Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Crisis Party: Only 20% Of Voters Describe Themselves As Republican

Posted Apr 30, 2009 at 12:40 AM by Maurice Berger

In what represents a true crisis for the GOP, two polls out this week report that only 20% of voters describe themselves as Republican. Early this week a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey reported this number. A newly released Washington Post survey found a similar result: Only 21% see themselves as Republicans. PollTrack suggests that these numbers strongly suggested that the Republican Party has reached the crisis stage in terms of public perceptions about it.

Majority Of Voters Believe Next President Will Be A Republican

Posted Apr 29, 2009 at 12:57 AM by Maurice Berger

In a result that may appear somewhat counterintuitive, given the president's healthy approval rating 100 days into his administration, a new Rasmussen Poll reports that "for the first time since Obama was elected president last November, more than half of U.S. voters (53%) say it is at least somewhat likely that the next occupant of the White House will be a Republican. 31% say it is Very Likely. 35% say it is not very or not at all likely, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. 12% aren’t sure. This is not an expectation related to the 2012 election. It is a question about the President following Obama which could happen in either 2012 or 2016."

Texas Republicans Support Secession

Posted Apr 28, 2009 at 1:51 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a DailyKos/Research 2000 poll, 48% of Texas Republicans think their state should be an independent nation while 48% think it should remain part of the United States.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) floated the notion of secession at a recent tax protest. Among all Texans, 61% want their state to remain part of the Union while 35% prefer an independent nation.

New Jersey Voters Support Same Sex Marriage

Posted Apr 27, 2009 at 1:21 AM by Maurice Berger

Although the president and many members of congress have come out strongly against same sex marriage, the idea appears to be catching on in many states. Take New Jersey, for example, where a new poll finds that by a 49 - 43 percent margin, state "voters support a law that would allow same-sex couples to marry . . . And voters support 63 - 30 percent the existing law establishing civil unions for same-sex couples.  A proposed same-sex marriage law wins 64 - 29 percent support from Democrats and 50 - 41 percent from independent voters, but Republicans oppose it 67 - 26 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Men oppose it 48 - 44 percent while women back same-sex marriage 53 - 39 percent. Black voters oppose same-sex marriage 54 - 38 percent, while white voters support it 50 - 42 percent. Voters who attend religious services once a week oppose same-sex marriage 65 - 28 percent while voters who attend services less frequently support it 61 - 30 percent."

Bellwether Colorado: Is Obama In Trouble?

Posted Apr 24, 2009 at 1:40 AM by Maurice Berger

In the 2008 cycle, the state of Colorado was the ultimate swing state, a strong bellwether of other states that have remained close in recent national cycles. Where does the state stand today with regard to Barack Obama? PollTrack suggests that the answer may not be good news for the new president. According to a new Public Policy Polling survey, Obama receives approval from only "49% of voters with 45% dissenting. . . . a much smaller swath of the electorate approving of [his] job performance than voted for [him] last fall, and it looks like a lot of that may have to do with [his] standing among independent voters. An average of PPP’s final three Colorado polls last year found Obama . . . doing spectacularly well among independent voters. Obama had a 24 point lead . . . But now only 48% of independents approve of what the President is doing with 47% disapproving."

More Americans Are Optmistic About Direction Of The County

Posted Apr 23, 2009 at 1:02 AM by Maurice Berger

In what can only be read as a testament for the relatively high regard of many for the Obama admistration, Rasmussen reports that more Americans are optmistic about the direction of the country: "For the third time this year, optimism about the country's direction has reached a recent high. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 37% of voters say the United States is heading in the right direction. Still, the majority of voters (57%) believe the nation is heading down the wrong track." 

Obama Continues To Enjoy Support Of Americans

Posted Apr 22, 2009 at 1:04 AM by Maurice Berger

While diminished from his numbers in January, President Obama continues to enjoy the support of American voters. Rasmussen Reports that "35% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama performing his role as President. 29% Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of +6. The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the number who Strongly Disapprove from the number who Strongly Approve. Obama's overall numbers according to Rasmussen--55% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance so far, 44%) disapprove--are average for a president at this early stage. PollTrack notes that an average of all of the major public opinion surveys on presidential job performance gives Obama a positive rating that hovers around 60%--a very healthy number.

