Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Huckabee Leads GOP Pack For 2012 Presidential Nomination

Posted Oct 30, 2009 at 2:17 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new CNN/Opinion Research survey, 32% of GOP voters say they would support Mike Huckabee (R), followed by Sarah Palin (R) at 25%, Mitt Romney at 21% and Tim Pawlenty at 5% for the 2012 Republican nomination for president. The survey concludes: "Huckabee appears to have more support among Republicans than Palin and her unfavorable rating among all Americans is twice as high as Huckabee's. Palin may attract a lot of attention but the GOP may be looking elsewhere for their frontrunner."

GOP Favorability Slips

Posted Oct 29, 2009 at 1:47 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new CNN/Opinion Research survey, the "Republican Party's favorable rating among Americans is at lowest level in at least a decade, according to a new national poll. 36% of people questioned "say they have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party, with 54 percent viewing the GOP negatively. According to the poll, 53 percent have a positive opinion of the Democratic Party, with 41 percent holding an unfavorable view. The survey indicates that favorable ratings for the Democrats have dropped 5 points since February, with the Republican number slipping 3 points. 'The Republican party may still be battling the legacy left to them by George W. Bush," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. 'They have also spent a lot of time in 2009 working against Democratic proposals. That hasn't left them a lot of time so far this year to present a positive, post-Bush message. Of course, there is still plenty of time for them to do so before the 2010 midterms.'"

Support For "Public Option" At An All-Time High

Posted Oct 28, 2009 at 12:54 AM by Maurice Berger

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll reports that support for the so-called "public option"--a government-run insurance plan--at its highest level since the debate began with 48% in favor of the idea while 42% oppose it.

Vice-President Biden's Favorability Rating Collapses

Posted Oct 27, 2009 at 2:22 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, Vice-President Joe Biden's favorability rating has reached an all-time low: "After peaking at 59% last November, Biden's favorable rating continues to decline and now stands at 42%. That barely exceeds his 40% unfavorable rating, and is easily his worst evaluation since last year's Democratic National Convention. Biden's favorable rating has dropped by five or six points each of the last three times Gallup has updated it -- in January, before Barack Obama's inauguration; in July; and in the most recent poll. . . . The source of the decline -- by party affiliation -- has varied over time. During the post-election to pre-inauguration phase, Biden's favorable rating dropped significantly among Democrats, but it has been fairly steady since, and remains strong at 73%. Republicans had relatively low opinions of Biden even at the peak of his popularity, with 33% holding a favorable opinion of him. Those views did not change appreciably until after he took office, but Republicans' views of Biden have declined in both post-inauguration readings, and now stand at 18% favorable. Independents' opinions of Biden have declined more steadily since the post-election high mark, and now 32% of independents view the vice president favorably."

Obama Approval Up This Week

Posted Oct 26, 2009 at 1:52 AM by Maurice Berger

As of Sunday evening, President Obama's aggregate approval rating has increased somewhat over last's week's 50.3% aggregate number, according to PollTrack's latest calculation: Approve: 51.5% to Disapprove: 44.5%. Once again, the President's approval number, but now elevated disapproval rating suggests the possibility of trouble ahead for the administration.

Obama Continues To Lead Hypothetical 2012 Challengers

Posted Oct 23, 2009 at 2:49 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Public Policy Polling analysis, "Barack Obama continues to lead his most likely 2012 rivals in hypothetical contests for reelection. Obama leads Mike Huckabee 47-43, Mitt Romney 48-40, Sarah Palin 52-40, and Tim Pawlenty 50-30.
This is the seventh time PPP has conducted this poll and the seventh time Huckabee has polled closest to Obama. Speaking to the weakness of the field of potential Republican candidates he's the only with a positive favorability rating and even then it's only 33/29. Huckabee's doing well because he connects better than the other GOP hopefuls with voters in the Midwest and South. For instance while Romney, Palin, and Pawlenty trail by 9, 17, and 18 points respectively in the Midwest Huckabee is down by just 3, something that could be a good omen for his prospects of again winning the Iowa primary as he did in 2008."

