Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Gallup: Most Admired Men and Women of 2011

Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 2:06 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by Gallup, reports that "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama continue to be named by Americans as the Most Admired Woman and Most Admired Man living today in any part of the world. Clinton has been the Most Admired Woman each of the last 10 years, and Obama has been the Most Admired Man four years in a row. Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin, and Condoleezza Rice round out the top five Most Admired women, while the top five Most Admired men also include George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Billy Graham, and Warren Buffett." Here is Gallup's chart: 

Most Admired Woman, 2011

Most Admired Man, 2011

Election 2012: Romney Ahead in SC Primary

Posted Jul 20, 2011 at 12:58 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released American Research Group poll in South Carolina reports that Mitt Romney holds a significant lead among likely Republican primary voters with 25%, followed by Sarah Palin at 16%, Michele Bachmann at 13%, Herman Cain at 10% and Rudy Giuliani and Rick Perry both at 6%,

New Hampshire 2012: Romney Leads, Bachmann Surges

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

A just released Public Policy Polling survey in New Hampshire reports that Mitt Romney continues to lead the GOP presidential primary with 25%. The news is that the second placed candidate, Michele Bachmann, has surged in recent weeks, and now stands at 18%. Sarah Palin comes in at 11%, Ron Paul at 9%, Rick Perry and Herman Cain at 7%, John Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty at 6% and Newt Gingrich at 4%. According to PPP: "Bachmann's surge in New Hampshire is being built on the back of the Tea Party. Among voters identifying themselves as members of that movement she's leading the way at 25% with Palin and Romney tying for second at 16%, and Cain also placing in double digits at 11%."

Election 2012: Romney Holds Huge Lead in NH

Posted Jul 06, 2011 at 2:00 AM by Maurice Berger

A new WMUR Granite State Poll in New Hampshire reports that Mitt Romney maintains a huge lead in the 2012 GOP presidential primary: He now stands in the survey at 35%, followed by Michele Bachmann at 12%, Ron Paul at 7%, Rudy Giuliani at 7%, Rick Perry at 4%, Tim Pawlenty and Sarah Palin at 3%, and Jon Huntsman and Herman Cain at 2%.

Romney Remains Ahead

Posted Jul 05, 2011 at 2:43 AM by Maurice Berger

A Fox News poll reports that Mitt Romney leads the quest for the 2012 GOP nomination for president with 18%, followed by Rick Perry at 13%, Michele Bachmann at 11%, Rudy Giuliani at 10%, Sarah Palin at 8%, Ron Paul at 7% and Herman Cain at 5%. The remaining candidates get less than 5% combined of the vote.

Election 2012: Romney Ahead In Florida

Posted Jul 01, 2011 at 1:59 AM by Maurice Berger

Could the GOP Primary in Florida be decisive in next year's Republican quest for the nomination for president? A new Public Policy Polling survey in Florida reports that Mitt Romney has a double digit lead for the GOP presidential nomination. He also maintains the lead in other early voting states, such as New Hampshire and (by a whisker), Iowa. In Florida, Romney leads with 27%, followed by Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann at 17%, Herman Cain at 10%,  Newt Gingrich at 8%, Ron Paul at 7%, Tim Pawlenty at 4% and Jon Huntsman at 2%.

Iowa Poll: Romney/Palin Nearly Tied

Posted Jun 27, 2011 at 1:59 AM by Maurice Berger

Good news for Mitt Romney in the year's first Des Moines Register Iowa Poll on the Republican presidential field. While pundits have wondered whether Romney may be consrrvative enough to win the GOP Iowa Caucus, which tilts towards social conservatives, the poll has Romney in the lead at 23%. The bad news for the former Massachusetts Governor is that Michele Bachmann is nearly tied with him at 22% among likely Republican caucus-goers. They are followed by Herman Cain at 10%, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul at 7%, Tim Pawlenty at 6%, Rick Santorum at 4% and Jon Huntsman at 2%.

Election 2012: Romney Ahead In GOP Primary In CA

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

A new Field Poll in California reports: Mitt Romney "holds a solid lead over his 2012 GOP presidential rivals among the state's Republican voters . . . Romney is preferred by 25 percent of registered GOP voters, giving the former Massachusetts governor a double-digit lead over each of his challengers. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, viewed as Romney's leading competitor for the nomination, barely registered in the poll, earning just 3 percent support . . .

Romney's closest competition comes from two candidates who haven't even joined the race to deny Democratic President Obama a second term: former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (17 percent), and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (10 percent). If Giuliani is taken out of the field, Romney's lead widens - to 30 percent and a more than 2-to-1 lead over Palin at 12 percent in second position, the poll shows."

Another Poll Shows Romney Way Ahead In NH

Posted Jun 20, 2011 at 1:28 AM by Maurice Berger

Another poll in New Hampshire, this one from Magellan Strategies reports that Mitt Romney holds a substantial lead over all potential GOP primary challengers with 42%: Rep. Ron Paul and Rep. Michelle Bachmann are tied at 10%, Sarah Palin comes in at 7%, Rudy Giuliani at 6% and Tim Pawlenty at 5%.

Potential GOP Candidates Unpopular In Home States

Posted Jun 14, 2011 at 1:58 AM by Maurice Berger

A new survey by Public Policy Polling reports that virtually all of the potential GOP candidates for president remain unpopular in their home states: "We've done polls in Massachusetts and Minnesota over the last couple weeks and found that Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Michele Bachmann are all unpopular in their home states. That's par for the course with this GOP Presidential field- we've polled on 9 of the candidates or potential candidates in their home states and only one of them is well liked- Gary Johnson in New Mexico."

