May 13, 2007 - May 19, 2007
A new Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll of likely voters in Kentucky (conducted 5/10 through 5/15) finds:
- Among 353 Republicans, Gov. Ernie Fletcher leads former Rep. Anne Northup (41% to 26%) in a statewide gubernatorial primary.
- Among 404 Democrats, Steve Beshear edges out Bruce Lunsford (27% to 21%) in a statewide gubernatorial primary.
A new Research 2000 statewide survey (story, results) of 600 likely voters in Iowa (conducted 5/14 through 5/16 for KCCI-TV) finds:
- Among 400 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton (at 28%) edges out former Sen. John Edwards (26%) and Sen. Barack Obama (22%) in a statewide caucus.
- Among 400 Republicans, Sen. John McCain runs at 18%, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani at 17%, and former Gov. Mitt Romney at 16% in a statewide caucus.
- General election match-ups show:
Giuliani 38%, Clinton 38%
Giuliani 37%, Edwards 41%
Giuliani 37%, Obama 44%
McCain 39%, Clinton 40%
McCain 38%, Edwards 41%
McCain 38%, Obama 43%
A new SurveyUSA automated survey of 500 registered voters in Oregon (conducted 5/11 through 5/13) finds Sen. Hillary Clinton leading former Gov. Mitt Romney (53% to 38%), edging out former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (46% to 45%), and running even with Sen. John McCain (both at 46%) in a statewide general election match-ups.
On Monday, I linked
to a new report
from the National
Center for Health Statistics
(NCHS) showing that 12.8% of American households had only wireless phones (and
no land line phones) during the second half of 2006. "I don't know how this
impacts traditional polling techniques," MyDD's Matt Stoller noted on Tuesday, "but
I am curious."
Well, funny he should ask. The released of the NCHS report
was timed, in part, to coincide with the annual conference of
the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) which I am attending in Anaheim, California.
One thing I can report is that the community of survey researchers continues to
take the trend toward wireless only households very seriously (as they have at
AAPOR conferences for the last four or five years).
Steven Blumberg of NCHS presented his findings in
greater detail to a standing room audience of academic and professional survey
researchers at the conference. Their report is one of twenty-two research
papers, plus a panel discussion and a mini-course being presented here just on
the subject of mobile phones and their impact on polling. Many of these papers
describe pilot studies involving interviews conducted with respondents on their cell phones.
We often say that political polling is a mix of both science
and art. One of the things I appreciate most about these AAPOR meetings is the exposure
I get to the true science of this profession, which as of late has focused on
the issue of how to conduct surveys on cell phones. One thing that many here I
spoke with seem to agree on is that by 2008, many of the national news media pollsters
are considering adding some "cell phone component" to their surveys.
I am certain I will have more to report in the weeks
following the conference, although as a result of the conference, my blogging
has been light this week. For better or worse, I wear many hats at AAPOR: I
serve on the organization's executive council, I will be presenting a paper
with Charles Franklin tomorrow (which we hope to roll out on the blog next
week) and I try to attend as many sessions as possible and absorb all that the
conference has to offer.
New analyses from Pew Research Center find:
- The Republican presidential candidates were in tune with the majority of Republicans "on most -- though not all -- issues" during their 5/15 debate.
- Given the high opposition to evolution in the Republican Party, "no one should be surprised that three of 10 Republican candidates at the May 3 debate came out against Darwinian thinking."
- A national candidate who is Mormon may have to "battle wide-spread misconceptions" about their faith; 30% are less likely to support a Mormon presidential candidate.
A new Public Policy Polling (D) automated survey (story, results) of 606 likely voters in North Carolina (conducted 5/15) finds:
- 41% approve of how President Bush is handling his job; 52% disapprove.
- 45% approve of the job Sen. Elizabeth Dole is doing; 41% disaprove.
- Dole leads North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper 46% to 36% in a hypothetical senatorial match-up.
