Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Congressional Generic Ballot Nearly Tied

Posted May 07, 2014 at 9:54 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by CNN/ORC International reports that Republicans lead the generic congressional ballot among registered voters by 46% to 45%. PollTrack sees the GOP advantage as considerably greater, however, due to the tendency of Democratic voter participation to drop in non-presidential Federal cycles. In other words, a reading of all registered voters is not the same as that of likely voters.

Americans Want Obamacare Debate To End

Posted Mar 31, 2014 at 8:51 AM by Maurice Berger

While Obamacare remains unpopular with many voters, a health-care tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that "53% of all respondents -- including 51% of independents and even 47% of Republicans -- said they are tired about hearing the debate over the health-care law and think the country should focus on other issues."

GOP Ahead In Generic Congressional Ballot

Posted Mar 13, 2014 at 6:38 AM by Maurice Berger

A survey by New York Times/CBS News reports that Republicans "are in a stronger position than Democrats for this year's midterm elections, benefiting from the support of self-described independents, even though the party itself is deeply divided and most Americans agree more with Democratic policy positions." Republicans lead 42% to 39% in the poll's generic ballot.

US Senate 2014: GOP In Stronger Position Than Democrats

Posted Mar 05, 2014 at 6:52 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Washington Post-ABC News reports that Republicans are "in a stronger position than Democrats in the states with Senate races this fall and more than holding their own in the battle for control of the House. In the 34 states with Senate races, 50% of voters say they favor Republicans and 42% favor Democrats. . .  [this] despite the Republican Party's poor image nationally and its deficit on some important issues. About two in three Americans say the GOP is out of touch 'with the concerns of most people in the United States today.'"

Washington DC Mayoralty: Gray Ahead, But Race Volatile

Posted Mar 03, 2014 at 8:45 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by NBC-Marist reports that Democratic Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray leads the pack leading in the race for this spring's mayoral Democratic primary, with 28% of likely voters, followed by Muriel Bowser at 20%, Jack Evans at 13% and Tommy Wells at 12%. The poll notes that while "a majority of D.C. residents think the city is headed in the right direction . . . the race remains volatile and that Gray, the incumbent, does not have an easy path to victory." 

 

Is GOP Poised To Take Senate From Democrats

Posted Feb 11, 2014 at 8:31 AM by Maurice Berger

According to an analysis by The Monkey Cage, Republicans now have a 54% chance of retaking control of the U.S. Senate in this year's midterm elections: "Our initial Senate forecast for 2014 suggested that Republicans had a solid chance of taking back the Senate.  Now we want to show how they can do it.  Our model suggests, in fact, if Republicans win the Senate elections in only four states -- Alaska, Louisiana, Iowa, and Montana -- then they are very likely to take control of the chamber."

Americans Down On Their Political Leaders

Posted Feb 04, 2014 at 7:35 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by the Washington Post/ABC News reports that a mere 37% of Americans say they have either a "good amount or a great deal" of confidence in President Obama to make the right decisions for the country's future; 63% do not. Congress doeseven less well in the survey: just 27% percent say they have confidence in congressional Democrats to make the right decisions for the country; 72% do not. For the GOP, it's even worse with just 19% having confidence in Republicans, and 80% not. The poll notes: "For the GOP, the lack of faith in their decision-making includes their own followers. Just 36% of self-identified Republicans say they believe their party's lawmakers will make good decisions. In contrast, a majority of Democrats have confidence in their congressional party."

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%."

Do Democrats Have An Advantage In The Electoral College?

Posted Jan 23, 2014 at 12:46 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Dan Balz, the bar may have become higher for the Republican party in the search for electoral vote. He writes: "A recent conversation with a veteran of GOP presidential campaigns raised this question: Which, if any, of the recent battleground states are likely to become more Republican by 2016? The consensus: very few. . . .That reality highlights one problem Republicans face as they seek to regain the White House after six years under President Obama. Lots of factors affect elections: the quality of the candidates, the state of the economy, the effectiveness of the campaigns. But in a country whose demographics continue to change, Republicans will begin this campaign with one significant disadvantage."

Is The Two-Party System In Peril?

Posted Jan 16, 2014 at 8:42 AM by Maurice Berger

A survey by Gallup reports that 42% of Americans identify as political independents in 2013. This number is the highest in 25 years. Republican identification dropped to 25%, the lowest over the same period. Democratic identification, at 31%, remains unchanged from the last four years.

Sharp Party Divide On Filibuster Rules

Posted Jan 07, 2014 at 9:09 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a poll by National Journal, 59% of Democrats support Democratic Sen. Harry Reid's move "to gut the ability of the minority party to stall presidential nominees. The poll indicated a sharp party divide: Republicans strongly disagreed, with only 34% saying that the decision to permit nominees to be confirmed with only 51 votes was the right decision. 60% thought it was the wrong one."

A 2014 Wave?

Posted Dec 30, 2013 at 12:05 AM by Maurice Berger

A poll by Washington Post-ABC News reports that 72% of those who disapprove of President Obama's job performance, say that they would vote for the GOP candidate for U.S. House in their district if the election were held today, while just 14% say they'd vote for the Democrat.    

GOP Leads Generic Congressional Ballot

Posted Dec 18, 2013 at 12:33 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new poll by Quinnipiac, Republicans lead in the generic congressional ballot--by 41% to 38%--the first time they have led all year.

2016 Prrsidential Race: Who Do Iowans Prefer?

Posted Dec 17, 2013 at 8:19 AM by Maurice Berger

A poll out from the Des Moines Register reports that Rep. Paul Ryan "is wildly popular here with a 73% favorable rating, a surprise finding that reveals he's at the forefront of potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates in the nation's kickoff voting state." The Democratic horse race shows an even clearer favorite in a state that registers its preferences in the party nominating process earlier than any other: Ryans' popularity "isn't as striking as the overwhelming affinity Iowa Democrats have for Hillary Clinton, with 89% saying they have a positive opinion of her. Just 7% of voting-age Democrats have a negative impression the former U.S. secretary of state and U.S. senator from New York."

GOP Takes Lead In Generic Ballot

Posted Nov 27, 2013 at 2:49 PM by Maurice Berger

In a stunning reversal from just a month ago, Republicans now lead the generic congressional ballot according to a just released CNN/ORC International survey.  Last month, the Democrats led by +8%; now, the GOP leads, 49% to 47%.

GOP Now Leads Generic Congressional Ballot

Posted Nov 19, 2013 at 8:21 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Fox News poll reports that Republicans now lead the generic congressional ballot, 43 to 40%, a startling tun-around from last month's survey in which Democrats led, 45% to 37%.

Is The US House In Play For Democrats?

Posted Oct 28, 2013 at 7:25 AM by Maurice Berger

According to an analysis by the National Journal, "the government shutdown and debt crisis has made 14 House seats more winnable for Democrats, according to new independent ratings released Thursday from The Cook Political Report. There are now -- for the first time this cycle -- more Republican seats 'in play' than the 17 Democrats would need to win in order to take the majority in 2014."

 

Will the Government Shutdown Hurt The GOP?

Posted Oct 02, 2013 at 8:31 AM by Maurice Berger

According a new Quinnipiac poll, the government shutdown has great potential to hurt GOP chances in next year's federal cycle: "Looking at the 2014 Congressional races, voters pick a generic Democrat over a generic Republican candidate 43% to 34%, the widest Democratic margin measured so far."

How Satisfied Are We With Government?

Posted Jul 19, 2013 at 8:09 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new survey by Gallup, "Democrats are more likely than Republicans to be satisfied with the work the government is doing in each of 19 different areas. The parties' satisfaction levels diverge most on healthcare and foreign affairs, and diverge least on poverty, national parks, and transportation." Here is Gallup's chart:

Satisfaction With Work Federal Government Is Doing in Different Areas, by Political Party, June 2013

GOP Gets Most Of The Blame For Gridlock

Posted Jul 16, 2013 at 8:42 PM by Maurice Berger

According to a new poll by Quinnipiac, 51% of Americans say that the GOP is responsible for gridlock in Washington, D.C. Only 35% percent believe that it is President Obama who "lacks the skills to convince leaders of Congress to work together."

Americans Access Congressional Leaders

Posted May 23, 2013 at 6:23 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a survey by Gallup, "the top Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. House and Senate are a generally unpopular foursome, with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi being the most well-known, but also the least well-liked. 31% of Americans view Pelosi favorably and 48% unfavorably. Her resulting net -17 image score compares with -11 for Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, -10 for Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, and -8 for Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell."

Clinton Way Ahead For 2016 Democratic Nomination

Posted May 15, 2013 at 2:29 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Quinnipiac reports former US Senator and First Lady Hillary Clinton holds a commanding lead over other potential 2016 candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, with 65%, followed by Joe Biden at 13% and Andrew Cuomo at 4%.

Hillary Clinton Way Ahead For 2016 Democratic Nomination

Posted May 01, 2013 at 7:48 AM by Maurice Berger

If there was any doubt that Hillary Clinton is the prohibitive favorite for the 2016 Democratic nomination for President, anew Fairleigh Dickinson University poll puts those doubts to rest:  Clinton leads with 63%, followed by Joe Biden 12%, Andrew Cuomo 3%.

Gallup: Congressional Approval In A Slump

Posted Apr 19, 2013 at 9:01 AM by Maurice Berger

A survey by Gallup concludes: "As Congress debates legislation on gun control, immigration reform, and the federal budget, it continues to get a vote of no confidence from the American people. Fifteen percent of Americans now approve of the way Congress is handling its job, essentially unchanged from 13% in March and 15% in February. Congress' disapproval rating is 79%." Here is Gallup's chart: 

Trend: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?

Dememocrats and Republicans Have Divergent Views About Taxes

Posted Apr 12, 2013 at 8:31 AM by Maurice Berger

A new  poll by the Washington Post-ABC News reports that 53% of Democrats see the income tax system favorably; 43% view it unfavorably. For Republicans and independents, the answer is reversed (and then some):66% of the former and 62% of the latter have an unfavorable opinion of the tax system.

