year."

US Public Trusts President Obama On Issue Of Terrorism

Posted Feb 20, 2009 at 1:05 AM by Maurice Berger

A Pew Research Center poll reports that most Americans trust President Obama on the issue of terrorism: "Most Americans say his administration’s policies will reduce the likelihood of another major attack on the United States. But as in recent years, the public remains deeply divided over how best to defend the nation against the threat of terrorism. Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the threat of terrorism by more than two-to-one (50% approve vs. 21% disapprove), while 29% offer no opinion. Yet opinion is much more closely divided over Obama’s decision to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in the next year. Fewer than half (46%) approve of the decision while 39% disapprove."

Voters Read Stimulus Plan As Partisan

Posted Feb 19, 2009 at 1:15 AM by Maurice Berger

The American public now rejects the idea that the stimulus package was a partisan effort: 60% of U.S. voters according to a new poll say the economic stimulus plan "is mostly what Democrats want rather than a truly bipartisan product." 25% think the plan is a bipartisan effort; 15% are not sure. "80% of Republicans say the stimulus is mostly a Democratic plan, while Democrats themselves are evenly divided on the question. 62% of unaffiliated voters say it’s mostly what Democrats want, while 22% characterize the plan as bipartisan."

Majority of Americans Favor Talking To Iran

Posted Feb 18, 2009 at 1:27 AM by Maurice Berger

A majority of Americans now support direct diplomacy with Iran, a policy that would represent a dramatic reversal from the Bush Administration. According to a new Gallup Poll, Americans appear to support the Obama administration's push for "face-to-face" dialogue with Iran: 56% say the United States should engage in direct diplomacy with Iran, while 38% say it should not. Gallup observes: Certain subgroups of the U.S. population are more ready than others to support forging ahead with direct diplomacy with Iran. At 74%, those with post-graduate educations are the most likely to favor this approach. Moderates, Democrats, liberals, college graduates, and middle-aged Americans also express solid support at or just below two-thirds. Interestingly, younger Americans are the most resistant to direct diplomacy with Iran, with 38% in favor and 56% opposed. Keeping them company among the most cautious constituencies are conservatives, Republicans, and the less educated, though it is worth noting that levels of support among these groups still hover at or near 50%."

Americans Remain Skeptical of Stimulus Package

Posted Feb 17, 2009 at 1:39 AM by Maurice Berger

Americans continue to remain circumspect about the stimulus packaged signed into law by President Obama. 38% of voters now believe the $787-billion stimulus will help the economy, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. 29% believe the plan will hurt and 24% believe it will have little impact. Middle-income Americans are more likely to believe the bill will hurt rather than help. Those with incomes below $40,000 or above $100,000 are more optimistic.

US Voters Growing Impatient With Congress

Posted Feb 16, 2009 at 1:53 AM by Maurice Berger

When it comes to the nation’s economic issues, a new Rasmussen survey reports, 67% of U.S. voters have more confidence in their own judgment than they do in the average member of Congress. 19% trust members of Congress more, 14% aren’t sure.President Obama only does marginally better: 49% of U.S. voters trust their own judgment more than his when it comes to the economic issues affecting the nation. 39% trust the president more. 12% are not sure whose judgment is better.

Confidence In Democrats To Handle Economy Is Falling

Posted Feb 13, 2009 at 1:50 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Rasmussen survey suggests possible political storm clouds for Democrats on the question of how well they can manage the economy: "Democrats are still trusted more than Republicans to handle the economy by a 44% to 39% margin, but their advantage on the issue has been slipping steadily since November; 17% are not sure which party they trust more to handle the economy. In the first poll conducted after Barack Obama was elected president, the Democrats held a 15-point lead over the GOP on economic issues. In December, their lead dropped to 12 points. In January, prior to Obama’s inauguration, Democrats held a nine-point lead on the issue."

Gaither Performance May Be Hurting Consumer Confidence

Posted Feb 12, 2009 at 2:11 AM by Maurice Berger

Following Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s presentation of the White House financial rescue plan, the "Rasmussen Consumer Index fell a point-and-a-half to 56.6. That’s another all-time record low, surpassing the mark set ten days ago. During 2008, record lows for consumer confidence were recorded on a regular basis. The Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, is down three points from a week ago and two points from a month ago."