Here's PPP's chart, from most popular to least popular:

Candidate (State)



Gary Johnson (New Mexico)



Newt Gingrich (Georgia)



Herman Cain (Georgia)



Rick Perry (Texas)



Rick Santorum (Pennsylvania)



Mitt Romney (Massachusetts)



Tim Pawlenty (Minnesota)



Sarah Palin (Alaska)



Michele Bachmann (Minnesota)



Election 2012: Romney and Palin In Lead for GOP Nomination

Posted Jun 03, 2011 at 1:28 AM by Maurice Berger

Public Policy Polling national survey of the strength of potential candidates for the 2012 GOP nomination reports that with Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump out of the race, Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin are now leading the pack with 16% each. Tim Pawlenty is at 13%, Herman Cain at 12% and Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul at 9%.

2012 Iowa Caucuses: Romney Leads

Posted Jun 02, 2011 at 1:40 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Iowa finds Mitt Romney leading the Republican presidential field with 21%; Sarah Palin and Herman Cain are each at at 15%; Newt Gingrich at 12%; Michele Bachman at 11%; Tim Pawlenty at 10%;and Ron Paul at 8%.

Fox News Poll: Romney Leads GOP Pack

Posted May 03, 2011 at 1:35 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released Fox News poll reports that Mitt Romney is now in the lead among GOP voters for the 2012 nomination: Romney comes in at 19%, followed by Mike Huckabee at 17%, Sarah Palin at 9%, Trump at 8%, Newt Gingrich at 7% and Ron Paul at 7%.

Election 2012: Huckabee Out Front In SC

Posted Apr 27, 2011 at 12:50 AM by Maurice Berger

A new American Research Group poll in South Carolina reports that Mike Huckabee now leads in another key early primary state for the 2012 GOP nomination. Huckabe comes in at with 20%, followed closely by Mitt Romney at 18%. Donald Trump at 13% and Sarah Palin at 10%.


ABC News/Washington Post Poll: Obama Leads All GOP Challengers

Posted Apr 22, 2011 at 1:53 AM by Maurice Berger

A new ABC News/Washington Post Poll reports that even though President Obama's job approval rating has dropped to 47 percent, "he leads all potential GOP candidates. In a head-to-head matchups, Obama leads Romney by 4 points, 49-45 percent; Huckabee by 6 points, 50-44 percent; Trump by 12 points, 52-40 percent; Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., by 12 points; former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Gingrich by 15 points each; and Palin by 17 points"

Election 2012: Huckabee Out Front In Iowa

Posted Apr 20, 2011 at 1:35 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released Public Policy Polling survey in Iowa reports that Mike Huckabee is way ahead in the 2012 GOP nomination race for president. Huckabee leads with 27%, followed by Mitt Romney at 16%, Donald Trump at 14%, Newt Gingrich at 9%, Sarah Palin at 8%, Michele Bachmann at 6%, Ron Paul at 6% and Tim Pawlenty at 5%.

Election 2012: Trump Leads GOP Nomination Race

Posted Apr 19, 2011 at 1:35 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Public Policy Polling, Donald Trump now leads the GOP pack for the 2012 GOP nomination for president, with 26%; Mike Huckabee follows with 17%, Mitt Romney at 15%, Newt Gingrich at 11%, Sarah Palin at 8% and Ron Paul at 5%.

Election 2012: GOP Field Evenly Matched

Posted Apr 12, 2011 at 12:40 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Fox News poll show a closely matched GOP field for the 2012 nomination, with no potential Republican presidential candidate breaking out of a crowded field. Mike Huckabee is ahead with 15%; Mitt Romney is at 14%; Sarah Palin at 12% and Donald Trump at 11%. Other candidates remain the the single digits.


Gallup: Huckabee In Strongest Position For GOP Nomination

Posted Apr 11, 2011 at 12:56 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, "With President Obama officially announcing his candidacy for re-election on Monday, the question of whom he will run against becomes even more relevant. Three possible Republican candidates -- Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich -- are currently best situated among Republicans nationwide in terms of name recognition and Gallup Positive Intensity Scores. Sarah Palin and Ron Paul are also well known, but generate lower net enthusiasm from those who know them. Of the less well-known potential GOP candidates, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and Tim Pawlenty have the highest Positive Intensity Scores." Here is Gallup's chart Potential GOP Candidate Images Among Republicans and Republican-Leaning Independents, March 21-April 3, 2011

Huckabee Leads In Iowa

Posted Apr 08, 2011 at 12:09 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released Neighborhood Research poll of likely Iowa Republican presidential caucus-goers reports that Mike Huckabee leads the GOP pack with 21%, followed by Mitt Romney at 14%, Donald Trump at 9%, Newt Gingrich at 8%, Sarah Palin at 7%, Michele Bachmann at 5% and Tim Pawlenty at 4%.

Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll: Romney, Trump and Huckabee Run Strong

Posted Apr 07, 2011 at 1:01 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Mitt Romney leads the GOP presidential nomination race with 21%, followed by Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee both at 17%. Newt Gingrich was in fourth place with 11%, followed by Sarah Palin at 10% and Tim Pawlenty at 6%.

2012 GOP Nomination: Huckabee Continues To Lead Nationally

Posted Mar 29, 2011 at 2:11 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Gallup survey reports that Mike Huckabee continues to lead in the race for the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination with 19%; he is followed by Mitt Romney at 15%, Sarah Palin at 12% and Newt Gingrich at 10%. According to Gallup, if "Huckabee were not a candidate, most of his support would go to the top three remaining candidates. Romney and Palin would essentially tie for the lead, at 19% and 17%, respectively, with Gingrich getting a bump in support to 13%."