Obama Quarterly Approval Decline Worst On Record

Posted Oct 22, 2009 at 2:44 AM by Maurice Berger

"In Gallup Daily tracking that spans Barack Obama's third quarter in office (July 20 through Oct. 19), the president averaged a 53% job approval rating. That is down sharply from his prior quarterly averages, which were both above 60%. In fact, the 9-point drop in the most recent quarter is the largest Gallup has ever measured for an elected president between the second and third quarters of his term, dating back to 1953. One president who was not elected to his first term -- Harry Truman -- had a 13-point drop between his second and third quarters in office in 1945 and 1946." Here is Gallup's Chart:


Change in Presidential Job Approval Averages, Second to Third Quarter in Office, Elected Presidents

Voters Mostly Negative On Sarah Palin

Posted Oct 21, 2009 at 3:09 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, Sarah Palin's national standing remains relatively low: "Palin became a bit of a sensation after John McCain tapped her as his running mate last August. But over the course of the campaign, her image suffered, going from a 53% favorable rating immediately after the 2008 Republican National Convention to 42% by the end of the campaign. Palin's ratings have not recovered, and her current 40% favorable rating is the lowest for her since she became widely known after last year's Republican convention."As for her chances in 2012, Gallup finds that sge is still popular with the Republican base, faring competitively against other GOP leaders like Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney: "Palin could compete for the 2012 nomination because she is still widely liked by Republicans -- 69% have a favorable opinion of her while only 25% view her unfavorably. But she may have difficulty succeeding in the general election, given that Democrats have overwhelmingly negative opinions of her, and independents view her more negatively than positively."

Support For "Public Option" Remains High

Posted Oct 20, 2009 at 1:57 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, "support for a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded from its summertime lows and wins clear majority support from the public. . . On the issue that has been perhaps the most pronounced flash point in the national debate, 57 percent of all Americans now favor a public insurance option, while 40 percent oppose it. Support has risen since mid-August, when a bare majority, 52 percent, said they favored it. . . .If a public plan were run by the states and available only to those who lack affordable private options, support for it jumps to 76 percent. Under those circumstances, even a majority of Republicans, 56 percent, would be in favor of it, about double their level of support without such a limitation."

Obama Approval Drops Slightly

Posted Oct 19, 2009 at 2:06 AM by Maurice Berger

As of Sunday evening, President Obama's aggregate approval rating has dropped slightly, according to PollTrack's latest calculation: Approve: 50.3% to Disapprove: 45%. What may be more telling about these numbers is not the President's approval number, but his consistently rising disapproval rating, now at an all time high since he took office.

Two-Thirds of Americans Support Death Penalty

Posted Oct 16, 2009 at 1:44 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup reports in its annual Crime Survey that 65% of Americans continue to support the use of the death penalty for persons convicted of murder, while 31% oppose it. These numbers continue a trend that has shown little change over the last six years. Gallup continues: "Gallup's death-penalty data stretch back more than seven decades -- making attitudes toward the death penalty one of Gallup's oldest trends. Gallup's earliest reading, in 1936, found that 59% of Americans supported the use of the death penalty in cases of murder, compared to 38% who opposed it. The all-time high level of 80% support came in September 1994, just before the midterm elections that swept Democrats out of power and at a time when Americans most often cited crime as the most important problem facing the nation. The low points came in the period of time from the mid-1950s through the early 1970s. During some of this time, the death penalty was illegal, and support dropped as low as 42% in 1966."

Voters Skeptical About Afghan War

Posted Oct 15, 2009 at 1:41 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Rasmussen survey, American voters "aren’t brimming with confidence that the United States can win the war in Afghanistan, but, despite news reports of a worsening situation there, support for a continued U.S. military presence in the country is unchanged. [The poll] finds that 45% of voters believe it is possible for the United States to win the eight-year-old war in Afghanistan. 29% do not think a U.S. victory is possible there, and another 25% aren’t sure. But 52% of voters continue to believe that no firm timetable should be set for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan . . . 58% of men say America can win the war in Afghanistan. Women are evenly divided. 60% of Republicans say a U.S. victory is possible, a view shared by just 35% of Democrats and 41% of voters not affiliated with either party."

Rasmussen: Voters Split on Health Care Plan

Posted Oct 14, 2009 at 1:49 AM by Maurice Berger

While somewhat a odds with recent polling from other organizations, Rasmussen reports that "44% of voters nationwide now favor the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That's little changed from a week ago.The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 50% are opposed to the plan. The numbers have been remarkably stable throughout the debate"Rasmussen continues: "Last week, support for the plan rose to 46%, up five points from a week earlier. With the exception of “bounces” following a couple of nationally televised presidential appearances, it was the first time support for the congressional health care effort had risen."


Record Low Support For Stricter Gun Laws

Posted Oct 13, 2009 at 1:39 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, a record low of 44% of Americans say the laws covering firearm sales should be made more strict. That is down 5 points in the last year and 34 points from the high of 78% recorded the first time the question was asked, in 1990. Here is Gallup's chart:

Do You Feel That Laws Covering the Sale of Firearms Should Be Made More Strict, Less Strict, or Kept as They Are Now?

