Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Government, Immigration, And The Economy Cited As Top US Problems

Posted Sep 05, 2014 at 8:11 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a survey by Gallup, " Americans say the government, immigration, and the economy in general are the most important problems currently facing the country. Mentions of government and the economy have been at the top of the list since the beginning of the year, while mentions of immigration rose sharply in July, in response to the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, and remain high this month." Here is Gallup's chart:

Recent Trend in Top Three "Most Important" U.S. Problems

President Not Rewarded For An Improving Economy

Posted Dec 12, 2013 at 12:23 AM by Maurice Berger

Despite signs that aspects of the economy may be improving, a New York Times poll reports that "37% of those surveyed approve of Obama's handling of the economy; 58% disapprove. These numbers are indistinguishable from the results of a CBS News poll taken last month, although better-than-expected unemployment numbers and other positive economic data were released last week."

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."

Most Americans Support Minimum Wage Increase

Posted Nov 14, 2013 at 10:35 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, "about three-quarters of Americans (76%) support a hypothetical law to increase the minimum wage to $9 per hour. Allowing the wage to increase automatically with inflation is somewhat less popular (69%)."

Congress Gets Low Marks on Fiscal Showdown

Posted Oct 01, 2013 at 9:20 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup observes in a new survey: "As Congress heads into a major fiscal showdown that could result in a government shutdown and the U.S. defaulting on its debt, few Americans approve of the job that top congressional leaders are doing. Americans give relatively low job approval ratings to Republican House Speaker John Boehner (37%), Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (33%), Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (39%), and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (35%)." Here is Gallup's chart:

 

Net Approval Rating of Nation's Top Four Congressional Leaders, September 2013

What Worries Americans Most About The Future?

Posted Jul 12, 2013 at 8:49 AM by Maurice Berger

What worries Americans the most about the future? A New survey by Gallup reports that "economic issues dominate Americans' concerns about the nation's future. Americans say the economy (17%) is their greatest worry or concern for the future of the United States, followed by the federal debt (11%). 5% or more also mention jobs and international wars and conflicts." Here is Gallup's chart:

Americans' Top Worry for the Future

Majority Not Concerned About Sequestration Cuts

Posted May 07, 2013 at 8:10 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, "a majority of Americans still don't know enough to say whether the federal budget sequestration cuts are a good thing or a bad thing for the country -- as has generally been the case since they went into effect. But of those who do who have an opinion, more continue to say sequestration is a bad thing, rather than a good thing." Here is Gallup's chart. 

Most Americans Reject Debt Ceiling Link To Spending Cuts

Posted Jan 16, 2013 at 10:03 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll 58% of Americans prefer that the debt ceiling issue should be handled separately from the debate on spending cuts, while 36% favor linking the two.

Americans Have Mixed Reaction To Fiscal Cliff Deal

Posted Jan 08, 2013 at 8:46 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a survey by Gallup, "Americans have a decidedly mixed reaction to the "fiscal cliff" agreement reached by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama this week, with 43% saying they approve and 45% saying they disapprove. Two-thirds of Democrats approve of the agreement, while almost as many Republicans disapprove. Independents are slightly more likely to disapprove than approve." For more on the poll, click here.

More Back Democrats on Fiscal Cliff

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

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

Large Majority Want "Fiscal Cliff" Compromise

Posted Dec 17, 2012 at 9:16 AM by Maurice Berger

A poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal reports that almost two-thirds of Americans say they favor a balanced deal to reduce the deficit -- consisting of both higher tax rates and cuts to key entitlement programs. In a key finding in the survey, 65% believe that congressional leaders should make compromises to deal with the budget deficit. The support for compromise is broad and wide: 68% of Democrats, 66% of Republicans and 56% of political independents support this position.

Voters Trust Obama More Than Republicans In Avoiding Fiscal Cliff

Posted Dec 11, 2012 at 10:04 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new survey by Quinnipiac, voters trust Obama and Democrats more than Republicans, by a 53% to 36% margin, to avoid the "fiscal cliff." Pollster Peter Brown writes: "Voters see Republicans as more likely to be obstructionist, and have less confidence in their ability to come up with the right solution to the nation's financial woes."

American Voters: Conservatve or Liberal?

Posted Jun 01, 2012 at 9:27 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new survey by Gallup, Americans are more than twice as likely to identify themselves as conservative as liberal on economic issues--46% to 20%. On social issues, the gap narrows, with 38% calling themselves conservatives, 28% self-describing as liberal.

Investors Support Obama Over Romney

Posted May 11, 2012 at 9:39 AM by Maurice Berger

In another sign of the president's improving prospects for reelection, a new survey by Bloomberg Global reports that investors around the world increasingly prefer President Obama to Mitt Romney in the presidential election, 49% to 38%. As recently as two months ago, the candidates were tied in the poll.

Fox News Survey: Obama And Romney In Dead Heat

Posted Apr 30, 2012 at 8:09 AM by Maurice Berger

The latest survey from Fox News reports that if the presidential election were held now, the race would be tied, with President Obama and Mitt Romney each garnering 46%. Interesting, and perhaps one reason for the closeness of the race as reported by the Fox poll: a majority of Americans -- 61% for President Obama and 58% for Mitt Romney -- believe that neither candidate has a plan to fix the economy.

Americans Favor "Buffett Rule"

Posted Apr 18, 2012 at 8:48 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new survey by Gallup, "6 in 10 Americans favor Congress' passing the so-called "Buffett Rule," which would mandate a minimum 30% tax rate for Americans with a household income of $1 million or more per year. Majorities of both Democrats and independents favor the policy, while a majority of Republicans oppose it." Here is Gallup's chart:

 

Would you favor or oppose Congress passing a new law that would require households earning $1 million a year or more to pay a minimum of 30% of their income in taxes?

For First Time, Majority Blame Obama For Bad Economy

Posted Oct 24, 2011 at 10:54 PM by Maurice Berger

A poll USA Today/Gallup indicates that a majority of Americans--for the first time--blame President Obama for the nation's economic problems. 53% believe that Obama deserves "a great deal" or a "moderate amount" of the blame for the economic problems that the country currently faces. Nevertheless, an even larger number -- 69% -- believe that former President George Bush deserves a "great deal" or a "moderate amount" of blame for the economy.

Consumer Confidence Index: Electoral Doom For The President?

Posted Oct 17, 2011 at 1:28 AM by Maurice Berger

In yet another indicator of an icreasingly difficult reelection race for the president in 2012, Mark McKinnon observes that "the average consumer confidence index when a president running for reelection wins is 95. When they lose, it's 76. Today the number is 55." Still, the present-day economic situation is highly unusual in that most Americans continue to blame the bad economy on forces outside of Obama's control.

A just released survey by CBS News poll reports that 69% of Americans believe President Obama has not made real progress in fixing the economy; 25% say he has made real progress. Yet, on the question of who to blame for the shaky economy, most--22%--cited the Bush administration, followed by Wall Street at 16%, Congress at 15% and then the Obama administration at 12%. One in 10 said "all of the above. Will this perception help President Obama in his quest for reelection. PollTrack thinks it's too early to tell. 

Americans Remain Pessimistic Over Economy

Posted Sep 28, 2011 at 1:49 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by Gallup reports that Americans remain largely pessimistic about the economy: "Three in four Americans assess the U.S. economy as no better than a year ago, with 35% saying it is about the same and 42% saying it is worse. Looking ahead to a year from now, Americans remain largely pessimistic, with 61% expecting economic conditions to be similar to now, or worse." Here is Gallup's chart:

Do you think the U.S. economy is fully recovered, better than it was a year ago but not fully recovered, about the same as a year ago, or worse than it was a year ago? (Thinking about one year from now, do you think the U.S. economy will be ... ?) September 2011 results

Obama Perceived As Weak On Economy, Deficit

Posted Aug 22, 2011 at 1:40 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by Gallup reports that President Obama has dropped to a new low approval rate of 26% for his handling of the economy, down 11 points since it was last measured it in mid-May and well below his previous low of 35% in November 2010. He fares equally poorly on his his handling of the federal budget deficit (24%) and creating jobs (29%).

Record Low Approval for Congress

Posted Aug 08, 2011 at 12:49 AM by Maurice Berger

A New York Times/CBS News survey suggest that the road ahead for congress will be bumpy: a record 82% of Americans now disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job -- the most since the question was first asked in 1977.  Overall, 72% disapproved of the way Republicans in Congress handled the negotiations; 66% disapproved of the way Democrats in Congress handled negotiations. As for President Obama handling of the debt ceiling negotiations: 47% disapprove and 46% approve.

USA TODAY/Gallup: Debt Ceiling Law Not Popular

Posted Aug 05, 2011 at 12:42 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new USA Today/Gallup poll, the debt ceiling agreement that President Obama worked out with congress remains unpopular with Americans. The poll reports that 39% of Americans approve of the law, while 46% oppose it. Things gets even more negative when independents are polled: a scant 33% of independent voters approved of the deal; 50% disapprove.