GOP Nomination 2012: Huckabee Remains Iowa Frontrunner

Posted Mar 14, 2011 at 12:37 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released We Ask America poll in Iowa reports that Mike Huckabee continues to lead the Republican presidential pack, with 20%, followed by Sarah Palin at 14%, Newt Gingrich at 13%, Mitt Romney at 13%, Donald Trump at 9%, Ron Paul at 5%, Tim Pawlenty at 4%, Haley Barbour at 3% and Mitch Daniels at 2%.

Huckabee Ahead In South

Posted Mar 07, 2011 at 12:59 AM by Maurice Berger

A Winthrop University poll of southern states reports that Mike Huckabee leads his hypothetical rivals in the 2012 Republican presidential primary rivals.  Huckabee receives 21.9%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 12.9%, Sarah Palin at 8.7%, Mitt Romney at 6.9%, Tim Pawlenty at 6.2% and Ron Paul at 5.7%. The president's approval rating remains extremely low in the South, with just 38% approving and 51% disapproving.

Election 2012: Huckabee Strongest GOP Challenger?

Posted Feb 23, 2011 at 11:45 PM by Maurice Berger

A just released Newsweek/Daily Beast poll reports that Mike Huckabee is tied with President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 presidential match up, 46% to 46%. In other match ups, Obama edges Mitt Romney, 49% to 47%, beats Donald Trump, 43% to 40%, and tops Sarah Palin, 51% to 40%.

Election 2012: Obama Tied Generically, But Leads Individual GOP Candidates

Posted Feb 18, 2011 at 12:48 AM by Maurice Berger

A Public Policy Polling survey reports that President Obama runs dead even in a re-election match up against a generic Republican, 47% to 47%. But when things get specific, the President's numbers improve considerably: he leads all of the named candidates in the poll, with a 3% advantage over Mike Huckabee, a 5% lead over Mitt Romney, a 9% lead over Newt Gingrich, and a whopping 12% advantage one over Sarah Palin.

Election 2012: President Obama Leads GOP Pack

Posted Feb 14, 2011 at 1:28 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released Fox News poll reports that President Obama leads all Republican challengers in hypothetical match ups for his 2012 reelection bid, by at least seven points. He leads Mitt Romney, 48% to 41%, beats Mike Huckabee, 49% to 41%, tops Sarah Palin, 56% to 35%, and is ahead of Newt Gingrich, 55% to 35%.

Rasmussen: Accessing the 2012 GOP Field

Posted Feb 10, 2011 at 1:59 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Rasmussen Reports survey offers an early look at potential 2012 match-ups,reporting that "Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee essentially run even with Obama at this point. Romney is nominally up two points, 44% to 42%, while Huckabee is tied with the president at 43% apiece. Three other well-known potential candidates, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul trail the president. Palin is down by 11 points, 49% to 38%, Gingrich by eight, 47% to 39%, and Paul by nine, 44% to 35%" 

2012 GOP Nomination: Huckabee Leads Nationally

Posted Feb 09, 2011 at 12:55 AM by Maurice Berger

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll reports that Mike Huckabee continues to lead Republican presidential hopefuls nationally with 21%, followed by Sarah Palin at 19%, Mitt Romney at 18%, Newt Gingrich at 10% and Ron Paul at 7%.

Nate Silver: 2012 GOP Field, Who's In, Who's Out

Posted Feb 08, 2011 at 1:01 AM by Maurice Berger

Nate Silver offers an interesting analysis of the 2012 GOP presidential field, exploring their status as insider vs. outsider and moderate vs. conservatives. Silver writes: "One dimension is obvious: we can classify the candidates from left to right, from relatively more moderate to relatively more conservative. But another dimension that is often salient in the primaries, and perhaps especially so for Republicans next year, is what we might think of as the insider/outsider axis: whether the candidate is viewed as part of the Republican establishment, or as a critic of it."


GOP Nomination 2012: Huckabee Up In Iowa, Romney in NH

Posted Feb 01, 2011 at 1:48 AM by Maurice Berger

Strategic National commissioned two polls of the Republican presidential race in Iowa and New Hampshire. Here are the results: In Iowa, Mike Huckabee leads by at 28%, followed by Mitt Romney at 19%, Sarah Palin at 12%, Newt Gingrich at 12%, Tim Pawlenty at 4% and Michele Bachmann at 4%. In New Hampshire, it is Mitt Romney who leads at 34%, followed by Mike Huckabee at 14%, Sarah Palin at 13%, Newt Gingrich at 9% and Tim Pawlenty at 5%.

Obama Showing Strength In Reelection Race

Posted Jan 26, 2011 at 1:31 AM by Maurice Berger

President Obama's aggregate approval rating surging dramatically in recent days, a new Public Policy Polling survey finds the president in his best position against the major Republican contenders since 2009. Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee each trail the president by +5%; Newt Gingrich trails by 12% and Sarah Palin by a whopping 17%.

Palin's Favorability Rating Is Dropping

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

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

Romney way Ahead In 2012 New Hampshire GOP Primary

Posted Jan 11, 2011 at 12:51 AM by Maurice Berger

How does the GOP field for the 2012 presidential contest look in New Hampshire, the first state to hold a primary next year? A new Magellan Strategies poll in New Hampshire reports that Mitt Romney holds a huge lead with 39%, followed by Sarah Palin at 16% and Mike Huckabee at 10%. How significant are these numbers? As Dave Weigel notes, Romney is "the only 2012 candidate with any geographic claim to New Hampshire" so "anything less than a monster win makes him look a lot like Muskie."

