Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Divergent Views Of Opportunity In US

Posted Aug 13, 2014 at 2:20 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal: "By 63% to 35%, Republicans believe that the United States is a country where anyone can succeed, regardless of background. Democrats, by a 69% to 29% margin, disagree saying the widening income gap undermines that idea. Independents side with Democrats, 62% to 34%."

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%)."

Americans Want Better Veteran's Care

Posted Jul 07, 2014 at 6:08 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, "improving healthcare for U.S. veterans is Americans' top legislative priority for Washington to focus on, out of nine issues now or recently in the national spotlight. Nearly nine out of 10 Americans say it is "extremely" (41%) or "very important" (46%) that the president and Congress deal with veterans' healthcare in the next year."

Clinton's Favorability Declines

Posted Jul 02, 2014 at 8:31 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Bloomberg National reports that 52% of Americans view Hillary Clinton favorably, down from 56% in March and 70% in December 2012.

Americans Continue To View Obamacare Unfavorably

Posted Jun 11, 2014 at 9:38 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Kaiser Health tracking poll reports that the Affordable Care Act continues to be viewed unfavorably by Americans, 45% to 38%.

Support For Obamacare Increases

Posted May 08, 2014 at 8:43 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Christian Science Monitor/TIPP the reports increased support from the American public for the Affordable Care Act, now at an even 47% to 47%.

GOP Conservatives Cool on Bush in 2016

Posted May 01, 2014 at 11:38 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Economist/YouGov reports that only 18% of self-identified conservatives want Jeb Bush to run for president in 2016. Overall, "26% of Republicans want Bush to run. That puts him behind Paul, at 36%, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 30%. Some 35% of Republicans do not want Bush to run."

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."

President's Approval Rating Rebounds

Posted Jan 02, 2014 at 8:03 AM by Maurice Berger

According to an analysis by Bloomberg, President Obama "has picked up five points in public approval since he's gone away to Hawaii for a year-end family vacation. . . . The president's public approval rating was hanging at 39% in the days before Christmas, by the Gallup Poll's average of daily tracking surveys. Today... his approval has risen to 44%. His disapproval rating, 54% pre-Christmas, is down to 49%."

Eroding Support For Obamacare

Posted Dec 24, 2013 at 8:58 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by CNN/ORC reports that support for the Affordable Care Act has dropped to a record low: "Only 35% of those questioned in the poll say they support the health care law, a 5% drop in less than a month. 62% say they oppose the law, up four points from November."

Only 20% Of Americans Satisfied With Direction Of Country

Posted Dec 03, 2013 at 12:33 PM by Maurice Berger

According to a new survey by Gallup, "20% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States, a partial recovery from 16% in October during the government shutdown. The current reading is still one of the lowest Gallup has measured in the last two years."

Large Majority Do Not Trust Government

Posted Nov 07, 2013 at 8:45 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Pew Research reports that only 19% of Americans trust the government in Washington to "do what is right just about always or most of the time," a drop of +7% since January. 


MSNBC Poll: GOP Brand Badly Damaged

Posted Oct 11, 2013 at 6:05 PM by Maurice Berger

MSNBC writes: "The Republican Party has been badly damaged in the ongoing government shutdown and debt limit standoff, with a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finding that a majority of Americans blame the GOP for the shutdown, and with the party’s popularity declining to its lowest level. By a 22-point margin (53 percent to 31 percent), the public blames the Republican Party more for the shutdown than President Barack Obama – a wider margin of blame for the GOP than the party received during the poll during the last shutdown in 1995-96. Just 24 percent of respondents have a favorable opinion about the GOP, and only 21 percent have a favorable view of the Tea Party, which are both at all-time lows in the history of poll."

Obama Approval Erodes

Posted Jul 24, 2013 at 9:02 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by McClatchy-Marist reports that just 41% of Americans approve of the job President Obama is doing in office; 48% disapprove; and 11% are unsure. These numbers represent Obama's lowest approval rating since September 2011 when only 39% of voters approved of his performance.

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

A Career In Politics Disfavored By Most Americans

Posted Jul 11, 2013 at 8:53 AM by Maurice Berger

As Gallup reports, by a 2-to-1 margin, 64% to 31%, Americans would not like their child to go into politics as a career. The results are the same whether the question is asked about a 'child,' a 'son, or a 'daughter.' There has been little change in the percentage of Americans who would favor a political career for their son or daughter over the past two decades."

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?

Which US County Did Obama Win Biggest?

Posted Jan 30, 2013 at 8:31 AM by Maurice Berger

Which US county gave President Obama his largest percentage of the vote in the 2012 Election? Was it a county in New York? Vermont? Washington, DC? The answer, according to Josh Green, is "Shannon County, tucked into the southwest corner of South Dakota with a population of about 13,000. Ninety-three percent of the county's voters supported Obama, the highest percentage of any county in the country."

Over 80% Of Americans Disapprove of US Congress

Posted Jan 15, 2013 at 11:12 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by Gallup reports that "Americans give Congress a 14% job approval rating as the new year begins, the lowest since September of last year and down from 18% in November and December. The disapproval rating for Congress is 81%." Here is Gallup's chart:

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job?

Gallup: Americans Approved Of Democratic Convention Speakers

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

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

Leading Democrats' Favorable Ratings, August 2012

Declining Interest In Last Week's GOP Convention

Posted Sep 07, 2012 at 10:06 AM by Maurice Berger

Another indication of the public's declining interest in last week's GOP convention: a survey by Pew Research released this week reports that Americans paid far less attention to this year's Republican convention than it did four years ago. Just 37% say they watched all or some of the Republican convention, down from 56% in 2008. PollTrack will be tracking the public response to the Democratic convention to see if this decline goes beyond partisan lines. Another problem for the GOP nominee, Mitt Romney: 20% of those who tuned into the convention cited Clint Eastwood's speech as the convention highlight, while just 17% named the nominee's speech.

Small Increase in Romney's Likeability Numbers

Posted Sep 06, 2012 at 8:38 AM by Maurice Berger

One post-convention polling detail that should modestly boost the Romney campaign: On Saturday, the Reuters/Ipsos poll reported that Mitt Romney emerged out of the Tampa with a slight improvement in his image among voters. 31% of registered voters found Romney "likeable", up from 26% when the convention started. By contrast, President Obama's likeability rating, according to Ipsos, is 48%, suggesting a deeper problem for the GOP challenger.