Democrats In Command Of Electoral College?

Posted Apr 10, 2013 at 9:38 AM by Maurice Berger

Mike Murphy argues that the Democrats now hold a structural advantage in the Electoral College: "The GOP's greatest challenge is the fact that Democrats begin each presidential election with a near lock on the Electoral College. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have given their electoral votes to the Democratic presidential nominee in at least five out of the last six elections. These states represent 257 electoral votes out of the 270 needed to win the presidency. Under current trends, the GOP nominee has to pull the equivalent of drawing an inside straight in poker to get to the White House."

Democrats More Liked Than Republicans

Posted Apr 03, 2013 at 8:40 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Quinnipiac reports tjat the Democratic Party has a higher positive and lower negative rating than the GOP: the Democrats come in at 38% negative and 44% positive favorability, compared to a negative 28% to positive 52% for the Republicans

Obama Trumps GOP in Public Perception

Posted Mar 05, 2013 at 1:46 PM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal reports that a meager 29% say they agree "with most" of what Republicans in Congress have proposed. 45% say this about President for Obama and 40% about congressional Democrats. To further the sense that the GOP brand may be in trouble, the survey also found that only 29% of respondents have a favorable view of the Republican Party as opposed to 49% for Obama and 41% for the Democratic Party.

Who Do Americans Blame For Sequester?

Posted Mar 04, 2013 at 9:37 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by Harper Polling of likely voters reports that Republicans, by a modest plurality, are seen as most responsible for the sequester, 46% to 40%.

Who Is Ahead In New York Mayoralty Race?

Posted Feb 28, 2013 at 8:42 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack will be covering this year's race to New York City mayor. Due to term limits, the present mayor--independent, Michael Bloomberg--will no be running for reelection. Though early in the race, a new poll by Quinnipiac University suggests that in the Democratic primary in a city that is vastly Democratic in voter registration, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is very close to the 40% threshold needed to avoid a runoff election. The survey reports that Quinn leads the Democratic primary with 37%, more than three other candidates combined.

Democrats More Racially Diverse

Posted Feb 15, 2013 at 10:35 AM by Maurice Berger

According to an analysis by Gallup, "Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 89% of Republican self-identifiers nationwide in 2012, while accounting for 70% of independents and 60% of Democrats. Over one-fifth of Democrats (22%) were black, while 16% of independents were Hispanic." Here is Gallup's chart:

Racial and Ethnic Composition of U.S., by Party ID, 2012

Polarizing Presidency?

Posted Jan 28, 2013 at 7:30 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, "during his fourth year in office, an average of 86% of Democrats and 10% of Republicans approved of the job Barack Obama did as president. That 76-percentage-point gap ties George W. Bush's fourth year as the most polarized years in Gallup records."

Americans Negative on GOP

Posted Jan 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal, 49% of Americans hold a negative view of the Republican Party while 26% have a positive view. Views of the Democratic Party remain net positive rating: 44% hold a favorable view of the party and 38% hold an unfavorable one.

Democrats Retake Lead In Party Affiliation

Posted Jan 11, 2013 at 9:39 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new poll by Gallup, "an average of 47% of Americans identified as Democrats or said they were independents who leaned Democratic in 2012, compared with 42% who identified as or leaned Republican. That re-establishes a Democratic edge in party affiliation after the two parties were essentially tied in 2010 and 2011."

Christie Even More Popular With Democrats Nationally

Posted Jan 10, 2013 at 9:13 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released Public Policy Polling survey reports that Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Chrisitie is more popular with Democrats nationally than he is with Republicans. His overall favorability is 51% to 23%.  With Democrats, he holds +29 advantage: 52% to 23%. With GOP voters, his advantage is +21: 48% to 27%. And he is most popular with independent voters with a staggering +34 at advantage: 52% to 18%.

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.

More Back Democrats on Fiscal Cliff

Posted Dec 18, 2012 at 9:43 AM by Maurice Berger

According to new poll by Pew Research that when it comes to the reaching an agreement to avoid the "fiscal cliff," 55% say President Obama is making a credible effort to work with Republicans to reach a deficit deal; just 32% say the same about GOP leaders.

PollTrack 2013 Election Coverage: New Jersey Governor

Posted Nov 20, 2012 at 9:39 AM by Maurice Berger

One hot election that PollTrack will be analyzing next year: The New Jersey gubernatorial race. The race may be both lively and consequential, pitting two of the state's most popular politicians against each other, incumbent GOP governor, Chris Christie and Democratic Newark Mayor Corey Booker. Here a teaser from the New Republic: "That perhaps the two most compelling politicians in America hail from the same state is dramatic enough. Now consider that soon they may be running against each other. . . . Visions of a Booker-Christie match-up make political junkies weak at the knees... There are no nationwide campaigns next year, and just two gubernatorial seats are up for grabs, so this race--hypothetical though it remains--would have America's attention. Money would flow: Both are beloved by Wall Street and, having campaigned on other candidates' behalf, are loaded with IOUs from political fundraisers around the country. Coverage would be nonstop: Both are extraordinarily talented at handling the microphone and delivering social media-optimized sound bites. And the stakes would be high: Both have designs on the presidency, and are aware of the benefits of handing the other a premature political death." PollTrack adds that the race may also serve as an early moratorium on President Obama's second term much as this year's other big race: Governor of Virginia.

Will Enthusiasm Gap Hurt Obama?

Posted Jul 26, 2012 at 10:19 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by Gallup, reports that "Democrats are significantly less likely now (39%) than they were in the summers of 2004 and 2008 to say they are 'more enthusiastic about voting than usual' in the coming presidential election. Republicans are more enthusiastic now than in 2008, and the same as in 2004." Will this enthusiasm gap hurt the President's reelection chances? The answer remains unclear at this point. Elections cycles see enthusiasm ebb and flow from one party to another, sometimes increasing as the election draws nears. A number of factors can in crease voter enthusiasm within a party, from the perception that the election is becoming very close to news events beyond the control of either party. Check back with PollTrack in September/October to see if Democratic interest increases in the election.

Hispanic Voters Overwhemingly Affiliate With Democratic Party

Posted Jul 05, 2012 at 9:56 AM by Maurice Berger

While a demographic survey by USA Today/Gallup poll reports that 51% of Hispanics in the United States are self-described independents, while 32% are Democrats and 11% are Republicans, the partisan leanings of these voters tell another story: 52% affiliate with the Democratic Party while only 23% lean towards the GOP, another sign of the increasingly Romney's increasingly uphill battle to win over voters crucial to the outcome of the fall election.

The Demographics Of The President's Approval Numbers

Posted Apr 17, 2012 at 8:31 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup has a fascinating demographic snapshot of the president's approval rating, now at 47%. Significantly, he holds a solid majority from his own party (84%), and does extremely well with African American (88%) and Hispanic voters (61%). The demographic breakdown also suggest a few red flags for the President's reelection effort: only 36% of white voters approve of his performance, he polls no better than 38% with voters over the age of 65%, and--perhaps most significantly--his standing among independents hovers at 40%. The good news for the administration: approval numbers do not always reflect voter sentiment in a general election. Obama's fares much better with independents, for example, when pitted against his likely GOP challenger, Mitt Romney. Stay tuned.

 

53%
-5
49%
+4
38%
-1
36%
-2
71%
+1
88%
-
61%
+7
84%
-
40%
-2
11%
-2

Enthusiasm Gap Problem for GOP?

Posted Feb 09, 2012 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by DailyKos/Public Policy Polling suggests a potential problem for the GOP in its quest to unseat President Obama: The poll finds that 58% of Democrats were "very excited" about voting in this year's election, as compared to 54% of Republicans. Six months ago, enthusiasm tilted towards Republicans, 54% to 48%.
The Daily Kos observes: "Generally you would expect voters to get more excited as the election gets nearer. That trend is occurring on the Democratic side, but not for the GOP."

Election 2012: Republicans More Enthusiastic About Voting

Posted Nov 10, 2011 at 1:05 AM by Maurice Berger

In what bodes as a potential problem for Democrats overall in next year's federal election, a new survey by Gallup reports that Republican voters are more likely to express enthusiasm about voting in next year's presidential election. On the national level, 56% of registered GOP voters and 48% of Democratic voters are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting. In 12 key swing states, the Republican advantage is even greater: 59% to 48%.

Most Americans Believe In Global Warning

Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 1:14 AM by Maurice Berger

While a number of Republican candidates for president reject the idea of global warming, most Americans believe in it. A survey Yale University survey reports that 53% of Republicans, 71% of independents and 78% of Democrats said they believe global warming is real. Interestingly, on 34% of who self-identify as members of the Tea Party believe in global warming; 53% do not.

Serious Ebb In Democratic Voter Enthusiasm

Posted Sep 01, 2011 at 12:36 AM by Maurice Berger

In what has very serious implications for President Obama's reelection chances, a new survey by Public Policy Polling survey reports a considerable ebb of Democratic enthusiasm about voting in next year's election. Just 48% of Democrats--a new low--say they were "very excited" about voting in 2012.  In 13 previous polls, the average level was 57%. It had risen as high as 65% (during the 2008 presidential election) and only twice had the number dropped below 55%.

Democratic Base Strongly Behind Obama

Posted Aug 29, 2011 at 2:42 AM by Maurice Berger

In what is clearly good news for the President's reelection chances, a survey by CNN/Opinion Research poll reports that Obama's Democratic base remains overwhelmingly behind him. 70% of Democrats now say that they would like to see Obama as their party's presidential nominee next year.