How Does President's Reelection Bid Stack Up Against Republicans

Posted Nov 17, 2010 at 1:12 AM by Maurice Berger

Where does President Obama stand in his reelection bid? How does he stack up against a generic Republican candidate. A new Politico poll reports that while Obama trailing a generic Republican opponent for reelection, 40% to 37%, he comes out at least 6% points ahead when matched up with likely Republican contenders Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee and Haley Barbour. Like GOP loses in US Senate races with unpopular incumbents--like Nevada and Colorado--Obama's ability to overtake specific GOP candidates suggests that the president's relative popularity will be no more important than the relative popularity of GOP candidates in determine who will come out ahead in 2012. Stay tuned.

Americans View of Potential 2010 GOP Presidential Candidates

Posted Nov 11, 2010 at 3:55 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Associated Press-GfK poll reports that Sarah Palin is the most divisive of the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates; public perceptions of Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are more positive. 46% of Americans see Palin as favorable; 49% as unfavorable. Huckabee has the highest favorability rating at 49%; 27% view him unfavorably. Romney has a 46% favorabliy rating, while 31% view him unfavorably.

Most See Palin As Ineffective President

Posted Sep 01, 2010 at 2:08 AM by Maurice Berger

Would Sarah Palin make a good president? Most Americans say no, according to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll. 59% of Americans said they don't think Sarah Palin would be an effective president of the United States. GOP voters have a different opinion, however: by a 47% to 40% margin, Republicans believe Palin would be an effective president.

2010 GOP Nomination: Does Romney Lead The Pack?

Posted Aug 20, 2010 at 12:53 AM by Maurice Berger

A new CNN poll reports that Mitt Romney leads the field of potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates with 21%, followed by Sarah Palin at 18%, Newt Gingrich at 15%, Mike Huckabee at 14% and Ron Paul at 10%. Another poll, however, from Public Policy Polling survey shows the candidates essentially tied: Huckabee at 23%, Romney at 22%, Palin at 21% and Gingrich at 21%.

Support For Palin Among GOP Declines

Posted Aug 19, 2010 at 1:32 AM by Maurice Berger

A newly released survey from the Clarus Research Group of GOP voters reports that support for Sarah Palin for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination has fallen considerably since March, declining from 18% to 12%. Clarus reports: "Palin gets more attention from the national media than presidential support from Republicans. The major change since March is that Gingrich has now edged out Palin for third place, even though the two are running well within the statistical margin of error."

Presidential Race 2012: Romney Most Popular GOP Candidate In Iowa

Posted Jun 22, 2010 at 1:26 AM by Maurice Berger

Who is the most popular candidate among Iowa Republicans for the 2012 presidential race? A recent Iowa Poll reports that 62% of Republicans are very or mostly favorable toward Mitt Romney; 58% like Sarah Palin; and 56% are favorable to Newt Gingrich. PollTrack suggests not reading much into this very early sampling of GOP sentiment. Much can change over the next years and a half.

Obama In Tenuous Position For 2012

Posted Apr 20, 2010 at 12:40 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Public Policy Polling survey reports that President Obama is virtually tied with all four of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination. The poll's results: Obama trails Mike Huckabee 47% to 45% and Mitt Romney 45% to 44%. He is tied with Newt Gingrich, at 45%. He leads one candidate by a slim margin: Sarah Palin, at 47% to 45%. PPP's analysis suggests that the President is at his weakest point in "13 monthly surveys and a pretty clear indication that passing health care has not done anything to enhance his political standing, at least in the short term."

Palin Favorability Remains Low

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

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

Palin Divides American

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

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

Election 2012: New Poll Shows Romney Leading Republican Pack

Posted Mar 25, 2010 at 1:50 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Public Policy Polling survey reports that former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney is leading the 2012 presidential Republican nomination race with 28% support, followed by Mike Huckabee at 24% and Sarah Palin at 23% and Ron Paul at 11%. These numbers suggests not only a close race, but a decidedly undecided Republican party, split between the more mainstream conservatism of Romney, cultural conservatism of Huckabee, and Tea Bag conservatism of Palin.

Election 2012: New Poll Shows President Trailing Huckabee

Posted Jan 26, 2010 at 1:47 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Public Policy Polling survey President Obama, for the first time, "trails one of his hypothetical opponents," for reelection, "albeit by the smallest of margins."  Mike Huckabee edges Obama, 45% to 44%, but leads Mitt Romney (44% to 42%) and Sarah Palin (49% to 41%).

Obama, Clinton: Most Admired Americans

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

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

Huckabee Leads GOP Pack For 2012 Presidential Nomination

Posted Oct 30, 2009 at 2:17 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new CNN/Opinion Research survey, 32% of GOP voters say they would support Mike Huckabee (R), followed by Sarah Palin (R) at 25%, Mitt Romney at 21% and Tim Pawlenty at 5% for the 2012 Republican nomination for president. The survey concludes: "Huckabee appears to have more support among Republicans than Palin and her unfavorable rating among all Americans is twice as high as Huckabee's. Palin may attract a lot of attention but the GOP may be looking elsewhere for their frontrunner."