Very Modest Bounce For Romney

Posted Sep 02, 2012 at 10:39 AM by Maurice Berger

With several polls showing little movement in the presidential race--the sole exception at this point, Rasmussen, has a slight, overall GOP-tilt, discernible both in this election relative to other polls and in 2008--it appears that Mitt Romney's convention bounce is very modest (or, according to Gallup and Reuter's-Ipsos, non-existent). One problem for Romney is suggested by numbers released by Variety on Sunday: a considerable drop from 2008 for TV viewers who watched the GOP standard bearer's acceptance speech. According to Variety, Nielsen data shows Romney's speech averaged 30.3 million viewers across nine networks, about 22% short of the nearly 39 million who tuned in for Sen. John McCain four years ago. These numbers suggest one of two possibilities: a specific decline in voter interest in the presidential race (or the GOP presidential race) or a general decline in viewer interest for convention coverage.

PollTrack will compare GOP convention viewership with that for the Democrats, but suspects that these numbers will also be lower. As for Gallup, their tracking poll as of Sunday afternoon reports a virtually tied race (with Obama leading by +1%), exactly where the race was before the start of the GOP convention. The Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll reports a similar lack of movement by the convention's end, with Obama regaining a +1% lead. A polling average of the three tracking polls (Gallup, Rasmussen, and Ipsos) relative to where the race was before the start of the GOP convention, suggests an overall bounce for Romney of +1.3%, one of the lowest post conventions bounces for a challenger in recent years.

Voters Have Mixed View of Ryan

Posted Aug 30, 2012 at 9:46 AM by Maurice Berger

Voters have a mixed view of Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's VP pick. According to a new Gallup poll, 38% say their opinion is favorable, and 36% saying it is unfavorable.With a sizable portion of the electorate undecided in their view of Romney, there may be room for his overall numbers to rise after yesterday's convention speech and the national exposure it provides. Still, the candidate's overall favorable number is relatively low for a VP candidate.

USA Today/Gallup: Ryan Not A Popular Choice

Posted Aug 13, 2012 at 11:01 AM by Maurice Berger

The first poll out of the gate to test the strength of Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate suggests that the pick may not boost the prospects of the GOP ticket. The poll by USA Today/Gallup reports that "more of the public gives [Ryan] lower marks than high ones. Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, is seen as only a 'fair' or 'poor' choice by 42% of Americans vs. 39% who think he is an "excellent" or "pretty good" vice presidential choice.  . . . USA TODAY/Gallup Polls of registered voters after the announcements of running mates since Dick Cheney in 2000 all showed more positive reactions. Only Dan Quayle in a 1988 Harris Poll of likely voters was viewed less positively than Ryan, with 52% rating Quayle as a "fair" or "poor" vice presidential choice. The Ryan poll includes all adults, not just registered voters." PollTrack cautions that snap polls often do not take into account the much longer process of voter assessment of candidates. Still, these numbers suggest a problem for the Romney campaign if they persist.

Bill Clinton At Highest Approval Rating

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

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

Jewish Americans Overwhelmingly Support Obama

Posted Aug 01, 2012 at 10:18 AM by Maurice Berger

Despite Mitt Romney attempts to build support among traditionally Democratic Jewish voters--and his trip this week to Israel--a survey by Gallup reports that 68% of Jewish Americans support President Obama for re-eelction, while 25% support Mitt Romney.Thus American Jews remain one of the President's most stalwart group of supporters.

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.

Approval of US Congress At Historic Low

Posted Jul 18, 2012 at 9:01 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, "Americans' view of the job Congress is doing is holding at roughly the same level Gallup has found since April, with 16% approving and 78% disapproving. This is slightly improved from the record low of 10% seen in February and similar to the ratings in mid-2011, but below where it stood at the start of that year." Here is Gallup's chart:

Approve of Congress -- January 2011-July 2012

Americans Divided On Healthcare Ruling

Posted Jul 03, 2012 at 8:24 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a survey by CNN/Opinion Research, American voters are evenly divided on last week's U.S. Supreme Court healthcare ruling: 50% agree with the Court's decision; 49% disagree. As for support for the law's key provision--the individual mandate--voters are also split, with 48% favoring it and 51% opposing it.

Hillary Clinton Favorability Hits New High

Posted May 03, 2012 at 9:31 AM by Maurice Berger

A survey by Washington Post-ABC News reports that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's favorable rating--at 65%--is the highest level of support reached by the former first lady in the history of the poll. Just 27% of respondents viewed Clinton unfavorably.

Sharp Rise in Americans Who Say Nation Is On Right Track

Posted Apr 27, 2012 at 8:32 AM by Maurice Berger

In yet another piece of positive election news for President Obama's reelection effort, a new survey by CNN/Opinion Research reports that 43% of "Americans say things are going well in the country," an increase of +19% points from August. Still, 57% say things are still "going badly," but Obama's modest lead over Romney in most recent polls suggest that this negativity does not immediately translate into support for his GOP challenger, Mitt Romney.  

Ronney Not Popular Nationally

Posted Mar 30, 2012 at 12:25 AM by Maurice Berger

A poll from ABC News-Washington Post reports that Mitt Romney now trails President Obama by 19% in popularity. Just 34% hold a favorable opinion of Romney as compared to 53% for Obama. In the poll, Romney's 50% unfavorable score is higher than Obama ever has received.

Gallup: US Satisfaction Index Has Hit Ten Month High

Posted Mar 21, 2012 at 1:20 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, "26% of Americans are now satisfied with the way things are going in the country, up from 22% in February and 18% in January. Satisfaction has not been this high since last May when it previously hit 26% -- buoyed by the death of Osama bin Laden -- and before that, April 2010 when it was 27%." While this number is still low, it suggest relative, nd perhaps politically valuable, improvement for the President's reelection effort.  Here is Gallup's chart:

Satisfied with the U.S.?