Democrats Now Lead In Generic Congressional Ballot

Posted Aug 17, 2011 at 1:03 AM by Maurice Berger

Has the recent debt ceiling negotations taken its toll on the Republicans in congress? A new Gallup poll suggests that the answer may be yes. The survey reports that Democrats lead Republicans in the 2012 congressional elections among registered voters, 51% to 44%, when asked which party's candidate they would support in their district "if the elections for Congress were being held today."  Gallup observes: "The seven-percentage-point edge for Democratic congressional candidates, nationally, contrasts with ties or Republican leads in most Gallup polls leading up to the 2010 midterm elections. However, the Democratic advantage is not as large as those they enjoyed in the 2006 and 2008 congressional election cycles -- each of which produced a Democratic majority in Congress. The Democrats averaged a 10-point lead over Republicans among registered voters in the year prior to the 2008 elections and an 11-point advantage leading up to the 2006 elections"

Americans Angry With GOP

Posted Aug 11, 2011 at 1:19 AM by Maurice Berger

A CNN/Opinion Research poll reports that many Americans are growing angry with the Republican party. GOP favorability numbers have dropped considerably over the past month: Now a scant 33% take a positive view of the party, while 59% say they have an unfavorable view (the latter represents an record high). Views of the Democratic party have remained relatively stable, with 47% saying they have a favorable view of the Democrats and an equal amount saying they hold an unfavorable view.

Ohio 2012: Trending Democratic?

Posted Jul 29, 2011 at 1:15 AM by Maurice Berger

It what can be read as good news for President Obama in Ohio, A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio reports that incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has a commanding lead over two potential GOP challengers. Brown leads State Treasurer Josh Mandel, 49% to 34%, and tops State Sen. Kevin Coughlin, 50% to 32%.Combined with the exceptionally low approval rating of the state's Republican Governor, these numbers suggests that the closely divided state is trending slightly more Democratic in recent days

Serious Erosion Of White Democrats

Posted Jul 25, 2011 at 2:20 AM by Maurice Berger

In what could spell serious trouble for the President's reelection effort next year, A new Pew Research survey reports that the GOP has made significant gains among white voters in the three years since Barack Obama was elected president. In 2008, the Republicans could claim a 2% lead among whites--46% to 44%. Today, that lead has expanded to a whopping +13% lead today, 52% to 39%. To put these numbers in perspective, Obama won the 2008 race with only 43% of the white vote. Any significant diminution of that number would greatly hamper his reelection effort.

Americans Reject GOP Approach To Debt Crisis

Posted Jul 21, 2011 at 2:15 AM by Maurice Berger

A CBS News poll reports that Americans "are unimpressed with their political leaders' handling of the debt ceiling crisis." But their is a big divide between public perceptions of the GOP vs the President's handling of the crisis. Just 21% approve of Republican congressional resistance to raising taxes; a whopping 71% disapprove. 43%, however, approve of President Obama's handling of the negotiations. Still, 48% said they disapproved. So overall, the public appears to have little patience for the way these negotiations are being handled.

Democratic Party Affiliation Grows

Posted Jun 16, 2011 at 1:29 AM by Maurice Berger

In a good sign for Democrats, party affiliation has grown in recent months comparable to the GOP. A new Gallup poll finds 45% of Americans identified as Democrats last month as compared to 39% who identified as Republicans.

Election 2012: President Obama In Trouble In PA?

Posted Jun 13, 2011 at 1:18 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll reports that President Obama is struggling in his reelection bid in Pennsylvania: "It's no secret that President Obama is on the down-slope politically, and that includes the pivotal state of Pennsylvania. A new poll from Susquehanna Polling and Research says that 48% of Pennsylvanians disapprove of Obama's performance, while 41% approve. Also: Only 43% of registered voters in Pennsylvania say Obama has done well enough to deserve re-election, the poll said; 50% say 'it is time to give a new person a chance.'"

Republican and Democrats Differ On Bin Laden Credit

Posted May 12, 2011 at 12:03 AM by Maurice Berger

A Smart Politics monitoring ans analysis of congressional press releases issued this week the mission to kill Osama bin Laden reports that 60% of House Democrats credited President Obama's role; just 24% of GOP congressmen even mentioned Obama.

Democrats Ahead In Generic Congressional Ballot

Posted May 11, 2011 at 12:53 AM by Maurice Berger

A CNN/Opinion Research poll reports that registered voters favor a generic Democrat over a Republican in next year's congressional election, 50% to 46%. Women and non-college voters--both of whom supported the GOP in 2010--now favoring Democrats by 10% and 9%, respectively.

GOP Continues To Lead in Congressional Generic Ballot

Posted Apr 05, 2011 at 1:00 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a just released Quinnipiac survvey, Republicans continue to lead Democrats in the generic congressional ballot, now by three points: 40% to 37%.

Union Support: Republicans Overall Negative, Democrats Positive

Posted Mar 21, 2011 at 11:35 PM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, "Americans are slightly more likely to say something negative rather than positive when asked what word or phrase comes to mind when they think of "labor unions." By about a 3-to-1 ratio, Republicans have negative rather than positive things to say about labor unions. By better than 2 to 1, Democrats' impressions of unions are more positive than negative." Here is Gallup's chart:

What Word or Phrase Comes to Mind When You Think of Labor Unions? March 2011 Results, by Positive, Negative, or Neutral Responses, Among National Adults and by Party ID

Gallup: GOP Advantage In 2012 Races?

Posted Feb 25, 2011 at 1:33 AM by Maurice Berger

Does the GOP hold an innate advantage in 2012 national races--including the president's reelection? The answer may now be yes, after several cycles of Democratic dominance. Gallup reports that between 2008 and 2010, the number of states that are lean-Democratic or strongly Democratic has decreased by more than half, from 30 to 14. Conversely, the number of lean-Republican and strongly Republican states has increased considerably, up from five to 10. And the number of so-called purple--or closely competitive states--has almost doubled, going from 10 to 18.

GOP Honeymoon Fades

Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:15 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released Public Policy Polling survey reports that the GOP honeymoon with the American voter has been VERY short-lived. Democrats now once again lead the generic congressional ballot, 45% to 41%, an 11% swing since the November elections. Democrats also hold a seven point lead, 38% to 31%, among independent voters.

Big GOP/Democratic Schism In Perceptions Of The President

Posted Feb 07, 2011 at 1:27 AM by Maurice Berger

The gap between GOP and Democratic perceptions remains high, according to a new Gallup survey. According to Gallup's analysis, President Obama is one of the most polarizing presidents in decades. Obama's approval ratings in 2010 showed a 68% point gap between the percentage of Democrats who approve of him and the number of Republicans approving -- the largest gap in party ratings of any president since President Eisenhower.

2012 US Senate: Are The Democrats In Trouble?

Posted Feb 02, 2011 at 12:26 AM by Maurice Berger

An analysis by Politico suggests that the GOP may have an inherent advantage in the 2012 US Senate races, and may well be poised to take over from the Democrats: "Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg will challenge Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in 2012, giving Republicans their first-choice candidate for the race and putting yet another incumbent in serious jeopardy. . . .  [An] Opinion Diagnostics survey of 400 likely Montana voters showed 49 percent backing Rehberg compared to 43 percent for Tester and 8 percent undecided . . . Rehberg’s announcement will mean Republicans have high-profile, formally announced challengers in four states where Democrats are up for reelection: Montana, Missouri (former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman), Nebraska (state Attorney General Jon Bruning) and Virginia (former Sen. George Allen). That’s not to mention the open Senate seat in North Dakota, where Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad’s retirement gives Republicans a strong pickup opportunity, and Florida, where several solid candidates are circling the race against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. Some of these candidates are facing competitive primaries, but the big picture is this: Senate Republicans have already put a sizable list of Democratic seats in play and they only need to net four to hit the 51-seat mark."

Voters Want Political Compromise

Posted Jan 17, 2011 at 2:18 AM by Maurice Berger

A new McClatchy-Marist Poll reports that 71% of registered voters want to political leaders to compromise in order to get things done; 23% believe Republicans should stand firm on their positions, even if it results in a stalemate between them and Democrats. In terms of voter expectations, 52% believe Republicans will stand firm on their positions. As pollster Lee Miringoff observes: "Voters have taken notice of recent legislative successes. But, there is still a wide gap between what voters want from our nation's political leaders and what they think is likely to occur."

Self-Identified Democrats Drop Off

Posted Jan 05, 2011 at 6:39 PM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup only 31% of Americans identified themselves as Democrats in 2010--a 5% drop from two years ago. That number also ties for the lowest annual average in the last 22 years. Democrats still outnumber Republicans by two points. But the most dramatic change is the percentage of respondents identifying as independents, which increased in 2010 to 38%, among the highest annual averages over the past two decades.

Election 2012: President Obama Runs Strong With Democrats

Posted Dec 29, 2010 at 2:17 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released survey from CNN/Opinion Research reports that 78% of Democrats would like to see President Obama renominated for a second term. Hovering nearly 80%, this number the highest the President's support among Democrats support has been all year.

Obama's Reelection: How Serious Is The Drop In Liberal and Democratic Support

Posted Dec 14, 2010 at 1:16 AM by Maurice Berger

An analysis of yesterday's polling from Marist University by Nate Silver suggests the erosion of support among Democrats and liberals could--the operative word is could--have an adverse effect on President's Obama's reelection chances. Silver observes: "A new poll from Marist University is suggestive of a potential worst-case scenario for President Obama. As he endures criticism from his left over his handling of the tax policy debate with Republicans, his approval rating has declined among liberals, according to the poll: 69% of them now approve of his job performance as compared with 78% in November. Likewise, his approval rating has declined among Democrats: to 74% from 83%. However, there has been no comparable improvement in Mr. Obama’s standing among independents. . . . " For the full analysis, click here.

McClathchy-Marist: President Obama's Approval Rathing Drops To New Low

Posted Dec 13, 2010 at 1:05 AM by Maurice Berger

The latest McClatchy-Marist poll finds an erosion of President Obama's Democratic political base, probably the result of his tax compromise with the GOP. The president's approval rating has dropped to a new low, according to the polll: 42%. More: "Obama's standing among Democrats dropped from a month ago, with his approval rating falling to 74% from 83%, and his disapproval rating almost doubling, from 11% to 21% . . . . His position among independents remained virtually the same, with 39 percent approving and 52% disapproving. A month ago, it was 38% to 54%."