Gallup: Decided Uptick in Support For Stimulus Package

Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 10:43 AM by Maurice Berger

A new USA Today/Gallup poll reports a decided uptick in support for the economic stimulus package now working its way through congress: "Public support for an $800 billion economic stimulus package has increased to 59% in the poll conducted Tuesday night, up from 52% in Gallup polling a week ago, as well as in late January. Most of the newfound support comes from rank-and-file Democrats, suggesting President Barack Obama's efforts to sell the plan over the past week -- including in his first televised news conference on Monday -- have shored up support within his own party. Over the same period, support for the stimulus package held steady among independents, with a slight majority in favor of it. The percentage of Republicans favoring the package rose slightly from 24% to 28%, but remains below the 34% support received in early January, before Congress began its formal consideration of the package."

Obama News Conference Enjoyed High Ratings

Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 7:34 AM by Maurice Berger

President Obama's Monday-night primtime news conference commanded relatively high ratings. According to Nielsen, "The conference was telecast live from 8 to 9PM on 8 networks achieving a combined 30.8 household rating with 49,455,133 viewers. The networks were ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Univision, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. Just weeks after his inauguration in 1993 President Bill Clinton also held a prime time news conference. That event focused on the economy and was carried by 4 networks on February 15, 1993. The sum of the audience of those networks was a 42.1 household rating with 64,300,000 viewers on average. On October 11, 2001, exactly a month after the attacks of September 11, President Bush held a prime time news conference that was carried by 7 networks. The sum of those networks’ audience from approximately 8-8:45PM was a 42.0 household rating with 64,813,000 viewers."

The Democratic Brand May Be In Trouble

Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 2:36 AM by Maurice Berger

In an ominous sign for the Democrats, public displeasure with Congress seems to be translating into much decreased support for Democratic legislators. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone surveys found that in the generic congressional balllot, the Democrats’ lead is down to just one percentage point. Forty percent (40%) of voters said they would vote for their district’s Democratic candidate while 39% said they would choose the Republican. "This marks the lowest level of support for the Democrats in tracking history," Rasmussen reports, "and is the closest the two parties have been on the generic ballot."

Public Has Little Faith in US Congress

Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 1:32 AM by Maurice Berger

While President Obama continues to enjoy healthy--if somewaht diminished approval numbers--Congress does not do half as well. A new poll suggests that the American public has little confidence in its elected delegates to the US Congress: "The Senate is scheduled to vote today on an $838-billion economic stimulus plan, but 58% of U.S. voters say most members of congress will not understand what is in the plan before they vote on it . . . just 24% believe most of Congress will understand the contents of the 700-page-plus plan before they vote.19% are not sure. Two-thirds of the nation’s voters (69%) lack confidence that Congress knows what it is doing when it comes to addressing the country’s current economic problems. Just 29% are even somewhat confident in the legislators"


Voters Want More Tax Cuts, Less Spending In Stimulus Package

Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 3:24 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new poll, voters want the stimulus plan  making its way through Congress to include more tax cuts and less government spending: "Just 14% would like to move in the opposite direction with more government spending and fewer tax cuts . . . 20% would be happy to pass it pretty much as is, and 5% are not sure. Republicans and unaffiliated voters overwhelmingly want to see more tax cuts and less government spending. Democrats are more evenly divided: 42% agree with the Republicans, 32% want to pass the plan as is, and 22% would like to see more government spending and fewer tax cuts." 

Americans Support Obama in Stimulus Fight

Posted Feb 09, 2009 at 3:52 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup poll, the American public gives President Obama a strong 67% approval rating for the way in which he is handling the government's efforts to pass an economic stimulus bill, while the Democrats and, in particular, the Republicans in Congress receive much lower approval ratings of 48% and 31%, respectively.

Americans Divided On President Obama's Warning About Economic "Catastrophe"

Posted Feb 09, 2009 at 2:15 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Rasmussen poll, Americans are almost evenly divided on whether the failure to pass the economic recovery bill working its way through Congress would be a "catastrophe" for the American economy. The survey finds that 44% of Americans agree with Obama and 41% do not. "There is a huge partisan divide on the question. Sixty-nine percent 69% of Democrats agree with the president's insistence that failure to pass a bill now means catastrophe, while 64% of Republicans do not. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, 32% say Obama's right, but 51% don't agree."

