Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Republicans’ Life Ratings Drop While Democrats’ Improve

Posted Jan 13, 2010 at 1:41 AM by Maurice Berger

According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, "throughout 2009, the percentages of Republicans and Democrats who rated their present and future lives highly enough to be classified as "thriving" were virtually equal . . . This trend stands in stark contrast to 2008, when Republicans were more likely to be thriving than were Democrats. Gallup measures life evaluation using the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale, which asks survey respondents to evaluate their present and future lives on a "ladder" scale."

Gallup continues: "When news of the financial services meltdown first broke in the waning days of the Bush administration in September 2008, 57% of Republicans and 38% of Democrats were classified as thriving. In November, the month of the presidential election, Republicans' life evaluations dropped much more sharply than Democrats' or independents'. Then in January 2009, the month Obama took office, life ratings among Democrats and independents rose more sharply than among Republicans. By February 2009, the thriving percentages among Republicans (44%) and Democrats (45%) were virtually identical."

Hillary Clinton More Popular Than The President

Posted Dec 30, 2009 at 2:15 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a recent survey by the Clarus Research Group, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton maintains a higher approval rating as Obama's secretary of State than Obama as president. The poll of registered voters self-identifed as "news watchers," reported Obama's approval rating at 51% (to 45% disapproval). According to CQ Politics analysis of the poll: "Clinton -- who lived in the White House as first lady to President Bill Clinton and later was a U.S. senator from New York -- enjoyed an approval rating as secretary of State of 75 percent to 21 percent negative. Clinton's performance in her Cabinet post received the approval of 96 percent of the Democratic respondents. But what is truly remarkable is that Clinton, who had very few Republican fans as first lady, senator or presidential candidate, received approval from 57 percent of Republican respondents, as well as 65 percent of independents."

Americans Favor Democratic Policies Over Republican By A Wide Margin

Posted Dec 29, 2009 at 2:21 AM by Maurice Berger

A new CNN/Opinion Research survey reports that a majority of Americans believe that the Democratic party's policy proposals are good for the country--51% to 46%. By a margin of 53% to 42%, the public in stark contrast rejects Republican policies, believing they will move the country in the wrong direction.

Obama Approval Down Slightly

Posted Dec 28, 2009 at 2:49 AM by Maurice Berger

President Obama's approval number has fallen slightly this week, according to PollTrack's weekly average. As of Sunday evening, his rating is as follows: APPROVE: 48.5%. The president's approval number remains higher than his disapproval. The bad news: his disapproval number has crept up from last week to 46.8%. PollTrack also notes that this week's average may be skewed by the Christmas holiday--voters distracted by family, celebration, and year-end exhaustion--and daily trackers that take a break through this coming Monday.

Breakdown Of Obama's Approval Rating

Posted Dec 22, 2009 at 1:12 AM by Maurice Berger

A Pew Research Center survey offers a breakdown of Obama's approval status by race, age, gender, and political affiliation. At years end, it offers a snapshop of where the President stands with various groups. Fully 88% of non-Hispanic African Americans approve of Obama’s job performance, compared with 39% of non-Hispanic whites. Obama continues to draw broad support from his Democratic base: comparable percentages of liberal Democrats (85%) and conservative and moderate Democrats (82%) approve of the way he is handling his job. By contrast, Republicans overwhelmingly disapprove (19% approve vs. 73% disapprove); among conservative Republicans just 12% approve of Obama’s job performance while 82% disapprove.

Obama Approval Up Slightly

Posted Dec 21, 2009 at 1:23 AM by Maurice Berger

President Obama's approval number has risen slightly this week, according to PollTrack's weekly average. As of Sunday evening, his rating is as follows: APPROVE: 49.7%. The good news for the president: his approval number is now higher than his disapproval. The bad news: his disapproval number has crept up slightly from last week to 46%. 

Support For Health Care Reform Dramatically Erodes

Posted Dec 18, 2009 at 1:12 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal, just 32% of Americans favor of health care reform, with 47% opposed to the plan being debated in Congress. "For the first time in the survey, a plurality prefers the status quo to reform. By a 44-41 percent margin, respondents say it would be better to keep the current system than to pass Obama's health plan."

Americans Now Support Cap And Trade

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

According to a new Ipsos Public Affairs survey, a majority of Americans support the so-called "cap and trade" system that some say would lower the pollution levels that lead to global warming. "With cap and trade, the government would issue permits limiting the amount of greenhouse gases companies can put out. Companies that did not use all their permits could sell them to other companies. The idea is that many companies would find ways to put out less greenhouse gases, because that would be cheaper than buying permits." As of late last week, 52% of respondents supported cap and trade, 41% opposed, and 7% were not sure.

Americans Remain Pessimistic About Economy And The Nation

Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 1:38 AM by Maurice Berger

Per MSNBC First Read: "A new CNBC poll . . . has Obama’s economic approval rating at 46%, the Democratic Party’s at 39%, and the GOP’s at 26%. Also in the poll, a plurality (43%) believes the economy will improve in the course of the next year. And the survey shows a lack in confidence in American institutions: 77% say they have confidence in the military, compared with 39% for the Supreme Court, 24% for the Fed, 19% for the Treasury Department, 18% for FEMA, 17% for health insurance companies, 15% for Congress, and 10% for the financial industry. Ouch. Here’s one more thing: By a 54%-33% margin, Americans say they prefer using the leftover TARP money for deficit reduction rather than for more stimulus spending."

Obama's Approval Below 50% But Stable

Posted Dec 14, 2009 at 1:34 AM by Maurice Berger

The downward slide in President Obama's approval numbers appears to have abated, according to PollTrack's weekly average. As of Sunday evening, his rating is as follows: APPROVE: 48.6%, DISAPPROVE: 45.5%. The good news for the president: his approval number is now higher than his disapproval. The bad news, per Tom Bevan: six of the seven major national surveys released this week recorded an all-time low job approval rating for Obama.

Rasmussen: Consumer Confidence Continues To Lag

Posted Dec 11, 2009 at 1:38 AM by Maurice Berger

Despite signs of economic recovery, "The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, held relatively steady at 71.8 on Saturday. The index is down four points from two weeks ago and also down four points from a month ago. Consumer confidence is now up 12 points from the beginning of the year. Nationally, just 6% of adults rate the U.S. economy as good or excellent. Fifty-eight percent (58%) give the economy a poor rating. Among men, 8% give the economy a good or excellent rating, but 56% say it's poor. Women are slightly less optimistic--6% rate it as good or excellent, but 59% rate it as poor."

Number of Democrats Falling

Posted Dec 10, 2009 at 1:07 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Rasmussen, "the number of Americans identifying themselves as Democrats fell by nearly two percentage points in November. Added to declines earlier in the year, the number of Democrats in the nation has fallen by five percentage points during 2009. In November, 36.0% of American adults said they were Democrats. That’s down from 37.8% a month ago and the lowest number of Democrats since December 2005 . . . The number of Republicans inched up by just over a point in November to 33.1%. That’s within the narrow range that Republicans have experienced throughout 2009 - from a low of 31.9% to a high of 33.6%."

Americans Less Optimistic About Economy

Posted Dec 09, 2009 at 1:13 AM by Maurice Berger

The slow but steady upturn in public optimism about the state of the economy has apparent come to a halt, according to a CNN/Opinion Research survey: "Two years into the recession, Americans don't see economic conditions getting better any time soon, and the steady growth in optimism that previous surveys measured throughout the year appears to have stalled . . 34% of those questioned say that things are going well in the country today. That finding is 14 percentage points higher than a year ago but a dip of 3 points since November. 'This the first time in Barack Obama's presidency that this number has gone down,' said Keating Holland, CNN's polling director. According to the survey, 39% of the respondents said the country is still in a downturn, up 6 percentage points from last month. Nearly half of those questioned said the economy has stabilized and a small minority, 15%, think the country is starting to recover."

Second Poll + PollTrack Average Reports President Obama's Disapproval Higher Than Approval

Posted Dec 07, 2009 at 1:29 AM by Maurice Berger

For several months, Rasmussen Reports has shown a disapproval number that has been consistently higher than President's Obama's approval rating. Their number, based on a fairly conservative likely voter model, has stood alone. Now a second polling organization, for the first time, reports a similar result: According to a CNN/Opinion Research national survey released Friday, 48% of Americans approve of the job Obama's doing as president, with 50 percent disapproving. The 48% approval is a 7 point drop in approval from last month. "The poll indicates that the biggest drop in approval comes from non college educated white voters," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That's one indication among many that Obama's growing unpopularity may be more related to unemployment and the poor economy."

PollTrack's own poll average, as of Sunday evening, indicates that the president disapproval rating is higher than his approval number: Approve: 48% Disapprove: 48.6%.

Isolationism On The Rise

Posted Dec 04, 2009 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Pew Research/Council on Foreign Relations survey, isolationism is on the rise in the US: "Just as President Obama has outlined his broad strategy for Afghanistan and is pushing ahead with other global initiatives, the percentage of Americans who believe the U.S. should mind its own business and let other countries get along on their own has reached an all-time high . . . The survey found 49% of Americans holding that view. The previous highs were 41% in both 1995 and 1976. 44% in the poll disagreed."

Will Obama Score A Turnaround in January

Posted Dec 02, 2009 at 1:19 AM by Maurice Berger

Will the president's sagging approval numbers start moving up soon? Jacob Weisberg, writing in Slate, suggests that the answer may be yes: "About one thing, left and right seem to agree these days: Obama hasn't done anything yet. . . . This conventional wisdom about Obama's first year isn't just premature—it's sure to be flipped on its head by the anniversary of his inauguration on Jan. 20. If, as seems increasingly likely, Obama wins passage of a health care reform a bill by that date, he will deliver his first State of the Union address having accomplished more than any other postwar American president at a comparable point in his presidency. This isn't an ideological point or one that depends on agreement with his policies. It's a neutral assessment of his emerging record—how many big, transformational things Obama is likely to have made happen in his first 12 months in office."


