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

Divergent Views Of Opportunity In US

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

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

Bill Clinton At Your Barbeque?

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

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

Americans Want Better Veteran's Care

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

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

Americans Continue To View Obamacare Unfavorably

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

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

Does The Next President Matter?

Posted May 15, 2014 at 8:28 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll reports that a majority of American--56%--believe that "an increase in community activism would have a more significant impact on daily life than the candidate they elect as president . . . Just 39% said that the election of a particular president would have a greater impact."


Majority Believes That All Politicians Are Corrupt

Posted Apr 09, 2014 at 9:21 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Reason-Rupe reports that 75% of Americans think all politicians are "corrupted" by campaign donations and lobbyists. 

The Most and Least Trusted State Governments?

Posted Apr 07, 2014 at 8:38 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Gallup poll reports that Illinois tops the list for state residents with the lowest trust in their state government:  “llinois’ position at the bottom of the list … is not surprising, given that its last two governors, Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan, were sentenced to jail for crimes committed while in office.” Here is Gallup's chart for the most and least trusted states. 

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Americans Want Obamacare Debate To End

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

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

Americans Fear Big Government More Than Big Business

Posted Dec 31, 2013 at 8:31 AM by Maurice Berger

According to new poll by Gallup, 72% of Americans say "big government is a greater threat to the U.S. in the future than is big business or big labor, a record high in the nearly 50-year history of this question."

Only 20% Of Americans Satisfied With Direction Of Country

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

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

Large Majority Do Not Trust Government

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

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


MSNBC Poll: GOP Brand Badly Damaged

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

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

Americans Divided On Role Of Government

Posted Oct 07, 2013 at 11:17 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new survey by Gallup, "Americans continue to be about as likely to favor a more active government as a more limited one when asked about their preferred government role. Specifically, 34% fall on the more active side of a 5-point scale, including 19% who say the government "should take active steps in every area it can to try and improve the lives of its citizens." Thirty-two percent prefer a more limited role, including 16% who say government should provide only the most basic functions. Thirty-three percent place themselves in the middle."


How Satisfied Are We With Government?

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

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

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

A Career In Politics Disfavored By Most Americans

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

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

Does Government Threaten Our Rights And Freedoms?

Posted Feb 01, 2013 at 9:16 AM by Maurice Berger

A  survey by Pew Research reports that "trust in the federal government remains mired near a historic low, while frustration with government remains high. And for the first time, a majority of the public says that the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms." The poll found "that 53% think that the federal government threatens their own personal rights and freedoms while 43% disagree."

Over 80% Of Americans Disapprove of US Congress

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

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

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

Pew: Who Will Do Better In Tonight's Debate?

Posted Oct 16, 2012 at 9:37 AM by Maurice Berger

Who will do better in tonight's debate? That's the question asked by a new Pew Research poll. 41% of voters surveyed say President Obama will do better, while 37% expect Mitt Romney to prevail. Two weeks ago, voters expected Obama to win by a 51% to 29% margin--an expectations game that further hurt him in the wake of a poor debate performance. Who will these lower expectations help or hurt? Stay tuned.

Race Close, But Most Say Obama Will Win

Posted Aug 24, 2012 at 7:49 AM by Maurice Berger

While a  new Associated Press/GfK poll reports that President Obama is only +1% ahead of Mitt Romney nationally--47% to 46%--it also shows a more significant gap when people were asked who they thought would win: 58% of adults said Obama to be re-elected, while just 32% said Romney.The expectation of a win is often important in a close election, dampening support for the candidate who is thought to have a lesser chance of winning. PollTrack will continue to track both the national numbers as well as voter expectations.

Approval of US Congress At Historic Low

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

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

Approve of Congress -- January 2011-July 2012

Americans Divided On Healthcare Ruling

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

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

Majority of Americans Think President Obama Will Win Rellection

Posted May 21, 2012 at 8:56 AM by Maurice Berger

In presidential elections, long-term expectations of who will win are often more important than the actual polling distance between the candidates. By this measure, President Obama is well situated. According to a new survey by Gallup, "56% of Americans think Barack Obama will win the 2012 presidential election, compared with 36% who think Mitt Romney will win. Democrats are more likely to believe that Obama will win than Republicans are to believe Romney will. Independents are nearly twice as likely to think that Obama, rather than Romney, will prevail."