Voters Mostly Negative On Sarah Palin

Posted Oct 21, 2009 at 3:09 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Gallup, Sarah Palin's national standing remains relatively low: "Palin became a bit of a sensation after John McCain tapped her as his running mate last August. But over the course of the campaign, her image suffered, going from a 53% favorable rating immediately after the 2008 Republican National Convention to 42% by the end of the campaign. Palin's ratings have not recovered, and her current 40% favorable rating is the lowest for her since she became widely known after last year's Republican convention."As for her chances in 2012, Gallup finds that sge is still popular with the Republican base, faring competitively against other GOP leaders like Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney: "Palin could compete for the 2012 nomination because she is still widely liked by Republicans -- 69% have a favorable opinion of her while only 25% view her unfavorably. But she may have difficulty succeeding in the general election, given that Democrats have overwhelmingly negative opinions of her, and independents view her more negatively than positively."

Americans Down On Sarah Palin

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

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

Obama Approval Numbers Vary

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

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

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

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

2012 GOP Presidential Nomination: Romney In The Lead

Posted Jul 17, 2009 at 2:07 AM by Maurice Berger

Former MA Governor Mitt Romney has pulled into an early lead in the race for the 2012 GOP nomination for president. According to Gallup, "about one in four Republicans and Republican-leaning independents make Mitt Romney their top choice for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, giving him a slight edge over Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the choice of 14% of Republicans, with much smaller numbers choosing current Govs. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Haley Barbour of Mississippi.

Here is Gallup's chart:


Hypothetical 2012: Obama Trounces Palin

Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 2:05 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Public Policy Polling survey, Obama would easily defeat Republican Sarah Palin in 2012 in a hypothetical match up, suggesting that such a contest would result in the largest popular vote blowout since George McGovern ran against Richard Nixon in 1972: "Obama leads Palin 55%-35% in the hypothetical contest. He has an 89%-7% advantage among Democrats. Among Republican he trails 66%-17%. Last year exit polls showed Obama winning only 9% of the Republican vote, so it appears Palin would lose a lot more voters within her party than McCain did. It’s also worth noting that while only 3% of Democrats are undecided about who they would support in an Obama/Palin contest, 18% of Republicans are, an indication of even more hesitation with some GOP voters about supporting Palin if she ended up as the nominee"

Republican Voters See Their Party As Leaderless

Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 2:06 AM by Maurice Berger

A hefty majority of Republican voters now see their party as leaderless, according to a new poll. 68% of Republican voters say their party has no clear leader; another 17% are undecided:"Just 5% view either John McCain, the GOP's unsuccessful 2008 presidential candidate, or new party chairman Michael Steele as the party's leader. 2% see conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh in that role, 1% name McCain's running mate, Alaska Govenror Sarah Palin. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner are each seen as GOP leader by less than one-half of one percent." These numbers suggest problems ahead for a party that needs to regroup and sharply hone its message in anticipation of the 2010 mid-term elections. 

Only Modest Public Support For Palin To Step Onto The National Stage

Posted Nov 16, 2008 at 11:37 PM by Maurice Berger

A new Gallup survey has some ambiguous news for Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin: voters are not exactly excited about the prospect of the Alaska Governor stepping onto the national political stage: "Just 45% of Americans would like to see Sarah Palin become a major national political figure for many years to come, while a slight majority of 52% say they would not. These sentiments are sharply divided along partisan political lines." Pelain's support comes mostly from Republican, Evangelical, and conservative voters.

Wny Obama Won: The Palin Factor (That Cuts Both Ways)

Posted Nov 14, 2008 at 1:33 AM by Maurice Berger

The Palin factor was a big one in this election. McCain nomination of the Alaska governor as his running mate would prove a blessing and a curse for the Republican ticket. There is no question that the devout, Evangelical governor helped McCain ignite the Republican Party base, heretofore very slow to warm to the Arizona Senator. Indeed, on Election Day, McCain owed many of his 57 million votes to Palin, who helped excite and galvanized the party. But critically, she slowly began to turn off independents, especially women. As the campaign wore on, Palin's standing with voters wore down. As PollTrack observed on 14 October: "Rasmussen reports that Delaware Senator Joseph Biden is now viewed more favorably than the Republican VP candidate: "Palin continues to be an emotional lightning rod for voters. 56% now have a favorable view of Biden, including 25% who say that view is Very Favorable . . . 53% view Palin favorably, but 35% say their opinion of her is Very Favorable. 47% have an unfavorable view of the first-term Alaska governor, compared to 41% who say that of Biden.' In a survey released September 24, nearly a month after they were nominated, Palin was viewed more favorably than Biden, 54% to 49%." By Election Day, a clear majority of voters believed that Palin was not qualified to be commander in chief. While it is true that vice-presidential picks rarely impact on the eventual outcome of a presidential cycle--voters after all are mainly endorsing or rejecting the candidate at the top of the ticket--on the whole, Palin's lack of traction with voters in the middle was a decided plus for the Obama-Biden ticket.

Palin A Drag on the Republican Ticket

Posted Oct 26, 2008 at 2:11 AM by Maurice Berger

A Newsweek poll conducted on 22-23 October reports that Sarah Palin is now a big liability for John McCain: "If voters could cast ballots separately for Vice President, Joseph Biden would beat Sarah Palin 54% to 37%. She is viewed unfavorably by 46% of voters and favorably by 44% percent. Twenty-two percent of voters said the choice of Palin as running mate made them 'a lot less likely to vote for McCain.'" The VP candidate does little better on the issue of her qualifications to be president: by a 55% to 40% margin votes now say she is not qualified for the job.