Majority of Americans Oppose Debt Ceiling Deal

Posted Aug 03, 2011 at 1:52 AM by Maurice Berger

A new CNN poll reports that 52% of Americans are opposed to the debt reduction deal negotiated between the President and congress; 44% are in favor.

Americans Rate Obama Higher Than Congress On Budget Negotiations

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

While there may be no real winners in the just concluded Deficit/Debt Ceiling negotiations, a new Gallup poll reports that "Americans are more likely to approve of the way President Obama is handling the negotiations to raise the federal debt ceiling than they are to approve of the handling of the situation by Speaker of the House John Boehner or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, although opinions about all three are more negative than positive." Here is Gallup's chart: 

Handling federal debt ceiling.gif

Economy and Jobs, Not Deficit, Are Biggest Problem For Most Americans

Posted Jul 26, 2011 at 12:26 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, most "Americans name the economy and unemployment/jobs as the most important problems facing the nation, as they have all year, despite the dominant focus in Washington on the federal debt ceiling. The deficit comes in third as the top problem, followed by dissatisfaction with government in general, healthcare, and concerns about wars." Here is Gallup's chart:  What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today? July 2011

Americans Reject GOP Approach To Debt Crisis

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

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

Nation Pessimistic About Economic Future

Posted Jun 29, 2011 at 2:12 AM by Maurice Berger

A Pew Research poll reports that "the public's economic optimism is now at its lowest point since July 2008, shortly before the financial crisis." According to the survey, 29% of respondents expect that economic conditions will be better a year from now; 23% say things will be worse. Last October, a considerable plurality of respondents said the economy would be better, rather than worse, in a year (35% vs. 16%).

African-American Unemployment As High As In Great Depression

Posted Jun 21, 2011 at 1:36 AM by Maurice Berger

Cbs News reports that "while unemployment among the general population is about 9.1 percent, it's at 16.2 percent African Americans, and a bit higher still for African American males . . . historically, the unemployment rate for African Americans has always been higher than the national average. However, now it's at Depression-era levels. The most recent figures show African American joblessness at 16.2 percent. For black males, it's at 17.5 percent; And for black teens, it's nearly 41 percent."

Americans Name Economy As The Nation's Top Problem

Posted Jun 15, 2011 at 1:57 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, all major subgroups of Americans thus far in 2011 have named either "the economy" or unemployment as the nation's top problem, although not necessarily in that order, according to an average of Gallup's monthly Most Important Problem measures from January through May. Here is Gallup's chart:

Top Five Issues Named as Most Important Problem, by Major Subgroups, January-May 2011

Americans Oppose Raising Debt Ceiling

Posted May 19, 2011 at 12:43 AM by Maurice Berger

A survey by Gallup reports that by a 47% to 19% margin, Americans say they would oppose their member of Congress voting to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, while 34% don't know enough to say. By party affiliation, Republicans oppose raising the debt ceiling by 70% to 8%; independents by 46% to 15%; Democrats favor raising the ceiling by 33% to 26%.

Economy Top Concern Of Voters

Posted May 17, 2011 at 12:51 AM by Maurice Berger

A survey from Public Policy Polling reports that voters are significantly more concerned about the economy than they are about the war on terrorism: 74% name the economy as a more important issue than the war (10% said the latter). 61% say they care more about gas prices; only 23% in contrast say the war--views shared almost equally across partisan lines.

Majority Disapprove of President's Handling Of Economy

Posted Apr 29, 2011 at 12:43 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released McClatchy-Marist Poll reports that 40% of Americans approve of how President Obama is dealing with the economy; 57% disapprove. These numbers represent the lowest marks of his presidency.

Republican Budget Plan Unpopular

Posted Apr 25, 2011 at 1:52 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Democracy Corps poll, the Republican plan to reduce the deficit is supported by 48% of respondents, "but when voters learn almost anything about it, they turn sharply and intensely against it . . . When the budget is described -- using as much of Paul Ryan's description as possible -- support collapses to 36% with just 19% strongly supporting the plan. The facts in the budget lose people almost immediately -- dropping 12 points. Putting the spotlight on this budget is damning. A large majority of 56% oppose it, 42% strongly. The impact is much stronger with seniors where support erodes from 48% to just 32%, with 57% opposed. Support with independents drops from 55% to 43%."

Large Majority Disapprove of President's Handling Of Economy

Posted Mar 23, 2011 at 12:53 AM by Maurice Berger

While a just released CNN/Opinion Research poll reports that a bare majority of Americans -- 51% -- approve of President Obama's job performance, 60% disapprove of his handling of the economy (with 39% approving), the largest level of disapproval on the issue in his presidency.

Americans Disapprove of Obama's Handling Of Economy, But Trust Him More Than The GOP

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

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll reports that Americans disapprove of President Obama's handling of the economy--just 43% approve of the way President Obama--but just as significant, 46% say they trust Obama on the issue as compared to 34% who trust Republicans.  The poll continues: "What's more, by a 9-point margin Americans now see Obama as better able to handle the deficit than GOP lawmakers in Congress. That represents an 11-point drop for the GOP since December -- a period when Republicans have made cutting federal spending a centerpiece of their agenda."

Americans Growing More optimistic About Economy

Posted Feb 15, 2011 at 1:17 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released Gallup poll reports that Americans as a whole are considerably more optimistic about the economy than they have been in years: 41% of Americans believe that the economy is improving, the highest level since Gallup began asking the question in 2008. There is demographic split on the issue, however: the most optimistic Americans are Democrats age 18-29; the least optimistic, Republicans 65 and older.

Gallup: Job Creation Flat For Fourth Consecutive Month

Posted Feb 03, 2011 at 1:34 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup's Job Creation Index "shows employees' reports of hiring activity at their places of work in January were unchanged, at +10, for the fourth consecutive month. Job creation has been essentially flat after improving steadily over the first half of 2010 and stabilizing at +9 in August and September. Twenty-nine percent of employees nationwide tell Gallup their companies are hiring and 19% say they are letting workers go -- precisely the same as in December, and essentially the same as in November and October."

Americans Oppose Most Budget Cuts

Posted Jan 27, 2011 at 1:16 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, "a majority of Americans said they favor cutting U.S. foreign aid, but more than 6 in 10 opposed cuts to education, Social Security, and Medicare. Smaller majorities objected to cutting programs for the poor, national defense, homeland security, aid to farmers, and funding for the arts and sciences." Here is Gallup's chart:

Reaction to Cutting Government Spending in Various Areas, January 2011

Americans See Economy As Improving

Posted Jan 19, 2011 at 1:33 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released Quinnipiac poll reports that Americans--by a 54% to 43% margin--believe that the economy is improving. By a margin of 46% to 28%, Americans also believe that President Obama's policies are helping rather than hurting the economy.

Is The President's Improved Approval Rating A Result Of More Positive Perceptions About The Economy?

Posted Jan 12, 2011 at 5:22 PM by Maurice Berger

Is President Obama's improved approval rating related to more positive public perceptions about the economy. A new Pew Research survey suggests that the answer might be yes: the poll reports that "the percentage saying they are hearing mostly bad news about the economy has dropped to its lowest point since the question was first asked in December 2008. . . Currently, 24% say they are hearing mostly bad news, down 15 points from 39% in early December. The proportion saying they are hearing a mix of good and bad news has jumped from 55% last month to 68% in the new survey."

Americans More Optimistic About Economy

Posted Jan 05, 2011 at 1:05 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, "Twice as many Americans think the U.S. economy will be better rather than worse in 2011.Americans living in the East and Midwest are a little more optimistic about the economic outlook for 2011 than those living in the South and West. Americans making $75,000 or more in annual income are slightly more optimistic than other Americans, and Democrats are considerably more optimistic than their independent and Republican counterparts."

Here is Gallup's chart:

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Majority of American Voters Say They Are Worse Off

Posted Dec 15, 2010 at 12:35 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Bloomberg Poll , a majority of Americans--51%--say they are worse off now than they were two years ago when President Obama took office, compared with 35% who say they're doing better. Bloombeg writes: "Americans have grown more downbeat about the country's future in just the last couple of months, the poll shows. The pessimism cuts across political parties and age groups, and is common to both sexes. The negative sentiment may cast a pall over the holiday shopping season, according to the poll. A plurality of those surveyed -- 46 percent -- expects to spend less this year than last; only 12 percent anticipate spending more. Holiday sales rose by just under a half percent last year after falling by almost 4 percent in 2008." Just as problematic for the Obama Administration: Two thirds of voters now say the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Americans See US Economy As Lagging Behind China

Posted Dec 09, 2010 at 1:25 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Allstate/National Journal poll finds that only 20% of Americans believe that the U.S. economy is the world's strongest; nearly half picked China instead. The poll reports: "Looking forward, Americans are somewhat more optimistic about regaining primacy, but still only about one in three expect the U.S. economy to be the world's strongest in 20 years. Nearly three-fifths of those surveyed said that increasing competition from lower-paid workers around the world will keep living standards for average Americans from growing as fast as they did in the past."