Gallup: Americans Support Two Key Elements of Tax Compromise

Posted Dec 10, 2010 at 1:50 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup Poll, "two major elements included in the tax agreement reached Monday between President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in Congress meet with broad public support. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) favor extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for all Americans for two years, and an identical number support extending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed." Here is Gallup's breaking along party lines:

Support for Extending Tax Cuts and Unemployment Benefits, Among National Adults and by Party, December 2010

In terms of opposition to parts of the bill, Gallup notes: "Looking more specifically at the different ideological wings of each party, only liberal Democrats oppose extending the tax breaks for everyone: 39% are in favor, while 55% are opposed. Among the other groups, support ranges from 64% of conservative/moderate Democrats to 87% of conservative Republicans. "Similarly, conservative Republicans are the only political/ideological group opposing the extension of unemployment benefits. The majority of moderate/liberal Republicans are in favor, as are most Democrats, regardless of ideology."

Obama's Core Supporters Oppose Tax Compromise

Posted Dec 08, 2010 at 12:50 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a just released SurveyUSA poll, voters who contributed to Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign are overmelingly opposed to his deal with Republicans to extend the Bush-era tax breaks for those making over $250,000 a year. 74% now say they do not support the deal. 51% say they are less likely to contribute to Obama's reelection campaign in 2012, and 57% say it makes them less likely to support congressional Democrats who support this deal in 2012.

Majority of American Voters Oppose War in Afghanistan

Posted Nov 24, 2010 at 1:18 AM by Maurice Berger

A Quinnipiac poll reports that a majority of American voters--by a margin of 50% to 44%--oppose the U.S. involvement in the war in Afghanistan by a margin. While Democrats opposed the war, 62% to 33%, Republicans support it, 64% to 31%. Independent voters are opposed to the war by a 54% to 40% margin.

Redistricting 2012: A Look Ahead

Posted Nov 18, 2010 at 1:52 AM by Maurice Berger

Wondering how the congressional map will look in 2012 after the restricting of congressional districts that will begin next year? In his preview of the upcoming reapportionment of congressional districts, Sean Trende notes that the just concluded midterms, which saw a number of state houses turn towards the Republican, may indeed bode poorly for the Democrats: "As bad as 2010 was for House Democrats, 2012 could be even worse. Republicans don't have a lot of exposure, since most of their gains were in red territory. More importantly, Republicans will control more seats in redistricting than they have since the states began regular decennial redistricting in 1972."

Using census estimates of where population is growing and falling within states, Trende "offers his thoughts on how redistricting will most likely shape things in 2012." His analysis is fascinating and insightful--a window onto the upcoming reconfiguration of congressional districts. For more, click here. 

 

Health Care Reform Doomed Democrats in Midterm Election

Posted Nov 15, 2010 at 1:14 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a study in The New Republic, health care reform doomed the Democratic Party in the midterm elections. The study found that of the 1/6th of voters who identified health care as their most important issue voted Republican over Democrat, 59% to 35%. The study continues: "Putting all these data together, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the health-reform bill had an independent impact on Democrats in the midterm election, reducing their support below the level to which the economy alone would have depressed it. A back-of-the envelope calculation suggests that health care voters contributed about 10 percent points to the Republicans' share of the vote and only 6 percent to Democrats -- a gap of 4 percentage points."

 

Voters Access Lame Duck Seesion of Congress

Posted Nov 12, 2010 at 2:12 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Rasmussen survey, 'Most voters think Congress should wait until the new members take office in January before tackling any major new legislation, but even more expect Democrats to try to pass major legislation anyway in the upcoming lame-duck session." The survey finds that 36% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the current Congress should consider major new legislation during the lame-duck session scheduled to begin on Monday. . . .  Fifty-six percent (56%) say Congress should wait until the newly elected members take office after the first of the year. . . .  76% of voters think it is at least somewhat likely that House Democrats will try to pass major legislation before the newly elected members are sworn in. That includes 49% who say it is Very Likely. Just 18% think Democrats are unlikely to attempt to pass major legislation between now and the arrival of the new Congress"

Election 2010: GOP Gains In State Legislatures Spell Trouble From Democrats

Posted Nov 09, 2010 at 2:07 AM by Maurice Berger

This Tuesday, the GOP score another, most unreported victory: at the state legislative level, the party elected a net gain of at least 680 seats to set a modern record.Come 2011, this may prove quite costly for the Democrats. Why? Because once census figures are crunched and adjusted it will be the responsibility of state legislatures--with input from Governors, another problem for Democrats can claim only 20 state houses, a net loss of at least 7 seats--to reapportion that state's congressional districts. With the power to shape--and manipulate districts--the GOP will have the edge in sculpting districts favorable to their party.

Gallup: GOP With Big Lead In Generic Congressional Ballot

Posted Oct 12, 2010 at 1:34 AM by Maurice Berger

The latest Gallup tracking poll for the generic congressional ballot reports a big GOP advantage: " Republicans maintain a substantial advantage over Democrats among likely voters in Gallup's generic ballot for Congress -- in both lower- and higher-turnout scenarios -- fueled in part by the GOP's strong showing among independents . . . Among voters Gallup estimates to be most likely to vote at this point under either a higher- or lower-turnout scenario, Republicans maintain substantial double-digit advantages. In Gallup's higher-turnout scenario, Republicans lead 53% to 41%. In Gallup's lower-turnout scenario, Republicans lead 56% to 39%" Gallup's reported GOP advantage, if it holds on Election Day, would most probably result in historic loses for the Democrats. Stay tuned. 

Generic Congressional Ballot: Who's Ahead And By How Much

Posted Oct 06, 2010 at 12:59 AM by Maurice Berger

As per Real Clear Politics: "Probably the biggest polling news of the day was the Gallup generic ballot poll that showed Republicans leading Democrats 56 percent to 38 percent.  That 18-point lead is predicated upon a "low turnout" scenario, and would represent historic highs for the Republican Party -- it would probably represent the most seats won by either party since the early 70s.

Gallup also produced a model anticipating slightly higher turnout.  Under this model, the Republicans led by 13 points, which is still an historic result in the Gallup model.  Among registered voters, Republicans led by 3 points.

Rasmussen Reports, by contrast, saw the race tightening significantly, with Republicans leading Democrats by only three points, 45 percent to 42 percent.  This represented the closest ballot test in roughly a year.  Of course, the big difference between the two polls is the number of undecideds; it may well be that Democrats are truly stuck at around 40 percent, and undecideds are leaning heavily GOP."

Majority of Americans Want Third Party

Posted Oct 01, 2010 at 1:37 AM by Maurice Berger

A Gallup survey reports that a strong majority of Americans--now at 58%--are dissatisfied with the two current party system and believe a third party is need to mke government more effective. Gallup writes: "Though the rise in support for a third party could be linked to the Tea Party movement, Tea Party supporters are just about average in terms of wanting to see a third party created. Sixty-two percent of those who describe themselves as Tea Party supporters would like a third major party formed, but so do 59% of those who are neutral toward the Tea Party movement. Tea Party opponents are somewhat less likely to see the need for a third party."

Independent Voters Are As Angry As Republicans

Posted Sep 24, 2010 at 1:20 AM by Maurice Berger

In what may be another problem for Democrats, a new Associated Press-GfK Poll reports that 58% of independents and 60% of Republicans said "politics is making them angry," compared with 31% of Democrats. The GOP tilt of independent voters in recent surveys--and the anger that appears to drive the enthusiasm gap between Democrats and others--may give a solid competitive edge to the GOP in its effort to get out the vote in November.

Americans Favor Administration View On Tax Cuts

Posted Sep 17, 2010 at 2:16 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Democracy Corps survey reports that by a 55% to 38% margin, Americans favor the view espoused by the Obama administration and Democrats in the debate on extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone earning less than $250,000 but letting them lapse for the wealthiest Americans.

Quinnipiac: Republicans Hold Edge On Generic Congressional Ballot

Posted Sep 10, 2010 at 1:57 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released Quinnipiac poll reports that the Republican Party continues to lead in the Generic Congressional Ballot, 42% to 37% margin. The same poll reports that President Obama continues to receive a negative 44% to 47% approval rating, statistically unchanged from his record-low two weeks ago.

Vote In November May Be More Anti-Democrat Than Pro-GOP

Posted Sep 09, 2010 at 1:27 AM by Maurice Berger

A USA/Today Gallup poll reports that the Republican lead in the congressional generic ballot may have less to do with positive feelings towards the GOP and more with voters rejecting the Democrats. According to the survey, among voters supporting unnamed Republican candidates, "44% say it's more a vote against the Democratic candidate . . . while 48% say it's more a vote for the Republican candidate."

Cook Report: GOP Could Take The U.S. Senate

Posted Sep 08, 2010 at 1:24 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Charlie Cook, in an analysis that PollTrack believes is valid, suggests that Republicans could also take control of the U.S. Senate in the upcoming midterm elections: "For much of this year, it seemed a near mathematical impossibility that Republicans could score the 10-seat net gain needed to flip the Senate, which is split between 59 Democrats (including two independents who caucus with Democrats and largely vote with the party) and 41 Republicans. As recently as six weeks ago, I wrote in a CongressDailyAM column that a GOP win was 'certainly possible' but 'still fairly unlikely.' Although the 'fairly unlikely' part is still valid, the possibility of a GOP takeover is growing."

Gallup: GOP With Unprecedented Lead In Generic Ballot

Posted Aug 31, 2010 at 2:15 AM by Maurice Berger

A just published Gallup tracking poll has alarming news for Democrats running in the mid-term election: the GOP now holds an unprecedented lead in the generic congressional ballot. The survey reports that Republicans lead by 10 points in the generic congressional ballot among registered voters, 51% to 41%. This is the biggest GOP lead so far this year and its largest in Gallup's history of tracking the midterm generic ballot for Congress.