Sharp Rise in Americans Who Say Nation Is On Right Track

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

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

Large Marjority Of Americans See Romney As Out Of Touch

Posted Apr 16, 2012 at 8:37 AM by Maurice Berger

A survey by Economist/YouGov suggests a major problem for Mitt Romney as he moves into the general election phase of his campaign: that he out of touch and does not care about people. The poll notes: "Obama does not really have that problem: 48% say Obama cares about people like them, 52% say he does not. That's not a rip-roarin' populist image, but it certainly surpasses Romney's scores: 38% say Romney cares about people like them, 63% he does not."

Ronney Not Popular Nationally

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

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

Gallup: US Satisfaction Index Has Hit Ten Month High

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

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

Satisfied with the U.S.?

Majority Of Voters Believe President Obama Will Be Reelected

Posted Mar 14, 2012 at 11:28 PM by Maurice Berger

In an important indicator for the President--since, as PollTrack note, perception plays a big role in politics--a new Pew Research survey reports that 59% of American voters say that President Obama is likely to be re-elected if his opponent is Mitt Romney; between Obama and Rick Santorum, 68% anticipate an Obama victory.

GOP Interest In Election Ebbing

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

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

Election 2012: Tea Party Support Drops Significantly

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

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

Two Polls Report Gingrich Leading Nationally

Posted Nov 18, 2011 at 1:05 AM by Maurice Berger

Two polls now show Newt Gingrich leading the GOP pack nationally. An Economist/YouGov reports that Gingrich leading is ahead nationally with 23%, followed closely by Herman Cain at 21% and Mitt Romney at 19%. Ron Paul comes in at 7%, Rick Perry at 6%, Michele Bachmann at 5%, Jon Huntsman at 5%, Rick Santorum at 2% and Gary Johnson at 1%. A Fox News pollalso shows Gingrich in the lead, with 23%, followed by Mitt Romney at 22% and Herman Cain at 15%. Ron Paul come in at 8%, Rick Perry at 7%, Michele Bachmann at 6%, Jon Huntsman at 3%, and Rick Santorum at 2%.

Election 2012: Republicans More Enthusiastic About Voting

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

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

Americans Growing Weary Of Health Care Legislation

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

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

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.

Majority of American Expect Obama Not To Be Reelected

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

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

Dissatisfaction With Government At Record High In US

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

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

Trend: Reaction to How the Nation Is Being Governed

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

Congressional Approval At All Time Low

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

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

Hillary Clinton Maintains High Favorability Rating

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

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

Gallup: Americans Question War on Terrorism

Posted Sep 14, 2011 at 1:41 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Gallup survey, Americans' views on who is winning the war on terrorism are almost identical now to where they were in October 2001. "Americans are roughly evenly split, 46% to 42%, between the view that the U.S. and its allies are winning the war on terrorism and the view that neither the U.S. nor the terrorists are winning. Despite the similarity between views now and 10 years ago, there has been a great deal of change in the intervening time, including points in 2002 and 2003 when two-thirds of the public felt that the U.S. was winning."

Vast Majority Of Americans See Nation Off Track

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

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

Democratic Base Strongly Behind Obama

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

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

Election 2012: Romney Leads In New Hampshire

Posted Aug 18, 2011 at 12:08 AM by Maurice Berger

A survey by Magellan poll in New Hampshire reports that Mitt Romney continues to lead the GOP presidential primary pack with 36%, followed by Rick Perry at 18%, Rep. Ron Paul at 14% and Rep. Michele Bachmann at 10%. All other candidates are at 3% or less.

Americans Angry With GOP

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

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

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

American Optimism Dims, But Not About The President

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

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

Americans Are Not Optimisitic About State of Nation

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

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

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%).

Are US Voters Angry With Incumbents?