U.S. Economic Confidence Down

Posted Aug 25, 2010 at 1:01 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, "after improving slightly earlier this month, Gallup's Economic Confidence Index declined over the past two weeks to its current -33, matching the average for all of July. The July confidence numbers are the lowest of the year so far; thus, even with the slight uptick in early August, confidence remains below the levels seen during much of 2010 and below its depressed levels of a year ago. 48% of Americans rated current economic conditions as 'poor' during the week ending Aug. 22 -- approaching the highest levels of the year. This is marginally worse than the early August reading, is in line with the full July average of 47%, and is marginally worse than at this time in 2009."

Majority Of Americans Incorrectly Assign Bank Bailout To President Obama

Posted Jul 21, 2010 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Pew Research poll suggests that the American public remains substantially unaware that the federal government's bank bailout program was actually signed into law by President Bush. 47% incorrectly believe it was enacted during the Obama's administration; just 34% of Americans answered the question correctly. 

Jobs Report: 290K Jobs Added, But Unemployment at 9.9%

Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:06 AM by Maurice Berger

One political marker to watch for in this year's midterm election in the unemployment rate and job growth. The more quickly the nation recovers from the devastating recession of 2008-2009, the better the chances of the party in power . . . in this case the Democrats. With April's job report in, things could be looking up for the Democrats: employers added 290,000 more jobs, the largest one month gain since March 2006. Still, troubling sings persist: the unemployment rate actually increased to 9.9%, a clear indicator that more Americans are looking for jobs.

290K Job Gain In April

Posted May 07, 2010 at 2:18 AM by Maurice Berger

The New York Times reports that "the American economy added an unexpectedly strong 290,000 jobs in April, while the unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent, the government said Friday. Analysts had expected a gain of about 190,000 in the month." The pace of job production--as well as the general health of the economy--could have a major impact on fall's election, so this may be a very important story, indeed. 

Administration Victories Not Translating Into Improvement in Presidential Approval

Posted Apr 27, 2010 at 1:26 AM by Maurice Berger

Oddly, a string of political victories for the President--from dramatic passage of the health care bill to improvement in many economic indicators--is not translating into improved approval numbers for Obama. A new Citizen Opinion/Democracy Corps poll, for example, reports "a significant drop in the proportion thinking the country is off on the wrong track and a rise in the number who think the economy is improving." Yet, this positive assessment is  "not producing a change in political thinking. The Republican 7-point advantage on the economy is unchanged this month. There is no growth in people believing Obama's economic policies have produced a better economy." Indeed, the President's aggregate approval number has never been lower. This pattern is somewhat unusual, given the public's tendency to translate an improving economy into increased support for the administration in power. Stay tuned.

 

Does Pessimism About Economy Spell Trouble For Democrats In November?

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

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

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

Gallup: Americans Say Unemployment Top U.S. Problem

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

According a new Gallup survey, "Americans mention unemployment or jobs (31%) more than any other issue when asked to name the most important problem facing the country today. Americans predict the federal budget deficit will be the top problem the U.S. will face 25 years from now, just ahead of the economy and the environment." As for the present top problems, "31% of Americans mention jobs or unemployment, significantly more than say the economy in general (24%), healthcare (20%), or dissatisfaction with government (10%)."

Americans Spending Less To Cope With Recession

Posted Mar 03, 2010 at 1:46 AM by Maurice Berger

In order to cope with the fall-out of the Great Recession, Gallup reports in a new survey, "nearly 6 in 10 Americans (57%) now say they are spending less money than they used to, and 38% say this reduced spending will be their new, normal spending pattern. In a marked shift from earlier this decade, 62% of Americans now say they more enjoy saving rather than spending, while 35% say the reverse."

Americans Pessimistic About Economy

Posted Jan 27, 2010 at 1:15 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, American remain pessimistic about the economy: "Americans are thinking in terms of years, not months, when pondering how much longer it will be before the U.S. economy starts to recover. The vast majority (67%) believe it will be at least two years before a recovery starts, and nearly half (46%) think it will be at least three years . . . a full third of Americans (34%) say it will be four or more years before a recovery starts, the mean response is 4 ½ years-- putting the average predicted onset of recovery well into 2014."

Americans Continue To Blame Bush For The Bad Economy

Posted Jan 12, 2010 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

In a bit of good news for the Obama administration, a new Rasmussen survey, reports that "51% of voters nationwide continue to believe that the economic woes can still be blamed on Administration of George W. Bush . . . [the] survey finds that just 41% hold the opposite view and believe the policies of Barack Obama are to blame."

50% of Americans Believe Recession Will Continue Into 2010

Posted Jan 06, 2010 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

How soon will the recession end? Not so soon, if American perception are correct. According to a newly released Rasmussen survey, "50% of Americans believe the country will still be in recession at the end of 2010 . . . Just 20% disagree and say America will not be in recession by then. 31% aren’t sure. While many economists say the recession is over, 71% of all adults say it is not. 75% of investors still believe the economy is in a recession.

Americans Remain Pessimistic About Economy And The Nation

Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 1:38 AM by Maurice Berger

Per MSNBC First Read: "A new CNBC poll . . . has Obama’s economic approval rating at 46%, the Democratic Party’s at 39%, and the GOP’s at 26%. Also in the poll, a plurality (43%) believes the economy will improve in the course of the next year. And the survey shows a lack in confidence in American institutions: 77% say they have confidence in the military, compared with 39% for the Supreme Court, 24% for the Fed, 19% for the Treasury Department, 18% for FEMA, 17% for health insurance companies, 15% for Congress, and 10% for the financial industry. Ouch. Here’s one more thing: By a 54%-33% margin, Americans say they prefer using the leftover TARP money for deficit reduction rather than for more stimulus spending."

Rasmussen: Consumer Confidence Continues To Lag

Posted Dec 11, 2009 at 1:38 AM by Maurice Berger

Despite signs of economic recovery, "The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, held relatively steady at 71.8 on Saturday. The index is down four points from two weeks ago and also down four points from a month ago. Consumer confidence is now up 12 points from the beginning of the year. Nationally, just 6% of adults rate the U.S. economy as good or excellent. Fifty-eight percent (58%) give the economy a poor rating. Among men, 8% give the economy a good or excellent rating, but 56% say it's poor. Women are slightly less optimistic--6% rate it as good or excellent, but 59% rate it as poor."

Americans Less Optimistic About Economy

Posted Dec 09, 2009 at 1:13 AM by Maurice Berger

The slow but steady upturn in public optimism about the state of the economy has apparent come to a halt, according to a CNN/Opinion Research survey: "Two years into the recession, Americans don't see economic conditions getting better any time soon, and the steady growth in optimism that previous surveys measured throughout the year appears to have stalled . . 34% of those questioned say that things are going well in the country today. That finding is 14 percentage points higher than a year ago but a dip of 3 points since November. 'This the first time in Barack Obama's presidency that this number has gone down,' said Keating Holland, CNN's polling director. According to the survey, 39% of the respondents said the country is still in a downturn, up 6 percentage points from last month. Nearly half of those questioned said the economy has stabilized and a small minority, 15%, think the country is starting to recover."

Americans Ambivalent About The Economy

Posted Dec 01, 2009 at 1:13 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Public Policy Polling survey suggests that Americans are ambivalent, at best, about the state of the economy. The poll ""reveals a more pessimistic electorate than we have seen since the early months of 2009, with feelings on the economy turning more negative after months of slight but steady improvement." Who is benefitting from this doubt, Democrats or Republicans? Hard to tell according to PPP: "The country is not ready to listen to a narrative about how Democrats have brought the economy 'back from the brink' and averted an even worse disaster, as articulated by the president in his joint session address to Congress earlier this year. That leaves a lot of receptivity to Republican messages that focus on wasted spending and exploding deficits." Yet, half of the voters in swing (but Republican-leaning) districts continue to "believe that President Obama’s economic recovery plan could help," a number that suggests the economy could still break in favor of Democrats.

Americans Support Extending Unemployment Benefits

Posted Nov 11, 2009 at 1:09 AM by Maurice Berger

In another indication that the high unemployment rate is weighing heavily on Americans, Rasmussen reports that most Americans favor extending unemployment benefits for an additional 20 weeks, with 59% favoring the extension of those benefits and 31% opposing it.

Economy Top Concern For US Voters

Posted Sep 23, 2009 at 1:52 AM by Maurice Berger

The economy remains the number one issue for American voters, according to a new analysis by Rasmussen Reports: "No matter how we ask the question, voters continue to put economic issues such as jobs and economic growth highest on their list of concerns. Every night, Rasmussen Reports asks likely voters to choose from a list of five broad issues which is most important to them in terms of how they vote . . . The economy dominated Election 2008 and has been named as the top concern by 37% to 52% of voters every week over the past year. No other issue has risen above 20% among voters. On Election Day, National Security was second, but it has slipped behind fiscal policy concerns and domestic issues in recent weeks.. . . However, the number of voters who see economic issues as most important has slipped somewhat since President Barack Obama was inaugurated in January. For nearly all of February, 50% or more of voters saw the economy as the top issue. By June, that percentage slipped down to the low 40’s and was down to 37% in late August. It bounced back to 44% for the week ending September 13"

Unemployment Hits 28.9% in Detroit

Posted Sep 03, 2009 at 1:05 AM by Maurice Berger

With an unemployment rate now hovering around 30%--28.9% to be exact--the city of Detroit serves as a national symbol of the continued effects of the Great Recession and a lingering problem for the Obama administration and Congress. As ABC News reports: "The unemployment rate in the city of Detroit rose to 28.9 percent in July, the highest rate of unemployment since Michigan started keeping modern numbers." Will unemployment rates that remain stagnant or even continue to climb put an damper on the public's perceptions about economic recovery? Stay tuned. 