Americans Ambivalent About The Economy

Posted Dec 01, 2009 at 1:13 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Public Policy Polling survey suggests that Americans are ambivalent, at best, about the state of the economy. The poll ""reveals a more pessimistic electorate than we have seen since the early months of 2009, with feelings on the economy turning more negative after months of slight but steady improvement." Who is benefitting from this doubt, Democrats or Republicans? Hard to tell according to PPP: "The country is not ready to listen to a narrative about how Democrats have brought the economy 'back from the brink' and averted an even worse disaster, as articulated by the president in his joint session address to Congress earlier this year. That leaves a lot of receptivity to Republican messages that focus on wasted spending and exploding deficits." Yet, half of the voters in swing (but Republican-leaning) districts continue to "believe that President Obama’s economic recovery plan could help," a number that suggests the economy could still break in favor of Democrats.

President Obama's Approval Rating Remains Below 50%

Posted Nov 30, 2009 at 12:50 AM by Maurice Berger

For a second straight week, President Obama's positive and negative numbers in the PollTrack average are nearly equal. And his positive approval rating remains below the 50% mark (though it's up a point from last week). As of Sunday evening, 48.5% of voters approve of the way President Obama is handling his job; 47.5%, disapprove.

First Lady Popular With Americans

Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 1:43 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Rasmussen survey reports that the popularity of First Lady Michelle Obama outpaces that of her husband, by a margin of 16%: "62% of U.S. voters have a favorable opinion of First Lady Michelle Obama, including 41% who regard her very favorably. The overall number is up four points from October and represents her highest favorable ratings in several months . . . just 32% view Mrs. Obama unfavorably. However, 18% have a very unfavorable opinion. The first lady was last viewed favorably by 62% in early July, but at that time only 34% had a very favorable opinion of her."

Afghanistan War Has Greater Support Among Republicans

Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 2:03 AM by Maurice Berger

A Quinnipiac poll finds that when it comes to the war in Afghanistan, GOP support for the war in Afghanistan is more than twice as strong as that of Democrats. On the question of whether the President 40,000 more combat troops to Afghanistan as per the wishes of US military commanders on the ground, voters, by a 47% to 42% margin, support the addition of more troops. Yet, only 27% of Democrats want more troops, compared to 68% of Republicans.

President Obama 's Approval Rating Drops Below 50%

Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:04 AM by Maurice Berger

Presidential approval ratings ebb and flow. At any given point a low--or high--rate of approval may reflect little about a president's overall approval over time. At this point in their tenure both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were hovering in the low to mid-40s (both ended their presidencies with relatively high approval numbers). Still, this week's numbers suggest that our current president has moved well past his honeymoon with voters: for the first time, his positive and negative numbers in the PollTrack average are equal. And his positive approval rating has dropped well below 50%. As of Sunday evening, 47.3% of voters approve of the way President Obama is handling his job; 47.3%, disapprove.

Americans Like President Obama More Than His Policies

Posted Nov 20, 2009 at 1:34 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a Quinnipiac University survey, Americans like President Obama more than his policies: "Three-quarters of American voters--74%--like President Barack Obama as a person, but only 47% like most of his policies, and voters disapprove 51 - 35 percent of the health care overhaul passed by the House of Representatives which he has endorsed. . . . Given four choices to describe their feelings about the President, American voters say:

  • 46 percent like Obama as a person and like most of his policies;
  • 28 percent like him as a person, but don't like most of his policies;
  • 1 percent like his policies, but don't like him as a person;
  • 20 percent don't like him or his policies.

'Most Americans like President Barack Obama and might like to have a beer with him,' said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. 'But millions of voters who sided with him last November because they thought he would bring change to Washington aren't crazy about the kind of change he is trying to bring.'"

Americans Reject Government Insurance Coverage For Abortion

Posted Nov 19, 2009 at 1:02 AM by Maurice Berger

In another sign that the nation may be growing somewaht more conservative of the issue of abortion, a new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds that 61% of "adults oppose using public funds to pay for abortions for women who may be covered by a government health insurance system, and 51 percent say women covered by private insurance should not have coverage that pays for abortion . . . 56% favor creating a federally run health insurance program to compete with private insurance companies, and 66 percent said state governments should not be allowed to decide whether the federal insurance would apply everyone in the state."

Americans Evenly Divided On Health Care Reform

Posted Nov 18, 2009 at 1:06 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, Americans are evenly and "deeply" divided" on the heath care reform proposals before Congress: 48% support the proposed changes while 49% are opposed. One positive sign for supporters of the legislation: "The Democrats have made some progress among at least one key group. Support among senior citizens, while still broadly negative, is up 13 points since September to 44%. Seniors have also tilted back toward Obama when matched head to head with congressional Republicans on dealing with health-care reform, helping the president to a 13-point advantage over the GOP on this issue."

Democrats In Trouble In 2010?

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

Veteran analyst Stu Rothenberg, analyzing the rest of the 2009 off-year races, argues that the Democratic brand may be in trouble in the 2010 midterm elections: "Now it will be the GOP who can push the “culture of corruption” argument that Democrats used so successfully in the recent past. Now Republicans will complain about high unemployment numbers, about causalities in Afghanistan and the administration’s foreign policy and about the government’s inability to get H1N1 flu shots to the American public. Moreover, as we are already seeing with health care reform, the internal contradictions of the Democratic Party are becoming apparent. For the past year, the national media have been focused on internal Republican divisions. But now, a fracturing in the Democratic ranks is likely to give plenty of fodder for journalists, columnists and talking heads. This is likely to further erode Democratic poll numbers."

Rothenberg also points out that such shifts in voter sentiment, away from the party principally in power, are fairly common in midterm cycles: "There is nothing unnatural about this, of course. It’s the inevitable result of a party gaining more than 50 seats over the past four years, including in districts that are conservative and lean Republican. And it always happens when one party controls both chambers of Congress and the White House."

Obama's Approval Slightly Higher

Posted Nov 16, 2009 at 2:07 AM by Maurice Berger

Obama's overall approval rating has risen in the last week. According to PollTrack's average, the president's positive rating outpaces his negative--52.0% to 41.75%.

Americans Divided On Health Care

Posted Nov 13, 2009 at 1:12 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, Americans are uncertain about the health care proposals winding their way through congress: "Americans are evenly split on the potential impact of new health care legislation, should it ultimately be passed into law. Forty-one percent say a new health care bill would make the U.S. health care system better in the long run, while 40% say it would make things worse . . . Americans are more negative about the impact of a new health care bill on their personal situations than they are about its impact on the nation as a whole. By a 10-point margin, Americans are more likely to say a new bill would make their personal health care situations worse (36%), rather than better (26%). Almost 4 out of 10 say a bill would make no difference, or have no opinion on the topic."

Most Americans Do Not See Improvement in US Race Relations

Posted Nov 12, 2009 at 1:10 AM by Maurice Berger

With Barack Obama's historic election in November 2008, a hefty majority of Americans expected race relations to improve in the United States. A year later, "the high hopes Americans had for race relations . . . have yet to be fully realized," according to a new Gallup survey. "Currently, 41% of Americans believe race relations have gotten better since Obama's win; another 35% think they have not changed, while 22% say they have gotten worse. Last November, 70% thought race relations would improve as a result of the landmark outcome."

Americans Support Extending Unemployment Benefits

Posted Nov 11, 2009 at 1:09 AM by Maurice Berger

In another indication that the high unemployment rate is weighing heavily on Americans, Rasmussen reports that most Americans favor extending unemployment benefits for an additional 20 weeks, with 59% favoring the extension of those benefits and 31% opposing it.

Health Care: A Net Plus For Obama?

Posted Nov 10, 2009 at 1:33 AM by Maurice Berger

One thing PollTrack will be monitoring very closely over the next few months is the relationship between the president's approval rating and the success or failure of the health care legislation currently working its way through congress. At the moment, high unemployment numbers and the looming deficit has taken their toll on independent voters--their loss from the Democratic fold representing the single most important factor in the party's losses in Virginia and New Jersey last week. Will the success of health care legislation--such as last Saturday's victory in the house--help to offset dissatisfaction among independent voters? The answer may well spell a continued Democratic majority next November or Republican gains. Stay tuned for analysis of this issue relative to the president's overall standing with voters.

Obama Approval Up Slightly

Posted Nov 09, 2009 at 1:02 AM by Maurice Berger

As of Sunday evening, PollTrack reports a slight increase in President Obama's aggregate approval rating. 51.8% now have a positive view of the president's performance; 45.0% a negative one. Obama's negative rating, which has slowly increased each week over the past few months, continues to represent a trouble spot for the president.

Election 2009: Did Obama's Base Hold?

Posted Nov 05, 2009 at 12:26 AM by Maurice Berger

Another problem for the Democrats in Tuesday's election: parts of the Obama coalition--responsible for his easy victory last year--did not hold. As MSNBC notes: "Obama’s Base Is No Longer Fired Up And Ready To Go . . . According to the exit polls, just 10% of the voters in Virginia were under the age of 30, down from 21% last year. What’s more, McDonnell won 18-29 year olds, 54%-44%. Also in Virginia yesterday, African Americans made up 16% of the vote, down from 20% last year. And then there’s this: 51% of yesterday’s voters in Virginia said they voted for McCain, while just 43% said they voted for Obama. Folks, Obama won this state last year by a nearly 53%-46% margin."

Indepdendent Voters Made The Difference And Now Spell Trouble For The Democrats

Posted Nov 04, 2009 at 3:00 AM by Maurice Berger

President Obama's approval rating on election day was at 50%. This number suggests a problem for the Democrats, especially to the extend that it reflects a drop off in independent voter support. Indeed, it was the dramatic decline in the support of unaffiliated and independent voters that gave Republicans a decided advantage in Virginia and New Jersey. The situation with indepdendents was dire: Republican Christie won independent voters in New Jersey by 30 points (60%-30%); Obama won them 51%-47% last year. McDonnell in Virginia won indies by 33 points (66%-33%); Obama held a slight 49%-48% last year.With a nation closely divided between the two mainstream parties, independents can now tip the balance in states and localities where party registration is relatively even. In New Jersey, the message is even more dire for the Democrats: with Democrats enjoying a significant advantage in party identification, Jon Corzine still lost. Does this prefigure Democratic loses in the 2010 midterms? Hard to tell this early. But PollTrack will be watching independent voters--as well as the President's approval numbers--very closely in the coming months.