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

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

GOP Voters Rate Business and Economy As Top Political Concerns

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

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

Tea Party Support Lags

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

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

NJ Govenor Chris Christie "Hottest" Politician?

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

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

Voter Attitudes Towards Government Shutdown

Posted Mar 03, 2011 at 12:53 AM by Maurice Berger

A just released Quinnipiac poll reports that American voters are divided in their opinion about a possible federal government shutdown: 46% say it would be a good thing; 44% believe it would be a bad thing. As for blame if the shutdown occurs: voters would blame Republicans more than President Obama, 47% to 38%.

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.

Increasing Number of Americans View Obama As Moderate

Posted Jan 21, 2011 at 1:29 AM by Maurice Berger

As Political Wire notes, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll reveals a potentially significant change in public perception about President Obama: 40% see him as a moderate, as compared with 45% who see him as a liberal and 11% who view him as a conservative. The number of voters who see him as moderate is the highest ever for Obama in the WSJ/NBC poll.

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:


Election 2012: President Obama Runs Strong With Democrats

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

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

Voters Angry At The Media

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

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


Most Americans See GOP AS The Party Of No

Posted Apr 29, 2010 at 12:53 AM by Maurice Berger

A new Economist poll reports that just 24% of Americans think Republicans "mostly provide constructive policy alternatives"; 52% say they "mostly just oppose the other party." These numbers could prove a considerable stumbling block to Republican hopes to take back one or both houses of congress this fall.

Voters Rate Economy As Top Issue

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

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

Americans Very Dissatisfied With Congress

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

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

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 Not Optimistic About Future Of U.S. Military

Posted Mar 05, 2010 at 1:29 AM by Maurice Berger

In a result that suggests that Americans are not optimistic about the future of the U.S. military, a recent Gallup survey reports that while 64% of Americans believe the U.S. is the No. 1 military power in the world today, far fewer--a staggering 36%--believe that the U.S. will be No. 1 militarily in 20 years. Nevertheless, "most Americans believe the U.S. will continue to have combat troops regularly involved in fighting around the world over the next two decades."

Americans More Confident In War On Terror

Posted Feb 26, 2010 at 1:19 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Rasmussen survey, "voter confidence in America's conduct of the War on Terror has reached its highest level since last May. The survey finds that 50% of likely voters now believe the United States and its allies are winning the War on Terror, up 12 points from last month and 14 points from late-December.  Only 21% now believe the terrorists hold the advantage, down 10 points from January and the lowest level measured since last August. Another 21% say neither side is winning, a figure that has held relatively steady over the past several years. Democrats are slightly more confident in U.S. efforts in the war, with 54% who believe the United States and its allies are winning. A month ago, just 41% of Democrats felt that way. Forty-eight percent (48%) of Republicans and 46% of those not affiliated with either party agree."

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."

Republicans’ Life Ratings Drop While Democrats’ Improve

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

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

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

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 Favor Democratic Policies Over Republican By A Wide Margin

Posted Dec 29, 2009 at 2:21 AM by Maurice Berger

A new CNN/Opinion Research survey reports that a majority of Americans believe that the Democratic party's policy proposals are good for the country--51% to 46%. By a margin of 53% to 42%, the public in stark contrast rejects Republican policies, believing they will move the country in the wrong direction.

Support For Health Care Reform Dramatically Erodes

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

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

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."

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."

Obama Slips With Independent Voters

Posted Aug 13, 2009 at 2:23 AM by Maurice Berger

In a warning sign for the Obama administration, the president's standing among independent voters are slipped considerably. According to a new Marist poll: "While the Obama Administration is embroiled in a bitter battle to get a health care plan pushed through Congress, President Barack Obama is faring well, overall, in the eyes of a majority of voters.  However, the president’s job performance may have lost a bit of its luster for members of one key voting group for the first time since taking office. 55% of U.S. registered voters approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing in office while 35% say they disapprove.  The president has held his own in the court of public opinion during the last few months. . . . But, is President Obama on a slippery slope with Independent voters?  Currently, 47% of Independents nationwide say they approve of the job the president is doing while 37% disapprove.  This is the first time Obama has lost a majority of Independents since taking office."