US Voters Oppose Health Insurance "Penalty"

Posted Oct 12, 2009 at 1:49 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Rasmussen survey, a majority of US voters oppose the provision in health care legislation that would require young and healthy Americans to either buy health insurance or pay a $750 annual penalty for not having it. 55% of U.S. voters now oppose that proposal; just 32% of voters think young and healthy Americans should be forced to purchase health insurance or else pay a penalty. 14% are not sure. Among voters ages 18 to 29, 29% favor the provision, known as “the individual mandate,” while 57% are opposed to it.

Nationally, Support For Abortion Drops

Posted Oct 09, 2009 at 2:36 AM by Maurice Berger

The latest Pew Research Center survey on abortion reveals a considerable decline in support for the procedure nationally: "Polls conducted in 2009 have found fewer Americans expressing support for abortion than in previous years. In Pew Research Center polls in 2007 and 2008, supporters of legal abortion clearly outnumbered opponents; now Americans are evenly divided on the question, and there have been modest increases in the numbers who favor reducing abortions or making them harder to obtain.  Less support for abortion is evident among most demographic and political groups. [The survey] also reveals that the abortion debate has receded in importance, especially among liberals. At the same time, opposition to abortion has grown more firm among conservatives, who have become less supportive of finding a middle ground on  the issue and more certain of the correctness of their own views on abortion."

Mixed Bag In Public's Attitude About Health Care Reform

Posted Oct 08, 2009 at 3:01 AM by Maurice Berger

Last weeks polling from Rasmussen Reports on the subject of health care reform suggests a mixed bag for proponents and opponents of the plan now before congress: "Sometimes, as the old saying goes, the devil's in the details.Most U.S. voters (54%) believe that major changes are needed in the U.S. health care system. Sixty-one percent (61%) say it's important for Congress to pass health care legislation this year. The problem is that just 41% of voters nationwide now favor the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats." For more of Rasmussen's analysis, click here. 

Public Approval Of Congress Drops to 21%

Posted Oct 07, 2009 at 1:38 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, "Americans' approval of Congress is at 21% this month, down from last month’s 31% and from the recent high of 39% in March. Most of this change is due to a steep 18-point decline in approval among Democrats, from 54% in September to 36% now. At 9%, Republicans’ approval is down just slightly." Here is Gallup's month by month chart:


Congressional Approval -- 2009 Trend

Of Five Major US Religions, Jews Are Obama's Biggest Supporters

Posted Oct 06, 2009 at 2:56 AM by Maurice Berger

Tracking the relative support of the president in the month of September, Gallup reports that 64% of U.S. Jews approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president, significantly higher than the 52% average among national adults in September, and also higher than was seen among Catholics, Protestants, and Mormons. Only nonreligious Americans equal Jews in their support for the president. Here is Gallup's chart:


President Barack Obama Job Approval, by Religion -- September 2009

Obama Approval Down Slightly

Posted Oct 05, 2009 at 2:05 AM by Maurice Berger

As of Sunday evening, PollTrack reports a slight drop in President Obama's aggregate approval rating. 50.6% now have a positive view of the president's performance; 44.3% a negative one. Obama's negative rating represents a significant increase from last Sunday's number.

US Voters Want Congress To Post Bills Online

Posted Oct 02, 2009 at 1:38 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Rasmussen Reports survey, "83% of U.S. voters say legislation should be posted online in final form and available for everyone to read before Congress votes on it. The only exception would be for extreme emergencies. . . the national telephone survey finds only 6% of voters disagree with this approach while 10% are not sure."

Democrats Loosing Steam?

Posted Oct 01, 2009 at 2:29 AM by Maurice Berger

A new analysis by Gallup suggests that the Democratic Party may be loosing a bit of steam, as the gap in party identification has narrowed considerably in recent months: " In the third quarter of this year, 48% of Americans identified politically as Democrats or said they were independent but leaned to the Democratic Party. At the same time, 42% identified as Republicans or as independents who leaned Republican. That six-point spread in leaned party affiliation is the smallest Gallup has measured since 2005." Here's is Gallup's tracking chart:

Party ID and Leaning, Quarterly Averages, 2005-2009

These results are based on an average of five Gallup and USA Today/Gallup polls conducted in the third quarter of 2009, encompassing interviews with more than 5,000 U.S. adults. Gallup's Daily tracking survey -- established in 2008 -- has shown a similar narrowing of the party support gap in recent months.