Consumer Confidence Up +19% Since The Beginning of 2009

Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 2:03 AM by Maurice Berger

In another sign that economic conditions may be improving in the United States, the Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, reached its high for the year last Thursday. By Sunday, the Index was exactly where it was a week ago and is up eleven points from one month ago. Consumer confidence is now up +19 points from the beginning of 2009.

Consumer Confidence Highest in Eleven Months

Posted Aug 10, 2009 at 3:22 AM by Maurice Berger

In yet another sign that the American public is sensensing an upturn in the economy--after more than two and a half years of recession--the Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, climbed five points on Sunday, reaching its highest level since the Lehman Brothers collapse in September 2008. At 78.8, the Index is up five points over the past week, up 18 points over the past month and up 19 points from the beginning of this year." Still, the picture is not entirely rosy: "Nationally, 12% of adults rate the economy as good or excellent, while 51% rate the economy as poor. Men (19%) and women (17%) under 40 are slightly more optimistic about the current state of the U.S. economy than men (8%) and women over 40 (6%)."

 

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." 

When It Comes To Perceptions About Economic Crisis, Sharp Partisan Differences

Posted Jul 01, 2009 at 1:35 AM by Maurice Berger

A Gallup poll reveals that when it comes to perceptions about the economy and the current economic crisis, sharp partisan differences prevail: "Republicans and Democrats view economic issues facing the country today from substantially different perspectives. Republicans are most likely to be worried about the increasing federal deficit, increasing federal income taxes, and problems state governments have in funding their budgets, while Democrats are most worried about the rising unemployment rate, Americans without health care insurance, and the increasing cost of health care. These results underscore the political tensions that have arisen as the Obama administration and Congress wrestle with how to fix the country's economic problems, while at the same time dealing with the longer-term impact of those efforts. Taken as a whole, Republicans are more concerned than Democrats about the impact of increased federal and state spending, and government regulation of business, while Democrats are more concerned about the societal problems that the increased spending and regulation are designed to address."

Here's a sampling of the top priorities by party affiliation:

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Americans Fear Stimulus Money Will Be Wasted

Posted Jun 26, 2009 at 1:15 AM by Maurice Berger

In another sign that Americans remain uneasy with the government's economic stimulus plan, a Rasmussen reports survey indicates that 76% of Americans say it is at least somewhat likely that a large amount of money in the $787-billion economic stimulus plan will be wasted due to inadequate government oversight. Nearly half (46%) say it is very likely, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Only 18% say it is not likely that taxpayer money will be wasted. 65% of Republicans say it is very likely stimulus money will be wasted, a view shared by just 32% of Democrats and the plurality of adults (44%) not affiliated with either party"

Gallup: Economy Still Top Priority For Americans, But Less So

Posted Jun 25, 2009 at 1:39 AM by Maurice Berger

Americans continue to rank the economy as the most pressing issue facing the country, a new Gallup survey reports. But this number has actually dropped considerably from the beginning of 2009: "Two-thirds of Americans (65%), when asked in an open-ended fashion, continue to name economic problems as the most important problem facing the country -- but this number has steadily declined from 86% in February.Mentions of the economy in Gallup's June update on this question match the net total mentions from June of last year, prior to the global economic collapse. The "net percent mentioning economic problems" reflects the total percentage of respondents who cite some aspect of the economy as the nation's most important problem. The single most frequently mentioned concern more broadly -- a general reference to the economy -- is down from 47% in May to 41% now. Specific mentions of unemployment are steady at 14%." Here is the list in order of priority:

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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"

Americans Remain Anxious About The Economy

Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 1:40 AM by Maurice Berger

While PollTrack may be stating the obvious, Americabs remain very pessimistic about the economy, though they attitudes have taken an upturn since January. Rasmussen Report's "Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, was up two points on Sunday to 71.8. The index is now down a point from a week ago and down three points from one month ago. However, today's index is up twelve points from its first reading of 2009 . . . Nationally, only 9% of adults rate the economy as good or excellent, while 57% disagree and say the economy is poor. 30% rate their personal finances as either good or excellent, while 24% rate their personal finances as poor"

Economic Crisis: Bush, Not, Obama The Source of the Problem

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

According to Rasmussen Reports, most Americans blame George W. Bush and not President Obama for the economic crisis gripping the nation: "Obama contends he inherited the nation’s ongoing economic problems and that his actions since taking office are not to blame. 62% of U.S. voters agree with the president that the problems are due to the recession that began under the Bush administration. Just 27% of voters say the problems are being caused more by the policies Obama has put in place since taking office, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. 10% are not sure which president is more to blame . . . 

. . . Not surprisingly, 88% of Democrats say it’s Bush’s fault. However, Republicans are more evenly divided. Thirty-four percent 34% of the GOP faithful say the economic problems can be traced to the Bush Administration, while 51% blame Obama’s policies. Among voters not affiliated with either party, 61% say the Bush recession is to blame versus 28% who say Obama is at fault."

Slightly Smaller Majority See Economy As America's Most Pressing Problem

Posted May 20, 2009 at 1:14 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, a slightly reduced majority of Americans see the economy as the most serious problem facing the nation: "About two-thirds of Americans, down from 76% last month and 86% in February, say the economy -- or a specific aspect of it -- is the most important problem facing the United States today  . . . this is the first month since economic concern surged last fall that fewer than 70% of Americans have named the economy, overall, as the nation's top problem. The finding coincides with significant improvement in public attitudes about the economy, with Gallup's Consumer Mood Index hitting a 16-month high last week. Still, the economy remains the undisputed issue of concern to Americans on Gallup's monthly Most Important Problem measure, with no other single issue named by more than 9%. The current 69% mentioning some aspect of the economy includes 47% citing the economy in general and 14% citing unemployment or the jobs situation. Seven percent mention "lack of money" and 5% the federal budget deficit, while 2% name taxes."

Texas Republicans Support Secession

Posted Apr 28, 2009 at 1:51 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a DailyKos/Research 2000 poll, 48% of Texas Republicans think their state should be an independent nation while 48% think it should remain part of the United States.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) floated the notion of secession at a recent tax protest. Among all Texans, 61% want their state to remain part of the Union while 35% prefer an independent nation.

Americans Trust Obama Most On Economy

Posted Apr 14, 2009 at 2:07 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup poll, Americans trust Obama more than any other political leader on the issue of the economy: "Over two-thirds of Americans -- 71% -- have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in President Obama to do or recommend the right thing for the economy, a much higher level of confidence than is given to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, or the Democratic or Republican leaders in Congress." The poll reached the following conclusions:

  • Obama gets almost universal confidence from Democrats, two-thirds support from independents, and just over one-third confidence from Republicans.
  • Geithner appears to be somewhat more politicized than Bernanke. Geithner's confidence rating ranges from 70% among Democrats to just 24% among Republicans. Bernanke, on the other hand, has a more modest 28-point partisan gap, with a 64% confidence rating among Democrats vs. 36% among Republicans.
  • The partisan ratings of Bernanke have shifted from last year, when he was serving under a Republican president. At that time, the Fed chairman received a 61% confidence rating from Republicans, 43% from independents, and just a 40% rating from Democrats. Apparently, Americans associate the Fed chairman with the particular president he happens to be serving under.
  • Democrats have more faith in their leaders than Republicans do in theirs. Seventy-nine percent of Democrats say they have confidence in the Democratic leaders in Congress on the economy. Although this is lower than the confidence Democrats have in Obama, it is higher than the 57% confidence rating Republicans give the Republican leaders in Congress.

Americans More Optimistic About Economy

Posted Apr 13, 2009 at 2:21 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Rasmussen's Consumer Confidence Index, "which measures consumer confidence on a daily basis, gained another three points on Sunday following a five point gain on Saturday. At 77.1, the Index has reached its highest level since last September 20.Consumer confidence is up 9 points from a week ago, 19 points from a month ago, and is even up a point-and-a-half from a year ago. which measures consumer confidence on a daily basis, gained another three points on Sunday following a five point gain on Saturday. At 77.1, the Index has reached its highest level since last September 20. Consumer confidence is up 9 points from a week ago, 19 points from a month ago, and is even up a point-and-a-half from a year ago."