Obama's Approval Down Slightly

Posted Nov 02, 2009 at 1:42 AM by Maurice Berger

As of Sunday evening, President Obama's aggregate approval rating has decreased a full percentage point from last week's aggregate number, according to PollTrack's latest calculation: Approve: 50.5% to Disapprove: 43.2%.

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 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.

Americans Cite Cost As Biggest Health Care Problem

Posted Sep 30, 2009 at 1:46 AM by Maurice Berger

Americans see affordability as the nation's biggest health care concern, according to a recent Gallup survey: "In an open-ended question, Americans are most likely to say cost (38%) is the biggest problem with health care in the United States today, followed by too many uninsured (15%), and insurance companies (13%)." There is a major gap in the perception of this issue, however, depending on the respondent's own insurance status: "A question asking whether health care costs pose a major problem, a minor problem, or no problem personally for respondents provides another indication of the broad gap in concern about healthcare between the insured and the uninsured. Seventy-two percent of the uninsured say costs are a major problem. By contrast, 42% of adults with private insurance, and 40% of those with Medicare/Medicaid, say this."

Republican Party Trials Democratic In Popularity, But Improves Its Standing

Posted Sep 29, 2009 at 2:18 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Gallup Survey reports that while the Democratic Party maintains a significant edge in public approval, the GOP has pick up a bit of seam in recent weeks: "The Republican Party's image -- quite tattered in the first few months after the 2008 elections -- has seen some recent improvement. 40% of Americans now hold a favorable view of the Republicans, up from 34% in May. The Republicans still trail the Democrats on this popularity measure, as 51% of Americans now view the Democrats favorably. With the Democrats' favorable rating dipping slightly since last November, their advantage has narrowed." Here is Gallup's chart, tracking these numbers since January 2008:

Trend: Republican, Democratic Party Favorable Ratings Since January 2008

Slight Uptick For President Obama's Approval Rating

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

As of Sunday evening, PollTrack reports a slight uptick in President Obama's aggregate approval rating. 51.5% now have a positive view of the president's performance; 41.5% a negative one.

White Voters Now Disapprove of Obama

Posted Sep 25, 2009 at 1:48 AM by Maurice Berger

One statistic in a new Public Policy Polling survey suggests that there is now a massive racial divide in the way Americans view President Barack Obama: "50% of whites disapprove of Obama’s performance compared to 45% approving but his overall numbers are solid thank to an 89% rating with African Americans and a 64% one with Hispanics." Given Obama's inability in Election 2008 to garner more than 43.5% of the white vote (to McCain's 57%)--statistically equal to his present-day performance with this demographic--PollTrack suggests that this number should not be surprising. The problem for Obama, however, is the steady decline of support among white voters during his tenture as president relative to voters of color, who continue to enthusiastically support him.

President Obama's Approval Rating Falls to 50.6%

Posted Sep 24, 2009 at 1:23 AM by Maurice Berger

It appears that President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress and his media blitz this past weekend have had littlr effect on his overall approval ratings. Indeed, as of Wednesday evening, his number have dropped back to early September levels. His positive rating now hovers at the 50% mark: 50.6% to 43.6% disapproval.

Economy Top Concern For US Voters

Posted Sep 23, 2009 at 1:52 AM by Maurice Berger

The economy remains the number one issue for American voters, according to a new analysis by Rasmussen Reports: "No matter how we ask the question, voters continue to put economic issues such as jobs and economic growth highest on their list of concerns. Every night, Rasmussen Reports asks likely voters to choose from a list of five broad issues which is most important to them in terms of how they vote . . . The economy dominated Election 2008 and has been named as the top concern by 37% to 52% of voters every week over the past year. No other issue has risen above 20% among voters. On Election Day, National Security was second, but it has slipped behind fiscal policy concerns and domestic issues in recent weeks.. . . However, the number of voters who see economic issues as most important has slipped somewhat since President Barack Obama was inaugurated in January. For nearly all of February, 50% or more of voters saw the economy as the top issue. By June, that percentage slipped down to the low 40’s and was down to 37% in late August. It bounced back to 44% for the week ending September 13"

Both Parties In Congress Are Near Record Low Appoval

Posted Sep 22, 2009 at 1:03 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new New USA Today/Gallup survey, the approval ratings of the two major parties in Congress are at near record lows. The Democrats fare slightly better than the Republicans, in line with the pattern in recent years. 36% of Americans approve of how the Democrats in Congress are doing their job; 27% approve of the Republicans. However, both parties' ratings are down significantly from earlier this year, returning them to the record-low levels seen in 2007 and 2008. Here is Gallup's chart:



Presidential Approval Update: Obama Holds Steady At 52.4%

Posted Sep 21, 2009 at 1:31 AM by Maurice Berger

As of Sunday evening, PollTrack's President Obama's average presidential approval rating holds steady at 52.4%. His negative number is 41%.

Americans Somewhat Skeptical About Healthcare Proposals

Posted Sep 18, 2009 at 1:19 AM by Maurice Berger

To a considerable degree, Americans remain uncertain about the scope and cost of health care proposals now being considered by Congress, according to a new Gallup poll: "Americans are skeptical that President Obama's health care plan will be able to accomplish all he intends -- to expand coverage to nearly all Americans without raising taxes on middle-class Americans or affecting the quality of care. 38% believe his plan will achieve all of these goals, while 60% do not think it will. Republicans are nearly united in thinking the plan will not accomplish these stated goals (90% believe it will not), and most independents (64%) agree. Two in three Democrats (66%), on the other hand, express optimism that the plan will achieve these aims . . . Less than a majority [of all polled, 43%] say they are confident that Obama's plan can be paid for mostly through cost savings in Medicare and other parts of the healthcare system, as Obama has proposed. 11% are very confident of this."

Significantly, the survey concludes that "Although the public stops short of saying reform will make these things worse -- given that about one in five expect the reforms not to make a difference either way -- in three of the four areas, more predict health care legislation would make the situation worse rather than better. These are key considerations given that support for a healthcare plan -- currently 50%, including "soft" support -- could drop considerably if Americans were convinced that reform would have a harmful effect on the middle class through higher taxes, higher costs for health care, or reduced coverage or quality of care."

Public Trusts Republicans More on Issue Of Terrorism

Posted Sep 17, 2009 at 1:10 AM by Maurice Berger

CQ Politics, reporting on a new Gallup poll, writes: The public has gained confidence in the Democratic Party's ability to protect the country from terrorism, but Republicans still lead with roughly the same level of confidence they held a year after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks . . .  Republicans' standing in public confidence is 49 percent, statistically the same as it was the first time the question was asked on the one-year anniversary of the attacks, when it was 50 percent, Gallup said. Democrats gained an edge for two years in the middle of the decade when President George W. Bush's was at low ebb but have now fallen back to 42 percent."

Americans Perceive The GOP AS Obstructionist

Posted Sep 16, 2009 at 1:18 AM by Maurice Berger

Analyzing a just released national poll from ABC News/Washington Post, CQ Politics spots an ominous sign for the GOP: Americans perceive the party as obstructionist. CQ writes: "Republicans are viewed as obstructionists who are not making a good faith effort to cooperate with Democrats in the health care debate, according to [the survey]. The same poll found that half the respondents thought Democrats were making an honest effort to cooperate with Republicans on health care. Sixty-two percent of the respondents said the Republicans were not negotiating in good faith. But if there is any political blow back from this, it's hard to find. People were evenly divided on whether they would vote for (22 percent) or against (23 percent) a congressional candidate who supports the Democrats' health overhaul plan, with 54 percent saying it would make no difference to them. Forty-nine percent said they think the two parties are equally to blame for the tone of the debate."

Will "You Lie" Undo Rep. Wilson Politically

Posted Sep 15, 2009 at 1:07 AM by Maurice Berger

Following the media firestorm surrounding GOP SC Rep. Joe Wilson's during President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, a new Public Policy Polling survey finds that the congressman "went from being pretty safe for re-election to one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents in the country." Democrat Rob Miller holds a one point lead over Wilson, 44% to 43%, in a survey conducted Thursday night and Friday morning. PPP also reports that "a majority of voters, 62%, in SC-2 disapprove of Wilson's outburst while just 29% were not bothered by it."

Obama Approval Holds Steady at 51% Mark

Posted Sep 14, 2009 at 1:42 AM by Maurice Berger

As of Sunday evening, with all tracking poll data gather AFTER President Obama's speech to the nation on health care on Wednesday, his PollTrack aggregate approval number holds stead at 51.3%. His negative rating--45.6%--still remains high relative to his numbers earlier in his presidency.  So far, it appears that his speech has had only a modest effect on his standing with voters.

Does The Media Concentrate Too Much On President Obama's Personal Life?

Posted Sep 11, 2009 at 1:46 AM by Maurice Berger

A recent suggests that Americans, by a wide margin, believe the media pays too much attention to the President's personal life. 60% believe there is too much media coverage of his personal life and family: "Just 6% of adults say there is not enough coverage of the president’s private life and family, and 28% think the coverage is about right. 66% of men say there is too much coverage of the Obama family, compared to 55% of women. Married adults by 13 points over unmarrieds agree. Perhaps not surprisingly, 75% of Republicans – along with 63% of adults not affiliated with either major political party – think the media over-covers the president’s personal life and family. Democrats, on the other hand, are evenly divided between thinking there is too much coverage and about the right amount."

Bellwether Colorado: Are The Democrats In Trouble?

Posted Sep 10, 2009 at 12:19 AM by Maurice Berger

The Washington Post wonders whether Colorado, a new and potent bellwether of national partisan support, is slipping away from the Democrats: "In 2008, Colorado became a symbol of the changing politics in a region once firmly in Republican hands -- and also of the grass-roots power and energy fueling Barack Obama's candidacy. Today, the state embodies the uneasiness spreading throughout Democratic ranks as Obama struggles with major challenges and the 2010 midterm elections approach."