ABC News/Washington Post: Palin Undermining Confidence In McCain

Posted Oct 21, 2008 at 1:14 AM by Maurice Berger

A new ABC News/Washington Post survey indicates yet another problem for John McCain: voters perception of his judgment relative to his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate: "On the vice presidential candidates, 52% of likely voters say McCain's pick of Palin has made them less confident in the kind of decisions he'd make as president; that's up 13 points since just after the selection, as doubts about Palin's qualifications (also voiced by Powell on Sunday) have grown. Just 38% say it makes them more confident in McCain's judgment, down 12 points." For the Democrat, these numbers are reversed: 56% of likely voters say his choice of Biden makes them more confident in Obama's decision-making, 31 percent less so. 

Sarah Palin: A Problem For McCain?

Posted Oct 14, 2008 at 1:58 AM by Maurice Berger

Rasmussen late yesterday reported that Delaware Senator Joseph Biden is now viewed more favorably than Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin: "Palin continues to be an emotional lightning rod for voters. 56% now have a favorable view of Biden, including 25% who say that view is Very Favorable . . . 53% view Palin favorably, but 35% say their opinion of her is Very Favorable. 47% have an unfavorable view of the first-term Alaska governor, compared to 41% who say that of Biden." In a survey released September 24, nearly a month after they were nominated, Palin was viewed more favorably than Biden, 54% to 49%. The newest poll also indicates a particularly worrisome trend for the McCain-Palin ticket: women have a more favorable opinion of Biden by a significant margin. 

Sarah Palin In Nebraska?

Posted Oct 06, 2008 at 3:20 AM by Maurice Berger

Why did Sarah Palin make a surprise visit to Omaha, Nebraska yesterday? The state has been reliably Republican since 1940 (the only Democrat to win it since then was Lyndon Johnson, in his 1964 electoral landslide) The answer may lie in the way Nebraska apportions its five electoral votes. It is only one of two states (the other, Maine) that is not winner take all, aloting three of its electoral votes by congressional district. (Each state is allocated as many electors as it has Representatives and Senators in the US Congress. Nebraska's two "Senate" votes go to the overall victor in the state.) Since Nebraska instituted this method in 1992, all of the congressional districts in the state, one of the most reliably red, have gone Republican. Could Palin's presence in Nebraska be a tactic to force Obama to spend money and resources in state he will not win. Or it could be that the Democrat is starting to poll well in the 2nd Congressional district, home to Omaha and other cities with significant blocs of Democratic and independent voters?

The 50% Mark: Is Obama Over The Top?

Posted Oct 04, 2008 at 3:04 AM by Maurice Berger

Notable is Rasmussen Reports observation this morning about the baseline numbers of Obama and McCain. For over a week, Obama has held steady in their daily tracking poll at 50% to 51%. McCain, similarly, hangs on to a 44%-45% baseline support. While PollTrack's national poll average for Obama continues to show him slightly under 50%, these numbers nevertheless indicate that the McCain campaign is in trouble. (That third party candidates are currently polling at 4% to 5% collectively in some polls, adds to the significance of Obama's 48% to 49% standing in PollTrack's national average.) It is possible, at this point, for the Republicans to regain the lead? It certainly is. In 2000, Democrat Al Gore made up a 6% deficit in the last two weeks of the election, ultimately winning 500,000 more popular votes than George W. Bush. In 1976, Gerald Ford made up a 20% deficit in two months. The pattern of this election, thus far, suggests a volatile and fluid electorate: in early-August Obama held a 4-5% lead. By early September, it was +2% McCain. Now, it's hovering around +5% Obama. Indeed, in the two week period from early to mid-September, the election swung 8%. The danger for McCain: that the long-term "wave" of support for Obama--he has led in national polls for all but a few weeks since the end of the Democratic primaries in June--may begin to solidify. The danger for Obama: the passage of the bailout bill--coupled with Sarah Palin's well received debate performance--has given the Republicans an opening to change the subject and retake upcoming news cycles, perhaps with negative stories about Obama, his associates (e.g. Rev. Wright, Ayers, Rezko), and the idea that his "liberal" positions are out of step with middle America. The latter could be a potent strategy if voters remain impressionable and uncertain: the nation has not elected a left-of-center president since FDR, in his last re-election bid in 1944. Yet, with the economy in crisis and job loses way up, will an anxious electorate reject these attempts to cast doubts about Obama?

VP Debate: 69.9 Million Viewers

Posted Oct 03, 2008 at 11:05 AM by Maurice Berger

Almost 70 million viewers tuned into the last night's Vice Presidential debate between Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and US Senator Joe Biden. The match up drew over 17 million more viewers than last Friday's presidential debate.

Astonishing Viewership For VP Debate

Posted Oct 03, 2008 at 5:51 AM by Maurice Berger

Preliminary Nielson overnight ratings suggest that last night's VP debate was the most watched since Clinton/Bush in 1992. Nielson reports an astonishing 33% upswing in viewers over last Friday's debate between McCain and Obama. PollTrack will have final numbers later today. The relatively strong performance of both Biden and Palin should help both campaigns. But given McCain's need to change the subject from the bad economic news dominating recent news cycles, the Republicans may have benefited more from last night's tussle in St. Louis. Stay tuned.