A new Zogby telephone survey of likely primary voters in New Hampshire (conducted 5/15 through 5/16) finds:
- Among 500 Republicans, former Gov. Mitt Romney (at 35%) leads Sen. John McCain and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (both at 19%) in a statewide primary.
- Among 503 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton runs at 28%, Sen. Barack Obama at 26%, former Sen. John Edwards at 15%, and Gov. Bill Richardson at 10% in a statewide primary.
A new SurveyUSA automated survey of 500 registered voters in New Mexico (conducted 5/11 through 5/13) finds Sen. Hillary Clinton leading former Gov. Mitt Romney (53% to 37%), edging out Sen. John McCain (49% to 44%) and running within the margin of sampling error of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (46% to 47% respectively) in statewide general election match-ups.
A new SurveyUSA automated survey of 544 registered voters in Minnesota (conducted 5/11 through 5/13) finds Sen. Hillary Clinton leading former Gov. Mitt Romney (51% to 40%) but running within the margin of error of both Sen. John McCain (45% to 49% respectively) and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (45% to 47%) in statewide general election match-ups.
A new Cook Political Report/RT Strategies national survey (results, Charles Franklin's analysis) of 855 registered voters (conducted 5/11 through 5/13) finds:
- Among 402 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen Barack Obama (35% to 24%) in a national primary; former Sen. John Edwards trails at 11%, former V.P. Al Gore at 10%. If Gore does not run, Clinton runs at 40%, Obama at 25%, and Edwards at 13%
- Among 333 Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani edges out Sen. John McCain (25% to 24%) in a national primary; former Gov. Mitt Romney, former Sen. Fred Thompson, and former Speaker Newt Gingrich run at less at 10% each. If neither Gingrich or Thompson run, Giuliani runs at 31%, McCain at 27%, and Romney at 11%.
A new Zogby telephone survey of likely caucus-goers in Iowa (conducted 5/14 through 5/15) finds:
- Among 478 Republicans, former Gov. Mitt Romney (at 19%) edges out Sen. John McCain and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (both at 18%) in a statewide caucus; former Sen. Fred Thompson trails at 9%.
- Among 511 Democrats, former Sen. John Edwards (at 26%) edges out Sen. Hillary Clinton (24%) and Sen. Barack Obama (22%) in a statewide caucus.
A new SurveyUSA automated survey of 525 registered voters in Missouri (conducted 5/11 through 5/13) finds Sen. Hillary Clinton leading former Gov. Mitt Romney (52% to 41%), running even with Sen. John McCain (both at 47%), and running within the margin of sampling error of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (45% to 48% respectively) in statewide general election match-ups.
A new Quinnipiac University statewide survey (Issues results, 2008 results) of 939 registered voters in Ohio (conducted 5/8 through 5/13) finds:
- Among 353 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama (38% to 29%) in a statewide primary; former Sen. John Edwards trails at 11%, former V.P. Al Gore at 10%.
- Among 334 Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani edges out Sen. John McCain (23% to 17%) in a statewide primary, former Sen. Fred Thompson trails at 15%, former Gov. Mitt Romney at 11%.
- General election match-ups show:
Giuliani 47%, Clinton, 43%
Giuliani 43%, Obama 42%
Giuliani 48%, Gore 40%
McCain 45%, Clinton 44%
McCain 41%, Obama 44%
McCain 45%, Gore 42%
Additional results from the recent Gallup national survey (analysis, video) of 1,003 adults (conducted 5/10 through 5/13) find:
- Among 489 Democrats and Democratic leaners, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama (35% to 26%) in a national primary; former V.P. Al Gore trails at 16%, Sen. John Edwards at 12%. In a two-way race, Clinton leads Obama 54% to 40%.
- Among 429 Republicans and Republican leaners, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani edges out Sen. John McCain (29% to 23%) in a national primary; former Sen. Fred Thompson trails at 12%, former Gov. Mitt Romney at 8%, former Speaker Newt Gingrich at 6%. In a two-way race, Giuliani leads McCain 52% to 42%.