Colorado has been one of the Democratic Party's major success stories. Between 1968 and 2004, Republican presidential candidates carried the state in all but one election. Last year, Obama crushed John McCain in Colorado, part of a broader shift in the balance of political power in the Rocky Mountain West. Obama's victory and earlier Democratic wins here have transformed the state. Early in the decade, Republicans controlled virtually everything -- the governor's office, almost all other statewide offices, the congressional delegation and both houses of the Colorado legislature. Today, Democrats are in control of all of those. A year ago, Denver enthusiastically hosted the Democratic National Convention, which culminated with Obama's acceptance speech before more than 80,000 people at the Denver Broncos' football stadium. Legions of volunteers, young and old, fanned out across the state throughout the fall to rally the vote for Obama's campaign."

"Today, the energy that powered Obama to victory has begun to dissipate. Some of his supporters remain on the sidelines; others are, if not disillusioned, questioning what has happened to his presidency. As they look toward 2010, Democrats are nervous. Gov. Bill Ritter, appointed Sen. Michael F. Bennet and at least one Democratic member of the House will probably face difficult election campaigns next year."

Health Care Reform Big Issue in 2010?

Posted Sep 09, 2009 at 1:39 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, "the American people are no less divided on healthcare reform today than they were a month ago. [The survey] finds 39% of Americans saying they would direct their member of Congress to vote against a healthcare reform bill this fall while 37% want their member to vote in favor. . . .[The poll] suggests the issue could be politically potent in 2010. Sixty-four percent of Americans say their representative's position on healthcare reform will be a major factor in their vote in the next congressional election; just over a third say it will be no more than a minor factor." Here is Gallup's chart:





Americans Fear Lower Quality Health Care

Posted Sep 07, 2009 at 1:23 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a Rasmussen Reports poll, nearly half of likely voters think the health care overhaul proposed by President Obama and backed by Democrats in Congress will become law this year. Yet, about half of likely voters don't like the plan. Around 50% said that they believed the overhaul would lower the quality of health care, and in answer to a separate question 52% said it would make health costs rise.

Obama's Approval Rating Markedly Improves

Posted Sep 05, 2009 at 4:35 AM by Maurice Berger

President Obama's approval numbers have improved considerably over last week, according to PollTrack's latest analysis of polling data. Last week, his support dropped below the 50% mark in PollTrack's aggregate of public opinion polls, the first time in his young presidency. As of Friday evening, Obama's approval jumped +4.5 points, to 53%, with 41.3% disapproving.

Democratic Edge In Party Affiliation Shrinks Dramatically

Posted Sep 04, 2009 at 2:03 AM by Maurice Berger

In another possibly negative sign for the Obama administration, Gallup reports that "in August, an average of 45% of Americans identified as Democrats or leaned to the Democratic Party, while 40% identified as Republicans or leaned to the Republican Party. This 5-point advantage represents a decided narrowing of the gap between the parties from the 17-point Democratic advantage in January." Here is Gallup's chart:


Unemployment Hits 28.9% in Detroit

Posted Sep 03, 2009 at 1:05 AM by Maurice Berger

With an unemployment rate now hovering around 30%--28.9% to be exact--the city of Detroit serves as a national symbol of the continued effects of the Great Recession and a lingering problem for the Obama administration and Congress. As ABC News reports: "The unemployment rate in the city of Detroit rose to 28.9 percent in July, the highest rate of unemployment since Michigan started keeping modern numbers." Will unemployment rates that remain stagnant or even continue to climb put an damper on the public's perceptions about economic recovery? Stay tuned. 

Majority Of Independent Voters Disaaprove of Obama's Performance

Posted Sep 02, 2009 at 1:34 AM by Maurice Berger

With Republicans and Democrats sharply divided, the balance of political power often falls into the hands of voters who remain independent of either party. Without their support it is virtually impossible to win national elections or maintain strong approval rating. In what might be the most ominous sign of eroding political support in Obama's still young presidency, a new CNN/Opinion Research survey reports that "a majority of independent voters disapprove of how Barack Obama's handling his job as president . . . 53% of independents questioned [in the poll] released Tuesday say they disapprove of how Obama's handling his duties in the White House, with 43% in approval. That result marks the first time in a CNN poll that a majority of independents give the president's performance a thumbs-down."

Americans Want Health Reform But Are Not Willing To Pay For It

Posted Sep 01, 2009 at 1:39 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a survey sponsored by AARP, Americans want health care reform, but are not that willing to pay for it: "56% say that it is more important than ever that we address health care reform. When asked what they’re most worried about when it comes to health care, respondents focus on rising costs, including insurance premium and prescription drug price hikes and the prospect of not being able to afford health insurance. In spite of those concerns, however, sizeable majorities say they are not willing to pay more in taxes (64%) or in premiums (74%) to cover the uninsured."

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.

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

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.

GOP Catches Democrats On Generic Congressional Ballot

Posted Jul 31, 2009 at 1:34 AM by Maurice Berger

Is the Democratic brand in trouble? After years of leading the Generic Congressional Ballot--often by wide margins--the Democrats have fallen slightly behind. According to a new NPR poll, "The so-called generic ballot question was also very close. Asked whether they would support a Democrat or a Republican for Congress in 2010 if the election were held today, 42 percent said they would choose a Democrat and 43 percent a Republican, a difference well within the poll's margin of error (plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for each number in each question)."

Obama's Approval Slightly Higher

Posted Jul 30, 2009 at 1:58 AM by Maurice Berger

As of this morning, PollTrack's aggregate approval rating for the President stood at 53.4%--40.2% disapprove of his performance--a very slight uptick from earlier in the week." Several polls are contradictory, with Rasmussen showing Obam's approval at a meager 48%, CBS News/NY Times at a much healthier 58%, a ten point difference. PollTrack will continue to monitor the President's aggregate approval rating. Obama's polling average may soon increase after several weeks of negative press coverage; it may remain stable in the low-1950s; or it may prefigure a downward trend in the public perception of his performance. In any case, PollTrack will follow the trend.

Most Americans Support Health Care Legislation

Posted Jul 29, 2009 at 2:06 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, most Americans support health care legislation, but not necessarily this year: "Seven in 10 Americans favor the passage of new health care reform legislation, but less than half (41%) say a new law needs to be passed this year." The good news for the Obama administration is that a VERY solid majority of Americans favor this legislation, albeit disagreeing on the timing. Here is Gallup's Chart:


Voters More Concerned About Health Care Costs Than Universal Coverage

Posted Jul 28, 2009 at 2:22 AM by Maurice Berger

A recently released survey reports that "61% of voters nationwide say that cost is the biggest health care problem facing the nation today." The national telephone survey finds that "just 21% believe the lack of universal health insurance coverage is a bigger problem. Only 10% believe the quality of care is the top concern, and 2% point to the inconvenience factor of dealing with the current medical system. Given a choice between health care reform and a tax hike or no health care reform and no tax hike, 47% would prefer to avoid the tax hike and do without reform. Forty-one percent (41%) take the opposite view."

Enormous Racial Divide On Issue Of Obama's Handing Of Gates Question

Posted Jul 27, 2009 at 2:00 AM by Maurice Berger


The only poll thus far on the question of how President Obama handled the issue of the arrest of Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr indicates an enormous racial divide in the public's assessement. While an 46% of Americans rate the president’s response as poor, only 26% of voters nationwide say President Obama did a good or excellent job answering a press conference question about the incident involving a white Cambridge, Massachusetts policeman and a black Harvard professor. Yet, beneath the "top line numbers is a huge gap between the way that white and black Americans view the situation . . . 71% of African-Americans say the president’s response was good or excellent, a view shared by just 22% of white Americans. At the other extreme, 53% of white voters gave the president’s response a poor grade. 5% of black Americans offered such a negative response."

Obama Drops Below "Honeymoon" Threshold

Posted Jul 24, 2009 at 1:22 AM by Maurice Berger

As of this morning, PollTrack's aggregate approval rating for the President stood at 53.6%-- 42.2% disapprove of his performance--below the threshold over which a political leader is said to be in his "honeymoon phase." Rasmussen will report later this morning an even more alarming result for Obama: for the first time more Americans disapprove than approve of his performance, with 49% affirmative, 51% negative. PollTrack will continue to monitor the President's aggregate approval rating very closely. Obama's polling average may soon recover after a week of often negative press coverage; it may remain stable in the mid-1950s; or it may prefigure a downward trend in the public perception of his performance. In any case, PollTrack will follow the trend over the next few weeks.

Approval For President Obama's Handling of Health Care Is Slipping

Posted Jul 22, 2009 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

In yet another sign that President Obama's honeymoon stage may be ending, American support for his handling of health care reform appears to be slipping. The latest USA Today/Gallup poll reports that as "the debate over health care reform intensifies,  more Americans disapprove (50%) than approve (44%) of the way U.S. President Barack Obama is handling health care policy. There is a tremendous partisan gap in these views, with 74% of Democrats but only 11% of Republicans approving. Independents are more likely to disapprove than to approve of Obama's work on health care." Here is Gallup's chart:



Obama Approval Numbers Vary

Posted Jul 21, 2009 at 2:25 AM by Maurice Berger

With some polls showing Obama's overall approval rating as high as 60% (Gallup) or as low as 52% (Rasmussen), a new Public Policy Polling survey shows an even steeper, indeed dramatic decline: The poll "finds Barack Obama’s approval rating dropping to 50%, continuing a gradual decline in his numbers over the last two months. In May Obama was at 55%. That dropped to 52% in June before today’s poll. Obama’s decline comes largely as a result of a reduction in his bipartisan support. His approval among Republicans is now 12% after being in the 18-19% range in the previous two polls. While he has maintained strong support from African Americans and Hispanics his approval has dipped to below 40% with whites. He’s also seen a pretty large shift with moderates, from 67% approval to 61%."

His long term prospects for reelection--a ridiculous thing to poll at this point, since presidents do not generally come into their own politically for several years after their election--appear rosier according to PPP: "Tested in hypothetical contests against some possible 2012 GOP opponents Obama still maintains leads similar to what he won in the popular vote against John McCain last fall. He has a nine point lead against Mitt Romney, eight point ones against Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, and a six point one against Mike Huckabee."

Yet, another poll by Rasmussen, reports a much bleaker outlook for the President in 2012: "If the 2012 presidential election were held today, President Obama and possible Republican nominee Mitt Romney would be all tied up at 45% each, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. The president, seeking a second four-year term, beats another potential GOP rival, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, by six points – 48% to 42%. In both match-ups, 7% like some other candidate, with 3% undecided."