President Obama Perceived As Liberal By Most Americans

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

According to a new Rasmussen survey, "76% of U.S. voters now think President Obama is at least somewhat liberal. 48% say he is very liberal . . This marks the highest finding to date on the question and is a five-point increase in the number who say the president is very liberal from a month ago.

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

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

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

Approval Rating: President Obama Has Better Week

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

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

Obama Drops Below "Honeymoon" Threshold

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

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

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

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

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



Rasmussen: Majority of Americans Continue To Rate Economy As Poor

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

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

Obama's Support Among Independents May Be Falling Off

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

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


Congressional Approval Rating Drops To 33%

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

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

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"

Republicans Down On Their Party

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

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

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."

Majority Of Americans Believe GOP In Congress Out Of Touch

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

According to a new Rasmussen survey, "just 21% of GOP voters believe Republicans in Congress have done a good job representing their own party’s values, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. 69% say congressional Republicans have lost touch with GOP voters throughout the nation. These findings are virtually unchanged from a survey just afer Election Day. Among all voters, 73% say Republicans in Congress have lost touch with the GOP base. 72% of Republicans say it is more important for the GOP to stand for what it believes in than for the party to work with President Obama. 22% want their party to work with the President more."

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

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

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

More Americans Are Optmistic About Direction Of The County

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

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

Majority Believe That Their Vote Counts in Elections

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

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

Obama's Approval Rating Slips Considerably Among Independents

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

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

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

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."

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

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

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

Obama Popularity Boosts Democrats in Congress

Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 5:02 AM by Maurice Berger

Diageo/Hotline Poll of 800 registered voters conducted in late-January finds that President Obama's popularity is helping to boost voter perceptions of Democrats in congress: "Now that Democrats control both the White House and both Houses of Congress, Democrats in Congress currently find themselves as beneficiaries of President Obama's high favorability and job approval ratings . . . 49% of voters say they approve of the job Democrats in Congress are doing, while only 26% of voters who approve of the job Republicans in Congress are doing. And, while the 111th Congress has been in session barely three weeks, the Poll finds that the Democratic candidate leads the Republican candidate 46%-22% in a generic 2010 congressional election match-up, with 27% of voters saying they are undecided."

Most Voters Expect "Real Change" From Obama Administration

Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 1:30 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new Diageo/Hotline survey, "75% of voters are “confident” that President Obama will bring “real change to the way things are done in Washington, D.C.” This represents a nine-point increase from the 66% of voters who said they were “confident” in his ability to bring real change in the Diageo/Hotline Poll conducted immediately after the Presidential Election. The Poll also finds that 76% of voters hold a favorable impression of President Obama, while only 15% of voters hold an unfavorable impression."

Obama Riding High In Red States

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

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

Americans Think Obama Will Make Good On Most Of His Promises

Posted Jan 21, 2009 at 2:05 AM by Maurice Berger

Americans have confidence in Obama's ability to make good on his promises, according a to new Gallup Poll: "Ensuring that all children have health insurance, doubling production of alternative energy and reducing health care costs are the promises Barack Obama have made that most Americans want him to keep . . . There is agreement on the top three across partisan lines although by different margins. Democrats agree on this top three by even higher percentages than the overall public. Independents rate them in the top 60s, and Republicans in the low to mid 50s. As to what Americans believe Obama will be able to accomplish, enacting a big public works program tops the list (80%), followed by increasing U.S. military strength in Afghanistan (68%), ensuring children have health insurance (62%) and lifting restrictions on government funding of stem cell research (61%)."

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

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

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

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.


Coming Next Tuesday: OBAMA'S AMERICA: The State Of The Nation

Posted Jan 02, 2009 at 4:06 PM by Maurice Berger

Starting next Tuesday, 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.