Additional results from the recent Ohio Poll of 668 registered voters (conducted 4/26 through 5/8 by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati) find:
- 68% have given "some" or "a lot" of thought to the candidates who may be running for president in 2008; 32% say "not much" or "none at all."
- Among 316 Democrats, former Sen. John Edwards has a 43% net favorability rating (favorable minus unfavorable), Sen. Hillary Clinton has 42%, and both Sen. Barack Obama and former V.P. Al Gore have 37%.
- Among 240 Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani has a 43% net favorability rating, Sen. John McCain has 35%, and former Sen. Fred Thompson has 20%.
A new SurveyUSA automated survey of likely primary voters in Kentucky (conducted 5/12 through 5/14) finds:
- Among 676 Democrats, former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear leads Bruce Lunsford (32% to 23%) in a gubernatorial primary. Two weeks ago, Lunsford edged out Beshear (29% to 23%).
- Among 511 Republicans, Gov. Ernie Fletcher leads former Rep. Anne Northup (44% to 34%) in a gubernatorial primary.
I'm becoming convinced that my hasty, sensitive and mistake prone trend estimator, "Ready Red", has got the story right this time. For some time I've been watching the Giuliani and McCain trends. Since December, McCain has steadily trended down at a nearly constant rate. Giuliani has trended up over that time, but the trend estimator has been flattening out over the last couple of months, though still rising. That is based on "Old Blue", the conservative estimated trend line in the figure above. Blue is designed to be relatively slow to change direction but hard to fool with a handful of polls that represent more noise than new trend. But in this case, it is looking more and more like the trigger happy Red estimator has in fact picked up the current trend.
Charlie Cook at the Cook Political Report has graciously passed along the results of the latest Cook/RT Strategies poll, completed 5/11-13/07. This poll finds Giuliani at 25% and McCain at 24%. Two weeks earlier, 4/27-29/07, the Cook/RT Strategies poll found Giuliani at 28% and McCain at 21%. Given the sample sizes, which are typical of current national polling, this shift falls short of statistical significance. Nonetheless, this is in line with other recent polling trends and the sensitive Red estimator picks up this trend.
Giuliani spent a long time as the surprise front runner in the Republican nomination polls, leading McCain in the vast majority of polls. This was a mystery given Giuliani's liberal positions on abortion, gun control and gay rights. For people who follow politics closely, it was hard to believe that Republican constituents could set aside these positions which have been anathema to the "base" for nearly three decades. And yet he continued to lead and McCain fell steadily.
McCain's decline was somewhat less mysterious. His sponsorship of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation, his opposition to the administration on torture, and his support for immigration reform have put him at odds with many on the right in the party.
But things have been changing recently. Giuliani appears to have benefited from a great many Republicans who simply did not know where he stood on these bedrock issues of conservative Republican principles. In the last two or three months that has begun to change as Giuliani has become the focus of news coverage that has emphasized his positions. Giuliani's recent clarification of his positions, and his performance in tonight's second Republican debate, is likely to further increase awareness among Republican voters.
While polling has found, somewhat surprisingly, that many Republicans say they are willing to overlook these issues I think there has been an inevitable drag on Giuliani, and that is now showing up in the Red estimator.
At the same time, McCain has tried to restart his campaign and it appears to have at least stopped his falling support and perhaps begun to produce some gains.
I am very slow to accept the responsive Red estimator because it is easy to be fooled by it. But the red trend for Giuliani has been quite consistent for some while. And the conservative Blue trend has been responding, if more slowly, by flattening out.
So I think the issue is now whether Giuliani can reverse his recent decline. His attempt at clarification and candor on abortion in particular is a huge risk if the Republican base cannot accept those positions. Given Giuliani's clarified position, McCain appears to have started looking a bit better to Republican voters. And to credit McCain, perhaps his restarted campaign is now playing to more of his strengths than it did in December through February.
Cross-posted at Political Arithmetik.
