Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

President Obama 's Popularity Drops to Lowest Point in PollTrack Average

Posted Aug 31, 2009 at 1:00 AM by Maurice Berger

As of Sunday night, President Obama's approval rating has dropped to 48.5% (to 47.0% negative), the lowest numbers of his young presidency. Rasmussen has Obama's approval number at 47% (among "likely voters"); Gallup has it at 50%. PollTrack will be watching these numbers carefully, especially noting whether they increase after the President returns from vacation (a news down-time that may adversely effect his popularity). Last week, the Gallup organization warned that President Obama's approval rating could wind up representing one of the fastest declines in presidential approval since World War II.

PollTrack: Back On Monday, 31 August, With Full Coverage

Posted Aug 21, 2009 at 1:44 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack is back on Monday 31 August with full daily reporting. 

Democratic Party Favorability Slides Downward

Posted Aug 21, 2009 at 1:09 AM by Maurice Berger

The American voter is much less in love now with the Democratic then in the period of Barack Obama's inauguration. According to a new Pew Research Survey: "Americans are in an increasingly sour mood about Washington. Barack Obama’s approval ratings continue to inch downward and a growing proportion of Americans (63%) think that the president and Republican leaders are not working together to deal with important issues facing the nation; in June, 50% said the two sides were not cooperating. While more people continue to blame Republican leaders than blame Obama, the percentage saying the president is at fault (17%) is higher now than in June (12%) and much higher than in February (7%)

In the same vein, the new poll finds favorable ratings of the Democratic Party have declined sharply since spring. Just 49% now say they have a favorable view of the Democratic Party. This compares with a 59% favorable rating for the party as recently as April and 62% shortly before Obama took office in January. Opinion of the Republican Party, which stands at 40%, has not changed all year."

Are Traditional Polling Methodologies Doomed?

Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 1:37 AM by Maurice Berger

At a recent statistical convention, the polling director of SurveyUSA, Jay Leve--one of the most accurate pollsters in recent cycles--had some shocking news for his peers: traditional polling methodologies, as we know them, may soon be doomed. Specifically, he was referring to the standard methodology of reaching potential voters--through landlines (and more recently, cell phones). Concluding his presentation, reports the National Journal Online, Leve summed up the problem:  All phone polling, he said, depends on a set of assumptions: "You're at home; you have a [home] phone; your phone has a hard-coded area code and exchange which means I know where you are; ... you're waiting for your phone to ring; when it rings you'll answer it; it's OK for me to interrupt you; you're happy to talk to me; whatever you're doing is less important than talking to me; and I won't take no for an answer -- I'm going to keep calling back until you talk to me."

Yet, as it now stands, the current reality for pollsters is often much different:

"In fact, you don't have a home phone; your number can ring anywhere in the world; you're not waiting for your phone to ring; nobody calls you on the phone anyway they text you or IM you; when your phone rings you don't answer it -- your time is precious, you have competing interests, you resent calls from strangers, you're on one or more do-not-call lists, and 20 minutes [the length of many pollsters' interviews] is an eternity." Leve then concluded: "If you look at where we are here in 2009 [with phone polling]," he said, "it's over... this is the end. Something else has got to come along."

Obama's PollTrack Approval Rating Average Drops To New Low

Posted Aug 19, 2009 at 12:48 AM by Maurice Berger

In an alarming sign for a the new administration, Barack Obama's PollTrack approval rating average has dropped to a new low. As of Monday evening, the President's approval rating hovers around the 50% mark--51.2% to 43% disapproval.

Americans Down On Sarah Palin

Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 2:19 PM by Maurice Berger

The popularity of former Alaska Governor and Republic VP candidate Sarah Palin has taken a hit in recent months, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll: "Americans appear to be souring on Sarah Palin, according to a new national poll. Thirty-nine percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday have a favorable opinion of the former Alaska governor and last year's Republican vice presidential nominee. That's down seven points from a poll conducted in May, and it's also nine points lower than the 48 percent who now say they now view Palin unfavorably. Forty-three percent viewed Palin negatively in May."

Consumer Confidence Up +19% Since The Beginning of 2009

Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 2:03 AM by Maurice Berger

In another sign that economic conditions may be improving in the United States, the Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, reached its high for the year last Thursday. By Sunday, the Index was exactly where it was a week ago and is up eleven points from one month ago. Consumer confidence is now up +19 points from the beginning of 2009.

North Carolina Republicans Question Obama's US Birth

Posted Aug 14, 2009 at 2:35 AM by Maurice Berger

The question of Obama's American birth may not be a fringe issue after all. A public Policy Polling survey of voters in North Carolina finds that "only 54% of North Carolina voters say with certainty that they believe Barack Obama was born in the United States, with 26% saying they think he was not, and 20% unsure. Among Republicans, 47% think Obama was not born in the United States, with 29% unsure, and just 24% stating that they think he was." The polling director concludes that so-called "Birthers" "may be a fringe movement, but at least in the south it's a pretty large fringe."