President Obama Way Ahead With Hispanic Voters

Posted Mar 09, 2012 at 3:18 AM by Maurice Berger

A new national Fox News Latino poll of likely Latino voters reports that "73% approve of Obama’s performance in office, with over half those questioned looking favorably upon his handling of the healthcare debate and the economy, at 66% and 58% respectively. . . . the poll shows that the overwhelming choice among likely Latino voters is President Obama. In head-to-head match-ups none of the GOP candidates would garner more than 14 percent of the Latino vote come November." If these numbers can be sustained, PollTrack believes that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a GOP candidate to make up the difference. The poll is very good news for the President's reelection effort and a warning to Republicans.

GOP Interest In Election Ebbing

Posted Feb 23, 2012 at 1:29 AM by Maurice Berger

In what may be a serious problem for GOP prospects in November, a new survey by Associated Press-GfK reports that interest in the Republican presidential race is on the wane: Just 40% of Republicans say they have a great deal of interest in following the contest, compared with 48% in December. Just as ominous for the GOP, the poll finds that a mere 23% are "strongly satisfied" with the field and 40% said they are dissatisfied with the candidates running.

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."

President Obama's Third-Year Approval Average At 44%.

Posted Jan 27, 2012 at 1:52 AM by Maurice Berger

According to an analysis by Gallup, President Obama's third-year approval average--at 44%--is the second lowest for a president in the past 50-years. Looking just at other elected presidents' third-year averages, only Jimmy Carter's 37% average in 1979-1980 is lower than Obama's. Ronald Reagan's third-year average of 45% was similar to Obama's. Crucial to reading this analysis, PollTrack believes, is the perception of the electorate moving into the fourth year: if the economic and political climate appear to be improving, as they were with Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, the voters often reelect a president with relatively low approval ratings in the third year. So PollTrack will keep a close eye on the economic atomosphere as we move into election 2012. Here is Gallup's chart:

Third-Year Job Approval Averages of Elected Presidents

Obama Leads Romney In General Election Match Up

Posted Jan 19, 2012 at 1:52 AM by Maurice Berger

Good news for President Obama: according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling, the President leads Mitt Romney in a general election match, at 49% to 44% nationally. This is Obama's best showing in months, an increase in support due, in part, to the steep decline of Romney's favorable rating, with only 35% rating him favorably while 53% have a negative opinion of him.

Election 2012: Tea Party Support Drops Significantly

Posted Dec 07, 2011 at 1:19 AM by Maurice Berger

A poll by Pew Research reports that the Tea Party, since the 2010 midterm elections, "has not only lost support nationwide, but also in the congressional districts represented by members of the House Tea Party Caucus." The survey concludes: "More Americans say they disagree (27%) than agree (20%) with the Tea Party movement. A year ago, in the wake of the sweeping GOP gains in the midterm elections, the balance of opinion was just the opposite: 27% agreed and 22% disagreed with the Tea Party." Although this decline may have an effect on the general election next fall, PollTrack believes that Tea Party influence will still effect the GOP primaries, where a smaller number of voters overall intensify the power of the waning, but still active party.

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%.

Americans Growing Weary Of Health Care Legislation

Posted Nov 04, 2011 at 4:22 AM by Maurice Berger

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that the health care reform law's popularity has hit an all-time low with Americans.
Only 34% of those surveyed had a favorable view of the legislation, while 51% held an unfavorable view.

Majority of American Expect Obama Not To Be Reelected

Posted Oct 07, 2011 at 2:02 AM by Maurice Berger

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that 55% of those surveyed believe President Obama will not be reelected next year, while 37% say he'll win. This kind of pessimism about a president's reelection prospects can serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy, both spurring on GOP support and dispiriting Democrats, whose lack of enthusiasm may result in lower voter turn out.

Dissatisfaction With Government At Record High In US

Posted Oct 03, 2011 at 12:41 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Gallup survey reports that a "record-high 81% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed, adding to negativity that has been building over the past 10 years." Here is Gallup's historical chart:

Trend: Reaction to How the Nation Is Being Governed

Congressional Approval At All Time Low

Posted Sep 26, 2011 at 12:51 AM by Maurice Berger

A survey by CBS News/New York Times reports that just 12% of Americans "approve of the job Congress is doing -- the same as the lowest percentage recorded in this poll, reached in October 2008, right before the November elections."

Hillary Clinton Maintains High Favorability Rating

Posted Sep 19, 2011 at 1:24 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a survey by Bloomberg poll, 64% of Americans maintain a favorable view of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The poll also reports that 34% of respondents are "suffering a form of buyer's remorse," saying the U.S. would be better off now if she had become president in 2008 instead of Barack Obama.

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%.

Vast Majority Of Americans See Nation Off Track

Posted Aug 31, 2011 at 1:21 AM by Maurice Berger

A survey by Democracy Corps reports that 75% of American voters believe the country is on the wrong track. This number represents 14 points jump since June; it is also and the lowest since the 2008 financial crisis. Democracy Corps writes: "Both parties in Congress lose ground, but Republicans have born the brunt of the backlash. Two thirds disapprove of House Republicans and 44% strongly disapprove - a 7 point surge since June. By a margin of 54% to 36%, voters say that the more they hear from House Republicans, the less they like."

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.

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.

Americans Disapprove of Tea Party

Posted Aug 09, 2011 at 1:00 AM by Maurice Berger

In the wake of last week's debt crisis, a New York Times/CBS News poll reports that the Tea Party is now viewed unfavorably by 40% of the public; just 20% hold a favorable opinion.

American Optimism Dims, But Not About The President

Posted Jul 14, 2011 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

Some bad news and some good news for the President. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll reports that the number of Americans who believe the country is on the wrong track rose to 63% this month. Yet, this negative world view does not apparently extend to President Obama, who continues to hold an approval rating in the poll at a respectable 49%.

Americans Are Not Optimisitic About State of Nation

Posted Jul 11, 2011 at 1:20 AM by Maurice Berger

In what amounts to another warning sign for incumbents in the 2012 cycle, a new Time/Aspen Ideas Festival poll reports that a whopping 71% of Americans, including a majority of every major demographic group other than African Americans, see the United States as worse off now than it was a decade ago.