By A Small Plurality, Americans Support Taxing The Rich To Pay For Healthcare

Posted Jul 20, 2009 at 2:08 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Rasmussen Reports survey, Americans by a small margin--48% to 44%--favor taxing wealthier Americans To pay for health care reform. But "just 35% of U.S. voters now support the creation of a government health insurance company to compete with private health insurers . . . 50% of voters oppose setting up a government health insurance company as President Obama and congressional Democrats are now proposing in their health care reform plan"

Diageo/Hotline: Obama's Approval Drops Nine Points

Posted Jul 16, 2009 at 1:31 AM by Maurice Berger

The latest Diageo/Hotline Poll of registered voters conducted from July 9-13, 2009, suggests that President Obama may be transitioning out of his honeymoon stage: the poll reports that "the percentage of American voters who approve of the job President Obama is doing has dropped nine points to 56%. The previous Diageo/ Hotline Poll, conducted from June 4-7, found that 65% of voters approved of the job he was doing. Obama’s Job Approval Ratings With 56% of voters approving of the job he is doing, the Poll finds President Obama’s job approval rating is at its lowest level recorded in the six monthly Diageo/Hotline Polls since
President Obama took office."

Voters Now Trust Republicans More On Some Issues

Posted Jul 15, 2009 at 1:24 AM by Maurice Berger

While President Obama's national approval rathing hovers in the upper 50% range--nowhere near the danger zone, though it has fallen significantly since his inauguration in January--the country now appears more willing to blame the Democrats for problems that only months ago were as seen as caused by Republicans. Rasmussen reports that "voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on eight out of 10 key electoral issues, including, for the second straight month, the top issue of the economy. They've also narrowed the gap on the remaining two issues, the traditionally Democratic strong suits of health care and education. . . . [The] survey finds that voters trust theGOP more on economic issues 46% to 41%, showing little change from the six-point lead the party held last month. This is just the second time in over two years of polling the GOP has held the advantage on economic issues." 

Americans Ill Informed About The US Supreme Court

Posted Jul 14, 2009 at 1:37 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a C-SPAN US Supreme Court survey, Americans know very little about the auspicious and powerful body. As Sonia Sotomayor's faces Senators in her confirmation hearing this week, the poll finds less than half of all Americans know the court has nine justices. In addition, just 46% of those surveyed could name any of the justices

Democrats Maintain Distinct Edge In Party Support

Posted Jul 13, 2009 at 1:56 AM by Maurice Berger

American voters by a siginificant margin affiliate with the Democratic over Republican parties. According to Gallup, "the Democratic Party continues to hold a solid advantage in party support over the Republican Party, as 49% of Americans interviewed in the second quarter of this year identified with or leaned to the Democratic Party, compared with 40% who did so for the Republican Party." However, as Gallup notes, the nine-point advantage now held by the Democrats is smaller than the 13-point edge measured in the first quarter of the year.

How Long Will Obama's "Honeymoon" Last

Posted Jul 10, 2009 at 1:17 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup examines the so-called "honeymoon phase" of President Obama's approval numbers and wonders how long it wil last: "Presidents typically enjoy positive approval ratings during the early stages of their presidencies, commonly known as the "honeymoon" period. Barack Obama is no exception, with ratings that have generally been above 60%. But recent presidents' honeymoons have typically ended much sooner than those of their predecessors. Whereas presidents from Harry Truman through Richard Nixon spent an average of 26 months above the historical average 55% presidential job approval rating after they took office, presidents from Gerald Ford to George W. Bush spent an average of just seven months above this norm." Gallup then charts the length of the "honeymoon phase" for each President since Democrat Harry Truman:


President Obama's Approval Rating Falling Behind In Key Swing State Of Ohio

Posted Jul 09, 2009 at 1:39 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Quinnipiac University poll may give President Obama reason to worry: "President Barack Obama gets a lackluster 49% to 44% approval rating in Ohio, considered by many to be the most important swing state in a presidential election . . . This is President Obama's lowest approval rating in any national or statewide Quinnipiac University poll since he was inaugurated and is down from 62% to 31% in a May 6 survey.  By a small 48% to 46% margin, voters disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy . . . This is down from a 57% to 36% approval May 6. A total of 66% of Ohio voters are 'somewhat dissatisfied' or 'very dissatisfied' with the way things are going in the state, while 33% are 'very satisfied' or 'somewhat satisfied,' numbers that haven't changed since Obama was elected." (A new Public Policy Polling survey shows a similar drop in Obama's supports in another key 2008 swing state--Virginia--where his positive approval comes in at only 48%.)

Rasmussen: Majority of Americans Continue To Rate Economy As Poor

Posted Jul 08, 2009 at 1:48 AM by Maurice Berger

Despite slight uoticks in some economic indicators, Rasumussen reports that a solid majority of Americans continue to rate the economy as poor: "Nationally, only 10% of adults rate the U.S. economy good or excellent while 55% rate it as poor. While 13% of men give the economy positive ratings, only 7% of women do the same. But 55% of both men and women say the economy is in poor shape." 

Obama's Support Among Independents May Be Falling Off

Posted Jul 07, 2009 at 2:11 AM by Maurice Berger

While President Obama's overall approval rating appears to remain stable--hovering around the 60% mark--his support among one of the most crucial voter groups, independents, may be declining. A new Quinnipiac University poll reports that while "Obama's first five months in office have seen his job approval remain stable overall--currently at a politically healthy 57% - 33% percent--his disapproval has risen 8% - 10% points among several key demographic groups even as the national mood has improved somewhat in recent months, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.  Approval among independent voters is 52% - 37%, compared to 57% - 30% percent in a June 4 survey . . .  The survey of more than 3,000 voters also finds that voters feel 32% - 30% that things in the nation have gotten better since President Obama was inaugurated. Independent voters say 32% - 27% that things are worse, with 40% saying things are the same. " Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, writes: "Those who liked President Obama the most from the start - African-Americans, Democrats, women - still like him by the same margins, but a chunk of voters who were undecided have decided he's not their cup of tea. Among independents, men, white Catholics, white evangelical Christians and Republicans, his numbers have fallen. He still has a ways to go before his coalition becomes politically unstable, but there are some groups and issues - especially the economy - where he needs to make sure this trend does not continue."


When It Comes To Perceptions About Economic Crisis, Sharp Partisan Differences

Posted Jul 01, 2009 at 1:35 AM by Maurice Berger

A Gallup poll reveals that when it comes to perceptions about the economy and the current economic crisis, sharp partisan differences prevail: "Republicans and Democrats view economic issues facing the country today from substantially different perspectives. Republicans are most likely to be worried about the increasing federal deficit, increasing federal income taxes, and problems state governments have in funding their budgets, while Democrats are most worried about the rising unemployment rate, Americans without health care insurance, and the increasing cost of health care. These results underscore the political tensions that have arisen as the Obama administration and Congress wrestle with how to fix the country's economic problems, while at the same time dealing with the longer-term impact of those efforts. Taken as a whole, Republicans are more concerned than Democrats about the impact of increased federal and state spending, and government regulation of business, while Democrats are more concerned about the societal problems that the increased spending and regulation are designed to address."

Here's a sampling of the top priorities by party affiliation:


Obama Approval Remains Steady at 61%

Posted Jun 30, 2009 at 2:05 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll, President Obama's approval rating among Americans remains steady. 61% of people questioned say they approve of how Obama's handling his duties as president; 37% disapprove: "The 61% approval rating is down one point from May and down six points from February . . . The poll suggests when it comes to opinions of Obama, gender and generation gaps continue. Sixty-seven percent of women questioned in the survey approve of how Obama's handling his job as president. That number drops to 54 percent among men. Two-thirds of people under 50 years old questioned in the poll approve of the president's handling of his duties. That number drops to 54 percent among people over 50 years of age."

African Americans Say Race Relations No Better With Obama

Posted Jun 29, 2009 at 2:09 AM by Maurice Berger

A majority of African Americans believe that race relations have not improved with the election of President Obama, according to a new CNN/Essence/Opinion Research Corporation poll: "African-Americans really like President Obama, but more and more feel that race relations have not gotten better since he took office, a new national poll found. 96% of African-Americans approve of how Obama is handling his presidency . . . During the 2008 election, 38 percent of blacks surveyed thought racial discrimination was a serious problem. In the new survey, 55 percent of blacks surveyed believed it was a serious problem, which is about the same level as it was in 2000."

Americans Fear Stimulus Money Will Be Wasted

Posted Jun 26, 2009 at 1:15 AM by Maurice Berger

In another sign that Americans remain uneasy with the government's economic stimulus plan, a Rasmussen reports survey indicates that 76% of Americans say it is at least somewhat likely that a large amount of money in the $787-billion economic stimulus plan will be wasted due to inadequate government oversight. Nearly half (46%) say it is very likely, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Only 18% say it is not likely that taxpayer money will be wasted. 65% of Republicans say it is very likely stimulus money will be wasted, a view shared by just 32% of Democrats and the plurality of adults (44%) not affiliated with either party"

Gallup: Economy Still Top Priority For Americans, But Less So

Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 1:39 AM by Maurice Berger

Americans continue to rank the economy as the most pressing issue facing the country, a new Gallup survey reports. But this number has actually dropped considerably from the beginning of 2009: "Two-thirds of Americans (65%), when asked in an open-ended fashion, continue to name economic problems as the most important problem facing the country -- but this number has steadily declined from 86% in February.Mentions of the economy in Gallup's June update on this question match the net total mentions from June of last year, prior to the global economic collapse. The "net percent mentioning economic problems" reflects the total percentage of respondents who cite some aspect of the economy as the nation's most important problem. The single most frequently mentioned concern more broadly -- a general reference to the economy -- is down from 47% in May to 41% now. Specific mentions of unemployment are steady at 14%." Here is the list in order of priority:


Americans Less Certain About Obama's Handling Of The Economy

Posted Jun 24, 2009 at 1:34 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll out from ABC News/Washington Post suggests that while President Obama continues to hold a relatively high approval rating, voters are less approving of his handling of the economy, a possible future red flag: "President Obama remains on his honeymoon -- but with a hint of clouds over the beach. They signal economic impatience. A still-impressive 65% of Americans in this new ABC News/Washington Post poll approve of Obama's job performance. But there's been a retrenchment in the expectation that his stimulus plan will improve the economy -- and, consequently, a halt in what had been steadily improving views of the nation's direction. A narrow majority, 52%, now thinks Obama's stimulus program has helped or will help the nation's economy -- down from 59% in late April. While he's vulnerable elsewhere as well, it's the economy that's his make-or-break issue -- and his advantage over the Republicans in trust to handle it, while still broad, has narrowed from a record 37 points, 61%-24%, in April, to 24 points, 55%-31%, today"

Wide Public Support For Government-Run Health Insurance Program

Posted Jun 23, 2009 at 12:52 AM by Maurice Berger

There is wide support for government run health insurance, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll: "Americans overwhelmingly support substantial changes to the health care system and are strongly behind one of the most contentious proposals Congress is considering, a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers . . . The poll found that most Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes so everyone could have health insurance and that they said the government could do a better job of holding down health-care costs than the private sector . . . The national telephone survey, which was conducted from June 12 to 16, found that 72 percent of those questioned supported a government-administered insurance plan — something like Medicare for those under 65 — that would compete for customers with private insurers. Twenty percent said they were opposed.