Obama Slips With Independent Voters

Posted Aug 13, 2009 at 2:23 AM by Maurice Berger

In a warning sign for the Obama administration, the president's standing among independent voters are slipped considerably. According to a new Marist poll: "While the Obama Administration is embroiled in a bitter battle to get a health care plan pushed through Congress, President Barack Obama is faring well, overall, in the eyes of a majority of voters.  However, the president’s job performance may have lost a bit of its luster for members of one key voting group for the first time since taking office. 55% of U.S. registered voters approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing in office while 35% say they disapprove.  The president has held his own in the court of public opinion during the last few months. . . . But, is President Obama on a slippery slope with Independent voters?  Currently, 47% of Independents nationwide say they approve of the job the president is doing while 37% disapprove.  This is the first time Obama has lost a majority of Independents since taking office."


Is the US Growing More Anti-Immigrant?

Posted Aug 12, 2009 at 1:21 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a recently released Gallup poll, the nation appears to be less welcoming to immigrants: "With some U.S. lawmakers and immigration rights activists stepping up calls for the Obama administration to pursue immigration reform, Gallup finds Americans less favorable toward immigration than they were a year ago. Half (50%) say immigration should be decreased, up from 39% last year. A third (32%) say immigration levels should be kept the same, down from 39%, and 14% say they should be increased, down from 18%." In  an anylisis of these results, Gallupwrites: These numbers "mark a return to the attitudes that prevailed in the first few years after 9/11; attitudes softened from 2006 to last year. The shift toward a tougher stance this time around may reflect the country's economic situation, as Americans tend to become less pro-immigration during difficult economic times."

Overall, The US Is Trending Blue

Posted Aug 11, 2009 at 1:29 AM by Maurice Berger

A fascinating state-by-state study by Gallup suggests that American is growing increasingly Democratic: "An analysis of Gallup Poll Daily tracking data from the first six months of 2009 finds Massachusetts to be the most Democratic state in the nation, along with the District of Columbia. Utah and Wyoming are the most Republican states, as they were in 2008. Only four states show a sizeable Republican advantage in party identification, the same number as in 2008. That compares to 29 states plus the District of Columbia with sizeable Democratic advantages, also unchanged from last year." Here's Gallup's listing of the Bluest and Reddest states in the union:


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Consumer Confidence Highest in Eleven Months

Posted Aug 10, 2009 at 3:22 AM by Maurice Berger

In yet another sign that the American public is sensensing an upturn in the economy--after more than two and a half years of recession--the Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, climbed five points on Sunday, reaching its highest level since the Lehman Brothers collapse in September 2008. At 78.8, the Index is up five points over the past week, up 18 points over the past month and up 19 points from the beginning of this year." Still, the picture is not entirely rosy: "Nationally, 12% of adults rate the economy as good or excellent, while 51% rate the economy as poor. Men (19%) and women (17%) under 40 are slightly more optimistic about the current state of the U.S. economy than men (8%) and women over 40 (6%)."


Health Care: The Public Trusts The President Far More Than Republicans

Posted Aug 07, 2009 at 1:19 AM by Maurice Berger

By an enormous margin, the American public trusts President Obama FAR more than Republicans on the issue of who better can handle revamping health care: a NYT/CBS News poll reports that by a 55% to 26% margin, Obama has better ideas on health care than Republicans. A GWU Battleground survey released late last week found Obama with a 21 point lead over Republicans on who would better handle health care reform. PollTrack suggests that with approval numbers this high on the issue, Obama still holds a big political advantage over Republican legislators heading into September's Congressional battle over the issue.

President Obama Perceived As Liberal By Most Americans

Posted Aug 06, 2009 at 2:10 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Rasmussen survey, "76% of U.S. voters now think President Obama is at least somewhat liberal. 48% say he is very liberal . . This marks the highest finding to date on the question and is a five-point increase in the number who say the president is very liberal from a month ago.

Overwhelming Majority Of Americans Believe President Obama Was Born In The US

Posted Aug 05, 2009 at 1:15 AM by Maurice Berger

Despite the efforts of the so-called "birther" movement, which questions President Obama's American birth (a requisite for assuming the presidency), the vast majority of Americans believe he was born in the United States. According to a Daily Kos/Research 2000 survey, more than two-thirds of adults reject these "birther" conspiracy claims. Here's the overall result:

Do you believe that President Barack Obama was born in the USA or not:

Yes      77
No       11
Not sure 12

Here is the break down by political part affiliation and region:


               Yes   No   Not sure
Dem       93    4    3
Rep        42   28   30
Ind         83    8    9

N-East    93    4    3
South     47   23   30
Midwest 90    6    4
West      87    7    6

Gov. Palin Of Alaska Leaves On A Sour Note With Voters

Posted Aug 04, 2009 at 1:54 AM by Maurice Berger

Republican Sarah Palin of Alaska--once one of the nation's most popular Governors, with approval rating hovering at 80%--is left office this past week on a sour note with voters. More voters in the state now view her negatively, according to a new survey by Hays Research. As it now stands, 47.5% of Alaska voters have an unfavorable view of Palin while 46.8% are favorable.

Approval Rating: President Obama Has Better Week

Posted Aug 03, 2009 at 1:32 AM by Maurice Berger

The past week has been much better for President Obama politically than the week before. And tracking polls over the latter part of last week confirm this: By Friday afternoon, the president's approval rating ticked up to 54.1% (to 39% disapproval), a leap of more than two-points from earlier in the week. More mportant tracking polls taken exclusively in the latter part of the week show even greater improvement, with some, such as Gallup, indicating a positive rating as high as 55%. Stay tuned.