Overall, Obama Approval Quite Healthy

Posted Apr 21, 2009 at 2:22 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup looks at the question of Obama's popularity from another perspective: his longterm numbers. Rather than seeing his numbers as an instantaneous snaphot of public opinion, the polling organization average the President's numbers over his 100-day administration. And the numbers come out positively for the new administration: "Barack Obama's first quarter in office concludes on Sunday, and during this early stage of his presidency he has averaged a solid 63% job approval, reaching as high as 69% in the initial days of his presidency and falling as low as 59% on a few occasions. Obama's 63% first-quarter average matches the historical average of 63% for elected presidents' first quarters since 1953. However, it is the fourth highest for a newly elected president since that time, and the highest since Jimmy Carter's 69% in 1977. The historical first-quarter average includes two presidents whose scores exceeded 70% (John Kennedy's 74% and Dwight Eisenhower's 71%)."

Do Texans Support Leaving The Union?

Posted Apr 20, 2009 at 1:49 AM by Maurice Berger

Last Wednesday, Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry, in response to a reporter’s question about secession at a protest "tea party," said Wednesday, "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that? But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot." Do the voters of Texas support the idea of leaving the union? The answer in short is no, though a surprisingly large number believe the state has at least the right to succession: "31% of Texas voters say that their state has the right to secede from the United States and form an independent country . . . [but if] the matter was put to a vote, it wouldn’t even be close. 75% of Lone Star State voters would opt to remain in the United States. Only 18% would vote to secede, and 7% are not sure what they'd choose."

Majority Believe That Their Vote Counts in Elections

Posted Apr 17, 2009 at 1:53 AM by Maurice Berger

In yet another indication that voters remain confidence about the importance of participating in the political process, two-thirds of American adults nationwide--66%--say their vote really matters on Election Day. "The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that only 25% believe their vote doesn’t matter, and nine percent (9%) aren’t sure. 72% of Democrats say their vote really matters, along with 69% of Republicans. However, those not affiliated with either major party are less convinced: Just 57% say their vote matters. 31% of unaffiliateds say their vote doesn’t matter."

The Hill: No National Implications For NY-20

Posted Apr 16, 2009 at 2:09 AM by Maurice Berger

The Hill argues that the razor-thin closeness of the special election in NY-20--a race that is bound to end close given the breakdown of the vote count--gives neither party an advantage in the national preception of the health of the Democratic and Republican brand: "Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele made the contest a central focus of his first two months as head of the GOP, and NRCC chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) have each invested their own reputations on Tedisco's behalf. Without a clear win, some could lose confidence in all three leaders. Tedisco also publicly distanced himself from the national party and said he would run a local campaign without the NRCC's message, giving pundits the opportunity to recall that having an "R" after one's name, at least in the Northeast, is still political suicide."

The Hill continues: "Democrats spent less on Murphy's behalf, but by allowing both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to get involved in the race, they ensured any result would be seen as a national referendum on the early days of the administration, when many bold economic policies dominated headlines. A loss for Murphy would certainly be viewed as a reproach of the president. With much risked and with such a close election, either Scott Murphy or Jim Tedisco will be headed to Congress. But both parties failed in their quest; Democrats did not win a sweeping victory for Obama's agenda, while Republicans -- most notably Steele -- could not prove the party is on an early course for a comeback."

Most Americans Reject Former VP Cheney's View On Terrorism

Posted Apr 15, 2009 at 2:22 AM by Maurice Berger

A strong majority of Americans, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll, reject former Vice-President Dick Cheney assertion that the nation is less safe under Obama's leadership: the poll "indicates Americans don't agree with former Vice President Dick Cheney's recent assertion that President Barack Obama's actions have increased the chances of a terrorist attack against the United States. [The] survey also suggests that most people support the president's plans in Afghanistan — up to a point. 72% of those questioned in the poll released Monday disagree with Cheney's view that some of Obama's actions have put the country at greater risk, with 26% agreeing with the former vice president. In a March 15 interview on CNN's "State of the Union with John King," Cheney said the Bush administration's anti-terror strategies "were absolutely essential to the success we enjoyed of being able to collect the intelligence that led us to defeat all further attempts to launch attacks against the United States since 9/11. I think that's a great success story,' Cheney said. 'President Obama campaigned against it all across the country. And now he is making some choices that, in my mind, that will in fact raise the risk to the American people of another attack.'"

