Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Bill Clinton At Your Barbeque?

Posted Jul 10, 2014 at 8:20 PM by Maurice Berger

The Wall Street Journal reports that "if you were having a barbecue for Independence Day, which recent president would you want to help you out on the grill? Bill Clinton was the most popular choice in a Harris poll released Tuesday. According to the Harris poll, 28% of all adults would want Bill Clinton at the helm for a barbecue, and 22% said they'd prefer Ronald Reagan. Democrats are more likely to prefer Clinton (43%) and Republicans prefer Reagan (45%)."

Gallup: Approval Ratings of Ex-Presidents Improve With Time

Posted May 30, 2013 at 8:44 AM by Maurice Berger

In a fascinating analysis, Gallup accesses movement in approval ratings for presidents as the memory of their time in office recedes: "[Our] review of presidential job approval ratings finds that presidents' retrospective approval ratings are almost always more positive than their job approval ratings while in office. In particular, Americans rate John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan much more positively in retrospect than they did while the men were president." Here is Gallup's chart: 

Presidential Job Approval Ratings While in Office vs. Retrospective Job Approval Ratings

Can Cuomo Effectively Challenge Clinton In 2016?

Posted Jan 03, 2013 at 9:53 AM by Maurice Berger

With many speculating that Hillary Clinton will mount another run for president in 2016, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo appears also to be weighing his options. Will the Governor's sky-high popularity in his home state increase his standing within the Democratic party? Or is Senator Clinton unstoppable? A recent poll by Quinnipiac in New York reports that Cuomo holds a stunning 74% to 13% approval rating, his highest score to date and the latest in a six-month string of 70+ percent positive ratings. But it is the demographic breakdown of these number that may add fuel to the Cuomo presidential bandwagon: 68% (to 18%) of Republicans and 70% (to 12%) of independent voters also approve of the way he is handling his job. In the end, New York is not a good indicator of national sentiment and popularity: there, it is Sen. Clinton who holds the edge, with a national approval rating at nearly 70%, higher than her husband or the president.

Gallup: Americans Approved Of Democratic Convention Speakers

Posted Sep 11, 2012 at 9:40 AM by Maurice Berger

One reason why the Democratic convention may have helped President Obama's case with American voters: they have high marks for its speakers. In a pre-convention poll, a USA Today/Gallup poll reported that "three of the four principal Democrats the party is showcasing this week in prime-time Democratic convention speeches in Charlotte, N.C., are generally in good favor with the majority of Americans. According to [the poll]  conducted prior to both parties' conventions, former President Bill Clinton, first lady Michelle Obama, and President Barack Obama all have broad appeal, while Vice President Joe Biden receives mixed reviews." Here is Gallup's chart:

Leading Democrats' Favorable Ratings, August 2012

Bill Clinton At Highest Approval Rating

Posted Aug 07, 2012 at 9:06 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, "two-thirds of Americans -- 66% -- have a favorable opinion of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, tying his record-high favorability rating recorded at the time of his inauguration in January 1993. Clinton nearly returned to this level of popularity at two points in his second term, but has generally seen lower ratings, averaging 56% since 1993."

Gallup: Most Admired Men and Women of 2011

Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 2:06 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by Gallup, reports that "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama continue to be named by Americans as the Most Admired Woman and Most Admired Man living today in any part of the world. Clinton has been the Most Admired Woman each of the last 10 years, and Obama has been the Most Admired Man four years in a row. Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin, and Condoleezza Rice round out the top five Most Admired women, while the top five Most Admired men also include George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Billy Graham, and Warren Buffett." Here is Gallup's chart: 

Most Admired Woman, 2011

Most Admired Man, 2011

Gallup: Obama Has Sub-Majority Support in 10th Quater

Posted Jul 28, 2011 at 1:02 AM by Maurice Berger

According to an analysis by Gallup, "President Barack Obama earned a 46.8% average approval rating in his 10th quarter in office ending July 19, essentially unchanged from the 9th quarter and still above his record-low 7th quarter. The president's latest quarterly average is based on Gallup Daily tracking from April 20 through July 19. Across that time, his three-day rolling average approval ratings have been as high as 53% and as low as 42%."

" . . . Obama is in the company of several former elected presidents who averaged sub-50% approval during their 10th quarters in office. This includes three former presidents who won re-election -- Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan -- and one, Jimmy Carter, who lost. On the other hand, of the three presidents with exceptionally high average approvals at this stage, George H.W. Bush was ultimately defeated, while Dwight Eisenhower and George W. Bush prevailed." Here is Gallup's chart:

10th Quarter Gallup Job Approval Averages of Elected Presidents Who Sought Re-Election

Gallup: Americans Rate Reagan Greatest President

Posted Feb 22, 2011 at 1:07 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, "Americans are most likely to say Ronald Reagan was the nation's greatest president -- slightly ahead of Abraham Lincoln and Bill Clinton. Reagan, Lincoln, or John F. Kennedy has been at the top of this "greatest president" list each time this question has been asked in eight surveys over the last 12 years." Here is Gallup's chart:

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Americans See U.S. as Exceptional; 37% Doubt Obama Does

Posted Dec 30, 2010 at 1:03 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup reports that "Americans widely agree that the United States has a unique character because of its history and Constitution that sets it apart from other nations as the greatest in the world. This view, commonly referred to as "U.S. exceptionalism," is shared by at least 73% of Americans in all party groups, including 91% of Republicans. . . . On the whole, Americans, by 58% to 37%, believe Obama thinks the U.S. is exceptional, consistent with what he and his advisers maintain. But Americans are less likely to believe Obama holds this view than they are to think the same about Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush." For more on the survey click here.

