Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Clinton In Commanding Position For Nomination

Posted Feb 03, 2014 at 6:05 PM by Maurice Berger

A poll by Washington Post-ABC News reports that former U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton "trounces her potential primary rivals with 73% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, reinforcing a narrative of inevitability around her nomination if she runs. Vice President Biden is second with 12%, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is third with 8%."

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

A Bounce For The Democrats?

Posted Sep 07, 2012 at 3:48 PM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack is seeing the beginning of what may be a discernible post-convention "bounce" for the Democrats. With Romney's bounce receding in the GOP-tilted Rasmussen tracking poll (the challenger's 4% lead is now down to 1%) and Gallup tracking (already having shown no bounce for Romney) now reporting that President Obama is up by +3%, it appears there is already an uptick in support for the Democratic ticket. Even more dramatic is Obama's approval number in Gallup: he has gone from a net negative earlier in the week to a net positive of +9--with his approval rating now at 52%. What is most significant is that these numbers do not reflect the full brunt of the Democratic convention, which only ended yesterday. With a seven-day rolling average, the convention only partially registers in Gallup's numbers. Even Rasmussen's three-day average is based on interviews conducted largely before the president's speech. Stay tuned.

McCain's Bounce

Posted Sep 12, 2008 at 7:18 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack has just perused a bunch of national periodic and daily tracking polls released today. The conclusion: the race is very close, with McCain holding onto a 2% to 3% aggregate lead. Another conclusion: McCain 's bounce may have solidified to a certain extent. Obama's bounce, on the other hand, appears to have been blunted, then erased, followed as it was by the VP announcement and the Republican convention a few hours later.

PollTrack: Close But Trending McCain's Way

Posted Sep 09, 2008 at 1:49 AM by Maurice Berger

Looking at the bulk of national polling completed entirely after the Republican National Convention, PollTrack now sees the race as statistically tied but trending in McCain's direction. It appears that the RNC was successful in erasing Obama's "bounce," increasing voter party identification for the Republicans, and improving McCain's numbers in a range of categories, from his potential as leader and commander in chief to his handling of Iraq and the economy.

The thing to watch: state polls. Are national numbers translated into an improved performance for McCain in battleground states? The earliest signs suggest an up tick in support for McCain in some of these states.

Another thing to watch: the media's vetting of Palin. Will the luster wear-off her candidacy? If so, will races that now favor McCain--Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Missouri, all states with significant Evangelical populations--become closer?

Gallup: Obama's Vanishing "Bounce"

Posted Sep 06, 2008 at 5:18 AM by Maurice Berger

Today's Gallup Daily Tracking Poll, like Rasmussen, concludes that Obama's "bounce" has vanished in the wake of the Republican National Convention. Gallup now now calls the race "Too-Close-To Call," with Obama's 8% advantage dwindling to 2%, 47% to 45%.

Watch the 50% Mark and the Palin Effect III

Posted Sep 06, 2008 at 1:57 AM by Maurice Berger

It looks like the timing of the conventions--virtually back-to-back--as well as the relative success of the Republican National Convention in communicating its message to voters may have significantly blunted the 5% "bounce" that Obama received coming out of his convention. The two daily trackers--Rasmussen and Gallup--both show a renewed tightening of the race, with numbers falling back to a point or so of where they were before the start of either convention. This morning, Rasmussen shows Obama with a 3% lead: 49% to 46%.

There is a good news for both candidates in Rasmussen's numbers. For Obama, it's the candidate's proximity to 50%. Obama appears to maintain a base number in the upper forties, McCain in the mid to lower-forties. The big question: will McCain's convention produce more than a tradition "bounce" of 4-5%. If so, his numbers could inch up towards the magic number of 50%. Right now, it appears that the race has returned to its pre-convention status, with fluid numbers, Obama above 45%, McCain slightly below, and both candidates very close.

As for the McCain campaign, Rasmussen suggests that Obama's lead among women has dropped by 50% over the past five days, down to 7% from a lead of 14% after the Democratic National Convention.  The jury is still out on whether Palin has improved McCain's standing among women. But one thing is certain: all too often the pundits have reduced the "female vote" to a rigid stereotype, one that implies that most women are pro-choice, anti-gun, and feminist. Yet in many swing states--including PA, OH, MI, WI--large blocs of female voters, especially working class and/or married women, trend conservative in their cultural and social beliefs. Could this demographic account for McCain's improving numbers among female voters?

McCain Wins Speech Viewership War

Posted Sep 05, 2008 at 8:18 AM by Maurice Berger

More viewers tuned into John McCain's acceptance speech last night than Obama's a week ago. And more than 13 million more people watched Palin's speech than Biden's. Here are the final Nielsen numbers for all four events:

McCain: 38.9 million

Obama: 38.4 million

Palin: 37.2 million

Biden: 24.0 million

As for gender: more women tuned into Obama's speech; more men for McCain's.