Big Majarity View Obama As Politically Liberal

Posted Feb 06, 2009 at 12:44 AM by Maurice Berger

The "L-Word"--Liberal--may be more popular now than at any time since since Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency in 1980. According to a new poll, "71% of American voters now view President Obama as politically liberal, including 42% who say he is Very Liberal. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 23% see him as politically moderate and just 2% see him as somewhat or very conservative. The number seeing Obama as politically liberal is up six points over the past month and is also the highest yet recorded. When he first wrapped up the Democratic Presidential nomination, 61% of American voters viewed Obama as politically liberal. On the eve of his election, 66% held that view." Given the president's relative high approval rating, it does not look like the laberal label is a problem for him. 

Voters Not Optmistic About Stimulous Package

Posted Feb 05, 2009 at 2:08 AM by Maurice Berger

In a sign of growing voter concern and pessimism over the economy, a new Rasmussen survey reports that "50% of U.S. voters say the final economic recovery plan that emerges from Congress is at least somewhat likely to make things worse rather than better, but 39% say such an outcome is not likely. 27% say the final legislation is Very Likely to make things worse, while just 7% say it’s Not at All Likely to have that effect." Right now voters seem prepared to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt: "Part of this concern is a natural reflection of voter skepticism about the legislative process. Many Americans simply accept the notion that no matter how bad things are, Congress could make them worse."

Democrats 2008 Party ID Largest Since the 1980s

Posted Feb 04, 2009 at 2:07 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, an average of 36% of Americans identified themselves as Democrats and 28% as Republicans in 2008. That eight-point advantage is the largest for the Democratic Party since Gallup began regularly conducting its polls by telephone in 1988. Gallup notes: "The year-by-year trend shows that Democrats have gained ground against Republicans in each of the last five years, going from a deficit of two points in 2003 to the most recent eight-point advantage. Additionally, the 36% of Americans who identified as Democrats last year matches the high point in Democratic identification since 1988, when it was also 36%. But since fewer Americans identified as Republicans last year (28%) than in 1988 (31%), the Democratic advantage was larger in 2008."

A Plurality of Voters See Obama As Bipartisan

Posted Feb 03, 2009 at 8:25 AM by Maurice Berger

While a plurality of voters see Barack Obama's governing style as bipartisan, they are not so sure about the US Congress: "42% of U.S. voters say President Obama is governing on a bipartisan basis while 39% say he is governing as a partisan Democrat . . . [Yet] most voters believe congressmen from both major political parties are acting in a far more partisan manner than the president. 58% say congressional Democrats are governing in a partisan fashion, and 52% say the same about Republicans in Congress. Just 22% say members of both parties are acting on a bipartisan basis. Overall, 40% expect politics in Washington to become more partisan over the next year while 40% expect it to become more cooperative.>

Gallup's State of The States: Important of Religion

Posted Feb 03, 2009 at 1:35 AM by Maurice Berger

An analysis of more than 350,000 interviews conducted by the Gallup organization in 2008 reports that Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Arkansas are the most religious states in the nation; Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts are the least religious states: "The large data set of interviews conducted as part of the Gallup Poll Daily tracking program in 2008 provides uniquely reliable estimates of state-level characteristics. Each sample of state residents was weighted by demographic characteristics to ensure it is representative of the state's population. There are a number of ways to measure the relative religiosity of population segments. For the current ranking, Gallup uses the responses to a straightforward question that asks: "Is religion an important part of your daily life?" The rankings are based on the percentage of each state's adult (18 and older) population that answers in the affirmative."

Gitmo Shutdown: Public Evenly Split

Posted Feb 02, 2009 at 7:05 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll reports that Americans are evenly split about the Obama Administration's plan to shutdown the prison camp at Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba: "44% agree with President Obama’s decision to close the camp within the next year, while 42% disagree in a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure which is the best course to follow" In late November of last year, just 32% of voters said Gitmo should be closed down; 49%) opposed the closing. "Democrats have changed their minds far more than Republicans. In November, 47% of Democrats favored closing the Guantanamo prison, while 79% of Republicans disagreed. Now 71% of Democrats agree with Obama’s decision to close it, with 68% of GOP voters opposed. The views of unaffiliated voters’ are little changed."

Consumer Confidence Falls To Record Low

Posted Feb 02, 2009 at 1:21 AM by Maurice Berger

In a red flag for the Obama administration, consumer confidence has fallen to an all-time record low. The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures the "economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, fell for the ninth-time in eleven days and is now at the lowest level ever recorded. Consumer confidence had shown signs of improving earlier in January and around the time of President Barack Obama’s inauguration, but the continuing drumbeat of economic news has taken hold and driven confidence back down once again. At 56.7, the Consumer Index is down three points over the past week and down ten points over the past three months."