Gallup: Economy Trumps Environment

Posted Mar 20, 2009 at 1:37 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, for the first time in the polling organization's 25-year history of asking Americans about the "trade-off between environmental protection and economic growth, a majority of Americans say economic growth should be given the priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent. Gallup first asked Americans about this trade-off in 1984, at which time over 60% chose the environmental option. Support for the environment was particularly high in 1990-1991, and in the late 1990s and 2000, when the dot-com boom perhaps made economic growth more of a foregone conclusion. The percentage of Americans choosing the environment slipped below 50% in 2003 and 2004, but was still higher than the percentage choosing the economy. Sentiments have moved up and down over the last several years, but this year, the percentage of Americans choosing the environment fell all the way to 42%, while the percentage choosing the economy jumped to 51%." No doubt, the reason for this shift in American sentiment on the ecology almost certainly has to do with the current economic recession. As nearly all recent Gallup surveys suggest, the economy is foremost in Americans' minds.

Consumer Confidence At Highest Level Since November 2008

Posted Mar 17, 2009 at 1:07 AM by Maurice Berger

Is it a statistical blip or do Americans see the tide turning in a recession that has plagued the nation since December 2007: After five days of steady gains, the Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures consumer confidence on a daily basis, is now at its highest level of 2009. In fact, confidence is now at the highest level since the morning after Barack Obama was elected President in November. The moved up another point on Sunday to 67.0. That’s up ten points from a week ago and up ten points from a month ago. However, it remains down nine points from a year ago." Only time will tell if we're moving up from the bottom or experiencing a lull in what has been a year-long dowaward spiral. 

Increase In The Number Of Americans Who Say They Are "Suffering"

Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 1:58 AM by Maurice Berger

The number of Americans who say they are "suffering" as a result of the nation's economic downturn has increased. Gallup reports that the "number of Americans classified as 'suffering' has increased by 3 million over the past year. While an average of 3% of Americans were suffering in February of 2008, the number has remained higher over the past 12 months, consistently between 4% and 5%. While a monthly high of 5% was recorded last June when gas prices spiked, some days in March have reached 6%, suggesting suffering is only on the uptrend."

The Gallup-Healthways Life Evaluation Index asks at least 1,000 Americans each day to "evaluate their current lives as well as their expectations of where they will be in five years using a 'ladder' scale with steps number from 0 to 10, where '0' indicates the worst possible life and "10" the best possible life. Americans in the 'thriving' group say that they presently stand on step 7 or higher of the ladder and expect to stand on step 8 or higher five years from now. Americans in the 'suffering' group, on the other hand, say they presently stand on steps 0 to 4 of the ladder and expect to stand on steps 0 to 4 five years from now. Those who are neither thriving nor suffering are considered to be 'struggling.'"

Indeed, the public's overall view of the economy remains bleak. According to an Ipsos/McClatchy poll, 57% of Americans believe that the worst is yet to come as far as the economy is concerned. 35% say it has stabilized but not yet begun to improve; only 3% believe the country has turned the corner.

Americans Expect 1930s-Style Depression

Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 12:32 AM by Maurice Berger

When it comes to the economy, Americans are decidedly pessimistic. According to a new Rasmussen Reports survey, 53% now think the United States is at least somewhat likely to enter a 1930’s-like depression within the next few years; 39% think it's unlikely. 19% say a Depression is Very Likely, 7% say it is not at all likely. The latest results are more pessimistic than those found in early January, notes Rasmussen, "when 44% said a 1930’s-like depression was likely in the next few years, and 46% disagreed." Pessimistic or otherwise, Americans also expect "the U.S. economy will be stronger in five years than it is today, but most also expect very little to change in the next 12 months."

Americans Slightly More Satisfied With State Of The Nation

Posted Mar 09, 2009 at 2:19 AM by Maurice Berger

Americans are slightly more satisfied with the state of the country, according to a new Gallup poll: While overall satisfaction remains low, at an average of 21% for the past week, this number represents a slight improvement from the 14% satisfaction rating in early February: "Gallup has measured national satisfaction daily since Barack Obama took office, and also did so in late October through December 2008. In the latter part of 2008, satisfaction ratings ranged from a low of 9% in Dec. 12-14 polling to a high of just 14% in the first few days after the election and after Thanksgiving. Little seemed to change when Obama first took office -- in Jan. 21-23 polling, 14% of Americans said they were satisfied. After showing a brief improvement in late January, the percentage who reported being satisfied with the state of the nation settled back to 14% by early February. But since that time, satisfaction has shown a slight but steady improvement, and has been 20% or higher each of the last seven days."

Voters Concerned Most About The Economy

Posted Mar 05, 2009 at 1:04 AM by Maurice Berger

In a new poll registering voter concerns, the economy still comes out on top. The latest Rasmussen Reports survey found that 86% of likely voters consider the issue to be very important in terms of how they vote in elections, and another 11% consider it somewhat important. Only 1% do not consider it an important issue. "The percentage of voters who see the economy as a very important issue has reached its highest level in recent years, up from 83% just days before Barack Obama was elected president. Nearly as high in terms of voter concern is the issue of government ethics and corruption. 81% consider it a very important issue, up from 74% in October 2008. Another 15% consider the issue to be somewhat important, while only 3% do not consider it to be important." The intensity of issues that voters consider "very important" breaks down as follows:

Economy

86%

Gov't Ethics/Corruption

81%

Education

64%

Taxes

61%

Nat'l Security/War on Terror

60%

Social Security

59%

Health Care

58%

Immigration

51%

War in Iraq

43%

Abortion

36%

Initial Reaction To Obama Budget Plan Is Modestly Positive

Posted Mar 04, 2009 at 1:33 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup Poll, "Americans' first reactions to President Barack Obama's new 10-year budget plan are more positive than negative, although a sizable group of Americans say they haven't been following news about the plan and have not yet formed an opinion." 44% say their reaction to the new plan is positive and 26% saying it's negative, with the rest having no opinion. There is a clear partisan divide in opinion: "The poll data clearly show that Americans are sharply divided along party lines in their initial reactions to the budget plan, which includes $3.6 trillion in spending in 2010 and a wide variety of spending plans and tax adjustments in the years thereafter. More than 6 in 10 Republicans say their first reaction is negative and nearly 7 in 10 Democrats say their reaction is positive. Reaction to the plan is more evenly divided among independents, but is generally more positive than negative."

Two-Thirds of Americans Rate Economy As Poor

Posted Mar 02, 2009 at 2:12 AM by Maurice Berger

In an indication that Americans remain pessimistic about the nation's economy future, the vast majority of respondents in a recent poll now rate the economy as poor: According to Rasmussen Reports, just 8% of adults rate the economy as good or excellent and 66% say the economy is poor. Meanwhile only 11% say the economy is getting better and 66% believe it is getting worse. 81% think the United States is currently in a recession, while 8% disagree. This lack of confidence represents one of the most daunting challenges facing the new Obama administration. In recessionary times, a lack of optimism can suppress consumer spending, leading to a vicious cycle of economic anxiety and decline.

 

 

Americans Have Mixed Feeling About Various Aspects Of The Stimulus

Posted Feb 26, 2009 at 1:18 AM by Maurice Berger

A USA Today/Gallup poll reports that Americans have mixed feelings about what the stimulus package should support: "The Obama administration and other advocates have argued that the massive government spending on these programs is necessary to keep a bad economic situation from getting far worse. Critics have found fault with the amounts of money involved and the long-term impact or the lack thereof. And the American public? A review and analysis of recent polling assessing the various government initiatives makes it possible to summarize American public opinion as follows: 1) Americans are generally behind the $787 billion stimulus plan (officially known as the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act"), signed into law on Feb. 17, although with significant reservations; 2) Americans are solidly in favor of aid to homeowners facing foreclosure; 3) Americans are solidly against giving further aid to the auto companies; and 4) Americans are generally against the idea of providing further aid to ailing banks (although support for an actual government takeover of failing banks is fluid and depends on how such a process is described)."

Public Thinks Mortgage Subsidies Reward Bad Behavior

Posted Feb 24, 2009 at 1:56 AM by Maurice Berger

A majority pf American adults--55%--believe the "federal government would be rewarding bad behavior by providing mortgage subsidies to financially troubled homeowners." Among investors, 65% hold that view. A new poll reports that among all adults, just 32% disagree. 77% of Republicans and 60% of those not affiliated with either major political party believe the mortgage help subsidizes bad behavior. Most Democrats--51%--disagree.

Consumer, Investment Confidence Again Fall To Record Lows

Posted Feb 23, 2009 at 1:15 AM by Maurice Berger

Americans are growing increasingly gloomy about the economic crisis and their ability to weather it: "The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures consumer confidence on a daily basis, fell two points on Monday to 55.5. That’s the lowest level of confidence ever recorded in the seven-year history of the Consumer Index, and the fourth time a new low has been set this month.The Rasmussen Investor Index fell nearly four points on Monday to 56.9, also a record low. For the Investor Index, the previous low had been established in mid-December.

The drop for both has been fairly significant. The Consumer Index has fallen eight points over the past month and 39 points over the past year. The Investor Index has fallen nine points over the past month and 45 points over the past year."