Election 2008: A Political Realignment or A Cry For Change

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

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

Obama Winning The Expectations Game, BIG

Posted Oct 29, 2008 at 1:24 AM by Maurice Berger

In a sign of Obama's increasing public relations edge in this election, Gallup reports that he is way ahead in the expectations game: "By a 71% to 23% margin, Americans expect that Barack Obama will be elected president in next Tuesday's election, including a 49% to 46% ratio of John McCain's own supporters who say Obama, rather than their own candidate, will win."  Positive expectations can play a crucial role in an election's outcome, often convincing wavering or uncertain voters (the "persuadables") of the viability, attractiveness, or inevitability of a candidate. Reverse expectations can also depress voter turnout for the candidate who lags, since voters may believe their vote is wasted on a losing campaign.

Three Weeks To Go: Is It Over?

Posted Oct 14, 2008 at 3:58 AM by Maurice Berger

Perusing the latest round of national and statewide polls--and looking back at the numbers over the past two weeks--it's fair to sat that the momentum is clearly with Obama. For one, the Democrat has grazed the 50% mark continuously for more than two weeks in most daily tracking polls. Just as important is the consistency of McCain's numbers, hovering around the 45% mark. Since June, the race has remained relatively stable, save for a few weeks in early September when McCain lead by a few points. Another positive for Obama: he's up as much as +10% in a number of key battleground states--including robust leads in PA, MI, WI--advantages that may well be insurmountable at this point. The Democrat is also ahead in all of the states won by John Kerry in 2004. So the overarching dynamic of the race has favored Obama, allowing him to ride a more or less consistent wave of support that has placed him 3-5% ahead of his opponent for most of the past four months. He's also winning the expectations game, as voters by a significant margin expect him to win. Still, the election is not over. Indeed, over the past half century, competitive presidential cycles have often seen dramatic movement in the last few weeks. In 1980, Carter lead by 5-8% until the final weeks, when Reagan rapidly came up from behind to overtake him. In 1968, Democrat Hubert Humphrey made up an large deficit in the last month of the campaign against Richard Nixon.  In 1976, Gerald Ford closed a significant gap, nearly defeating Jimmy Carter after months of lagging way behind. In 2000, Al Gore made up a 7% deficit in the final weeks of the campaign. And in 2004, a series of solid debate performances helped Kerry to close within a few points of George W. Bush. The good news for Obama: the longer the underlying dynamics of the race remain the same, the more likely voter sentiment will begin to solidify. Yet, a large bloc of voters remain undecided or say they could still change their mind (more than 10% according to most national surveys). Will tomorrow's debate--like the first two--help Obama to seal the deal with voters? Can McCain alter the dynamics of the race, by changing the subject from the ailing economy to other matters? Will news events intervene? And what about an October surprise? Might it be just around the corner?

The Undecided or Uncertain Voter: Still A Factor

Posted Oct 11, 2008 at 2:57 AM by Maurice Berger

In a just released Rasmussen survey, voters by a +40% margin--an advantage nearly identical to yesterday's Fox News/Opinion Dynamics survey (see below)--anticipate a Democratic presidential victory in November. Yet, despite these numbers, a surprisingly large bloc of voters remain undecided or fluid, suggesting that they could change their minds by Election Day. Rasmussen, for example, reports in today's tracking poll that if only voters who say they are certain of their choice are counted, Obama leads 45% to 38%, with a very large additional bloc of voters who are undecided or capable of flipping between now and November 4th. Is Obama in a better position to win? Yes, much better. But given the Democrat's relatively modest lead at this point--and the large number of undecided, uncertain, or fluid voters--the election is not over. These voters could split evenly, handing Obama the election. They could largely break for the Democrat, handing him an impressive victory. Or they could move substantially in McCain's direction, resulting in a modest Republican win.

Is Obama Winning The Expectations Game?

Posted Oct 10, 2008 at 7:59 AM by Maurice Berger

Sometimes the hardest thing to overcome in politics is the widespread expectation that your opponent is going to win. Winning the expectations game often translates into inevitability--a bandwagon onto which undecided and unaffiliated voters jump. Who's ahead in this measure of political success heading into the final three weeks of Election 2008? According to a just released Fox News/Opinion Dynamics survey, the answer is Barack Obama: Voters believe by a margin of 61% to 18% that the Democrat will win in November; even Republicans agree, by a far slimmer 39% to 35%. Yet, another hurdle for McCain to overcome.