Gallup: Obama Approval Slips To All-Time Low

Posted Jun 22, 2009 at 2:53 AM by Maurice Berger

President Obama's approval rating has fallen to 58% in Gallup Poll Daily tracking from June 16-18, "a new low for Obama . . . although not dissimilar to the 59% he has received on four other occasions. 33% of Americans now disapprove of the job Obama is doing as president, just one point shy of his record-high 34% disapproval score from early June. Since Obama took office in January, his approval rating in Gallup tracking has averaged 63%, and most of his three-day ratings have registered above 60%. Approval of Obama did fall to 59% in individual readings in February, March, April, and early June; however, in each case, the rating lasted only a day before rebounding to at least 60%. The latest decline in Obama's approval score, to 58%, results from a drop in approval among political independents as well as among Republicans. Democrats remain as highly supportive of the president as ever."

Congressional Generic Ballot Remains Tied

Posted Jun 19, 2009 at 1:33 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Rasmussen Reports, the Congressional Generic Ballot remains tied: "39% would vote for their district’s Democratic congressional candidate while 39% would choose the Republican. Support for both parties dropped one point from last week. Support for Democratic candidates is just one point above its low point for the past year. Support for the GOP is just two points below its highest level found over the same time period. Men favor the GOP by a five-point margin, while women prefer Democrats by the same margin." In what may be a red flag for the Democrats, voters not affiliated with either party favor the GOP 33% to 23%.

Americans Think President Obama Is Taking On Too Much

Posted Jun 18, 2009 at 2:36 AM by Maurice Berger

A majority of Americans believe that President Barack Obama is tackling too many difficult political and social issues at one, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News: "Nearly four in 10 Americans, 37%, believe President Barack Obama is taking on too many issues at one time, but even more Americans, 60%, believe the president is focused and taking on so many issues because the country has so many problems." The poll also suggests that Obama's overall approval rating may be slipping, a result disputed by several other polls and confirmed by several surveys: "His job approval rating now stands at 56%, down from 61% in April. Among independents, it dropped from nearly two-to-one approval to closely divided."

Conservatives Are The Largest Ideological Group

Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 1:41 AM by Maurice Berger

How do Americans rate themselves on the ideological spectrum. According to a new Gallup poll, those calling themselves "conservative" have a slight edge. Gallup writes: "Thus far in 2009, 40% of Americans interviewed . . . describe their political views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal. This represents a slight increase for conservatism in the U.S. since 2008, returning it to a level last seen in 2004. The 21% calling themselves liberal is in line with findings throughout this decade, but is up from the 1990s."

Americans Remain Anxious About The Economy

Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 1:40 AM by Maurice Berger

While PollTrack may be stating the obvious, Americabs remain very pessimistic about the economy, though they attitudes have taken an upturn since January. Rasmussen Report's "Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, was up two points on Sunday to 71.8. The index is now down a point from a week ago and down three points from one month ago. However, today's index is up twelve points from its first reading of 2009 . . . Nationally, only 9% of adults rate the economy as good or excellent, while 57% disagree and say the economy is poor. 30% rate their personal finances as either good or excellent, while 24% rate their personal finances as poor"

Americans Back Confirmation Of Sotomayor

Posted Jun 15, 2009 at 2:28 AM by Maurice Berger

By a significant margin, Americans support the conformation of President Obama's nominee to the US Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor: By a margin of 46% to 32%, they support the confirmation of Sotomayor, according to a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll. Another 22% were undecided. There is a big partisan divide on the question: Republicans do not support confirmation by a 55% to 19% margin; Democrats back her 69% to 12%. Significantly, independents are largely in favor of confirmation, supporting Sotomayor 46% to 33%.

Republicans Down On Their Party

Posted Jun 12, 2009 at 1:53 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released Gallup survey suggests that the GOP is in trouble . . . with members of its own party: "Almost 4 out of 10 (38%) Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have an unfavorable opinion of their own party, while just 7% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents have an unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party . . . Among all Americans, the poll shows a 19-point advantage for the Democratic Party over the Republican Party when it comes to the two parties' respective favorable images -- a finding little changed from last November, when Gallup last updated the parties' images. Fifty-three percent of Americans today have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party, compared to just 34% who have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party."

GOP: The White Party?

Posted Jun 11, 2009 at 1:50 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, the GOP is increasingly the party of white Americans: The survey reported that "more than 6 in 10 Republicans today are white conservatives, while most of the rest are whites with other ideological leanings; only 11% of Republicans are Hispanics, or are blacks or members of other races. By contrast, only 12% of Democrats are white conservatives, while about half are white moderates or liberals and a third are nonwhite. Gallup's analysis: 'Does the Republican Party in essence "stick to the knitting" and cling to its core conservative principles? Or should the Republicans make an effort to expand their base -- among whites who are moderate or less religious, and/or the various nonwhite groups who to this point are largely ignoring the Republican Party in favor of the Democrats? The decision the party makes in response to this question could be pivotal in helping determine its future.'"

Significant Jump In National Support For Gays In The Military

Posted Jun 09, 2009 at 1:53 AM by Maurice Berger

The nation is becoming increasingly friendly to the idea of gay rights and equality, as a recent Galup poll that measures attitudes about homosexuals serving openly in the military suggests: "Americans are six percentage points more likely than they were four years ago to favor allowing openly gay men and lesbian women to serve in the military, 69% to 63%. While liberals and Democrats remain the most supportive, the biggest increase in support has been among conservatives and weekly churchgoers -- up 12 and 11 percentage points, respectively."

Gallup's analysis continues: "The finding that majorities of weekly churchgoers (60%), conservatives (58%), and Republicans (58%) now favor what essentially equates to repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy implemented under President Clinton in 1993 is noteworthy for several reasons. First, the data show that these traditionally conservative groups are shifting on this issue, supporting it to a far greater extent than they support legalized gay marriage. Second, it suggests the political playing field may be softer on this issue, and President Barack Obama will be well-positioned to forge ahead with his campaign promise to end the military ban on openly gay service members with some support from more conservative segments of the population. To date, it is estimated that more than 12,500 servicemen and servicewomen have been discharged under the policy, including more than 200 since Obama took office."

Republican Party In Disarray?

Posted Jun 08, 2009 at 2:25 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Democracy Corps survey, the Republican Party continues to do poorly with American voters: "The Republican Party sports a net favorability rating of -15 points (30 percent favorable, 45 percent unfavorable). By comparison, the Democratic Party enjoys a relatively strong +8 rating (46 percent favorable, 38 percent unfavorable). The image gap between the two parties also remains near its all-time high. And in a test of the 2010 congressional vote (using the incumbents’ names), Democrats currently hold a 10-point advantage, a slight increase from their 2008 margin"

The Democratric-leaning Democracy Corps also suggests that former VP Dick Cheney's recent visability may be a factor in the GOP downturn: "With a net favorability of -20 (31 percent favorable, 51 percent unfavorable), the former vice president is at his lowest level of popularity since Democracy Corps first measured it in 1999. Cheney is a deeply divisive figure, popular only with the conservative base of the Republican Party but unpopular with everyone else, including independents (among whom he has net -26 favorability rating) and moderate Republicans. In fact, President Obama (+5) is more popular with moderate Republicans than Cheney (-9)."

Sotomayor Enjoys Broad Support Within Obama Coalition

Posted Jun 05, 2009 at 1:54 AM by Maurice Berger

The very coalition that assured and strengthened Obama's win last November is now standing strongly behind the president's nominee for the US Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor: Boosted by large black, Hispanic and Jewish majorities, American voters approve--55% to 25%--President Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. Back in November, African-American support for Obama was well over 90%, Jewish support was just under 80%, and Hispanic support near the 70% mark.

Economic Crisis: Bush, Not, Obama The Source of the Problem

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

According to Rasmussen Reports, most Americans blame George W. Bush and not President Obama for the economic crisis gripping the nation: "Obama contends he inherited the nation’s ongoing economic problems and that his actions since taking office are not to blame. 62% of U.S. voters agree with the president that the problems are due to the recession that began under the Bush administration. Just 27% of voters say the problems are being caused more by the policies Obama has put in place since taking office, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. 10% are not sure which president is more to blame . . . 

. . . Not surprisingly, 88% of Democrats say it’s Bush’s fault. However, Republicans are more evenly divided. Thirty-four percent 34% of the GOP faithful say the economic problems can be traced to the Bush Administration, while 51% blame Obama’s policies. Among voters not affiliated with either party, 61% say the Bush recession is to blame versus 28% who say Obama is at fault."

The Question Of Gay Marriage

Posted Jun 03, 2009 at 2:22 AM by Maurice Berger

A reader, Derek Fields, writes the following to PollTrack's political director:

I haven't seen the specific wording of the Gallup poll, but I wonder whether they ask any questions that separate the issue of legal protections for "united" gays versus the religious overtones of the term "marriage"  My understanding is that when a pollster asks a question that addresses the civil protections without introducing the term marriage, support for gay unions jumps substantially. 