PollTrack Average: Republicans Hold Significant Lead In Generic Congressional Ballot

Posted Aug 24, 2010 at 2:18 AM by Maurice Berger

According to PollTrack's latest calculation, the GOP holds a significant lead over Democrats in the Generic Congressional Ballot. As of Sunday evening, that lead is a considerable +7.2%, 47.5 to 40.3%. These numbers represent one of the largest leads held by either party in recent years.

Cook Report: Where The Midterms Stand

Posted Aug 05, 2010 at 1:32 AM by Maurice Berger

The latest Cook Political Report forecast predicts a 32 to 42 seat net gain for Republicans in the House of Representatives. In order to take over the House, the GOP needs to net 39 seats to reach a bare majority of 218 seats. In the Senate, Cook's forcast bodes better for the Democrats, with a predicted a 5 to 7 seat net gain for Republicans, not enough to take control of the chamber.

Gallup: GOP Now Back In Lead of Generic Ballot

Posted Aug 04, 2010 at 1:31 AM by Maurice Berger

The newest Gallup survey of national political sentiment adds fuel to the speculation that a an earlier survey by the organization indicating a Democratic lead in the generic congressional ballot--and outlier relative to most other polls--may indeed represent a statistical blip. According to Gallup, Republicans have taken back the lead and are now ahead by +5%, 48% to 43%.
Gallup writes: "While the five-percentage-point edge for Republicans is not statistically significant, it represents a return to the prevailing 2010 pattern, seen since mid-March, whereby Republicans were tied or held a slight advantage over Democrats in most Gallup Daily tracking weekly averages. If sustained through Election Day, this competitive positioning for the Republicans among registered voters would point to major seat gains for that party in November given the usual Republican advantage in turnout."

Midterm Election 2010: Are Democrats Gaining Ground?

Posted Aug 03, 2010 at 1:08 AM by Maurice Berger

Are Democrats regaining ground in the 2010 mid-term election? One polling organization, Gallup, has reported for tor two straight weeks, that Democrats now maintain a lead in the generic congressional ballot. Does this suggest a trend. Veteran political analyst Charlie Cook suggests that it is too early to tell: "One interpretation of recent results is that the momentum in this critical midterm election has shifted and the Republican wave has subsided. Another interpretation is that it's too soon to tell whether much has changed at all." It is also inportant to add that Gallup's findings are not matched by some other polls: A new Fox News poll, for example, reports a +11% for Republicans in the generic congressional ballot,  47% to 36%. Two weeks ago the Republicans had a +4% advantage.

Which States Are Most Democratic or Republican?

Posted Jul 27, 2010 at 1:57 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, "more states are politically competitive this year than was the case in 2009, as fewer Americans nationwide identify with the Democratic Party. Vermont -- along with the District of Columbia -- is the most Democratic state in the U.S. in 2010 so far, while Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho are the most Republican." Here is Gallup's chart of the most Democratic and Republican states in the union:

Top 10 Democratic States, January-June 2010 Top 10 Republican States, January-June 2010

Americans Continue To Be Divided on Health Care Law

Posted Jul 14, 2010 at 1:49 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new National Journal/Pew Research poll, 47% of Americans continue to disapprove of the health care law; 35% approve; and 17% had no opinion. The poll also found sharp partisan divisions in the perception of the law: "82% of Republicans disapprove, while only 17% of Democrats disapprove. Independents track closer to the overall sample: 52% disapproved of the law, while 30% approve."

Republicans Lead Congressional Generic Ballot

Posted Jul 13, 2010 at 12:41 AM by Maurice Berger

A Democracy Corps survey is the latest to show Republicans leading Democrats in congressional races by six points, 48% to 42%. The poll--in line with most other gauges of party strength in the upcoming congressional elections--suggests a wide enough margin to be of real concern to Democrats.

Wide Enthusiasm Gap Between Parties

Posted Jul 09, 2010 at 1:29 AM by Maurice Berger

In another bit of troubling news for the Democrats, a new Pew Research poll reports that Republicans "are much more engaged in the coming election and more inclined to say they are certain to vote than are Democrats. This could translate into a sizable turnout advantage for the GOP in November that could transform an even race among registered voters into a solid victory for the Republicans. . . . Fully 56% of Republican voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting this year than in previous elections -- the highest percentage of GOP voters expressing increased enthusiasm about voting in midterms dating back to 1994." That year, of course, marked enormous gains by Republican candidates for Congress.

Charlie Cook On Midterms: There Is A Wave Out There

Posted Jul 07, 2010 at 12:37 AM by Maurice Berger

Charlie Cook's latest reading on election 2010 sets an ominous tone for Democrats: "There is a wave out there, and for Democrats, the House is, at best, teetering on the edge . . . To be sure, things could change in the four months between now and November 2. The GOP's failure to get Republicans to vote in the May 18 special election in Pennsylvania's 12th District underscores that the party can't just sit back and await spontaneous combustion in terms of turnout. Still, the potential is here for a result that is proportional to some of the bigger postwar midterm wave elections. These kinds of waves are often ragged; almost always some candidates who looked dead somehow survive and others who were deemed safe get sucked down in the undertow. That's the nature of these beasts. But the recent numbers confirm that trends first spotted late last summer have fully developed into at least a Category 3 or 4 hurricane."

Democrats Lead In The Congressional Generic Ballot?

Posted Jun 18, 2010 at 1:01 AM by Maurice Berger

With polls contradicting each other daily, it's hard to know who is really ahead in the congressional generic ballot. Today's survey, out from AP-GFK reports a healthy +7% point lead for the the Democrats, 46%-39%. The same poll reports that the Democrats  they also lead Republicans 47%-42% on "who Americans trust more to guide the economy." But there is also a caveat for Democrats: "There's plenty in the poll to encourage Republicans, and nothing that contradicts many analysts' views that the GOP has a solid shot of capturing majorities of one or both chambers of Congress. The public's anti-Washington mood remains robust, with 55% saying they want a new member of Congress — bad news for Democrats with more incumbents to defend. A low 24% approve of how Congress is doing its job, a hefty 72% still say the nation's economy is in poor condition, and 77% consider huge federal budget deficits a top concern."

GOP Ahead In Congressional Generic Ballot?

Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 1:08 AM by Maurice Berger

It looks like yesterday's PPP survey showing the Democrats leading the congressional generic ballot may be an outlier. All other recent polls show a GOP advantage. The latest Gallup Poll, for example, reports that Republicans now hold +5% lead in the generic ballot, 49% to 44%. A new poll of the battleground congressional districts, conducted by NPR by Democratic polling firm GQR and Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, "finds reason for deep concern among Democrats. The poll . . . tested the 60 most competitive Democratic districts and shows an increasingly difficult environment for candidates of the majority party.

"The results are a wake-up call for Democrats whose losses in the House could well exceed 30 seats," GQR notes in its findings. In the Democratic districts, several findings were most disconcerting for the party: just 34% said they would vote to re-elect their representative, whom the questioner named; in a separate question, 56% said they will not vote to re-elect their representative because new people are needed to fix Washington; and when both the Democratic and Republican candidates were named, 47% said they'd vote for the Republican and 42% chose the Democrat. Also tested were the 10 most competitive Republican districts, where 53% say they'll vote for the GOP candidate and 37% for the Democrat."

New Poll Shows Democrats Leading Congressional Generic Ballot

Posted Jun 15, 2010 at 1:10 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Public Policy Polling survey reports that Democrats are now leading in the generic congressional ballot. Although the margin is small--43% to 41%--this survey marks the first time since December that PPP shows an advantage for the Democrats.

Democrats In Trouble In 2010 Mideterms?

Posted Jun 02, 2010 at 1:04 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey suggests serious trouble ahead for Democrats in this November's midterm elections: The latest Gallup poll reports that Republicans now lead Democrats in the generic congressional ballot by six points, 49% to 43%. Gallup goes on to note that this is the largest GOP lead in the survey since it began in 1950.

Colorado As Bellwether: Is It Swinging The Other Way

Posted May 13, 2010 at 1:06 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack has consistently argued that Colorado can be seen as a bellwether of sorts in recent years, offering clues to the political direction of the rest of the country. Over the past six years, Democrats have made significant gains in the states, as the party's fortunes nationally have risen, culminating in President Obama's victory in the state in 2008. Recent polling in the states, now suggests that the bellwether may be swing in the GOP's direction.

The New York Times reports that in the state of Colorado, "Republicans are now well positioned for a statewide resurgence, threatening several Democratic seats in the midterm elections and raising questions about whether the opening chapter of the Obama administration has eroded gains that Democrats had been making here for the previous six years." For more of the Times' analysis, click here. 

 

Democratic Turnout Low In Tuesday's Primary Elections

Posted May 06, 2010 at 1:47 AM by Maurice Berger

In what may be an ominous sign for Democratic prospects in this November's midterm elections, turnout among Democratic voters "dropped precipitously in 3 statewide primaries on Tuesday, giving the party more evidence that their voters lack enthusiasm ahead of midterm elections. In primaries in NC, IN and OH, Dems turned out at far lower rates than they have in previous comparable elections . . . By contrast, GOP turnout was up almost across the board." As PollTrack reported on Wednesday, the lack of enthusiasm among Democratic voters--coupled with a fired-up Republican base--could spell trouble for the Democratic Party this fall.

Enthusiasm Gap Hurts Democrats

Posted May 05, 2010 at 1:45 AM by Maurice Berger

Although U.S. registered voters are closely divided in their 2010 congressional election preferences, a new Gallup survey reports that "those who say they are 'very enthusiastic about voting' this year show a strong preference for the Republican Party . . . Gallup has consistently found Republicans expressing a higher level of enthusiasm than Democrats about voting in this year's election campaign. Theoretically, those who are enthusiastic about voting would be more likely to turn out to vote than those who are not enthusiastic. This fall, Gallup will be better able to measure the potential impact of turnout on the vote by applying its 'likely voter' model to the generic ballot results. That model takes into account a more complete set of factors related to voting, including interest in the election, intention to vote, and past voting behavior."