GOP Voters Lack Enthusiasm For Their Candidates

Posted Jun 30, 2011 at 1:57 AM by Maurice Berger

A New York Times/CBS News poll reports that GOP voters are not at all enthusiastic for the pack of 2012 contenders for the Republican nomination for president: 70% of GOP voters now express dissatisfaction with their candidates and wish they had more choices. Even the presumptive frontrunners--Mitt Romney and Rep. Michele Bachmann--could muster the enthusiasm of no more than 7% of Republican voters apiece.

Are US Voters Angry With Incumbents?

Posted May 20, 2011 at 12:02 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released USA Today/Gallup survey roports that a mere 28% of registered voters believe that most members of Congress deserve re-election; this number ties the low set last year, before the GOP's historic gains. Gallup observes: "The anti-incumbent mood that led to sweeping changes in Congress after the 2010 elections persists, and the accompanying change in House leadership has not fundamentally altered the way Americans view Congress. Thus, incumbents remain vulnerable heading into the 2012 election cycle, though perhaps not quite as vulnerable as in 2010, given that voters are now more inclined to say their own member deserves re-election."

GOP Voters Rate Business and Economy As Top Political Concerns

Posted May 13, 2011 at 12:34 AM by Maurice Berger

In a hint of the priorities of GOP voters in the primaries and caucuses for the 2012 nomination for president, a Gallup survey reports that "given a choice, 36% of Republicans say business and the economy are the most important political issues to them, up from 32% in March, and now on par with the percentage who say the same about government spending and power. Fewer Republicans choose either social issues and moral values or national security and foreign policy as their top political priorities." Here is Gallup's chart: Trend: Republicans' Issue Priorities

Tea Party Support Lags

Posted Apr 01, 2011 at 1:13 AM by Maurice Berger

A CNN/Opinion Research survey reports a considerable drop in support for the Tea Party, now at 32%, the lowest level of approval to date. Just as troubling for the party, 47% have  an unfavorable view of the movement, the higher disapproval recorded to date.

NJ Govenor Chris Christie "Hottest" Politician?

Posted Mar 10, 2011 at 12:46 AM by Maurice Berger

The new Quinnipiac thermometer poll, testing public perceptions of political figures, reports that Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the "hottest politician" with American voters; President  Obama is in fourth place in the survey. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is the "coolest" politician, followed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sarah Palin.

For The First Time Since 2005, GOP Viewed Positively

Posted Jan 28, 2011 at 1:24 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released Gallup Poll reports that voters, for the first time since 2005, view the Republican Party more positively than negatively, by a 47% to 43% margin.

Palin's Favorability Rating Is Dropping

Posted Jan 20, 2011 at 1:15 AM by Maurice Berger

Americans view of Sarah Palin is trending downward. A new USA Today/Gallup poll reports that Sarah Palin's favorable rating has dropped to 38%, her lowest since becoming Sen. John McCain's running mate in 2008. In the days after the controversy over her response to the Tucson shooting--including her remarks about "blood libel"--Palin's unfavorable rating reached new high at 53%.

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.

Congressional Approval At Historic Low

Posted Dec 20, 2010 at 1:03 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released Gallup poll reports that just 13% of Americans approve of the way Congress is handling its job. 83% disapprove -- the lowest level of support ever measured in the history of the survey.

Tea Party Remains on the Fringe

Posted Sep 15, 2010 at 1:25 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Quinnipiac poll reports that the Tea Party remains popular with only a small sector of Americans; now, only 12% of voters consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement. Earlier surveys have shown support as high as 14%, still minor support. 30% of voters hold a favorable opinion of the Tea Party; 31%, unfavorable.

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."

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.

Gallup: Public Disapproval Of Congress At Near Low

Posted Jun 29, 2010 at 12:46 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup a mere 20% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, a near record low. Gallup's analysis does not bode well for the party now in power: "This year's low approval ratings for Congress are a potentially ominous sign for President Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress. Gallup has found greater party seat change in Congress in midterm elections when Congress has had low approval ratings. Specifically, in the five midterm elections in which Congress' approval ratings at the time of the election were below 40%, there was an average net change in seats of 29 from the president's party to the opposition."

Voters Angry At The Media

Posted Jun 25, 2010 at 12:51 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Rasmussen Reports survey, "66% of U.S. voters describe themselves as at least somewhat angry at the media, including 33% who are Very Angry . . . 31% say they are not angry at the media, but that includes just nine percent (9%) who say they are not at all angry. It's important to note, however, that the question did not in any way define media or differentiate between media outlets such as CNN and Fox News."


Gallup: Voters Devided On Obama Reelection

Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 1:12 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, American "registered voters remain split on whether President Obama deserves to be re-elected in 2012, with 46% saying he does and 51% saying he does not -- little changed from earlier this year." Here is their chart:

Does President Obama Deserve to Be 
Re-Elected, or Not? Among Registered Voters

Gallup continues: "The most recent Obama re-elect measure is similar to the president's basic job approval rating among all Americans, which was 48% in Gallup Daily tracking [in mid-June] . . . Obama received 53% of the popular vote in his 2008 victory over Republican John McCain. The current re-elect data suggest that -- depending on the Republican nominee -- the 2012 presidential election could be quite competitive were it held today."

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."

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."

Voters Rate Economy As Top Issue

Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 1:48 AM by Maurice Berger

In a not unsurprising result, a new Gallup survey reports that 57% of registered voters expect the issue of the economy to be extremely important to their vote for Congress this year, making it the top issue in the 2010 elections. Other problems, of lesser importance:  health care, unemployment, and the federal budget deficit. The least important of the seven issues ranked in the poll: the environment

Palin Favorability Remains Low

Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 12:55 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a CBS News Poll, "former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin continues to receive unfavorable ratings from the American public overall . . . though many Republicans do hold a favorable opinion of her. But even as the former GOP vice presidential candidate continues to build up her persona as a media personality and conservative spokesperson, nearly 4 in 10 self-identified conservatives say they do not have an opinion of her or know too little about her to have an opinion. 24% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Sarah Palin, while 38% view her unfavorably   . . . 37% of the public is undecided or hasn't heard enough to offer an opinion. Her ratings have held fairly steady over the past year. Only 7% of Democrats say they have a favorable view of Palin and 59% have a negative view. By contrast, 43% of Republicans have a positive view of Palin and 16% have a negative view."