Americans Trust Obama Most On Economy

Posted Apr 14, 2009 at 2:07 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup poll, Americans trust Obama more than any other political leader on the issue of the economy: "Over two-thirds of Americans -- 71% -- have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in President Obama to do or recommend the right thing for the economy, a much higher level of confidence than is given to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, or the Democratic or Republican leaders in Congress." The poll reached the following conclusions:

  • Obama gets almost universal confidence from Democrats, two-thirds support from independents, and just over one-third confidence from Republicans.
  • Geithner appears to be somewhat more politicized than Bernanke. Geithner's confidence rating ranges from 70% among Democrats to just 24% among Republicans. Bernanke, on the other hand, has a more modest 28-point partisan gap, with a 64% confidence rating among Democrats vs. 36% among Republicans.
  • The partisan ratings of Bernanke have shifted from last year, when he was serving under a Republican president. At that time, the Fed chairman received a 61% confidence rating from Republicans, 43% from independents, and just a 40% rating from Democrats. Apparently, Americans associate the Fed chairman with the particular president he happens to be serving under.
  • Democrats have more faith in their leaders than Republicans do in theirs. Seventy-nine percent of Democrats say they have confidence in the Democratic leaders in Congress on the economy. Although this is lower than the confidence Democrats have in Obama, it is higher than the 57% confidence rating Republicans give the Republican leaders in Congress.

Americans More Optimistic About Economy

Posted Apr 13, 2009 at 2:21 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Rasmussen's Consumer Confidence Index, "which measures consumer confidence on a daily basis, gained another three points on Sunday following a five point gain on Saturday. At 77.1, the Index has reached its highest level since last September 20.Consumer confidence is up 9 points from a week ago, 19 points from a month ago, and is even up a point-and-a-half from a year ago. which measures consumer confidence on a daily basis, gained another three points on Sunday following a five point gain on Saturday. At 77.1, the Index has reached its highest level since last September 20. Consumer confidence is up 9 points from a week ago, 19 points from a month ago, and is even up a point-and-a-half from a year ago."

Obama's Approval Rating Around 60%

Posted Apr 10, 2009 at 12:57 AM by Maurice Berger

No doubt, President Obama's approval rating have come down from the loft heights of his post-inauguration honeymoon. Some polls indicate a higher approval vs disapproval rating (CNN: 66% to 30% and CBS/NY TIMES: 66% to 23%) others a more moderate approval rating (Marist: 56% to 30% and Rasmussen: 57% to 42%). While these differences add a note of ambiguity to the question of Obama's standing with voters, PollTrack suggest that a poll average of all of the accredited surveys may be a better gauge. The numbers when all is averaged out: 60.6% to 29.9%, a decent and stable result that runs about average for presidents at this early stage in their administration.

Generic Congressional Ballot Virtually Tied

Posted Apr 09, 2009 at 1:55 AM by Maurice Berger

In what may be a bit of a red flag for the Obama administration, a new poll of registered voters indicates that they are evening divided in terms of the party they would vote for if congressional elections were held today: "Republicans have pulled within one point of Democrats in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 40% would vote for their district’s Democratic candidate while 39% would choose the Republican. Support for Democratic congressional candidates fell two points this week, while support for GOP candidates gained one point to tie its highest level this year so far. Three weeks ago, Republicans took a two-point lead over Democrats, their first in several years, but that quickly reversed the following week. Democrats began the year holding a six- or seven-point lead over the GOP for the first several weeks of 2009. Recently, the gap has been smaller. Prior to the current update, Democrats have held a three-or-four point advantage for three of the prior four weeks."

Voters Continue To Rate Taxation As Important Issue

Posted Apr 08, 2009 at 1:29 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Rasmussen Reports survey suggests that voters continue to rate taxation as an important issue: "While the economy remains the top issue nationwide, taxes are moving up on the priority list . . . 64% of voters see taxation as very important; it’s highest level in nearly two years. Last month, 61% said taxes were very important to them. Prior to that survey, that number never rose above 60%.Another 26% now see taxes as a somewhat important issue, while only 8% say taxes are not very or not at all important in terms of how they will vote" Significantly for the Obama administration and Congress, 81% of voters say it is important to keep the middle class tax cuts promised in the president's budget.

Rasmussen Survey of 1,000 Likely Voters
April 1-4, 2009

Issue                                                              Very Important



Gov't Ethics/Corruption




Nat'l Security/War on Terror


Health Care


Social Security






War In Iraq






Obama's Approval Rating Indicates Widest Partisan Gap In Past Four Decades

Posted Apr 07, 2009 at 1:44 AM by Maurice Berger

President Obama's approval rating--when matched to voters' party affiliation, according to a new Pew Research Survey--suggest as wide partisan gap: "For all of his hopes about bipartisanship, Barack Obama has the most polarized early job approval ratings of any president in the past four decades. The 61-point partisan gap in opinions about Obama's job performance is the result of a combination of high Democratic ratings for the president -- 88% job approval among Democrats -- and relatively low approval ratings among Republicans (27%). By comparison, there was a somewhat smaller 51-point partisan gap in views of George W. Bush's job performance in April 2001, a few months into his first term. At that time, Republican enthusiasm for Bush was comparable to how Democrats feel about Obama today, but there was substantially less criticism from members of the opposition party. Among Democrats, 36% approved of Bush's job performance in April 2001; that compares with a 27% job approval rating for Obama among Republicans today." The longterm implications of this are unclear, PollTrack believes, because the poll does not report the leanings of the all-important independent and unaffiliated voters.