GOP Narrows Gap With Democrats In Party Affiliation

Posted Apr 28, 2010 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

A recently released Gallup poll reports that Democrats now have the smallest advantage in political party affiliation in five years. During the first quarter of 2010, 46% of Americans identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic, while 45% identified as or leaned Republican.

Cook Report: Republicans Poised To Take Back Many Seats In The House

Posted Apr 21, 2010 at 1:19 AM by Maurice Berger

In a new and complex report, one of the nation's most experienced analysts suggests that the Democrats may be in trouble in this falls mid-term elections. The Cook Political Report now  projects that come November, the Republicans are poised to gain 30 to 40 seats in the House of Representatives. The GOP needs 40 seats to take control. "If the trend over the past  seven months continues," writes Cook, "the GOP will do even better."

Democratic Party Favorability Drops To New Low

Posted Apr 16, 2010 at 1:11 AM by Maurice Berger

According to  new Gallup Poll, the Democratic party's favorable rating has dropped to 41%, the lowest point in the 18-year history of this measure. The Republican party's favorable rating is now at 42%. As recently as last summer, the Democratic advantage over  Republicans was a significant +11%. Now, that advantage has completely evaporated. According to Gallup, "Americans' current 41% favorable rating of the Democratic Party is five points lower than the party's previous low, recorded twice in 2005."

Nate Silver: Democrats Could Loose 50 Seats

Posted Apr 13, 2010 at 1:36 AM by Maurice Berger

Nate Silver speculates that Republican advantage now registered by a number of surveys in the generic congressional ballot could result in the Democrats loosing a significant number of House seats this November: "Although analysts debate the precise magnitude of the difference, on average the generic ballot has overestimated the Democrats' performance in the popular vote by 3.4 points since 1992. If the pattern holds, that means that a 2.3-point deficit in generic ballot polls would translate to a 5.7 point deficit in the popular vote -- which works out to a loss of 51 seats, according to our regression model." Still, as PollTrack notes, it's to early to tell if these numbers will hold up. Even Silver hedges his bet: "If Democrats were to lose 50, 60, 70 or even more House seats, it would not totally shock me. Nor would it shock me if they merely lost 15, or 20. But their downside case could be very far down."

Congressional Generic Ballot Tied

Posted Apr 09, 2010 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup Daily tracking for the week ending April 4 finds the two major parties tied at 46% in the congressional voting preferences of registered voters nationally. In the two weeks since Congress passed health care reform on March 21, Democrats have tied or trailed the Republicans, after having at least a slight advantage in the weeks prior. Here is Gallup's chart:

March-April 2010 Trend: Candidate Preference
 in 2010 Congressional Elections, Among Registered Voters

Americans Loosing Faith With Politicians

Posted Apr 07, 2010 at 12:23 AM by Maurice Berger

A USA Today/Gallup poll reports that Americans are loosing faith with politicians--attitudes "are reminiscent of those in 1994 and 2006, when control of Congress switched from one party to the other." 28% pf respondents say most members of Congress deserve re-election , a record low. Both major parties have exceptionally low favorability ratings: 41% for Democrats and 42% for Republicans. The President is not exempt from this negativity: 26% saying he deserves "a great deal" of blame for the nation's economic troubles, double the percentage in July.

Palin Divides American

Posted Apr 01, 2010 at 1:56 AM by Maurice Berger

Sarah Palin remains a polarizing figure in American politics, according to a new Washington Post poll. She's remains popular with those respondents who view the Tea Party movement favorably--with a 60% favorable rating--as well as conservative Republicans, garnering a whopping 71% positive rating. At the other end of the spectrum, 85% of liberal DEmocrats have an unfavorable view of the former Alaska Governor and 2008 Vice-Presidential candidate. Overall, 55% of Americans say they view Palin unfavorably.

Democrats Are Fired Up Again

Posted Mar 30, 2010 at 12:55 AM by Maurice Berger

One great advantage for the Democrats in President Obama's congressional victory on health care: the party faithful are once again fired up: a new Washington Post/ABC News poll reports that 76% of registered Democrats are enthusiastic to vote this November, compared to 75% of registered Republicans are enthusiastic.The enthusiasm gap between the two parties has effectively evaporated.

Does Pessimism About Economy Spell Trouble For Democrats In November?

Posted Mar 24, 2010 at 1:06 AM by Maurice Berger

While the passage of heath care legislation has buoyed the Democratic Party, the poor state of the economy may continue to spell trouble for Democrats come November. A new Bloomberg Poll reports that Americans by a significant margin believe the economy has worsened during the past year: "A sense of despair pervades perceptions of the economy and nation. Barely one-in-three Americans say the country is on the right track. Fewer than one in 10 say they believe the economy will be strong again within a year. Just 4 percent of Americans who cut back on spending during the recession now say they are confident enough to open their wallets, according to the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points."

Poor economic outlook is often the most important factor in determining the political health of the party in power and of incumbents in general. Will the economy improve enough to help the Democrats in the mid-term election or will voters turn to an alternative. Conversely, does the relatively depressed standing of the Republican Party--a recent poll shows a significant decline in GOP support among independent voters--help the Democrats hold on to both houses.

Congressional Generic Ballot Evenly Split

Posted Mar 18, 2010 at 12:56 AM by Maurice Berger

Two new polls suggest that if the November election were held today, the generic vote for congress would be evenly split: Public Policy Polling survey finds a slim Republican advantage, 46% to 43%; the latest WSJ/NBC News poll shows Democrats with a three point lead, 46% to 43%; Gallup reports a similar advantage,  47% to 44%. PollTrack's average shows the Democrats with a tiny +1% lead, 45.3% to 44.3%.

Democrats More Confident About Economy Than Republicans Or Independents

Posted Mar 04, 2010 at 1:38 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, "Democrats were less negative than either independents or Republicans about the economy in February, as has been the case since shortly after President Barack Obama took office in early 2009. Democrats' -10 reading on Gallup's Economic Confidence Index in February compares to -34 among independents and -44 among Republicans . . . Americans' views of the economy clearly reflect their political orientation and can vary sharply, depending on which party controls the White House. Republicans are most positive when there is a Republican president. Democrats are the most positive when the president is a Democrat."

Democrats Loosing Young Voters

Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 1:36 AM by Maurice Berger

In what is surely a troubling sign for Democrats, the party appears to be loosing young voters--a key component of President Obama's margin of victory in 2008: "The "Millennial Generation" of young voters played a big role in the resurgence of the Democratic Party in the 2006 and 2008 elections, but their attachment to the Democratic Party weakened markedly over the course of 2009. The Democratic advantage over the Republicans in party affiliation among young voters, including those who "lean" to a party, reached a whopping 62% to 30% margin in 2008. But by the end of 2009 this 32-point margin had shrunk to just 14 points: 54% Democrat, 40% Republican." Still, as the survey reports, "While the Republican Party picked up support from Millennials during 2009, this age group continues to favor the Democratic Party more than do other generations. And the underlying political values of this new generation continue to be significantly more liberal than those of other generations on many measures.

Obama's Decline In Public Approval: How Serious A Problem For Democrats in 2010

Posted Jan 22, 2010 at 1:35 AM by Maurice Berger

Republican pollster Frank Luntz fires a warning shot to Democrats in his analysis of the president's declining popularity. While his overall opinion of--and some of his ideas about--the seriousness of the dilemma now facing Democrats may be colored by ideology, two of his points about looming red flags are backed up by the results of a number of non-partisan public opinion surveys:


According to Gallup, Obama has suffered the greatest fall in approval of any elected president since the company started ongoing tracking during the Eisenhower administration. Obama came into office with the approval of two out of every three voters (67 percent) but ended his first year with just half the electorate (50 percent) offering a positive evaluation of his performance. Only the unelected Gerald Ford fared worse in the court of public opinion.


While the Republican brand has barely moved since its electoral disasters of 2006 and 2008 and remains unpopular, Democratic popularity has collapsed as well. Most surveys now have the GOP even or even slightly ahead in the generic congressional ballot, and Americans now see the Republicans to be as good if not better in handling the economy.

What Luntz fails to point out, however, is that the Republican brand is suffering as well: A new Public Policy Polling poll reports that only 19% of voters nationally are happy with the direction of the Republican Party, compared to 56% who are unhappy with it. Even more surprising--GOP voters are not particularly happy with the direction of their own party: just 35% support the direction of the party; 38% say they are unhappy.

Midterm Elections: Too Early To Tell

Posted Jan 08, 2010 at 2:20 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack suggests taking a look at this informative New York Times round table on the upcoming midterm elections. While certain political signs point to possibly significant Democratic loses (presidential job approval below 50%, shrinking Democratic partisan identification, a GOP lead on the Congressional Generic ballot), it is still too early to tell. An improved economy--and an uptick in job creation--could well benefit the Democrats (ten months is a relatively long time in the politics of the Internet age). Or continued stagnation may well add seats to the GOP column. Will shrinking Democratic turnout--relative to last year's wave of enthusiasm for candidate Obama--ultimately hurt the party in power or will Democrats, still weary from 8-years of George W. Bush, turn out in sufficient numbers to keep things stable? Click here for the complete NYT round table.

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.

Republican Voters Now More Enthusiastic For 2010 Cycle

Posted Dec 23, 2009 at 1:32 AM by Maurice Berger

Are Democrats in trouble due to lack of enthusiasm? CQ Politics reports that "a national survey conducted jointly by a prominent pollster from each of the major parties underscored what has become a theme in the year before the midterm elections. Republicans and independent voters who now are leaning Republican are more fired up to vote in 2010 than Democratic voters . . . The poll of 1,000 Americans deemed likely to vote, taken Dec. 6-9, found that 77 percent of both Republican and independent respondents said they are extremely likely to vote in the 2010 elections. Among Democratic respondents, 64 percent said they are extremely likely to vote. This is worrisome for Democrats, as it is a flip of voters' political attitudes in the 2006 and 2008 elections, which saw them win and grow majorities in both chambers of Congress and capture the White House. The Democratic Party prospered over the past two election cycles because Republicans and Republican-leaning independents -- disappointed with President George W. Bush and the congressional GOP -- were less fired up to vote than Democrats seeking change."