Americans Very Dissatisfied With Congress

Posted Apr 08, 2010 at 12:52 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released Gallup Poll reports that a record-low number of American voters--28%--say most members of Congress deserve to be re-elected. The previous low was 29% in October 1992: "The same poll finds 49% of voters, a near-record low, saying their own member of Congress deserves to be re-elected. This marks only the second time since Gallup began asking this question in 1992 that the figure has dipped below 50%, and the first on the doorstep of a midterm election."

Is Congress In Trouble With Voters?

Posted Apr 06, 2010 at 1:15 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Marist Poll, 45% of registered voters nationwide remain unsatisfied with their elected officials in the U.S. Congress and would vote against them in November; 41% would vote for the incumbent, and 14% are unsure.

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.

Americans Ambivalent About Daylight Savings Time

Posted Mar 17, 2010 at 1:45 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Rasmussen Reports, "47% of Americans don’t think the time change is worth the hassle. 40% disagree, and 13% more aren’t sure . . . Men tend more than than women to think advancing the clock an hour to guarantee more sunlight in the afternoon and evening is worth the trouble. Adults 40 to 64 are more likely to feel the change is worth the hassle than those in other age groups."

Young Republicans More Enthusiastic About Midterm Elections

Posted Mar 10, 2010 at 12:13 AM by Maurice Berger

In an ominous sign for Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections, A Harvard Institute of Politics survey of 18 to 29 year-old voters, reports that Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting and participating Democrats, with 41% of Republicans planning on voting, compared to 35% of Democrats and 13% of Independents.

Republicans’ Life Ratings Drop While Democrats’ Improve

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

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

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

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.

Obama, Clinton: Most Admired Americans

Posted Jan 05, 2010 at 1:39 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by USA TODAY/Gallup finds that President Obama is the man Americans admired most in 2009, and finds Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin are virtually tied as the most-admired woman.The close finish by Clinton, named by 16% in the open-ended survey, and Palin, named by 15%, reflects the nation's partisan divide. Clinton was cited by nearly 3 in 10 Democrats but only 6% of Republicans, Palin by a third of Republicans but less than 1% of Democrats. Obama dominates the field among men at 30%, though his support also shows a partisan split. He was named by more than half of Democrats but just 7% of Republicans.

Hillary Clinton More Popular Than The President

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

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

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."


Support For Health Care Reform Dramatically Erodes

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

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

Election 2009: Did Obama's Base Hold?

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

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

GOP Favorability Slips

Posted Oct 29, 2009 at 1:47 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new CNN/Opinion Research survey, the "Republican Party's favorable rating among Americans is at lowest level in at least a decade, according to a new national poll. 36% of people questioned "say they have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party, with 54 percent viewing the GOP negatively. According to the poll, 53 percent have a positive opinion of the Democratic Party, with 41 percent holding an unfavorable view. The survey indicates that favorable ratings for the Democrats have dropped 5 points since February, with the Republican number slipping 3 points. 'The Republican party may still be battling the legacy left to them by George W. Bush," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. 'They have also spent a lot of time in 2009 working against Democratic proposals. That hasn't left them a lot of time so far this year to present a positive, post-Bush message. Of course, there is still plenty of time for them to do so before the 2010 midterms.'"

Support For "Public Option" At An All-Time High

Posted Oct 28, 2009 at 12:54 AM by Maurice Berger

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll reports that support for the so-called "public option"--a government-run insurance plan--at its highest level since the debate began with 48% in favor of the idea while 42% oppose it.

Nationally, Support For Abortion Drops

Posted Oct 09, 2009 at 2:36 AM by Maurice Berger

The latest Pew Research Center survey on abortion reveals a considerable decline in support for the procedure nationally: "Polls conducted in 2009 have found fewer Americans expressing support for abortion than in previous years. In Pew Research Center polls in 2007 and 2008, supporters of legal abortion clearly outnumbered opponents; now Americans are evenly divided on the question, and there have been modest increases in the numbers who favor reducing abortions or making them harder to obtain.  Less support for abortion is evident among most demographic and political groups. [The survey] also reveals that the abortion debate has receded in importance, especially among liberals. At the same time, opposition to abortion has grown more firm among conservatives, who have become less supportive of finding a middle ground on  the issue and more certain of the correctness of their own views on abortion."

Public Approval Of Congress Drops to 21%

Posted Oct 07, 2009 at 1:38 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, "Americans' approval of Congress is at 21% this month, down from last month’s 31% and from the recent high of 39% in March. Most of this change is due to a steep 18-point decline in approval among Democrats, from 54% in September to 36% now. At 9%, Republicans’ approval is down just slightly." Here is Gallup's month by month chart:


Congressional Approval -- 2009 Trend

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:



Health Care Reform Big Issue in 2010?

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

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





Majority Of Independent Voters Disaaprove of Obama's Performance

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

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

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

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

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

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."

Obama's PollTrack Approval Rating Average Drops To New Low

Posted Aug 19, 2009 at 12:48 AM by Maurice Berger

In an alarming sign for a the new administration, Barack Obama's PollTrack approval rating average has dropped to a new low. As of Monday evening, the President's approval rating hovers around the 50% mark--51.2% to 43% disapproval.

Americans Down On Sarah Palin

Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 2:19 PM by Maurice Berger

The popularity of former Alaska Governor and Republic VP candidate Sarah Palin has taken a hit in recent months, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll: "Americans appear to be souring on Sarah Palin, according to a new national poll. Thirty-nine percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday have a favorable opinion of the former Alaska governor and last year's Republican vice presidential nominee. That's down seven points from a poll conducted in May, and it's also nine points lower than the 48 percent who now say they now view Palin unfavorably. Forty-three percent viewed Palin negatively in May."

Gov. Palin Of Alaska Leaves On A Sour Note With Voters

Posted Aug 04, 2009 at 1:54 AM by Maurice Berger

Republican Sarah Palin of Alaska--once one of the nation's most popular Governors, with approval rating hovering at 80%--is left office this past week on a sour note with voters. More voters in the state now view her negatively, according to a new survey by Hays Research. As it now stands, 47.5% of Alaska voters have an unfavorable view of Palin while 46.8% are favorable.