Voters Read Stimulus Plan As Partisan

Posted Feb 19, 2009 at 1:15 AM by Maurice Berger

The American public now rejects the idea that the stimulus package was a partisan effort: 60% of U.S. voters according to a new poll say the economic stimulus plan "is mostly what Democrats want rather than a truly bipartisan product." 25% think the plan is a bipartisan effort; 15% are not sure. "80% of Republicans say the stimulus is mostly a Democratic plan, while Democrats themselves are evenly divided on the question. 62% of unaffiliated voters say it’s mostly what Democrats want, while 22% characterize the plan as bipartisan."

Americans Remain Skeptical of Stimulus Package

Posted Feb 17, 2009 at 1:39 AM by Maurice Berger

Americans continue to remain circumspect about the stimulus packaged signed into law by President Obama. 38% of voters now believe the $787-billion stimulus will help the economy, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. 29% believe the plan will hurt and 24% believe it will have little impact. Middle-income Americans are more likely to believe the bill will hurt rather than help. Those with incomes below $40,000 or above $100,000 are more optimistic.

Confidence In Democrats To Handle Economy Is Falling

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

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

Gaither Performance May Be Hurting Consumer Confidence

Posted Feb 12, 2009 at 2:11 AM by Maurice Berger

Following Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s presentation of the White House financial rescue plan, the "Rasmussen Consumer Index fell a point-and-a-half to 56.6. That’s another all-time record low, surpassing the mark set ten days ago. During 2008, record lows for consumer confidence were recorded on a regular basis. The Consumer Index, which measures the economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, is down three points from a week ago and two points from a month ago."

Gallup: Decided Uptick in Support For Stimulus Package

Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 10:43 AM by Maurice Berger

A new USA Today/Gallup poll reports a decided uptick in support for the economic stimulus package now working its way through congress: "Public support for an $800 billion economic stimulus package has increased to 59% in the poll conducted Tuesday night, up from 52% in Gallup polling a week ago, as well as in late January. Most of the newfound support comes from rank-and-file Democrats, suggesting President Barack Obama's efforts to sell the plan over the past week -- including in his first televised news conference on Monday -- have shored up support within his own party. Over the same period, support for the stimulus package held steady among independents, with a slight majority in favor of it. The percentage of Republicans favoring the package rose slightly from 24% to 28%, but remains below the 34% support received in early January, before Congress began its formal consideration of the package."

Obama News Conference Enjoyed High Ratings

Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 7:34 AM by Maurice Berger

President Obama's Monday-night primtime news conference commanded relatively high ratings. According to Nielsen, "The conference was telecast live from 8 to 9PM on 8 networks achieving a combined 30.8 household rating with 49,455,133 viewers. The networks were ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Univision, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. Just weeks after his inauguration in 1993 President Bill Clinton also held a prime time news conference. That event focused on the economy and was carried by 4 networks on February 15, 1993. The sum of the audience of those networks was a 42.1 household rating with 64,300,000 viewers on average. On October 11, 2001, exactly a month after the attacks of September 11, President Bush held a prime time news conference that was carried by 7 networks. The sum of those networks’ audience from approximately 8-8:45PM was a 42.0 household rating with 64,813,000 viewers."

Voters Want More Tax Cuts, Less Spending In Stimulus Package

Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 3:24 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new poll, voters want the stimulus plan  making its way through Congress to include more tax cuts and less government spending: "Just 14% would like to move in the opposite direction with more government spending and fewer tax cuts . . . 20% would be happy to pass it pretty much as is, and 5% are not sure. Republicans and unaffiliated voters overwhelmingly want to see more tax cuts and less government spending. Democrats are more evenly divided: 42% agree with the Republicans, 32% want to pass the plan as is, and 22% would like to see more government spending and fewer tax cuts." 

Americans Support Obama in Stimulus Fight

Posted Feb 09, 2009 at 3:52 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup poll, the American public gives President Obama a strong 67% approval rating for the way in which he is handling the government's efforts to pass an economic stimulus bill, while the Democrats and, in particular, the Republicans in Congress receive much lower approval ratings of 48% and 31%, respectively.

Americans Divided On President Obama's Warning About Economic "Catastrophe"

Posted Feb 09, 2009 at 2:15 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Rasmussen poll, Americans are almost evenly divided on whether the failure to pass the economic recovery bill working its way through Congress would be a "catastrophe" for the American economy. The survey finds that 44% of Americans agree with Obama and 41% do not. "There is a huge partisan divide on the question. Sixty-nine percent 69% of Democrats agree with the president's insistence that failure to pass a bill now means catastrophe, while 64% of Republicans do not. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, 32% say Obama's right, but 51% don't agree."

Voters Not Optmistic About Stimulous Package

Posted Feb 05, 2009 at 2:08 AM by Maurice Berger

In a sign of growing voter concern and pessimism over the economy, a new Rasmussen survey reports that "50% of U.S. voters say the final economic recovery plan that emerges from Congress is at least somewhat likely to make things worse rather than better, but 39% say such an outcome is not likely. 27% say the final legislation is Very Likely to make things worse, while just 7% say it’s Not at All Likely to have that effect." Right now voters seem prepared to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt: "Part of this concern is a natural reflection of voter skepticism about the legislative process. Many Americans simply accept the notion that no matter how bad things are, Congress could make them worse."

Slim Majority Support Stimulous Package

Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 1:46 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new poll, a scant majority of Americans support President Obama's proposed economic stimulous package pass by the House last night: "As President Barack Obama tries to win over reluctant Republicans on his economic stimulus plan, a slim majority of the American public wants to see Congress pass the roughly $800 billion package of new government spending and tax breaks . . . 52% of the nation's adults are in favor of Congress passing the plan and 37% are opposed, while 11% have no opinion." A new Rasmussen survey, however, shows support for the package dipping well below maojority numbers: in the poll, likely voters support the measure 42% to 39% with 19% undecided.

Obama's America (Part 3): The State Of The Nation--A Sobered Opposition

Posted Jan 07, 2009 at 5:59 PM by Maurice Berger

Will president-elect Obama make good on his promise to end partisan bickering in Washington? The answer may well determine the relative success or failure of his new iniatives, especially his effort to pass a comprehensive economic stimulous package. With little less than two weeks to go until the new president takes office, recent opinion polls suggest that Obama has made remarkable inroads with self-described "conservative" Americans: "The extent to which Barack Obama is experiencing a post-election wave of good will from Americans is born out by his base of supprt among these espondents: "close to half of political conservatives -- 45% -- say they are confident in Obama's ability to be a good president. About the same percentage (46%) disagree." The 45% who say they are confident in Obama contrasts with the mere 23% of this group who supported him over John McCain in the election. In the end, "this relatively strong endorsement from conservatives boosts overall confidence in Obama well beyond the 53% of the national vote he received on Election Day." Overall, upawards of 65% to 70% of Americans now say they are confident Obama will be a good president, while only 27% are not confident and 8% are unsure. PollTrack suggests that the higher Obama's approval numbers with conservatives (and Republican voters of all stripes), the easier it may be for him to garner cross-over support in congress for a range of initiatives. This support may well tunr out to be the political cover right-of-center politicians will need to support Obama's programs.

Obama's America (Part 2): The State Of The Nation--Energy

Posted Jan 06, 2009 at 5:44 PM by Maurice Berger

With just a few weeks until Obama's inauguration, Americans remain worried and cautious about the state of energy and the nation's dependence on gasoline and other fossil fules. Nearly two in three Americans (64%)--according to a recent Gallup survey--report adjusting their driving habits in significant ways in response to surging gas prices earlier this year, but only 12% have reverted to their old habits as prices at the pump have plunged. Even as the price of a gallon of gas has fallen below $2 in most areas, 52% of Americans say they have not gone back to their old driving habits." These numbers suggest that Americans are reacting not only to the gravity of the energy crisis, but also are anxious about the economy and the effect of high energy and oil prices on their pocketbooks. As Gallup concludes: "the plunge in gas prices is similar to distributing a huge tax rebate by how much individuals drive. Like the tax rebate from earlier this year, lower-income Americans tend to be most likely to spend the rebate, but all Americans are likely to save a large portion of any tax rebate. In part, it may be that most Americans have not gone back to their old driving habits for fear that pump prices will surge once more in the future. Just as likely, however, particularly for upper-income Americans, returning to old driving habits may be a lot like spending money -- something left for better times." It will be interesting to see the public response to energy use if oil prices begin to climb, the response of the White House and Congress, and the effect of both on the public's accessment of the Obama administration in the coming year.

Obama's America (Part 1): The State Of The Nation--The Economy

Posted Jan 05, 2009 at 10:42 PM by Maurice Berger

Over the next week, PollTrack will publish a daily, six-part series--Obama's America: The State Of The Nation--that will examine public opinion and the attitudes of American voters about a range of issues facing the new president, from the economy and energy to voter expectations about the new administration. Collectively the series will offer a comprehensive look at the state of the nation through public opinion on the ground as Obama takes office. Today's topic: The Economy. Public reaction and response to the economic crisis has been mixed in recent weeks. For one, voters remain pessimistic about the economy: Nationally, only 9% of adults rate the economy as either good or excellent. 61% disagree and say the economy is in poor condition. Voters tend to support president-elect Obama's proposal for a comprehensive and massive stilumlous package: 56% of respondents say they favor the stimulus package that President-elect Barack Obama is proposing; 42% were opposed.The poll concludes: "Two-thirds of the public thinks the stimulus package will do just that, with 17% saying it will help the economy a lot and another 50% feeling that it will help the economy somewhat. 21% percent say the stimulus package won't help the economy very much and 10% say it won't help at all." Yet,  the recent economic crisis had led led "mixed feelings" about government intervention: 70% of respondents say a free market is better than one managed by the government. Just 15% prefer a government-managed economy. 15% remain undecided. Still, a majority of voters--a healthy 52%--also believe there is a need for more government regulation of big business, although 35% disagree. 13% are unsure. These numbers suggest a highly vulnerable electorate, uncertain of the best way to handle the present economic crisis, unsure of how much government can do, but generally confident in the new president's ability to handle the situation.