 

Election 2012: Democrats Will Start Voting Later

Posted Dec 17, 2009 at 1:40 AM by Maurice Berger

There is change in the air, at least in how Democrats will pick their presidential nominee in 2012: The DNC Change Commission, charged with revamping the nominating process, discussed draft findings and recommendations regarding the timing of primaries/caucuses, the role of super delegates, and caucus issues . . . As to timing, the discussion was relatively brief and consistent with prior discussions--Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada can [start voting] after Feb. 1, every other state goes after March 1, the rules should encourage regional clusters by offering incentives such as bonus delegates, the RBC will address enforcement procedures and sanctions, and the DNC will try to coordinate timing with the RNC rules committee.  The RNC coordination process is ongoing. Commission members recognized that the best hope for a spread out process lies with agreement with the RNC on starting date, both parties imposing the same penalties for going out of turn, incentives to states to move back and cluster, and the states recognition that frontloading is no longer the best way to get attention."

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."

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%."

Congressional Generic Ballot: Democrats & Republicans Even

Posted Dec 08, 2009 at 1:37 AM by Maurice Berger

The congressional generic ballot, which asks voters to indicate for which party do they intend to voter for the US House of Representatives next November, now shows the two parties virtually tied. PollTrack's averaging of recent polls on the question shows a tiny +0.4% lead for the Democrats: DEM 44.8% to REP 44.4%.

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.

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."

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.'"

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.

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

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:

 

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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."

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."

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:

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Democratic Party Favorability Slides Downward

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

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

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

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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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." 

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.

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:

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Charlie Cook's Crystal Ball: Congressional Midterm Elections, 2010

Posted Jun 10, 2009 at 1:50 AM by Maurice Berger

The brilliant political analyst Charlie Cook--taking an early look at the electoral landscape for the 2010 congressional midterm election--predicts a split decision, "with Republicans picking up a few House seats but losing a Senate seat or two. The difference is that Democrats have the larger number of vulnerable House districts, while Senate Republicans have more seats that are in serious jeopardy."

Cook on the House: "Having gained 54 House seats over the past two elections, Democrats now represent 49 districts that GOP presidential nominee John McCain won last year. By comparison, Republicans represent 34 districts that Obama won. Simple arithmetic indicates that in the absence of overwhelming hostility toward the Republican Party, the GOP ought to gain a few, maybe even a dozen or so, House seats."

Cook on the Senate: "On the Senate side, the math is a bit different and is not driven directly by the results of the past two elections. In 2010, Republicans will be defending 19 seats, only one more than Democrats will. Originally, Republicans would have had 20 seats to defend versus 15 for the Democrats, but that changed with Joe Biden's election to the vice presidency and Hillary Rodham Clinton's selection as secretary of State. Two Democratic seats that would not have been up again until 2014 and 2012, respectively, will be in 2010. Add in Arlen Specter's party switch, and next year's lineup brings almost complete parity in the parties' exposure."

For more of Cook's fascinating analysis click here.

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)."

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."

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."

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." 

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."

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.

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.

Some Perspective On The National Implications Of NY-20

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 5:30 AM by Maurice Berger

The esteemed polytical anaylast Charlie Cook--one of the very best in the business--cautions political observers to be cautious about the results of today special election in New York's 20th Congressional District to fill the seat vacated by Kirsten Gillibrand: “Assuming that the margin in this upstate contest to fill the seat of newly-appointed Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is three or four points or less, my advice is to respond ‘that’s nice,’ then yawn, and walk away… What is more important is if there is a uniform direction to several odd-year elections. If, for example, Republicans were to win tonight and knock off Gov. Jon Corzine in New Jersey in November, and pick up the open governor seat in Virginia, then it is fair to say that they will have exorcised the demons of 2006 and 2008 . . . If Democrats hold NY-20 as well as New Jersey and Virginia, they can enter 2010 knowing that even if the wind isn’t at their backs, there also isn’t a headwind.” PollTrack agrees with Cook. Is is doubtful that the outcome of NY-20 will serve as a bellwether. Rather it could hint at an impending problem for one of the national parties, at best.

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.

Obama's 2008 Victory May Have Been Narrower Than It Seems

Posted Mar 30, 2009 at 2:03 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new analysis, in which the 2008 presidential election was re-run using a district-based system of awarding electoral votes, used only in two states (ME and NE), instead of the winner-take-all Barack Obama still would have defeated John McCain, though the Electoral College tally would have been closer than the actual 365-173 margin of victory.

The CQ Politics analysis concludes that Obama would have beaten McCain 301-237 "using a district-based system, under which a candidate receives two electoral votes for winning a state and one electoral vote for every congressional district he or she wins. Only Maine and Nebraska allocate electoral votes in this fashion. The analysis found that Obama won 242 districts and McCain won 193 districts. Obama also posted another 59 electoral votes by carrying 28 states and the District of Columbia, which is entitled to three electoral votes under the 23rd Amendment. McCain would have received another 44 electoral votes as a result of winning 22 states." PollTrack observes that such results suggest the country remains more politically divided than the initial 2008 results suggest, divisions that now appear to be playing out in the polling that gauges political sentiment in the upcoming congressional elections of 2010. Such surveys now indicate an electorate evenly divided between support for Democrtic and Republican congressional candidates.

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."

Democratic Support Up A Tick On Generic Congressional Ballot

Posted Mar 18, 2009 at 1:11 AM by Maurice Berger

In a bit of bright news for the Obama administrations and congressional Democrats, the party has "managed to move slightly further ahead this week. . . . The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 42% of voters said they would vote for their district’s Democratic candidate while 38% said they would choose the Republican. In recent weeks, the Democratic advantage on the Generic Ballot has ranged from one-to-four points. Democrats enjoy a larger advantage when it comes to partisan identification among the electorate."

Voters See Bi-Partisanship As A Fading Dream

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

Just about half of the nation's voters--49%--now believe politics in Washington will be more partisan over the next year. This number represents a 9% gain since early February and a 15% jump since early January: The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just "32% expect more cooperation between the two sides over the coming year. That’s down from 48% in January."

Rasmussen also reports a much smaller shift in perceptions of President Obama's governing style. 39% believe he is "governing on a bipartisan basis, down from 42% a month ago. The number who believe he is governing as a partisan Democrat has gone up four points to 43%. But more voters think that members of Congress from both political parties are more partisan than Obama. 50% of voters say congressional Republicans are acting in a partisan manner. 60% say that congressional Democrats are behaving as partisans."

Republicans Pull Close in Generic Congresional Ballot

Posted Mar 06, 2009 at 1:28 AM by Maurice Berger

In what may suggest a looming problem for the Obama administration in the 2010 congressional elections, a new Rasmussen survey reports that "the race between Republicans and Democrats has once again tightened up in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot. For the third time in the last four weeks, Republicans have pulled to within two points of the Democrats. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 41% of voters said they would vote for their district’s Democratic candidate while 39% said they would choose the Republican. While support for the Democrats has not changed since, support for the GOP has increased two points."

Republicans Rate Poorly On The Economy

Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 1:04 AM by Maurice Berger

White President Obama continues to enjoy high approval on his handling of the economy and other problems facing the nation, the Republicans fare very poorly. A new ABC News/Washington Post Poll Reports that the Democratic Party leads the Republicans by 56-30 percent in trust to handle the country's main problems. "That has slightly improved from 56-23 percent in December, as congressional Republicans found a unified voice in opposition to the stimulus. But the December number was the Republicans' worst in ABC/Post polls since 1982; they still have far to climb."Additionally, the Democrats hold the edge in partisan affiliation: 36% in the poll identified themselves as Democrats, just 24% as Republicans. On average in 2003, by contrast, the parties were at parity, 31 percent apiece."

Confidence In Democrats To Handle Economy Is Falling

Posted Feb 13, 2009 at 1:50 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Rasmussen survey suggests possible political storm clouds for Democrats on the question of how well they can manage the economy: "Democrats are still trusted more than Republicans to handle the economy by a 44% to 39% margin, but their advantage on the issue has been slipping steadily since November; 17% are not sure which party they trust more to handle the economy. In the first poll conducted after Barack Obama was elected president, the Democrats held a 15-point lead over the GOP on economic issues. In December, their lead dropped to 12 points. In January, prior to Obama’s inauguration, Democrats held a nine-point lead on the issue."

The Democratic Brand May Be In Trouble

Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 2:36 AM by Maurice Berger

In an ominous sign for the Democrats, public displeasure with Congress seems to be translating into much decreased support for Democratic legislators. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone surveys found that in the generic congressional balllot, the Democrats’ lead is down to just one percentage point. Forty percent (40%) of voters said they would vote for their district’s Democratic candidate while 39% said they would choose the Republican. "This marks the lowest level of support for the Democrats in tracking history," Rasmussen reports, "and is the closest the two parties have been on the generic ballot."

Democrats 2008 Party ID Largest Since the 1980s

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

According to Gallup, an average of 36% of Americans identified themselves as Democrats and 28% as Republicans in 2008. That eight-point advantage is the largest for the Democratic Party since Gallup began regularly conducting its polls by telephone in 1988. Gallup notes: "The year-by-year trend shows that Democrats have gained ground against Republicans in each of the last five years, going from a deficit of two points in 2003 to the most recent eight-point advantage. Additionally, the 36% of Americans who identified as Democrats last year matches the high point in Democratic identification since 1988, when it was also 36%. But since fewer Americans identified as Republicans last year (28%) than in 1988 (31%), the Democratic advantage was larger in 2008."