Approval Rating: President Obama Has Better Week

Posted Aug 03, 2009 at 1:32 AM by Maurice Berger

The past week has been much better for President Obama politically than the week before. And tracking polls over the latter part of last week confirm this: By Friday afternoon, the president's approval rating ticked up to 54.1% (to 39% disapproval), a leap of more than two-points from earlier in the week. More mportant tracking polls taken exclusively in the latter part of the week show even greater improvement, with some, such as Gallup, indicating a positive rating as high as 55%. Stay tuned.

GOP Catches Democrats On Generic Congressional Ballot

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

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

Obama's Approval Slightly Higher

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

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

Obama Drops Below "Honeymoon" Threshold

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

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

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

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

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



Obama Approval Numbers Vary

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

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

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

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

Diageo/Hotline: Obama's Approval Drops Nine Points

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

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

Democrats Maintain Distinct Edge In Party Support

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

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

How Long Will Obama's "Honeymoon" Last

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

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


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

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

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

Rasmussen: Majority of Americans Continue To Rate Economy As Poor

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

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

Obama's Support Among Independents May Be Falling Off

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

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


Congressional Approval Rating Drops To 33%

Posted Jul 02, 2009 at 1:53 AM by Maurice Berger

Public perceptions about the US Congress have dropped even further, according to Gallup: "Americans' approval of the job Congress is doing has slipped to 33% this month, down from the recent high of 39% in March, but still significantly higher than job approval ratings of Congress over the last several years. Although there was no change in the control of either the House of Representatives or the Senate as a result of the 2008 elections, Americans' approval of Congress shot up concurrently with the inauguration of the new president in January -- going from 19% in early January to 31% in February to 39% in March. Congress' approval rating then dropped slightly in April and May, and this month is down further, as noted. . . . The slip in job approval to 33% this month appears to have been caused in part by a significant drop in approval among Democrats, whose 50% rating this month is the lowest since February. Republicans' rating is at 17% while independents' rating is at 31%, neither of which is sharply different from where each has been in the previous four months."

Obama Approval Remains Steady at 61%

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

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

Americans Less Certain About Obama's Handling Of The Economy

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

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

Gallup: Obama Approval Slips To All-Time Low

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

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

Republicans Down On Their Party

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

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

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)."

The Question Of Gay Marriage

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

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

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

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

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

Americans Cool On Former VP Dick Cheney

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

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

President's Approval Picks Up In May

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

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

Obama's Approval Rating VERY High

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

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

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

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

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

Crisis Party: Only 20% Of Voters Describe Themselves As Republican

Posted Apr 30, 2009 at 12:40 AM by Maurice Berger

In what represents a true crisis for the GOP, two polls out this week report that only 20% of voters describe themselves as Republican. Early this week a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey reported this number. A newly released Washington Post survey found a similar result: Only 21% see themselves as Republicans. PollTrack suggests that these numbers strongly suggested that the Republican Party has reached the crisis stage in terms of public perceptions about it.

More Americans Are Optmistic About Direction Of The County

Posted Apr 23, 2009 at 1:02 AM by Maurice Berger

In what can only be read as a testament for the relatively high regard of many for the Obama admistration, Rasmussen reports that more Americans are optmistic about the direction of the country: "For the third time this year, optimism about the country's direction has reached a recent high. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 37% of voters say the United States is heading in the right direction. Still, the majority of voters (57%) believe the nation is heading down the wrong track." 

Obama Continues To Enjoy Support Of Americans

Posted Apr 22, 2009 at 1:04 AM by Maurice Berger

While diminished from his numbers in January, President Obama continues to enjoy the support of American voters. Rasmussen Reports that "35% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama performing his role as President. 29% Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of +6. The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the number who Strongly Disapprove from the number who Strongly Approve. Obama's overall numbers according to Rasmussen--55% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance so far, 44%) disapprove--are average for a president at this early stage. PollTrack notes that an average of all of the major public opinion surveys on presidential job performance gives Obama a positive rating that hovers around 60%--a very healthy number.

Overall, Obama Approval Quite Healthy

Posted Apr 21, 2009 at 2:22 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup looks at the question of Obama's popularity from another perspective: his longterm numbers. Rather than seeing his numbers as an instantaneous snaphot of public opinion, the polling organization average the President's numbers over his 100-day administration. And the numbers come out positively for the new administration: "Barack Obama's first quarter in office concludes on Sunday, and during this early stage of his presidency he has averaged a solid 63% job approval, reaching as high as 69% in the initial days of his presidency and falling as low as 59% on a few occasions. Obama's 63% first-quarter average matches the historical average of 63% for elected presidents' first quarters since 1953. However, it is the fourth highest for a newly elected president since that time, and the highest since Jimmy Carter's 69% in 1977. The historical first-quarter average includes two presidents whose scores exceeded 70% (John Kennedy's 74% and Dwight Eisenhower's 71%)."

Majority Believe That Their Vote Counts in Elections

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

In yet another indication that voters remain confidence about the importance of participating in the political process, two-thirds of American adults nationwide--66%--say their vote really matters on Election Day. "The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that only 25% believe their vote doesn’t matter, and nine percent (9%) aren’t sure. 72% of Democrats say their vote really matters, along with 69% of Republicans. However, those not affiliated with either major party are less convinced: Just 57% say their vote matters. 31% of unaffiliateds say their vote doesn’t matter."

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."

Obama's Approval Rating Slips Considerably Among Independents

Posted Mar 23, 2009 at 2:15 AM by Maurice Berger

While Barack Obama's overall approval ratings have slipped since he first too office--from as high as +70% to as low as 56% now--most of his loss, up until now, has come from Republican voters. A recent American Research Group poll, however, reports that Obama has slipped considerably, if not ominously, among so-called independent voters who profess allegeance to no political part: "Independent voters are split on the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president, lowering his overall job approval rating to 56% from 60% a month ago . . . . Among all Americans, 56% approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president and 37% disapprove. When it comes to Obama's handling of the economy, 49% approve and 44% disapprove. Among Americans registered to vote, 57% approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president and 37% disapprove. A total of 47% of independent voters approve of the way Obama is handling his job and 46% disapprove. In February, 53% of independents approved and 39% disapproved."