Americans Continue To Downgrade Bush And Cheney

Posted Apr 06, 2009 at 1:38 AM by Maurice Berger

Absence does not always make the heart grown fonder, as the saying goes. According to a just released Gallup poll, Americans do not have warm memories of either former President George W. Bush or Vice-Prsodent Dick Cheney: Neither George W. Bush's deliberate silence about the Obama administration nor Dick Cheney's ready criticism of it appear to have altered U.S. public perceptions about either man. The former president and former vice president are each viewed unfavorably by 63% of Americans, very similar to where they stood with the public in their final White House years. The last reading on Bush's favorability that Gallup recorded during his presidency came in a Jan. 9-11, 2009, survey. At that time, 40% of Americans viewed him favorably and 59% unfavorably. However, this represented an unusual spurt in positive feelings toward Bush, possibly due to changes in media coverage of the embattled president as his term ended, or because of Americans' generally buoyant mood leading up to Inauguration Day . . . The 35% of Americans viewing Bush favorably today is close to his all-time low of 32% in April 2008, and matches a favorable rating from August of that year. Bush's ratings have consistently been in negative territory since July 2005, a sharp contrast to his generally positive image throughout his first term."

Americans Love Obama, Pelosi Not So Much

Posted Apr 03, 2009 at 2:14 AM by Maurice Berger

While President Barack Obama's approval rating remains high, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's is not as well regarded by  American voters: 60% of U.S. voters now have an unfavorable opinion of Pelosi, including 42% Very Unfavorable, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. "A growing number of her doubters seem to be fellow Democrats. While these are Pelosi’s highest negatives yet in the current session of Congress, Republican congressional leaders haven’t been the beneficiaries. Their numbers remain virtually unchanged. 34% have a favorable view of Pelosi, with9% 9% Very Favorable. Just 7% have no opinion of the lawmaker."

NY-20: National Implications Or Just Two Close To Call

Posted Apr 02, 2009 at 1:49 AM by Maurice Berger

The national parties are trying hard to spin the results of the special election in NY-20. Democrats say their "voter models" for absentee voters in the district indicate a win for Murphy. Republucans say that more GOP voters requested absentee ballots than Democrats. Whatever the logic, the parties are trying to create the perception that their guy won. As Florida 2000 proved, who ever comes out on election day "ahead," if even by a few hundred votes, is in a better position with regard to public perceptions about, and expectations for, the outcome. We'll it now looks like NY-20 is even more of a tie than first reported. According to the Albany Times Union, the "too-close-to-call race in the 20th Congressional District between Republican Jim Tedisco and Democrat Scott Murphy just got considerably closer. Following a review of votes in Columbia County, Murphy still leads Tedisco — but only by 25 votes, 77,217 to 77,192. That result peels off 127 votes for Murphy and 93 for Tedisco from last night's results." On election night, the final margin was alternately reported as 59 (by the Times Union) or 65 (the Associated Press and The New York Times). The narrowing of the gap doesn't change an essential reality: no winner can be declared until after thousands of absentee ballots are counted, a process that can legally continue until 13 April.

NY-20: National Implications?

Posted Apr 01, 2009 at 1:58 AM by Maurice Berger

With the NY-20 special election ending in a virtual tie--with Democrat Scott Murphy and Republican Jim Tedisco at 50% each--it's hard to ascribe a trend to the results. Indeed, as PollTrack has observed before, the traditionally low turnout in special elections almost guarantees that the results will be ambiguous at best. But there are two take aways from yesterday's content: [1] Even after the national GOP poured a good deal of time and money into the local contest, in a district with a decided Republican advatage in registration, its candudate still lost. There cannot be joy in the offices of the RNC this morning. [2] The extreme closeness of the race--in a swing district where Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand nevertheless won by a large margin last November--suggests that the district, and by a slight stretch of the imagination, the nation remains more divided than many pundits realize.