 

Americans See A Better 2009, Despite Fears About Economy

Posted Jan 02, 2009 at 3:23 AM by Maurice Berger

Americans remain optimistic about 2009, but still fear the effects of a recession most believe will be long-term. According to a new poll, Americans have a bit more confidence in 2009 than in the year that just passed, but 50% of adults believe the country will still be in a recession this time next year. 24% say 2008 was a good or excellent year, and 3% say it was the best year ever . . .  38% rate 2008 as poor. 32% expect 2009 to be good or excellent, with 5% more predicting it will be the best ever. 23% say it’s going to be a poor year." By contrast, a year ago 54% rated 2007 as either good, excellent or one of the best years ever for them personally. Only 20% gave it poor marks. 68% expected 2008 to be excellent, good or the best, with just 7% predicting poor.

 

Rasmussen: Consumer Confidence Up Slightly

Posted Dec 31, 2008 at 12:53 AM by Maurice Berger

Are Americans getting a bit more optimistic about the ailing economy during this holiday seasn. A new Rasmusen Consumer Index survey suggests that consumers are less anxious than they were even a week or two ago: The Consumer Index, which measures the "economic confidence of consumers on a daily basis, rose a point on Monday to 61.9, its highest reading since December 12. Today's index is up two points from last week, but is down two points from the first reading of the month." Any improvement in Americans perception of the economy will be helpful to presisdent-elect Obama, whose first priority is to restore confidence in a public (and business community) that as grown increasingly pessimistic about the future. 

Voters Remain Pessimistic About Economy

Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 1:59 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Rasmussen Reports survey suggests that Americans are not expecting an upturn in the economy any time soon. Nationally, only 9% of adults rate the economy as either good or excellent. 61% disagree and say the economy is in poor condition.

Voters Mixed In Their Views Of Government Economic Regulation

Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 1:57 AM by Maurice Berger

American voters have mixed feelings about government's role in managing the economy, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey. 70% of respondents say a free market is better than one managed by the government. Just 15% prefer a government-managed economy. 15% remain undecided. But as Rasmussen notes, the recent economic crisis had led led "mixed feelings" about government intervention: a majority of voters--a healthy 52%--also believe there is a need for more government regulation of big business, although 35% disagree. 13% are unsure.The survey concludes that voters overall "are more ambivalent about the federal government’s role in the current economic crisis. 48% worry the government will do too much, while 41% fear it will do too little. 11% are not sure which is a greater concern. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of voters agree, however, that government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors. Only 15% of voters don’t believe that is true, and 20% are undecided." This ambivalence suggests a very tricky political landscape for the incoming president who must balance the need for federal regulation with broadly held views about American capitalism and economic freedom and self-determination. 

Most Americans Support Obama Stimulous Package

Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 5:25 PM by Maurice Berger

According to a new CNN/Opinion Research survey, 56% of respondents say they favor the stimulus package that President-elect Barack Obama is proposing; 42% were opposed.The poll concludes: "Two-thirds of the public thinks the stimulus package will do just that, with 17% saying it will help the economy a lot and another 50% feeling that it will help the economy somewhat. 21% percent say the stimulus package won't help the economy very much and 10% say it won't help at all. Yet, respondents appear to be split on the issue of government regulation of business and industry, with "39% saying there's too much government regulation and an equal amount saying too little. 20% said the amount of government involvement is just right."

Voters Continue To Oppose Auto Bailout

Posted Dec 24, 2008 at 1:43 AM by Maurice Berger

A new national poll reports that nearly half of U.S. voters (49%) "oppose President Bush’s decision to extend $17.4 billion in emergency taxpayer-backed loans to the failing U.S. auto industry, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. 38% are in favor of the president’s decision, which he announced Friday, while 13% are undecided. The day before, Bush acknowledged that he has been forced to turn his back on many of the free-market principles he believes in because of the severity of the country’s economic situation." President-elect Obama also supports the auto bailout.

New Hurdle For Obama: Voters Are Growing Pessimistic About The Economy

Posted Dec 23, 2008 at 1:10 AM by Maurice Berger

In a new hurdle for the incoming Obama administration, voters are growing increasingly pessimistic about their personal finances. According to a new Gallup survey, About 40% of Americans on average are "currently worrying about money, sustaining a slight but significant increase in worry compared to readings before September of this year . . . Americans' self-reports that they worried about money began 2008 near 30% on average, and then rose to an average of about 35% through the end of the summer. Then, as was the case for other consumer economic measures Gallup tracks, financial worry begin to rise in mid- to late September, coincident with the highly publicized credit crisis. The average worry level peaked at about 45% in early October, and has fallen back slightly since, generally remaining above the 40% level. The notable exception was a drop in financial worry around the Thanksgiving holiday . . . The large sample sizes involved in this tracking -- about 3,500 interviews per seven-day rolling average -- underscore the conclusion that while the increase in worry is not large on an absolute basis, it is significant and meaningful." PollTrack notes that such negative sentiment can actually contribute to an economic downturn, functioning as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy in which consumers--fearful of their personal economic future--begin to radically alter their spending habits.

Concerns About The Economy Are Highest in Three Decades

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

Voter concerns about the econony are as high as they've been in three decades, since the fiscal meltdown of the mid-1970s. According to a new ABC News/Washington Post survey, "job insecurity is its worst in 33 years of polls; holiday spending plans, their worst in data back 23 years. Americans report cuts in work hours and pay, and concerns about making the rent or mortgage, heating the house, paying for retirement. In all it’s an extraordinary loss of confidence – with repercussions in families across economic and political lines. . . 63% now think the country is in a 'long-term economic decline,' up from 49% 10 months ago; just a third say the economic system is still “basically pretty solid.” And while economic distress tends to be greatest among lower-income Americans, the biggest increase in views of a long-term decline has been among the better-off, hammered by the stock market." In a separate barometer of the nation's economic health, Separately, the weekly ABC News Consumer Comfort Index is in "the midst of its worst stretch since it began 23 years ago: Just 7% of Americans say the economy’s in
good shape, 22% call it a good time to spend money and fewer than half, 44%, rate their personal finances positively."

Rasmussen: 55% of Voters Are Confident That Obama Will Solve Economic Crisis

Posted Dec 03, 2008 at 2:01 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll out from Rasmussen reports that a majority of voters are confident that Obama--and his economic team--can solve the nation's economic woes: "55% of Americans are at least somewhat confident that Barack Obama's economic team can lead the country out of its current economic problems. 25% are very confident. Only 13% are not at all confident in the new team, and 5% are undecided." Interestingly, investors are less enthusiastic about the Obama economic team, with 48% somewhat confident in the president-elect’s choices, including 20% who are very confident. 63% of non-investors are somewhar confident, while 32% are very confident. 16% of investors are not at all confident in the new economic team, compared to 10% of non-investors.

ABC NEWS Poll: Americans Skeptical About Obama's Ability to Repair Economy

Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 4:40 AM by Maurice Berger

Despite relatively high marks for the Obama transition effort, American voters remain pessimistic about the new president's ability to manage the economy. As a new ABC News survey reports: "Expectations of Obama’s economic performance are highly partisan. Just 16% of Republicans expect him to be able to accomplish a 'great deal' or 'good amount' to improve the economy, essentially unchanged from election eve. At the same time, that expectation has declined among Democrats and independents alike (by 9 and 10 points, respectively), suggesting a more sober post-election assessment in these groups. Obama himself, in introducing his economic team today, pledged fast work
but also said the economy 'is likely to get worse before it gets better.'” The ABC News analysis continues: "Given the larger forces at work, relatively few Americans, 24 percent overall, expect the incoming president to be able to do 'a great deal' to improve the economy. That’s even though it was the single most dominant issue of the campaign, and Obama’s ability to connect with the public’s economic concerns that lifted him to his Nov. 4 victory."