PollTrack sees these numbers, if accurate and confirmed by other polling organizations, as the first sign of trouble for the president, re: his national standing. Since Republicns are moving away from Obama, and Democrats remain very suppportive, any erosion of the independent demographic could conceivably tilt overall national support away from Obama. Given the political rough spell experienced by the administration over the past few weeks (Obama's polling average of 60%, while average for a new president, is down considerably from January), are these numbers merely fleeting or are they predictive of a downward trend?

Approval For Congress Hits Four Year High

Posted Mar 16, 2009 at 1:37 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup Poll, "Americans' job approval rating of Congress is up an additional 8 points this month, after a 12-point increase last month, and now stands at 39% -- the most positive assessment of Congress since February 2005. Americans who identify themselves as Democrats are mostly responsible for the improved ratings of Congress measured in the March 5-8 Gallup Poll. After showing a 25-point increase in their approval of Congress from January to February and a further 14-point increase in March, a majority of Democrats (57%) now approve of the job the Democratically-controlled Congress is doing. Independents also show improved ratings of Congress, but not nearly to the extent that Democrats do. Republicans' evaluations of Congress have changed very little this year."

ABC News: Obama's Approval High, But Also Average For A New President

Posted Feb 25, 2009 at 1:20 AM by Maurice Berger

According to ABC News, President Obama's relatively high approval rating--on average now around 62%--is impressive but not unusual for a new administration: "There are a couple of data points worth keeping in mind as we await President Obama’s address to the nation tonight - and as we digest an aide's claim today, as Jake Tapper reports, that his strong approval rating is earned." One, while his rating is high, it’s also dead average for a new president. The other is the impressive partisanship beneath it. We have approval ratings for each of the last nine elected presidents after their first month in office, back to Dwight Eisenhower. (We’re leaving Johnson and Ford aside.) There’s been a healthy range, from a low of 55 percent for George W. Bush after the disputed election of 2000 to a high of 76 percent for his father 12 years earlier. (I’m using ABC/Post polls since Reagan, Gallup previously). But the average? Sixty-seven percent. And Obama’s? Sixty-eight percent, as we reported in our new poll yesterday. His initial rating, then, is strong – but it’s also generally typical for a new guy." PollTrack cuations that any poll--even the most accurate--is just a snapshot in term. Events on the ground can change public perceptions about a political leader in an instant (George W. Bush's gargantuan jump in public approval after 9/11 is a case in point).

Obama Riding High In Red States

Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 1:12 AM by Maurice Berger

The ideological divide evident in Election 2008 between the so-called blue and red states may be dissipating. According to a set of polls released by Rasmussen Reports, Tennessee and Texas--two states that were safely in John McCain’s column on Election Day--now report surprisingly high approval ratings for President Obama: "In a snapshot look at attitudes in McCain country, Rasmussen Reports finds that concerns about the current economic situation appear to override traditional political considerations. In Texas, for example, 62% of voters approve of Barack Obama’s performance to date, including 41% who Strongly Approve. 35% disapprove, with 19% who Strongly Disapprove.Only 47% of Texas voters had a favorable opinion of Obama in the last poll before Election Day . . . 60% of Tennessee voters approve of Obama’s job performance, including 39% who Strongly Approve. Thirty-five percent (35%) disapprove, 21% of whom Strongly Disapprove." Obama's approval rating in the state in a pre-Election Day poll was 45%. 

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."

Obama Victory Not Tied To Voter Surge

Posted Dec 02, 2008 at 4:22 AM by Maurice Berger

While Obama was able to count on an increase in intensity of support and turnout among African-American, Hispanic, and young voters, his victory was not built on a surge of voters (as his campaign had hoped). According to Bloomberg News: The Democrats "bet on an unprecedented surge of new voters to carry him to victory last month . . . but [Obama] won without the record turnout . . .  About 130 million Americans voted, up from 122 million four years ago. Still, turnout fell short of the 140 million voters many experts had forecast. With a little more than 61 percent of eligible voters casting ballots, the 2008 results also didn't match the record 63.8 percent turnout rate that helped propel President John F. Kennedy to victory in 1960."The reasons for this shortfall were complex and varied: "Many disaffected Republicans stayed home. Young voters, particularly those without college degrees, didn’t turn out in the numbers that the Obama campaign projected. In states where the presidential race wasn’t in doubt -- such as Obama strongholds in California and New York, or reliably Republican outposts such as Oklahoma and Utah -- turnout was lower than in 2004."

Bloomberg News: How Much Did Race Matter In Election 2008?

Posted Dec 01, 2008 at 5:03 AM by Maurice Berger

A just published Bloomberg News analysis examines the subject of race and whether the racial breakdown of election 2008 represented a new Democrat-tilting realignment. His conclusion: the republicans may be in trouble, yet if the racial and generational composition on Nov. 4 had been identical to four years ago, John McCain may well have won: "A deeper look at the changing shape of the electorate suggests more fundamental problems for Republicans. Their core constituencies are shrinking, and the wedge issues that used to plague Democrats are now more divisive for Republicans. . . . Non-whites comprised 26 percent of the electorate, up from 23 percent in 2004. Obama carried 80 percent of these voters. African-Americans turned out in record numbers, and almost all of them voted for the first black president. Republicans once hoped to score well among Hispanics, the fastest-growing slice of the population. They were 9 percent of the electorate last month, with almost three times as many Latino voters as just 16 years ago. Obama carried Hispanics, 67 percent to 31 percent, according to exit polls. That gave him a cushion in heavily Hispanic-populated states like New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado -- all of which were in the Republican column four years before -- and in places like Iowa and North Carolina, which have growing Latino populations."