Sarah Palin's Challenge

Posted Oct 02, 2008 at 4:40 AM by Maurice Berger

Another reason for the Republican ticket's lag in recent weeks: the falling popularity of Sarah Palin. Thus, the VP candidate's biggest hurdle in tonight's debate: convincing voters that she is prepared to be president. Monday's ABC News/Washington Post poll had some sobering news for Palin: six in ten voters doubt her qualifications to be president. ABC/WP's analysis continues: "In advance of her debate against Joe Biden tonight, Palin now looks like more of a drag than a boost to the GOP ticket." The number of voters who said that John McCain's choice of Palin made it less likely they would vote for him rose from 19% three weeks ago to 32% this week. 23% said they are more likely to vote for McCain because she is on the ticket, about the same number as in early September, and 45% responded that her presence on the ticket makes no difference.

Sarah Palin: A Liability Or An Asset?

Posted Sep 30, 2008 at 8:47 AM by Maurice Berger

The PPP survey released today in Florida (see below) had another significant finding that mirrors a number of other statewide polls across the nation in recent days--Sarah Palin's popularity is faltering: "Palin's net favorability with Florida voters has dropped 12 points over the last three weeks," the survey reports. Is this another reason for the decline in McCain's numbers? Palin's debate performance seems crucial: it could either further her decline with voters or give her (and the ticket) a boost, after a bad week. One thing is certain: the Alaska governor remains popular with Evangelical and conservative Christian voters as well as other sectors of the Republican base. Her success with this constituency is crucial to the success of the ticket in November. But will Palin continue to appeal to the all-important independent demographic or to working class white women? And, in the end, will voter perceptions about her have any demonstrative effect on the election? 

Lifetime Television: Palin Helps McCain With Female Voters

Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 12:26 AM by Maurice Berger

Despite recent suggestions that Sarah Palin's popularity is leveling off, a new Lifetime Television poll finds McCain's running mate "has greatly increased the GOP ticket's appeal to women." One important finding: McCain-Palin holds a 44% to 42% lead over Obama-Biden on who has a "better understanding of women and what is important" to them. Obama's lead was a whopping 34% in July, 52% to 18%.

Is Palin A Drag On The Republican Ticket?

Posted Sep 19, 2008 at 5:57 AM by Maurice Berger

In politics, what goes up invariably comes down. Sarah Palin's popularity is no exception. Research 2000 reports a stunning drop in the VP candidate's favorable/unfavorable ratings. According to the survey, 52% of voters last week approved and 35% disapproved of the GOP vice presidential nominee. This week, her approval rating is at 42%, while 46% disapprove. Newsweek reports a similar drop: "Over the course of a single weekend . . . Palin went from being the most popular White House hopeful to the least."

The State Of The Race: 45 Days To Go

Posted Sep 19, 2008 at 1:33 AM by Maurice Berger

Yesterday, a rush of statewide surveys resulted in a changed Today's Map. What are the implications of Indiana going from red to gray, Minnesota from blue to gray? One important observation: it looks like the national divisions of 2000 and 2004 are still around. With the exception of usually true-red Indiana (PollTrack still believes the state will eventually trend back to the Republicans), the same swing states are drawning down to a tie. (And, yes, despite the fact that no Democrat has won the state's electoral votes since LBJ in 1964, Virginia is now a swing state: it has actually grown bluer in recent years. Consider the 2006 senate race, where Democrat James Webb defeated Republican George Allen by a mere 8,000 votes.) PollTrack suspects that these divisions may be sharpened by the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two candidates. McCain has been able to solidify the Republican base, take the lion's share of the very dependable (re: voter turnout) 65+ demographic, and appeal to independents. Obama does well with urban voters, young people, African-Americans, and Hispanic voters. The problem for both: they each appeal to the same constituent demographics as Gore and Bush, Bush and Kerry, leaving a slim pool of swing voters (married suburban women, for example) to essentially break the tie. PollTrack suggests that other factors--preeminently Obama's race, women disaffected by the Obama campaign's handling of Hillary Clinton, McCain's age, and Palin's  religious conservatism--are making it difficult for either candidate to eat into the other's base or to pick off large segments of independent and unaffiliated voters.

The Palin Effect IV: Wait And See

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

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

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

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

PollTrack: Close But Trending McCain's Way

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

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

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

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

Watch the 50% Mark and the Palin Effect III

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

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

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

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

McCain Wins Speech Viewership War

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

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

McCain: 38.9 million

Obama: 38.4 million

Palin: 37.2 million

Biden: 24.0 million

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

More on "Bounce" and the Palin Factor

Posted Sep 05, 2008 at 5:20 AM by Maurice Berger

PollTrack's average of today's daily trackers has dropped back to +3% Obama, a point or so shy of where it was at the start of the Democratic convention (and from a high of +7 DEM earlier in the week). Obama now leads McCain, 48% to 45%. The bulk of these surveys, which represent a rolling average of the preceding three or four days, was taken before McCain's speech last night.

If this trend continues, it will underscore the extent to which the back-to-back conventions may have canceled each other's "bounce."

In other polling news, Rasmussen has just released a poll reporting that Sarah Palin is now viewed favorably by 58% of voters. Perhaps more surprising is the rapid rise of her popularity: according to Rasmussen, her favorable rating is now higher than either McCain's or Obama's.

The Beginning of a McCain "Bounce"?

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

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

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

Palin and the McCain "Bounce"

Posted Sep 03, 2008 at 4:59 PM by Maurice Berger

Sarah Palin's speech--both a blistering attack on Obama and an emotional appeal to small town, middle-American values--no doubt fired up the Republican base. It, also, no doubt fired up the Democratic base.