A Plurality of Voters See Obama As Bipartisan

Posted Feb 03, 2009 at 8:25 AM by Maurice Berger

While a plurality of voters see Barack Obama's governing style as bipartisan, they are not so sure about the US Congress: "42% of U.S. voters say President Obama is governing on a bipartisan basis while 39% say he is governing as a partisan Democrat . . . [Yet] most voters believe congressmen from both major political parties are acting in a far more partisan manner than the president. 58% say congressional Democrats are governing in a partisan fashion, and 52% say the same about Republicans in Congress. Just 22% say members of both parties are acting on a bipartisan basis. Overall, 40% expect politics in Washington to become more partisan over the next year while 40% expect it to become more cooperative.>

Only Five States Remain Solidly Republican: UT, WY, ID, AK, NE

Posted Jan 30, 2009 at 1:29 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by the Gallup organization reports a national  electoral map that has grown markedly Democratic over the past few years: "An analysis of Gallup Poll Daily tracking data from 2008 finds Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Hawaii to be the most Democratic states in the nation, along with the District of Columbia. Utah and Wyoming are the most Republican states . . . What is immediately clear from the map is that residents of the United States were very Democratic in their political orientation last year. . . All told, 29 states and the District of Columbia had Democratic party affiliation advantages of 10 points or greater last year. This includes all of the states in the Northeast, and all but Indiana in the Great Lakes region. There are even several Southern states in this grouping, including Arkansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky. An additional six states had Democratic advantages ranging between 5 and 9 points. In contrast, only five states had solid or leaning Republican orientations in 2008, with Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska in the former group, and Nebraska in the latter."

More Americans Self-Indentify as Democratic

Posted Jan 05, 2009 at 3:44 AM by Maurice Berger

Perhaps as a testament to voters' high regard for President-Elect Obama, Rasmussen reports that the number of Americans who consider themselves to be Democrats rose again in December to 41.6%: "That’s up two-tenths of a point since November and the third straight monthly increase in the number of Democrats. Only once since Rasmussen Reports began tracking this data on a monthly basis in 2002 has the number of Democrats been higher. In May, as the Obama-Clinton primary battle neared its conclusion, 41.7% of Americans said they were Democrats. At the same time, the number of Republicans declined a full percentage point from 33.8% in November to 32.8% in December."

Liberals Love Obama, Republicans Gaining In Enthusiasm

Posted Jan 05, 2009 at 12:53 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup poll, liberal Democrats remain confident in president-elect Obama: support for Obama among liberal Democrats is holding steady at 93% "despite news reports that his core supporters are disappointed with some of his cabinet appointments and other decisions. Meanwhile, in recent weeks, Obama's ratings have improved among conservative Republicans, up from 23% to 29% . . . Now, a slim majority of moderate and liberal Republicans, 51%, say they are confident Obama will be a good president, up from 44% in November. Conservative Republicans remain largely skeptical of Obama's abilities, but in recent weeks his stock has risen slightly among this group, from 23% to 29%."

Democratic Brand Could Be In Trouble With Voters

Posted Dec 19, 2008 at 3:19 AM by Maurice Berger

In a sign that the Republicans may have an opening in the Blogojevich scandal (and that Obama may have a looming PR problem), a new Rasmussen survey reports that a "number of voters are unsure which political party they can trust to deal with government ethics and corruption has climbed to its highest level since June." The poll found that 39% do not know which party to trust. Trust in both the Democratic and Republican Parties "is also at the lowest levels since June. Now, 36% trust the Democrats more, while 26% trust Republicans more. In November, voters trusted Democrats more when it came to corruption by a 38% to 31% margin."

Black Democrats As Conservative as Republicans On Some Moral Issues, Like Homosexuality and Stem Cell Research

Posted Dec 04, 2008 at 1:18 AM by Maurice Berger

According to CQ Politics, while black voters in California overwhelmingly supported Democrat Barack Obama for president, their views on homosexuality were far more closely allied with Republicans: "When Californians voted for Proposition 8, providing for a state-wide ban on same sex marriage, exit polls showed that 7 out of 10 black voters supported the measure. Gallup has followed this up with an analysis of its polling data from May 2006, May 2007 and May 2008 showing that on this issue, black Democrats are as conservative as Republicans. Thirty-one percent of black Democrats said that homosexual relations are morally acceptable compared to 61 percent of non-black Democrats and 55 percent of Democrats overall. That number put them more in line with Republicans among whom only 30 percent found such relations morally acceptable." African-American Democrats were also closer to Republicans than non-black Democrats on a number of other so-called moral issues, including stem cell research and sex outside of marriage but does NOT carry over into abortion and the death penalty, issues on which black voters are far more liberal than most Republicans.

Significant Generational Shift In Electorate: Young Voters Now More Democratic

Posted Nov 20, 2008 at 1:17 AM by Maurice Berger

An analysis by the Pew Research Center suggests that there is a significant generational shift in voting patterns: young voters have moved decidedly into the Democratic camp: "In the last three general elections - 2004, 2006, and 2008 -- young voters have given the Democratic Party a majority of their votes, and for all three cycles they have been the party's most supportive age group. This year, 66% of those under age 30 voted for Barack Obama making the disparity between young voters and other age groups larger than in any presidential election since exit polling began in 1972. This pattern of votes, along with other evidence about the political leanings of young voters, suggests that a significant generational shift in political allegiance is occurring. This pattern has been building for several years, and is underscored among voters this year. Among voters ages 18-29, a 19-point gap now separates Democratic party affiliation (45%) and Republican affiliation (26%). In 2000, party affiliation was split nearly evenly among the young." If this patterns hold, it will present a real challenge to Republicans, since a coalition of African-American, Hispanic, Jewish, and young voters constituted a significant majority for Obama in the 2008 cycle.

Why Obama Won: The Life Of The Party

Posted Nov 11, 2008 at 1:33 AM by Maurice Berger

In terms of the percentage of eligible voters who actually turned out in 2008, the numbers are not much different from 2004. The issue in this election was not an increase in the overall numbers of voters, but a decrease in Republican participation and a significant jump in Democratic voter enthusiasm and participation. Obama's victory was due in large part to "a substantial electoral shift toward the Democratic Party and by winning a number of key groups in the middle of the electorate," according to a Pew Research Center analysis of exit polls. As recently as 2004, voters were evenly divided among Republicans and Democrats. In this election, however, 39 percent identify themselves as Democrats compared to 32 percent for the Republicans. (In this regard, Rasmussen came closest of any pollster to predicting the actual "party weighting" of the electorate in 2008.) This balance was more skewed than in either of the last two Democratic presidential victories when Bill Clinton ran in 1992 and 1996. The biggest of the gains for the Democratic ticket among demographic groups since 2004--groups that would prove instrumental in Obama's decisive victory--were Hispanics (+13%), 18 to 29 year olds (+12%), urban voters (+9%), voters making over $100,000 a year (+8%) and African Americans (+7%). The Pew study also reports that Obama did better with voters in the ideological center than most Democrats: "While moderates have favored the Democratic candidate in each of the past five elections, Barack Obama gained the support of more voters in the ideological "middle" than did either John Kerry or Al Gore before him. He won at least half the votes of independents (52% vs. 49% for Kerry), suburban voters (50% vs. 47% for Kerry), Catholics (54% vs. 47% for Kerry), and other key swing groups in the electorate."

Democratic Enthusiasm May Help Obama

Posted Oct 14, 2008 at 12:34 AM by Maurice Berger

Last night, a Gallup study reported a striking enthusiasm gap in the electorate: "Only 51% of Republicans say they are more enthusiastic about voting than in previous years, compared to 71% of Democrats, marking a shift from October 2004, when enthusiasm was about the same for both partisan groups." Voter enthusiasm is an important barometer for assessing the likelihood of turnout on Election Day.

The Clinton Effect: Is Obama Still Struggling With Her Supporters?

Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 3:56 AM by Maurice Berger

An Associated Press-Yahoo News survey released today reports that Barack Obama's support from former backers of Hillary Clinton "is stuck smack where it was in June . . . a stunning lack of progress that is weakening him with fellow Democrats in the close presidential race." The poll indicates that "among adults who backed his rival during their bitter primary campaign, 58 percent now support Obama. That is the same percentage who said so in June, when Clinton ended her bid and urged her backers to line up behind the Democratic senator from Illinois."

The Clinton Factor

Posted Aug 21, 2008 at 2:28 AM by Maurice Berger

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll suggests that Hillary Clinton's supporters are sharply divided in their support for Barack Obama. While the poll directors conclude that “Whatever momentum that Obama took into the summer, he really appears to have lost it,” they attribute this erosion to the candidate's failure to unify his party, in contrast to McCain.

More troubling for Obama, perhaps, are the numbers concerning voters who supported Clinton in the primaries and caucuses: according to the survey, 52% now say they will vote for Obama, 21% are backing McCain, and 27% percent are undecided or want to vote for someone else. As the NBC/WSJ points out, voters who supported Clinton in the primaries — but do not now back Obama--"tend to view McCain in a better light than Obama and have more confidence in McCain’s ability to be commander-in-chief."

Though the NBC/WSJ numbers in contrast to other recent polls suggest a somewhat higher percentage of Clinton voters who refuse to support Obama, the implications for him in all of these surveys are dire. Thus, a major question looms about party unity: will the Democratic National Convention be enough--with speeches from both Clintons and a night devoted to women's issues--or must the Obama campaign go one step further and nominate Hillary Clinton for Vice President?

A Real Contest

Posted Aug 10, 2008 at 8:58 AM by Maurice Berger

The one question I have heard most often over the past month from voters is this: why isn't Obama walking way with this election? Why are the candidates virtually tied at this point? Indeed, as our own statistical indicators suggest (79% of voters believing that the nation is on the wrong track, President Bush's record low approval ratings, major storm clouds over the economy), this election should be an easy win for the Democrats. Yet, the candidates remain within a few points of each other nationally. And neither has broken the 50% mark. Over the next few weeks, I will examine the reasons for this competitiveness, tracking voter sentiment at close range, but also with an eye towards future trends.