Election 2008: Voters Were Often Fickle And Wavering

Posted Nov 28, 2008 at 1:52 AM by Maurice Berger

A post-election analysis by Associated Press/Yahoo reports that voters often wavered in the choice for president, flip-flopping from Obama to McCain and vice versa a number of times throughout the 2008 campaign: "Inch by inch, voter by voter, Barack Obama and John McCain labored for more than a year to lock down supporters and woo defectors. It turns out, though, that the nation's voters were a lot more fickle than commonly expected, and far more prone to switch allegiances. An Associated Press-Yahoo News poll that tracked the same group of about 2,000 adults throughout the long campaign reveals a lively churning beneath the surface as people shifted their loyalties - some more than once. Over the long haul, 17% of those who eventually voted for Obama had expressed support for McCain at least once in a series of 10 AP-Yahoo News polls conducted since November 2007, before the party primaries began. And 11 percent of McCain's eventual supporters had backed Obama at least once . . . Election polls that showed only gradual shifts in support for Obama and McCain were masking a much more volatile electorate. Few voters made unwavering, long-term commitments to either candidate . . . Just 28 percent of those saying they voted for Democrat Obama, and 27 percent saying they backed Republican McCain on Election Day, said they would vote for that party's candidate in all 10 AP-Yahoo News polls."

Election 2008: A Political Realignment or A Cry For Change

Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 1:08 AM by Maurice Berger

Was Election 2008 a sign of a radical political realignment or just an election driven by a desire for change and discontent with the party in power. This debate is now underway, as pollsters attempt to grasp the bigger picture. As the Washington Post reports, "conservative analysts have insisted that although the Democrats achieved a sweeping victory, it does not indicate a fundamental change. "America is still a center-right country," as Rep. John A. Boehner (R-OH), the House Republican leader, insisted soon after the votes were counted. Liberals call that argument nonsense. The election, wrote John B. Judis in the New Republic, heralds the arrival of "America the liberal," provided that the Democrats play their strong new hand effectively. This election was "the culmination of a Democratic realignment that began in the 1990s, was delayed by September 11, and resumed with the 2006 election." PollTrack thinks the answer will not be apparent for a while, given the dramatic imperative for change at the heart of many voter's decision making process. Indeed, as Andrew Kohut, one of the deans of American pollsters notes, "There's no indication that ideology drove this election. It was driven by discontent with the status quo" -- a pollster's formulation of the venerable slogan 'Throw the bums out.'"

Are New, Hispanic, and Younger Voters Under-performing?

Posted Oct 30, 2008 at 1:03 AM by Maurice Berger

An analysis of early voting data in Nevada suggests that in that state, at least, three of Obama's key constituents are under-performing. The Las Vegas Review-Journal writes: "As Nevadans continue to flock to the polls, turnout among those three groups is lagging, at least in the early going. While turnout statewide was nearly 25 percent through Sunday, it was just 20 percent among Hispanic voters, 14 percent among voters under 30 and 15 percent among those who didn't vote in the last three elections, according to an analysis of state early voting records through Sunday prepared by America Votes, an organization that works to mobilize voters." Such under-voting could be a problem for Obama in the most competitive and closely fought swing states, including skewing likely voter models in polls in the direction of voters who may not show up in anticipated numbers. 

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 Palin Effect IV: Wait And See

Posted Sep 10, 2008 at 1:45 AM by Maurice Berger

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal survey out yesterday indicates that both candidate's favorable ratings are up, higher than those for Bush and Kerry in 2004. This suggests that both candidates have fired up their respective bases (plus a good number of independents as well). Conclusion: the election remains a statistical tie, with neither candidate pulling significantly ahead of the other.

The Palin Effect continues to improve McCain's standing. The same poll reports an alarming decline in white female support for the Democrat as well as a significant drop in female support overall. The survey observes: "In last month's NBC/WSJ poll, Obama was leading McCain by 14 points among female voters; now that lead is just four points. Moreover, Obama was up by 20 points in August among women ages 18-49; now McCain is ahead by three points. And last month, Obama held a one-point lead among white women; now McCain is up among them by 10 points."

But will this continue? It's hard to say. Palin is the least vetted of the four candidates on the respective Democratic and Republican tickets. On the other hand, she has tapped into and ignited a demographic crucial to winning in November and heretofore skittish about Obama: married white women (especially in small towns, rural areas, and some suburban districts). These voters tend to skew more conservative than single women and they tend to vote much more reliably. By activating voter enthusiasm among Evangelicals, Christian conservatives AND a significant swath of the female demographic, Palin, for now, helps give McCain a slight edge. But for how long?

New Poll Shows McCain +10%: A Dramatic Turnaround for the Republican?

Posted Sep 08, 2008 at 1:52 AM by Maurice Berger

A new USA Today/Gallup Poll released this morning (this is a periodic survey, not a daily tracker), suggests a dramatic turnaround for the McCain campaign: when the poll's filter was narrowed to include only those most likely to vote in November, McCain's lead is now at an astonishing +10% and well over the 50% mark, at 54% to 44%. With all registered voter, McCain's lead shrinks to 4%, 50% to 46%.

The "likely voter" number may be an anomaly. By using earlier voter models, thus underestimating turnout for the 18-29 year-old vote demographic, for example, the poll may skew the numbers in McCain's direction (earlier models would favor turnout among the +65 set, a demographic with a consistently high turnout, the age group most likely to vote for McCain according to previous surveys).

Nevertheless, pollsters are fairly adept at determining voter enthusiasm, a key factor in turnout. Since Obama's primary and caucus winning streak in February, enthusiasm among younger voters appears to have dropped considerably according to a number of surveys. In 1972, support for the anti-war candidate, Senator George McGovern (DEM-SD) was extremely high among young voters during the primary season. By election day, their support failed to translate into votes and Nixon won by a landslide. Younger voters are notoriously unreliable on Election Day, as are single women, another demographic now trending towards Obama.

Overall, PollTrack has noticed a marked improvement in McCain's numbers in surveys released in the wake of the Republican National Convention. The answers to a broad range of questions about the relative merits of the two candidates in the Survey USA poll released yesterday (see below)--a survey that suggests that more voters now believe McCain, and not Obama will win in November--indicates a clear increase in voter confidence for the Republican over the Democrat in virtually every category, including handling the Iraq war and foreign policy, commander in chief credentials, and even on the economy (Obama still wins on this one, but by a smaller number than earlier surveys).