CBS News: Obama Loses Six Points Since Last Weekend

Posted Sep 04, 2008 at 11:39 AM by Maurice Berger

A newly released CBS News poll reports that the race for the White House is now a tie--42% to 42%--with Obama dropping 6% and McCain gaining 2% since its last opinion survey taken last weekend, just after the Democratic National Convention.

A trend? A statistical anomaly?  Stay Turned.

The Beginning of a McCain "Bounce"?

Posted Sep 04, 2008 at 1:46 AM by Maurice Berger

Rasmussen's Daily Tracker released this morning reports that this is "the second straight day that the results have inched very slightly in McCain’s direction as the GOP convention gets underway and seeks to overcome Obama's convention bounce" Are we seeing the start of McCain's convention bounce, even before McCain's speech and the effects of Palin's dramatic speech set in with voters?

In another positive sign for the Republicans, only 42% of Independents believe Obama is more qualified than Palin to be president. And by a margin of ten to one, Rasmussen reports that voters believe that "journalists are trying to hurt Palin's campaign rather than help." The Republican's adept anti-media rhetoric may indeed be working.

Obama Has His Bounce, But For How Long?

Posted Sep 03, 2008 at 1:02 AM by Maurice Berger

A slew of polls released over the past 48 hours report good news for Obama: a 4% -5% "bounce" nationally over surveys conducted before the Democratic National Convention. While this represents an average post-convention bounce, several of the polls report another milestone for the Democrat--he's broken the 50% mark.

Yet, PollTrack wonders: how durable will these numbers be given the odd timing of the conventions. In most presidential cycles, the three to four week lag between events gives voters time to digest the convention and its messages and get to know the candidate even better, all before the other party has its turn.

 

Bounce: The Long View

Posted Sep 02, 2008 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll issued today by CBS News suggests that Obama received a modest "bounce" out of his convention. According to the poll, he now leads 48% to 40%, up five points from their last survey a few weeks ago. These numbers, of course, conflict with CNN/Opinion Research and other polls that show no "bounce" at all. Rasmussen's numbers this morning are starting to tick upward for Obama, suggesting a modest but discernible "bounce."

Two factors are at play: for one, the true impact of events on the ground may not be known for weeks. Public opinion is often slow to form. In 1984, Democrat Walter Mondale's announcement of Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate--the first women to appear on the national ticket of either party--produced a flurry of media excitement and a modest jump in the polls. Within weeks, any gain had evaporated.

Just as important: presidential races are not decided by popular vote, but rather by 51 state-wide races (D.C. has three electoral votes). Thus, PollTrack will keep a close eye on public opinion surveys as they emerge out of battleground states in the coming weeks.

One demographic to watch closely: so-called Reagan Democrats--white, conservative, mostly working-class who broke with their party to support Ronald Reagan in the 1980s--in key states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Many of these voters so far have been disinclined to vote for Obama but disgruntled with Republicans. Did the DNC succeed in increasing their trust in Obama? Will McCain's VP pick appeal to these voters? Will McCain and Palin's speeches, and the Republican National Convention in general, convince these voters that they are true "mavericks" who proffer real change and a departure from the policies of the Bush administration?

Indeed, the race appears very fluid right now, with CBS News reporting that "a significant number of voters who have yet to finally make up their minds."

CNN + Rasmussen: The "Bounce" May Be Gone

Posted Sep 01, 2008 at 1:32 AM by Maurice Berger

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll taken entire after the Democratic National Convention suggests that the race between Obama and McCain is exactly as was before the convention: tied. According to the new poll, Obama leads by one point, 49% to 48%. Yesterday and today, Rasmussen's daily tracker observes a similar contraction to pre-convention numbers. So any "bounce" in public opinion generated by Denver appears to have evaporated.

The reason: it's likely the the rapid fire succession of the two VP announcements and conventions--the latter a few days apart rather than three to four weeks apart, timing that has occurred only a few other times in the history of the two parties--has made it difficult for the Democrats to sustain their "bounce." Further complicating things for Obama is the popularity of Sarah Palin among Christian conservatives, a nomination that has now pushed McCain's Republican party support to well over 90%.

The "bounce" generated by the DNC may have been canceled out by the buzz generated by McCain's announcement of his running mate. Writes CNN pollster Keating Holland: "The convention -- and particularly Obama's speech -- seems to be well-received. And the selection of Sarah Palin as the GOP running mate, also seems to be well-received. So why is the race still a virtual tie? Probably because the two events created equal and opposite bounces --assuming that either one created a bounce at all."

