Pollster.com

June 10, 2007 - June 16, 2007

 

Re: Pardon?

Topics: George Bush

An update to my post yesterday on speculation about how a pardon of Scooter Libby might affect the Bush job rating: The amazingly responsive analysts at the Gallup organization sent this update, which answers the question I posed above by and shows how reactions to the notion of a Libby pardon back in March mesh with the Bush job rating at that time.

Among Republicans - March survey:

  • 31% Approve Bush job / Favor pardon
  • 35% Approve Bush job / Oppose pardon
  • 9% Approve Bush job / DK-Ref on pardon
  • 3% Not Approve Bush job / Favor pardon
  • 16% Not Approve Bush job / Oppose pardon
  • 5% Not Approve Bush job / DK-Ref on pardon
  • 100% Total

As of March, only 3% of Republicans favored a Bush Libby pardon but did not approve of the job George Bush was doing as President. Meanwhile, roughly five twelve times as many (35% 16%) opposed a pardon but approved of Bush.

Looking at it another way, roughly nine out of ten of those who favored a pardon in March already approved of Bush's performance.

Of course, two big caveats are in order. First, as John Dickerson pointed out via email, a lot has changed in the Libby case since March. He has been sentenced to a term that especially angers his supporters and asked to serve his time immediately. We also now have three presidential candidates (Thompson, Romney and Giuliani) making the case for a pardon. So we might see different reactions among Republicans the next time pollsters ask the pardon question.

Second, commenter Chris G has a point when he argues that figuring out "the influence of a big media event like the pardon" requires "so much more than voters simply hearing a single sentence that's analogous with what polling interviewers [ask]." Using survey data to measure current attitudes or reactions is one thing. Using it to try to predict the future attitude is inherently speculative.

PS: Good catch twc -- sorry for the oversight


POLL: Texas Lyceum Statewide Primary/GE


A new newly released Texas Lyceum statewide survey of 1,002 adults in Texas (conducted 4/26 through 5/7) finds:

  • Among 303 likely Republican primary voters, Sen. John McCain edges out former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (27% to 23%) in a statewide primary; former Sen. Fred Thompson trails at 11%, former Gov. Mitt Romney and former Speaker Newt Gingrich both at 6%.

  • Among 362 likely Democratic primary voters, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama 33% to 21% in a statewide primary.

  • General election match-ups:

    Clinton 35%, McCain 36%
    Clinton 31%, Giuliani 32%
    Obama 25%, McCain 32%
    Obama 22%, Giuliani 32%


Pardon?

Topics: George Bush

In a column predicting a presidential pardon for former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Slate's John Dickerson speculates about the potential impact on such a pardon on the job approval rating of President George Bush:

The number of people who would be angered by a pardon who haven't already abandoned the president could fit in an airport shuttle bus. Given the conservative defections from Bush over his support of immigration reform, a pardon of Libby-which would be popular with conservatives-might actually improve his approval ratings. Libby's conviction is seen as such an outrage among conservatives that one former Bush aide suggested "the consequences of not pardoning, if Scooter is led away in shackles, will be uglier than pardoning."

I'm not so sure. I have no doubt that Dickerson hears genuine outrage at Libby's conviction from the activist conservatives he talks to, but recent public opinion polls show little evidence of the same sentiment extending to the majority of rank-and-file Republicans.

Two survey organizations, Gallup and CNN/ORC, asked about a potential Libby pardon back in March:

Gallup (n=1,009 adults, March 11-14) - As you may know, a jury found Libby guilty on four out of five criminal counts. Do you think George W. Bush should or should not issue a presidential pardon for Lewis "Scooter" Libby?

21% Yes, should
67% No, should not
12% No opinion

CNN/Opinion Research Corporation (n=1,027 adults, March 9-11) - As you may know, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Dick Cheney's former top aide, was recently found guilty of obstruction of justice and perjury in connection with the CIA leak investigation. Do you think George W. Bush should or should not give a presidential pardon to Libby?

18% Should pardon
69% Should not pardon
13% No opinion

While these results obviously show that, relatively few Americans reacted favorably to the notion of a Libby pardon in March, Dickerson argues that conservatives feel differently. So I asked for tabulations of those results by party, and here, thanks to a quick response from both Gallup and CNN, are the results:

06-15%20pardon.png

So support for the Libby pardon is higher among Republicans. However, while roughly a third of Republicans supported a Libby pardon in March, more than half expressed opposition. Thus, "the number of people who would be angered by a pardon who haven't already abandoned the president" might fit more than a few airport shuttle buses.

The Gallup analysis does show slightly greater support for a pardon (44% support, 55% oppose) among the relatively few Americans (13%) who say they were following the issue "very closely" back in March. So perhaps we might find evidence of more "outrage" at the Libby verdict among those Republicans who have been following the story closely. However, I checked with Gallup, and only 14% of Republicans - and 4% of all adults -- fit into that category.

Perhaps support for Libby has been growing among Republicans since March? Unfortunately, neither Gallup nor CNN have asked this question since. However, the Rasmussen automated poll (which if anything may over-represent the opinions of well informed Americans) shows Libby's favorable rating at just 19% overall (and 34% among Republicans [sub. req.]) as of last week.