Given the strong support generational divide in the poll numbers, I would speculate that the days when a majority opposes gay marriage in this country are severely limited.

Given the descrepany in recent polling, Derek is undoutedly correct. The very wording of a question within a survey--especially a controversial one--can dramatically alter the overall result. As for the second point, fresh polling absolutely backs up Derek's assumption about future attitudes about gay marriage. The recent Gallup survey, for example, reports that a "majority of 18- to 29-year-olds think gay or lesbian couples should be allowed to legally marry, while support reaches only as high as 40% among the three older age groups." The overall numbers for support of gay marriage amomng younger voters hovers around the 60% mark--a clear harbinger of future trends in the United States.

Military Veterans Trend Republican

Posted Jun 02, 2009 at 2:49 AM by Maurice Berger

Consistent with early surveys, a Gallup Poll confirms that US military veterans trend Republican in their political orientation: "This Republican skew is at least minimally evident across all age groups, ranging from a 15-point difference in the percentage Republican between veterans and nonveterans in the 25-29 age group, to a 2-point difference in the 85+ group. . . For the entire adult population, 34% of veterans and those currently on active military service are Republican, compared to 26% of those who are not veterans, while 29% of veterans identify themselves as Democrats, compared to 38% of those who are not veterans. (Thirty-three percent of veterans are independents, compared to 29% of nonveterans.) . . . The current analysis shows that regardless of the underlying patterns of political identification that pertain at each age group, veterans (or those currently in the military) of all ages are more Republican and less Democratic than those who are not veterans."

Compared To Other Recent President's Obama Is Doing Well

Posted Jun 01, 2009 at 2:30 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup publishes this chart, which compares the approval ratings of president's over the past sixty-years in May of their first year in office. As you can see, only three other president's have done better than Obama, though all but two came in over the 60% mark. Kennedy and Eisenhower's approvals were in the stratosphere, at 77% and 74% respectively. Reagan is third at 68%; Obama not far behind at 65%. The numbers for Lyndon Johnson are not reported (perhaps because he was not elected to his first term, having assumed office upon the dead of John Kennedy in November 1963):




Gallup: Majority Of Americans Reject Gay Marriage

Posted May 29, 2009 at 1:45 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Gallup, contradicting several other recent surveys that indicate a large national uptick in support for gay marriage, reports that "Americans' views on same-sex marriage have essentially stayed the same in the past year, with a majority of 57% opposed to granting such marriages legal status and 40% in favor of doing so. Though support for legal same-sex marriage is significantly higher now than when Gallup first asked about it in 1996, in recent years support has appeared to stall, peaking at 46% in 2007. Among major demographic or attitudinal subgroups, self-identified liberals show the greatest support for legal gay marriage at 75% in the May 7-10 poll. By contrast, only 19% of conservatives think same-sex marriages should be legally valid. Just a slim majority (55%) of Democrats approve of gay marriage, but they are more likely to do so than independents (45%) and Republicans (20%). Younger Americans have typically been much more supportive of same-sex marriage than older Americans, and that is the case in the current poll. A majority of 18- to 29-year-olds think gay or lesbian couples should be allowed to legally marry, while support reaches only as high as 40% among the three older age groups."

Democrats Move Ahead On The Generic Congressional Ballot

Posted May 28, 2009 at 2:19 AM by Maurice Berger

Parhaps as a testament to President Obama's high level of popularity over the past month--and the public's increasingly negative view of the GOP--Democrats have moved ahead slightly on what had been a tied generic congressional ballot: "Democratic Congressional candidates have moved further ahead of Republicans this week in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot." The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that "41% would vote for their district’s Democratic congressional candidate while 38% would choose the Republican. Support for Democrats is up one point from last week, while support for the GOP has dropped a point. The latest results mark the lowest level of support for the GOP since April 12, while they mark the highest level of support for the Democrats since the end of March."

Not Tough Enough On Terrorism?

Posted May 27, 2009 at 1:48 AM by Maurice Berger

A plurality of Americans, according to Rasmussen Reports, believe the US is worried too much about individual liberties in the war on terror: "In the tension between individual rights and national security, 39% of voters nationwide now believe that our legal system worries too much about protecting individual rights . . . 24% believe our legal system worries too much about national security and 25% say the balance is about right. Those figures confirm a shift in perceptions that was first recorded a month ago. In April, 37% thought the courts were too concerned about individual rights. Prior to 2009, the number who held this concern ranged from 25% to 34%.

Americans Approve Of Obama's Handing Of Terrorist Interrogation Issue, Of Pelosi, Not So Much

Posted May 26, 2009 at 2:05 AM by Maurice Berger

If Americans approve of President Obama's handling of the terrorist interrogation issue, they're decidedly down on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's handling of the matter. According to Gallup: "More Americans disapprove than approve of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's handling of the matter concerning the government's use of harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects. Majorities approve of President Barack Obama's and the CIA's handling of the matter. Even though Obama has pledged that the United States will no longer use harsh interrogation techniques (like water boarding) that many consider to be torture, the issue has remained in the news, with some in Congress -- including Pelosi -- calling for an investigation into the use of such techniques during the Bush administration. Last week, Pelosi attempted to respond to allegations that she learned of the use of water boarding in September 2002 during a CIA briefing of congressional leaders. In her press conference, she asserted that the CIA misled her by denying that water boarding was being used, even though government reports indicate it had been used on an al Qaeda terror suspect in the month prior to that briefing. The CIA responded and disputed her assertions that the agency misled her. Republican leaders have roundly criticized her remarks."

Americans Cool On Former VP Dick Cheney

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

What do Americans think of the recently very talkative (and critical) former Vice-President Dick Cheney: Not much, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Poll: The survey "indicates that a majority of Americans still have an unfavorable opinion of Cheney. 55% of people questioned in the poll say they have an unfavorable opinion of the former vice president. 37% say they have a favorable opinion of Cheney, up eight points from January when he left office. In the past two months the former vice president has become a frequent critic of the new Administration in numerous national media interviews. 'Is Cheney’s uptick due to his visibility as one of the most outspoken critics of the Obama administration?  Almost certainly not,' says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. 'Former President George W. Bush's favorable rating rose six points in that same time period, and Bush has not given a single public speech since he left office.'” While the former VPs overall numbers ARE up from earlier this year, his approval at 37%, remains very low relative to many other recent Vice-President's in the months following their time in office.

How Much Are Americans Willing To Sacrifice To Provide Universal Health Care?

Posted May 21, 2009 at 1:59 AM by Maurice Berger

How much are Americans willing to sacrifice to provide health insurance for all. Not all that much if they are Republicans or independents, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey: Just "32% of American adults say they’d be willing to pay higher taxes so that health insurance be provided for all Americans. . . . 54% say they’re not willing to pay more in taxes. Most Democrats (54%) are willing to pay higher taxes to expand health care coverage. Most Republicans (77%) are not. As for those not affiliated with either major party, 29% are okay with the higher tax bill and 60% are not." 

Slightly Smaller Majority See Economy As America's Most Pressing Problem

Posted May 20, 2009 at 1:14 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, a slightly reduced majority of Americans see the economy as the most serious problem facing the nation: "About two-thirds of Americans, down from 76% last month and 86% in February, say the economy -- or a specific aspect of it -- is the most important problem facing the United States today  . . . this is the first month since economic concern surged last fall that fewer than 70% of Americans have named the economy, overall, as the nation's top problem. The finding coincides with significant improvement in public attitudes about the economy, with Gallup's Consumer Mood Index hitting a 16-month high last week. Still, the economy remains the undisputed issue of concern to Americans on Gallup's monthly Most Important Problem measure, with no other single issue named by more than 9%. The current 69% mentioning some aspect of the economy includes 47% citing the economy in general and 14% citing unemployment or the jobs situation. Seven percent mention "lack of money" and 5% the federal budget deficit, while 2% name taxes."

President's Approval Picks Up In May

Posted May 18, 2009 at 2:17 AM by Maurice Berger

Is President Obama more popular now than he was in his first 100-days. According to Gallup, he is having a good, strong month: "President Barack Obama appears to be slightly more popular with Americans at the start of his second 100 days in office than he was, on average, during his first 100. Gallup Poll Daily tracking from May 7-9 finds 66% of Americans approving of how he is handling his job, compared with an average 63% from January through April. Obama's approval rating has registered 66% or better in each Gallup three-day rolling average since May 2. His 68% approval rating reported on May 3 is tied for the second highest of his presidency, exceeded only by the 69% recorded immediately after his inauguration. And except for one 66% approval rating in late April, all of Obama's previous 66% to 68% readings were obtained near the start of his term." PollTrack suggests that it is too early to tell what any of this means in the long term. Yet, the President's numbers have remained relatively strong and consustent since the outset of his administration, a sign of the relative popularity of his presidency.

Gallup: More Americans "Prof-Life" Than "Pro-Choice"

Posted May 15, 2009 at 1:36 AM by Maurice Berger

Are Americans' viewes on abortion becoming more conservative. Gallup reports 51% of Americans call themselves "pro-life" on the issue of abortion and 42% "pro-choice." According to Gallup: "This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995. he new results, obtained from Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey, represent a significant shift from a year ago, when 50% were pro-choice and 44% pro-life. Prior to now, the highest percentage identifying as pro-life was 46%, in both August 2001 and May 2002. The May 2009 survey documents comparable changes in public views about the legality of abortion. In answer to a question providing three options for the extent to which abortion should be legal, about as many Americans now say the procedure should be illegal in all circumstances (23%) as say it should be legal under any circumstances (22%). This contrasts with the last four years, when Gallup found a strong tilt of public attitudes in favor of unrestricted abortion."

Overall Americans Do Not Care About Diversity On The Supreme Court

Posted May 14, 2009 at 2:10 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup poll, "despite the widely reported expectation that President Barack Obama will be looking for a qualified woman -- perhaps from a minority racial or ethnic group -- to fill the seat to be vacated by the retiring Justice David Souter, 64% of Americans say it doesn't matter to them whether Obama appoints a woman, with slightly higher percentages saying the same about the appointment of a black or Hispanic . . . Just 6% of Americans say it is "essential" that Obama appoint a woman, while another 26% say it would be "a good idea, but not essential."