Why Obama Won: "The Fundamentals Of The Economy Are Strong"

Posted Nov 06, 2008 at 1:45 AM by Maurice Berger

On 18 September 2008, PollTrack's tally of electoral votes was starting to suggest that McCain was beginning to pull ahead of Obama: McCain-216 Obama-202 Too Close To Call-120. In the following weeks these numbers would steadily reverse in the wake of a comment made by the Republican nominee just days before the harrowing dimensions of the Wall Street Crisis and subsequent economic meltdown would be known: "The fundamentals of the economy are strong." When the history of the extraordinary 2008 campaign is written, it is this sentence that will read as one of the greatest game changers of the race. The remark, in and of itself, may not have been fatal for another candidate. For McCain, however, it achieved one of the most damaging results in politics--affirming the electorate's underlying anxiety or fears about a candidate. Earlier in the primary season, McCain admitted that the economy was not his strong suit. A nation on the brink of economic disaster is a frightened nation; the gnawing sense that the Republican candidate--not to mention a Republican party widely blamed by voters for the economic mess--was not competent on the economy transformed McCain into the risker choice. Yet, public opinion on the subject changed relatively slowly. On September 20th, PollTrack observed the following: "Gallup reports a slight--but only slight--benefit for Obama in the voters' candidate preferences, vis-a-vis the current economic crisis--'Even though Americans divide evenly as to which candidate can better handle the Wall Street crisis, Barack Obama seems to benefit politically, as slightly more voters say it increases their likelihood of voting for him (29%) than say it makes them more likely to vote for John McCain (23%)'" As time passed, however, and voters became more worried, they took notice of Obama's cool, steady, and authoritative demeanor. If voters approached the first debate demoralized and frightened by the economic news that resonated around them, they also approached the event with a sense of longing--desire for problem solving and intelligent, wise leadership and action. In the end, many voters felt safe with the Democrat, unnerved by the Republican, and desirous of change.

Voters Preoocupied With The Faltering Economy

Posted Oct 16, 2008 at 6:46 AM by Maurice Berger

In yet another indication of the potential for the economy to impact on this election, a just released USA Today/Gallup poll finds "66% of Americans saying the events of the last month have harmed their own financial situations, and an even more ominous 70% thinking the events of the past two weeks will hurt them financially in the long run." Yet, with a number of newly released tracking polls suggesting that the race may be tightening--Gallup's own tracker suggests a virtual tie using its traditional likely voter model--Obama 49% to McCain 47%--it is unclear how the bad economic news will ultimately influence the election.

The "Experience" Issue

Posted Oct 12, 2008 at 1:28 AM by Maurice Berger

Just how much is the issue of "experience" a factor in this election? On the surface, McCain's relative experience versus Obama's relative youth might seem like a plus for the Republican. When voters are anxious, they often inflect their own sense of instability onto the nation, and vice versa. And when voters feel unstable, they sometimes go towards the candidate they perceive as more familiar and experienced (thus, American voters do not vote out incumbent presidents in time of war). Sometimes during exceedingly difficult times, however, voters turn against the status quo--the fateful  1932 victory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt comes to mind--especially as they grow more familiar and comfortable with a "riskier" candidate who espouses dramatic change. Indeed, it was not until the last week of the 1980 campaign, another trying economic time, that Ronald Reagan wrapped up the election, having convinced millions of voters through a calming and commanding debate performance that he was not the right-wing extremist some feared. The present-day economic meltdown, and the anxiety it engenders in voters, has created an opening for Obama. In recent weeks, he has emerged as the reassuring candidate by appearing level-headed in a time of crisis, a quality communicated through his thoughtful and measured debate performances. Whether the Democrat will finally seal the deal with American voters may depend on three factors: [1] if he continues to be seen as the candidate who can best handle the failing economy (given the tendency of voters to blame Republicans for the present-day economic failures, Obama has a decided advantage in this regard); [2] if undecided or wavering voters can get past their anxieties, uncertainty, or prejudices about him; and [3] if the economy--and not another pressing domestic or international event--remains the number one issue on election day.

How Scared Are American Voters?

Posted Oct 06, 2008 at 9:14 AM by Maurice Berger

How scared are Americans about the current economic crisis? So afraid, according to analysts that their "confidence may have been too shaken for them to resume their free-spending ways any time soon." This crisis of confidence is, no doubt, an important reason for McCain's dip in the polls. The tendency of most voters to blame the economic meltdown on the present administration--and on Republicans in general--may be transforming McCain into the riskier alternative for many. (According a just released CNN/Opinion Research national survey, "56% say McCain's policies would be the same as Bush's, up from 50% a month ago.") Questions about a candidate's personality, character, patriotism. or identity--directly or indirectly raised by the McCain campaign, for example, with regard to Obama's perceived liberalism, elitism, otherness, or aloofness--can drive an election in a time of relative stability (the ease with which  George H. W. Bush was able to paint Michael Dukakis as an elitist, tax-and-spend liberal with un-American values is a case in point). But in a time of war or crisis, voters may be far more inclined to cast their vote for the candidate they believe can best bring about stability or assure their safety (indeed, American voters have not turned out an incumbent president in a time of war, to wit: 2004). The big question: have voters made up their minds? Have they decided that Obama is the more reassuring choice in a frightening time  (regardless of their doubts about his experience, race, or politics)? Or can the Republicans reignite voter doubts this week by recirculating stories about the Democrat's controversial associates (such as his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. or Williams Ayers, one of the founders of the radical Weathermen group)?

Americans Evenly Divided On Wall Street Bailout

Posted Oct 01, 2008 at 2:59 AM by Maurice Berger

Rasmussen reports that American voters are evenly split on the bailout question: "Voters are evenly divided over whether Congress should take action to help the troubled financial industry or just let Wall Street work out its problems on its own, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Forty-five percent (45%) say Congress should take action, but 44% say Wall Street and the financial industry should take care of their own problems. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided."

North Carolina: It's The Economy

Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 11:55 AM by Maurice Berger

A Public Policy Polling survey, released this afternoon, reveals one important reason for Obama's dramatic upswing in North Carolina: the economy. The poll found that, "over the last year there's been a strong relationship between the number of North Carolinians listing the economy as their biggest concern, and Obama's standing in the polls. In January when just 39% of voters said it was their biggest issue John McCain led by 14 points. In August with it up to 48% Obama trailed by just three. Last week with 58% listing it number one the race was tied, and now with the number up to a record 64% Obama has taken a small lead. He is up 55-38 among respondents citing the economy as their main concern."

Will The Economic Crisis Have A Lasting Effect On Election 2008?

Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 1:47 AM by Maurice Berger

Yesterday's PollTrack daily tracking average gave Obama a significant 6.3% edge. These results suggest that last week was a bad one for John McCain. His assertion that the "fundamentals of the economy are strong"--just days before the full gravity of our economic crisis became clear did not help his numbers. Surveys last week also indicated that the electorate is inclined to blame Republicans for the economic mess. Additionally, Sarah Palin took a hammering in the media as did McCain's effort to suspend his campaign. The big question: has the economic crisis--and McCain's response to it--provided Obama with an opening? Do Obama's numbers indicate that the tide is turning in election 2008? Or will the pendulum swing back in the coming weeks? October is a tricky month in presidential campaigns, a time when voter sentiment can harden, but also a period in which the debates, political strategies, and unexpected news events have made a difference (to wit, the expression, "October Surprise"). Al Gore began October 2000 with an large deficit in the polls. By month's end, he was tied with his opponent, winning 500,000 more votes than George W. Bush on election day. Conversely, in October 1988, a series of withering Republican campaign commercials and weak debate performances by Democrat Michael Dukakis resulted in a durable Republican advantage that carried George H. W. Bush well across the finish line. Yet, in 1980, the one--and only debate--between Reagan and Carter in late October shook up a heretofore tied up race and yielded the Republican a stable and significant lead. One major qualifier: US presidential elections are not decided by the popular vote (as 2000 dramatically confirmed). In this sense, neither candidate has come anywhere near sealing the deal. In fact, from an electoral perspective, the race is closer to a tie than Obama's modest national lead might suggest. More later.

Public Skeptical About Wall Street Bailout

Posted Sep 24, 2008 at 1:15 AM by Maurice Berger

The country is divided on more than just the election. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released yesterday reports that the American public is "evenly divided on the recent steps taken by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department to rescue the financial services industry -- 44% approve, 42% disapprove. Skepticism cuts across party lines: "Approval is under 50 percent among Republicans (49%), independents (46%) and Democrats (42%)."

Voters Blame Republicans For Financial Crisis: An Obama Advantage?

Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 11:18 AM by Maurice Berger

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released today reports that registered voters, by a two to one margin "blame Republicans over Democrats for the financial crisis that has swept across the country the past few weeks — one factor that may have contributed to an apparent increase in Barack Obama’s edge over John McCain in the race for the White House." CNN continues: "47 percent of registered voters questioned say Republicans are more responsible for the problems currently facing financial institutions and the stock market, with 24 percent saying Democrats are more responsible. One in five of those polled blame both parties equally, and 8 percent say neither party is to blame."

Gallup: Economic Crisis of Slight Benefit to Obama

Posted Sep 20, 2008 at 5:14 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup reports a slight--but only slight--benefit for Obama in the voters' candidate preferences, vis-a-vis the current economic crisis: "Even though Americans divide evenly as to which candidate can better handle the Wall Street crisis, Barack Obama seems to benefit politically, as slightly more voters say it increases their likelihood of voting for him (29%) than say it makes them more likely to vote for John McCain (23%)"