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.

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):

 

 

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Obama's America (Part 4): The State Of The Nation--Political Expectations

Posted Jan 08, 2009 at 5:52 PM by Maurice Berger

In what may be a plus (but also potentially a hindrance), Barack Obama begins his presidency with an exceptionally high approval rating--now hovering around 70%. Even more remarkable, according to a recent national poll of adults, 32% of Americans choose Barack Obama as the "man they most admire living anywhere in the world today, putting him in the No. 1 position on Gallup's annual Most Admired Man list." To put Obama's standing in perspective: Obama is the first president-elect since Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 to top the list. And he has done it with a runaway high figure. For comparison, as president-elect in December 2000, George W. Bush was mentioned by just 5% of Americans, ranking him fourth. In December 1992, president-elect Bill Clinton ranked second behind outgoing president George H.W. Bush, with 15%. And in 1988, then president-elect Bush achieved third place, with 9%." Almost as important for the incoming administration:  Hillary Clinton earns the top spot for Most Admired Woman, named by 20%." Clinton's numbers are significant given the highly public and important role she will play in the White House. Obama's numbers suggests that the president-elect is coming into office with a good deal of political capital--an electorate that both admires and respects him. Indeed, a recent CNN/Opinion Research survey reported that 76% of Americans believe Obama is a strong and decisive leader. (By contrast, just 60% of voters felt the same way about George W. Bush when he took office in 2001.) "That's the best number an incoming president has gotten on that dimension since Ronald Reagan took office in 1981," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "The public's rating of his leadership skills is already as high as George W. Bush's was after 9/11 and easily beats the numbers that both Bush and Bill Clinton got at the start of their first terms in office." And what do Americans expect Obama to actually achieve. According to a Washington Post/ABC News survey, it's quite a bit: 70% of Americans expect Obama to improve the U.S. image abroad; 68% expect him to bring about health care reform; 67% say he will implement policies to deal with global warming; 64% believe he will end U.S. involvement in Iraq; and 46% percent believe he will improve the economy." The the issue of the economy is significant in this poll, out because it is the only one of these goals in which a majority (52%) don't believe Obama will succeed. In the end, high hopes sometimes lead to dashed expectations if the public perceives a new president's initiatives as failed, problematic, or counterproductive. PollTrack will closely watch these numbers over the next few months to see if this extraidinary public goodwill continues and flourishes.

Rasmussen: A "Modest Bounce"

Posted Aug 28, 2008 at 1:45 AM by Maurice Berger

While Obama's pick of Biden did not appear to lift his numbers--perhaps because it further alienated Hillary Clinton's most ardent supports--the Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll discerns a "modest" bounce for Obama as his convention unfolds: "Obama’s poll numbers have improved over the past couple of nights and today’s update shows a tie race because it includes a mix of both recent trends. But it seems likely that Obama will end the convention with a modest lead over McCain."

Is this bounce durable, however: will the Democrats maintain the lead given the imminent announcement of McCain's running mate (as early as this evening) and the start of the Republican National Convention, now four days away?

 

How Close is Close?

Posted Aug 14, 2008 at 4:26 AM by Maurice Berger

While Pew and most other recent surveys call the race a statistical tie--based on the closeness of the numbers and the polls' margin of error--the consistency of these results suggest that Barack Obama does maintain a modest national lead, despite losing ground since June.  All but a few national polls (the exception: Zogby and several Rasmussen Daily Tracking results) give Obama, on average, a 2-4% advantage nationally. 

The problem for both candidates: neither crosses the 50% mark, suggesting a large undecided block as well as support for neither or for third party candidates. Of course, the importance of this threshold declines in relation to third party support (now at around 5% on average for Nader and Barr combined). If these numbers increase considerably--as they did in 1992 for Ross Perot, who wound up with 19% of the vote--then, of course, it is likely that neither Obama nor McCain will win a majority of the electorate in a relatively close race. (In 1992, Clinton's margin of victory was 5.5%, but he won with only 43% of the vote).

But, of course, American presidential elections are not won on the basis of the national popular vote. Thus the literal tie seen in the poll averages of a number of key swing states--Ohio, Virginia, and Nevada, for example--may indeed suggest a race that will go down to the wire.