A new Strategic Vision (R) statewide survey of 800 likely primary voters in Florida (conducted 5/11 through 5/13) finds:
- 33% approve of President Bush's overall job performance; 58% disapprove.
- Among Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani leads Sen. John McCain (32% to 20%) in a statewide primary; former Sen. Fred Thompson trails at 10%, former Speaker Newt Gingrich at 7%, and former Gov. Mitt Romney at 5%.
- Among Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton (at 37%) leads Sen. Barack Obama (20%) and former Sen. John Edwards (19%) in a statewide primary.
The Associated Press analysis of their new poll (taken 5/7-9/07) used the lede:
People think the Democratic-led Congress is doing just as dreary a job as President Bush, following four months of bitter political standoffs and little progress on Iraq and a host of domestic issues.
And a paragraph later:
The survey found only 35 percent approve of how Congress is handling its job, down 5 percentage points in a month. That gives lawmakers the same bleak approval rating as Bush, who has been mired at about that level since last fall, including his dip to a record low for the AP-Ipsos poll of 32 percent last January.
The comparison of the two series is interesting. As the top figures shows, approval of Congress has generally been rising since the Democrats took control in January. The red line is the more sensitive trend estimate. It turns slightly down at the end, while the standard trend estimate continues to rise. The slight difference is not enough to convince me that there is any downturn at this point, despite the 5 point change in the AP poll over a month. As the graphic makes clear, there is lots of noise from poll to poll and the trend estimate is much more reliable than a poll to poll comparison. By contrast, the Presidential trend in the second figure has been quite flat since January, as both blue and red lines agree.
The level of approval of Congress was very low in late 2006 and remains well short of its high points in early 1998 and following 9/11 in 2002. (See the entire Congressional approval series since 1990 here.) But Congress is rarely loved. In the 17 years since 1990, Congressional approval has risen above 50% only twice-- rising just above 50% in early 1998 before dropping sharply after the impeachment of President Clinton late in 1998, and for a few months following 9/11. For the vast majority of the time since 1990, approval of Congress has been below 45% and below 40% for much of the time.
In 1995, following the Republicans capture of control, approval stood at just over 30% and did not break 40% until mid-1997. By contrast, Presidents routinely enjoy approval over 50% and are seen as in some trouble politically when their approval falls below 50%. President Bush's lengthy record below 40% is unusually low and long in comparison to previous presidents (though a number dip briefly to the 30s.)
In this light, while approvals of 35% apiece may be numerically equal, the political implications in light of historical polling are not the same. The most obvious difference is that in 2007 Congressional approval has been rising while that of the President has been stagnant. Democrats in Congress are not enjoying very high levels of approval, but they are doing considerably better than Republican members. (See the graph below.) While Democrats lead Republicans by 8 points on approval, Republican disapproval is a whopping 21 points higher than disapproval of the Democrats.
There is a famous question in political science: "why do voters hate Congress but love their Congressman?" The simple answer is that the institution is a convenient whipping boy for the President but also for its own members. Many members (who often enjoy personal approval levels well above 50%) run for reelection by running against Congress as an institution. The result is approval ratings of the Congress that are poor in comparison to those of the President or of its individual members. Thus it becomes a dangerous thing to make direct comparisons of Presidential and Congressional approval. The two are quite different in their norms and dynamics. It would be better to look at Congressional approval in light of its own history, and the Republican victory in the 1994 elections and in government after 1995 provides an excellent point of comparison.
Cross-posted at Political Arithmetik.
Two new polls continue to reinforce the estimate of stable presidential approval. The AP/Ipsos poll, taken 5/7-9/07, finds approval at 35%, disapproval at 61%. A new Gallup poll taken 5/10-13/07 has approval at 33%, disapproval at 62%. With these polls, my trend estimate is 34.4% approval.
Approval has remained between 33% and 35% since January, with scattered polls above and below but little evidence of any enduring change from that range.
The current polls do not raise any reevaluation of recent polling, so I'll just present the usual diagnostics below without further comment. See my previous posts in May on approval for a more extended discussion.