Rasmussen: Modest "Bounce" So Far

Posted Aug 29, 2008 at 1:48 AM by Maurice Berger

Like Gallup yesterday, Rasmussen reports a modest "bounce" for Obama coming out of his convention, with the Democrat now leading, 49% to 45%. But with nearly all of their daily tracking interviews completed over the post three days, but before the candidate's speech last night, we'll need to wait a few days to see the full effects of the convention on voter opinion.

Watch for McCain's selection of his running mate at noon (EST). PollTrack may be prepared to make new calls in several states based on this decision.

Gallup: Yes, A Bounce

Posted Aug 28, 2008 at 5:47 AM by Maurice Berger

The Gallup Daily Tracking Poll also discerns a convention "bounce" for Obama. The Democrat now leads by six points, 48% to 42%. In its latest analysis, "Obama Moves Ahead," Gallup writes: "The latest three-day Gallup Poll Daily tracking average (Aug. 25-27) is directly coincident with the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, and is no doubt beginning to reflect the typical convention 'bounce' that Gallup has observed in most party conventions in recent decades."

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?

 

First Out of the Gate: Rasmussen--a Negative Bounce?

Posted Aug 26, 2008 at 2:00 AM by Maurice Berger

Rasmussen Reports is the first polling organization to attempt to discern voter reaction to the DNC. Their surprising conclusion: a negative bounce.  While it may well be too early to take such a reading seriously, Resmussen writes:

The Democratic National Convention has begun and the poll numbers are bouncing, but not in the direction that most people anticipated.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows Barack Obama attracting 44% of the vote while John McCain also earns 44%. When "leaners" are included, it’s still tied with Obama at 46% and McCain at 46%. Yesterday, with leaners, Obama had a three-point advantage over McCain.

PollTrack notes that Gallup Daily Tracking and CNN both reported the election dead even, in the days BEFORE the convention. So Rasmussen may just be catching up. Stay tuned as pollsters trade analyzes all week long.

Post-Convention Bounce

Posted Aug 26, 2008 at 1:46 AM by Maurice Berger

By now, you may have heard a lot about "bounce"--the ticking up in poll numbers after a presidential candidate's national convention. The average "bounce" is 5%. This week, Polltrack will be paying close attention to voter response to the Democratic National Convention (and next week to the Republican National Convention). Will Obama's numbers start nudging up in the Daily Tracking Polls? Will he get the post-convention bounce he needs to pull ahead of McCain?

And what of the unprecedented timing of the two conventions, now within days of each other? Will this rapid turn around--now a matter of a few days rather than the traditional lag of three to four weeks--combined with McCain's naming of his VP later this week blunt or distort this bounce?

Keep in mind: the two daily trackers analyzed on this site--Rasmussen and Gallup--represent a rolling average of nightly surveys over the previous three or four days. Thus, any meaningful improvement in Obama's numbers may not be felt until Wednesday or Thursday at the earliest.

One problem for the Democrats, however, is the timing of the conventions relative to each other: the Republicans go last, usually the favored position, affording the party the "last word" as voters finally start focusing on the fall campaign.

CNN: Post-Biden, The Election Now A "Dead Heat"

Posted Aug 25, 2008 at 1:27 AM by Maurice Berger

A CNN poll conducted entirely after Obama's naming of Biden as his running mate shows the race a dead heat, at 47%-47%. The survey, which indicates that McCain has gained ground since July, also suggests that the naming of Biden has failed to quell the concerns of some Clinton supporters. As the CNN's polling directer notes, “The number of Clinton Democrats who say they would vote for McCain has gone up 11 points since June, enough to account for most although not all of the support McCain has gained in that time.” 

Yet, it may be too soon to tell if this trend will hold. For one, the Obama campaign plans to use the Democratic National Convention to unify the party and heal wounds left over from the primaries. Perhaps as important is the unreliability of "flash polls"--surveys completed during or immediately after an important event or news story in question. Such polling gauges the effects of the incident or event in question on voter sentiment--in this case the nomination of Biden--over a highly compressed time period. Thus, the reaction time of voters may be insufficient for public opinion to be fully formed.

Does McCain Have New Momentum?

Posted Aug 20, 2008 at 2:40 AM by Maurice Berger

Two new polls out to day suggest that the McCain campaign may have gained momentum over the past few weeks. According to the Zogby/Reuters survey, McCain leads Obama among likely voters by 46% to 41% percent, erasing Obama's 7% advantage in July and taking his first lead in the monthly Reuters/Zogby poll. The George Washington University Battleground Poll, also published today, gives McCain a more modest 1% lead.

One problem for Obama: recent polls indicate that while McCain has solidified the Republican base, Obama has not. On average, as many as a quarter of Democrats now say they will vote for the Republican or an Independent candidate or not vote at all. The problem becomes more serious among the Democrats who supported Clinton in the primaries: as many as one third in some polls report that they will not support Obama. It will be interesting to track Democratic voter support for Obama in light of the upcoming Democratic National Convention,perhaps an opportunity to help bring the party together?