Americans Want Experienced Jurist For US Supreme Court

Posted May 13, 2009 at 1:42 AM by Maurice Berger

Americans want their next Supreme Court justice to be experience and possess the highest level of legal skills, according to a new Rasmussen survey: "Forty-five percent (45%) of U.S. voters say the most important consideration in the selection of a U.S. Supreme Court justice is the nominee’s legal background and competence. For 27% of voters, making sure [the Court] represents the diversity of America is most important, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Nearly as many (23%) believe the nominee’s views on important issues should be the priority. Most Republicans (56%) and voters not affiliated with either major party (50%) stress legal skills as the most important factor in the choosing of a high court nominee. Among Democrats, however, just 34% agree. A plurality of Democrats (37%) say it is most important to make sure the court represents the nation’s diversity, while 23% say a nominee’s views are paramount."

Republicans Less Popular Among Women

Posted May 12, 2009 at 1:57 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, Democrats maintain a solid double-digit advantage among women in party identification over Republicans, 41% to 27%: "In contrast, men are equally divided in their party loyalty between Republicans (28%) and Democrats (30%), and are currently most likely to say they are politically independent (40%).Among women, Democrats maintain a solid double-digit advantage in party identification over Republicans, 41% to 27%. In contrast, men are equally divided in their party loyalty between Republicans (28%) and Democrats (30%), and are currently most likely to say they are politically independent (40%). The current results for women are typical of what Gallup has found over the past year, with roughly 4 in 10 identifying themselves as Democrats. The Democratic Party has held an advantage among women in Gallup polling throughout this decade, with support usually in the high 30% range. The current 41% female Democratic identification matches the high achieved several times since 2000."

Increasing Support For Gay Marriage

Posted May 08, 2009 at 12:20 AM by Maurice Berger

A new CBS News/ New York Times reports that support for "Gay Marriage" among Americans is at an all-time high: "Forty-two percent of Americans now say same sex couples should be allowed to legally marry, a new CBS News/New York Times poll finds. That's up nine points from last month, when 33 percent supported legalizing same sex marriage. Support for same sex marriage is now at its highest point since CBS News starting asking about it in 2004. Twenty-eight percent say same sex couples should have no legal recognition – down from 35 percent in March – while 25 percent support civil unions, but not marriage, for gay couples. As has historically been the case on this issue, liberals are more likely to support same sex marriage. Sixty-nine percent support the idea, while conservatives generally favor either civil unions (28 percent) or no legal recognition (44 percent)."

Majority Of Americans Believe GOP In Congress Out Of Touch

Posted May 07, 2009 at 1:17 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Rasmussen survey, "just 21% of GOP voters believe Republicans in Congress have done a good job representing their own party’s values, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. 69% say congressional Republicans have lost touch with GOP voters throughout the nation. These findings are virtually unchanged from a survey just afer Election Day. Among all voters, 73% say Republicans in Congress have lost touch with the GOP base. 72% of Republicans say it is more important for the GOP to stand for what it believes in than for the party to work with President Obama. 22% want their party to work with the President more."

Obama's Approval Rating VERY High

Posted May 05, 2009 at 12:45 AM by Maurice Berger

President Barack Obama's overall approval rathing--67% according to Gallup--is relatively high for a commander in chief a 100 or so days into his administration. According to Gallup, "the new president's approval rating at the 100-day mark is notable in that nearly all major demographic categories of Americans are pleased with his job performance, as evidenced by approval ratings above the majority level. Only in terms of political and ideological categories does Obama have a significant proportion of detractors; a majority of Republicans and self-described "conservatives" disapprove of his job performance. Obama's strongest backers are blacks, with 96% saying they approve of the job he is doing. However, Hispanics are nearly as supportive, with 85% approving. Approval is a much lower 57% among whites -- but still a solid majority." These are exception numbers relative to most other recent presidencies.

42% Of Americans Think Obama's New Supreme Court Justice Will Be Too Liberal

Posted May 04, 2009 at 1:17 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new poll, 42% of U.S. voters believe the president’s nominee to replace retiring US Supreme Court Justice David Souter will be too liberal: "A nearly equal number—41%-- say his choice will be about right . . .  73% of Republicans and a plurality of voters not affiliated with either major party (46%) say the president’s first high court pick will be too liberal. 65% of Democratic voters expect his choice to be about right. 40% of voters think Obama believes Supreme Court justices should decide cases on the basis of fairness and justice. 36% say the president believes justices should rule based on what’s written in the U.S. Constitution. 24% are undecided."


Crisis Party: Internal GOP Poll Indicates Voters Loosing Confidence in the Republican Party

Posted May 01, 2009 at 1:53 AM by Maurice Berger

The Associated Press has obtained the results of an internal GOP survey of American voters that reveals a party in serious trouble: "Republicans are widely viewed by the public as less competent than Democrats to handle issue ranging from health care to education and energy, according to internal polling presented to top GOP officials in Congress . . . the survey was conducted in late March by New Models, a firm with close ties to Republicans . . . The survey found the public holds greater confidence in Democrats than in Republicans in handling most of the issues that are involved in Obama's legislative agenda. Democrats were favored by a margin of 61 percent to 29 percent on education; 59 percent to 30 percent on health care and 59 percent to 31 percent on energy. Congress is expected to consider major legislation later this year in all three areas. Democats were also viewed with more confidence in handling taxes, long a Republican strong suit. The only issue among nine in the survey where the two parties were rated as even was in the war on terror." Gallup indicates a slightly higher number of self-described Republicans: Their surveys conducted in the "first quarter of 2009, from January through March, find an average of 35% of Americans identifying themselves as Democrats and 28% as Republicans."

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.

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." 

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."

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."

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 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?

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.

Full Coverage of NY-20: Spread The Word

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 5:36 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack is one of the few websites offering fresh reporting on today's special election in New York's 20th Congressional District. If you like what you are reading, SPREAD THE WORD. We'll have reports from our political director, Maurice Berger (who is also a part-time resident of the 20th Congressional District) throughout the day--both on our Presidential and Writing on the Wall Blog pages. These reports should satisfy political junkies as well as anyone interested in the NY-20 race, its outcome, and its national implications.

NY-20: A Referendum on Obama?

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 2:06 AM by Maurice Berger

Voting has begun in the special election in New York's 20th congressional district to fill the seat vacated by now US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Will the outcome have great national significance? Will it be seen by the media as an early referendum on the new Obama administration? PollTrack notes that while the central issues of the campaign--the state of the economy and the loss of jobs in the district--dominated the debate between Democrat Scott Murphy and Republican Jim Tedisco, it's hard to say that the results this evening will shed light on the state of the national electorate.

Special elections are generally decided by a relatively small sector of registered voters. Often the part faithful have an advantage. And in New York's 20th, the Republicans have a decided edge: There are more than 477,000 registered voters in the district, with Republicans enjoying a 70,000 voter registration advantage over Democrats. Independents make up a quarter of the voting population. Even with a highly competitive election in 2008--and Obama enjoying enough support in this traditionally Republican district to win it with 51% of the vote--its VERY popular Democratic congresswoman, Kirsten Gillibrand, won reelection by 80,000 votes. A solid majority, yes. But achieved in a highly competitive environment, favorable to Democrats with a very popular candidate at the head of the ticket.

Today's outcome will come down to turnout. As CQ's Politics reports, if the election is tight, as most polls suggest, the election may not be decided easily: "Turnout is expected to be low, given that it is a special election at an unusual time and there are no national races on the ballot. If the vote is close, it could take weeks to sort out a winner, said John Conklin, director of public information at the New York Board of Elections. “If the result is significant, meaning [the victor] won by 20,000 or 30,000 votes I don’t think the House will wait for our certification,” he said. However, if the result is determined by a few thousand votes or less, “It will be a while because the Justice Department requires us to wait until at least April 13 for the military and overseas ballots” to arrive and be included in the official count."

Close or otherwise, the result may well seem like a national referedum, not because it validates or invalidates specfic policies of the Obama adminstration but because of the increasingly intense involvement of the national parties and even the president himself (who taped a TV commercial for Scott Murphy last week). In other words, no matter who wins, the well reported and debated involvement of such national figures as Obama and the new GOP chairman, Michael Steele, will undoubtedly spur the media and political anaylsts to spin the election's results as a kind of gauge of national sentiment, especially in a classic swing district such as NY-20, where Republicans have dominated for decades but where Democratics have made solid inroads over the past two cylces.

Republican Party Increasingly Irrelevant To Young Voters

Posted Mar 27, 2009 at 1:49 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Democracy Corps surveys suggests storms clouds ahead for Republicans--the increasing disaffection of young Americans from the party and its ideology: the "post-election survey of youth shows the Republican Party growing more and more irrelevant to America’s young people. In marked contrast, young people’s support for the President has expanded beyond the 66 percent support they gave him last November. However, progressives have work to do among these voters—and would be voters—as well, as this survey signals insufficient enthusiasm for participating in the 2010 elections.

Democracy Corps continues: "In a recent interview with Rachel Maddow, John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain warned her party that it was, “on the precipice of becoming irrelevant to young people.” This conclusion comes in the wake of a 66 to 32 percent drubbing by young people in the 2008 elections. Our survey of young people taken three months after the election underscores the alienation of Republicans from the millennial generational. By a 59 to 14 percent margin, young people prefer the Democrats when it comes to “paying attention to issues that affect younger people,” a six point gain since 2007."

Republican Voters See Their Party As Leaderless

Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 2:06 AM by Maurice Berger

A hefty majority of Republican voters now see their party as leaderless, according to a new poll. 68% of Republican voters say their party has no clear leader; another 17% are undecided:"Just 5% view either John McCain, the GOP's unsuccessful 2008 presidential candidate, or new party chairman Michael Steele as the party's leader. 2% see conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh in that role, 1% name McCain's running mate, Alaska Govenror Sarah Palin. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner are each seen as GOP leader by less than one-half of one percent." These numbers suggest problems ahead for a party that needs to regroup and sharply hone its message in anticipation of the 2010 mid-term elections. 

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.