The dueling bases each hover around 40%, leaving a large bloc of independent, undecided (including many Reagan Democrats and a smaller number of moderate Republicans), or unaffiliated voters. Thus, the key demographic to watch--one that will determine the height and depth of McCain's post convention "bounce"--are these voters. Obama has seen a modest up tick in support from these voters in his post convention numbers.

Is this the result of a successful convention, one that delivered the candidate's message effectively and helped build trust among unaffiliated voters?

Or are these voters reacting to Palin, whose hard right politics and religious fundamentalism edge her towards the political extreme rather than the center? Has the hint of scandals turned off voters who now suspect that McCain—a candidate whose major selling point is his bold and clear-headed judgment—exercised poor judgment or even political expediency during the vetting process?

Can one commanding speech alter this dynamic? And, perhaps most important, will the choice of running mates in this election, as in most presidential cycles, have little effect on the outcome?

The Palin Effect II: Evangelicals and The Republican Base

Posted Sep 03, 2008 at 1:04 AM by Maurice Berger

The other problem for the Democrats is the rapid fire timing of McCain's announcement of his running mate in the hours after Obama's speech, a move justified by a party whose convention was just days away. While the jury is still out about whether Palin improves McCain's support among women--though conservative women do seem to be warming to the nominee--one thing is certain: Palin has dramatically improved McCain's standing with religious conservatives and Evangelical Christians, the base of his party. The enthusiasm among these voters--a bloc that heretofore has been slow to support or trust McCain--is extremely high at the moment. The announcement resulted in an almost instantaneous rush of cash into Republican coffers, igniting "a wave of elation and emotion that has led some grassroots activists to weep with joy."

The intensity level among these voters matters a lot for the Republicans. Evangelical Christians, for example, are among the most reliable voters (along with the 65+ set, now also leaning McCain's way). In 2004, a close election as this one may well be, these voters came out in exceedingly high numbers, thus assuring President Bush's victory.

How Palin does tonight--in a much anticipated speech, her introduction to the nation--may well determine if voter enthusiasm for Palin extends beyond these religious conservative voters.

Obama Has His Bounce, But For How Long?

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

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

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


Bounce: The Long View

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

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

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

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

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

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

Palin: The Experience Question

Posted Sep 01, 2008 at 1:54 AM by Maurice Berger

Possible problem for McCain: today's CNN/Opinion Research poll also reports that by a margin of 50% to 45% voters believe that Sarah Palin is not qualified to be president. While she has solidified McCain's support among religious conservatives and Evangelical Christians, could her perceived lack of gravitas suppress McCain's numbers among independents, moderate Republicans, and conservative Democrats. Or, as in the case of Dan Qualye, also roundly criticized for being inexperienced and untested at the time of his nomination by George H. W. Bush in 1988, will the public pay more attention to the top of the ticket, where McCain's experience relative to Obama could be a net plus for the Republican.


CNN + Rasmussen: The "Bounce" May Be Gone

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

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

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

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

The Palin Effect I: Women

Posted Aug 31, 2008 at 1:48 AM by Maurice Berger

Pollster David Johnson of Strategic Vision reports that in OH, PA, WI, MI--battleground states central to this election--Obama is under-performing other Democratic candidates in recent cycles. According to the organization's president, Obama, in these states, is "only leading John McCain by 2% to 3% among females where traditionally there has been a double digit lead for Democrats." 

Was McCain's choice of Palin, in part, meant to appeal to these women? Over the past few days, PollTrack has noted a tendency among pundits and journalists to distort the attitudes of many of these voters, treating them as a monolithic bloc of feminists disaffected by Hillary Clinton's loss yet unwilling to vote for a candidate who supports gun rights and rejects abortion rights.

The reality on-the-ground is more complicated. Some--if not many--women in these states were Democratic or independent voters who supported Hillary Clinton. And, yes, some remain disgruntled. But many of these women are also, like Palin, pro-life and pro-gun. Thus, she may well be appealing to these voters, spurring McCain's support among women in these battleground states who continue to be disinclined to vote for the Democratic ticket.


Rasmussen: Palin Viewed More Favorably by Voters than Biden

Posted Aug 30, 2008 at 1:14 AM by Maurice Berger

Rasmussen Reports writes this morning that voters' initial response to McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, is higher than it was to Biden last week. 53% have a more favorable opinion of Palin; 26% less favorable. Biden was viewed positively by only 43% of voters.

Once again, a note of caution: public opinion takes a while to set in. So stay tuned.

McCain Selects Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) New State Calls: AK, ND, MI

Posted Aug 29, 2008 at 3:19 AM by Maurice Berger

Sources within the Republican Party report that McCain has chosen Gov, Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate. Palin, a fiscal and social conservative, is a favorite of conservative activists. Pro-Life, she may help McCain solidify his standing with religious conservatives who have been slow to warm to his campaign. The second female candidate of either party to run on a national ticket (Dem. Geraldine Ferraro was the first in 1984), Palin could also help win over female voters, including some of Hillary Clinton's older and more conservative die-hard female supporters. Conversely, the freshly minted governor (she's been in office less than two years), may undercut the McCain campaign's argument that Obama is too inexperienced to lead.

As a result of McCain's selection, PollTrack will now make a series of new calls on Today's Map Today:

Alaska: Moves from "Leaning Republican" to "Safe Republican"

North Dakota: Moves from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Republican"

Michigan: Now that McCain has passed over Mitt Romney as his running mate, Michigan may be less in play for the Republicans. With Obama's numbers improving in the state recently, PollTrack moves Michigan from "Too Close To Call" to "Leaning Democratic."