Cross-posted at Political Arithmetik.
A new SurveyUSA automated survey of 512 registered voters in Ohio (conducted 5/11 through 5/13 for WCPO-TV and WYTV-TV) finds Sen. Hillary Clinton running even with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 46%), edging out Sen. John McCain (49% to 44%), and leading former Gov. Mitt Romney (53% to 38%) in statewide general election match-ups.
The new trial heat match-ups posted yesterday by the American
Research Group (ARG) for the national Democratic presidential primary generated
some comments worth responding to, both here
and on other sites.
First, consider the results, as presented on the ARG site. Results
for each month are based on 600 "likely Democratic primary voters" - those who say
"they will definitely vote in a primary or participate in a caucus in
One nit to pick in the interpretation by TPMCafe's Eric
Kleefeld of an "expanding" Clinton
lead in these results:
The same poll a month ago found
that Hillary had 36% to Obama's 24% - meaning Hillary has expanded her lead by
5 points in ARG's sampling.
True, but remember sampling
error 101: The "plus or minus 4 percentage point" margin of sampling error that
ARG reports for each of these surveys applies to each percentage, not to the margin. So neither Clinton's three point
increase since April (36% to 39%) nor Obama's two point decline (24% to 22%) is
large enough to be statistically significant.
However, these results do
show a statistically significant decline in Obama's support (from 31% to 22%) as
measured by ARG's since it's first national sampling in March.
Having said that, we should keep in mind that most other polls
released in March did not have the national race nearly as close as ARG. Our
chart of all
recent national horse race results (which as of this writing
does not yet include now includes this latest ARG release) shows that most other polls had Clinton leading by the same (roughly) twelve
point margin since March. Obama's standing has not changed since his surge of
support in January and February.
Finally, in addition to some pointed questions about their
track record, commenter Alex Forshaw asked, "who is behind ARG?" As this
question seems to come up regularly, I put it to ARG president Dick Bennett via
email. Here is his reply:
We still rely on subscriptions to
what used to be commonly known as omnibus surveys.** The
difference, however, is that we package each state and national survey
separately. Unlike a traditional omnibus, there is no set schedule or guarantee
of a survey without repackaging. We do a lot of panel building and have been
fortunate in the past 6 months because we have been tracking household
telephone, cable, and Internet access around the country and that allows for
the addition of the political questions. Campaigns cannot be subscribers (but I
know that some campaigns receive the latest numbers shortly after our
subscribers and before public release). We are always looking for new
subscribers willing to allow the political questions as part of the surveys.
Subscriptions are not inexpensive -- no $199 for the entire race deals -- and
subscribers pay proportionately for each survey.
**An omnibus survey is one that allows multiple paying
clients to buy questions.
A new Harris Interactive online survey of 2,523 adults (conducted 5/3 through 5/10) finds that among likely Republican primary voters, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 38%) leads Sen. John McCain and former Sen. Fred Thompson (both at 18%) in a national primary; former Speaker Newt Gingrich trails at 9%, former Gov. Mitt Romney at 8%.
A new Gallup national survey (analysis, video) of 1,003 adults (conducted 5/10 through 5/13) finds:
- 33% approve of the job President Bush is doing; 62% disapprove.
- 29% approve of the job Congress is doing; 64% disapprove.
New Rasmussen reports automated surveys find:
- Among 624 likely Republican primary voters, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 25%) leads Sen. John McCain (18%), former Sen. Fred Thompson (15%), and former Gov. Mitt Romney (12%) in a national primary (conducted 5/7 through 5/10).
- Among 789 likely Democratic primary voters, Sen. Hillary Clinton runs at 35%, Sen. Barack Obama at 33%, and former Sen. John Edwards at 14% in a national primary (conducted 5/7 through 5/10).
- Among 800 likely voters, Obama edges out McCain (46% to 42%) and runs within the margin of sampling error of Giuliani (44% to 45% respectively) in national general election match-ups (conducted 5/2 through 5/3).
