Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Bill Clinton At Your Barbeque?

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

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

Gallup: Approval Ratings of Ex-Presidents Improve With Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lack of GOP Front-Runner Is Atypical

Posted Mar 08, 2011 at 12:51 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup reports: "The close contest among Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Mitt Romney in Republicans' preferences for the 2012 presidential nomination is atypical for a party accustomed to having strong early front-runners. In all 10 competitive GOP races since 1952, one candidate started off strongly, and in 8 of them, he prevailed." Here is Gallup's chart:

Gallup Republican Primary Nomination Polls: Competitive Races, 1952-2008

Compared To Other Recent President's Obama Is Doing Well

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

Will President Bush See His Approval Ratings Rise?

Posted Dec 04, 2008 at 5:22 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup is out with an interesting analysis of the approval ratings of lame duck presidents, evaluations that usually rise as the leader's terms drwas to an end: "It is common for presidents who are about to leave the White House to receive a bump in their job approval ratings between Election Day and Inauguration Day. Of the eight post-World War II presidents who left office after serving two terms, declining to seek an additional term, or being defeated for re-election, six saw increased job approval ratings in their final two-plus months in office . . . The largest spike occurred for the elder George Bush, of whom only 34% of Americans approved in October 1992, shortly before Bill Clinton defeated him for re-election. Immediately after the election, Bush's approval rating jumped to 43%, and by the time he left office, his rating had increased further to 56% -- a remarkable increase of 22 percentage points . . . Harry S. Truman and Jimmy Carter are the only two post-World War II presidents whose approval ratings did not improve after their successors were selected." Recent public opinion polls indicate that George W. Bush's end-of-term popularity registers a modest rise, on average +4%. 

Gallup & Rasmussen: Does Biden Help?

Posted Aug 24, 2008 at 1:25 AM by Maurice Berger

In a survey conducted yesterday and published this morning, Rasmussen Reports finds that 39% of voters believe that Obama made the right choice in selecting Biden as his running mate; 25% disagreed and another 35% are not sure. Women were less enthusiastic than men of the pick—33% of women say Biden was the right choice while 27% disagreed. It appears from these limited and early numbers that Biden may not resolve Obama's problem with Hillary  Clinton's most ardent female supporters.

In another flash poll completed yesterday by Gallup, the numbers suggest that the new VP nominee may have little effect on most voters: only 14% say that the selection of Biden makes them more likely to support Obama. 7% say less likely; 72% replied that it will have no effect at all.


A word of caution: it may take weeks or even months to understand the full effect of a VP pick. And most often, the VP candidate has only a modest effect, at best, on the outcome of a presidential election. In 1988, for example, Democrat Michael Dukakis lost with a running mate considered strong by most observers, Sen. Lloyd Bentson (D-Texas); his opponent Republican George H. W. Bush won, even though his choice, Sen. Dan Quayle (R-Indiana), was widely perceived as weak and inexperienced.