- Among 800 likely voters, 36% say the U.S. and its allies are winning the war on terror; 34% say the terrorists are; 26% say neither (conducted 5/7 through 5/8).
- Among 555 American Idol fans, A 36% plurality think Blake Lewis should be the next person eliminated from American Idol (5/10 through 5/12).
A new Minnesota Public Radio statewide survey of 625 registered voters in Minnesota (conducted 5/7 through 5/9 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research) finds:
- 43% have a favorable opinion of Sen. Norm Coleman; 25% unfavorable.
- Coleman leads both Al Franken (54% to 32%) and Mike Ciresi (52% to 29%) in hypothetical senatorial match-ups.
A new SurveyUSA automated survey of 560 likely Democratic primary voters in Philadelphia (conducted 5/11 through 5/13) finds City Councilman Michael Nutter (at 36%) leading Deputy Mayor Tom Knox (25%), Rep. Chaka Fattah (13%), and Rep. Bob Brady (12%) in a citywide mayoral primary.
Four new WBZ-TV/SurveyUSA automated surveys of adults in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, and Utah who watched last night's 60 Minutes interview with former Gov. Mitt Romney asked if the interview affected their vote decision regarding Romney (note: all interviews were conducted during the day on 5/14).
Center for Health
Statistics (NCHS) today released another of its regular updates on the ever
growing number of Americans living in households without
landline telephones (hat tip to alert reader BS):
During the last 6 months of 2006, more than 3 out of every
20 American homes (15.8%) did not have a landline telephone. Of those homes
without a landline telephone, most had at least one working wireless telephone.
Preliminary results from NHIS suggest that more than one out of every eight
American homes (at least 12.8%) had only wireless telephones during the second
half of 2006. These are the most up-to-date estimates available from the
federal government concerning the size of this population.
The ongoing NCHS survey, which involves roughly 13,000 interviews
every six months, conducts its interviews in person. Thus, it potentially
reaches all Americans, regardless of phone service. As the following chart
shows, the upward trend in wireless only households shows no signs of slowing:
For thoughts on what this trend may mean for the telephone
surveys we all obsess over, see my previous commentary here and here.
A new WIS-TV/Communities for Quality Education statewide survey of 500 likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina (conducted 5/5 through 5/8 by Ayres, McHenry & Associates (R) ) finds Sen. John McCain edges out former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (25% to 20%) in a statewide primary.
A new American Research Group national survey of likely primary voters (conducted 5/9 through 5/12) finds:
- Among 600 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama 39% to 22% in a national primary, former Sen. John Edwards trails with 19%.
- Among 600 Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani runs at 28%, Sen. John McCain at 24%, and former Speaker Newt Gingrich at 13% in a national primary.
A new New York Daily News survey of 503 registered voters in New York City (conducted 5/10 through 5/11 by Blum & Weprin Associates, Inc.) finds:
- When asked to choose between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 46% think Bloomberg would make a better president while 29% think Giuliani would.
- 56% think Bloomberg was the better Mayor, 29% think Giuliani was.
A new Ohio Poll conducted 4/26 through 5/8 by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati finds:
- Among 799 adults in Ohio, 68% approve of the job Gov. Ted Strickland is doing; 16% disapprove.
- Among 810 adults, 59% approve of the job the Ohio General Assembly is doing; 29% disapprove.
- 61% say it is important for Stickland and the Ohio Legislature to work on "improving Ohio's economy" in the next year; 58% say "improving the job situation in Ohio."
A new St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 statewide survey of 901 registered voters in Florida (conducted 5/6 through 5/9 by Schroth, Eldon & Associates (D) and Polling Company (R) ) finds:
- Among Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton (at 42%) leads Sen. Barack Obama (19%) and former Sen. John Edwards (12%) in a statewide primary.
- Among Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 29%) leads Sen. John McCain (15%) and former Gov. Mitt Romney (14%) in a statewide primary.