Of course, to really test Dickerson's theory, we would want to see how many Republicans are both unhappy with Bush and eager for a Libby pardon, and compare that to the number that currently approve of Bush's performance but oppose the idea of a Libby pardon. To do that, particularly in light of the continuing decline in the Bush ratings since March, we would need to work with more current results. But my guess is that even among Republicans, the net impact of a Libby pardon on Bush's job rating would not be positive.

One last point: Given the relatively low attention scores given this issue on Gallup's poll back in March (and even lower attention paid to the Libby trial as measured by the Pew Research Center in February), we can assume that the results above -- like many questions asked lately about immigration policy -- measure mostly "reactions" rather than currently held opinions. But in this case, reactions are what we care about. The question is how Americans would react to a Libby pardon, and while others may differ, I assume that coverage such a story would stress the same details regarding Libby's conviction as included in the questions quoted above.

UPDATE: Gallup sends the numbers that "really test" the theory plus more thoughts here.


Re [3]: Obama-Clinton "Virtually Tied" or Not?

Topics: 2008 , General , Hillary Clinton , The 2008 Race

We talked a lot last week (especially here and here) about whether the most recent USA Today / Gallup poll, showing a surprisingly close result on the national Democratic primary trial-heat question, was measuring some real change or just the sort of random noise that comes with the territory of random sampling variation.

Whatever the reason, Gallup's Frank Newport dropped this big hint this afternoon on his Gallup Guru blog that last weeks' result will turn out to be something of an aberration: 

We have a Gallup poll now in the field, with results to be reported early next week. Preliminary indications are that this poll will find Clinton back in her typical leadership position as she has been for the most part this year.

If they report on their usual schedule, look for data to appear in the Tuesday edition of USA Today.


Who would you NOT support?

Topics: 2008 , Measurement , The 2008 Race

In the comments section on my post about Hillary Clinton's support from women, reader timm0 asks:

Has anyone thought to ask this question in a poll:

I will read through the list of candidates. Please tell me which ones you will absolutely, positively NOT vote for?

I'd love to hear what the answers are for that.

Good question. Pollsters often ask exactly that question in large multi-candidate primaries. In fact, the NBC/Wall Street Journal survey asked it on their March 2007 survey (n=1,007 adults):

(ASK ONLY OF RESPONDENTS WHO SAY THEY ARE A DEMOCRAT IN Q.10a OR THAT THEY WOULD VOTE IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY IN Q.10b.)
Thinking of these same candidates again, are there any candidates for whom you would definitely NOT vote for the Democratic nomination for president?

16% Hillary Clinton
11% Dennis Kucinich
9% Joe Biden
7% John Edwards
7% Chris Dodd
7% Barack Obama
5% Wesley Clark
5% Bill Richardson
1% Other (VOL)
29% None (VOL)
17% Not sure

(ASK ONLY OF RESPONDENTS WHO SAY THEY ARE A REPUBLICAN IN Q.10a OR THAT THEY WOULD VOTE IN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY IN Q.10b.)
Thinking of these same candidates again, are there any candidates for whom you would definitely NOT vote for the Republican nomination for president?

20% John McCain
14% Newt Gingrich
9% Mitt Romney
6% Sam Brownback
7% Rudy Giuliani
4% Mike Huckabee
3% Tommy Thompson
2% Duncan Hunter
0% Other (VOL)
24% None (VOL)
22% Not sure

Remember, of course, that these results are a bit dated. The full results of the NBC/WSJ poll conducted this week have not yet been released, but those available as of this posting do not include an update on the "who would you NOT support" question.


Living in "Pollsterland"

Topics: Measurement

In her new "Poll Positions" column, CBS News polling directory Kathy Frankovic discusses the way pollsters love to ask questions that ask, "what if?" Although, as she points out, such questions were a favorite of polling pioneer George Gallup, they come with a potential danger:

[S]ometimes trying out those ideas may put us just outside of the real world and into what might be called Pollsterland.

It's not just that we can ask questions about Iraq, or health care, or immigration, or baseball's Barry Bonds, all of which are aspects of current reality. But we also can ask questions about an invented reality, such as: What would happen if . . .?

She goes on to list several examples, especially the "most famous" what-if of all, the one that begins, "if the election were held today..."

Frankovic also notes that Gallup started asking "as early as 1958...whether Americans would support an African-American candidate for president." My colleagues in the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) picked up the discussion on our members-only "listserv," where someone pointed out that Gallup started asking 21 years earlier about whether Americans would support a woman for president.

This observation prompted one AAPOR member to recall the remarkably leading language used the very first time George Gallup asked a "what if" question about a potential woman presidential candidate. I checked the Gallup archives (sub. req.), and here it is along with the results (from a survey conducted in January 1937 among 2,888 adults nationwide):

Would you vote for a woman for President if she qualified in every other respect? [emphasis added]

33% Yes
64% No
3% No opinion

"Pollsterland," indeed.

PS: Thanks to AAPOR member SL for remember the 1937 Gallup question.


POLL: Harris Interactive National GOP Primary


A new Harris Interactive online survey of 3,304 adults (conducted 6/1 through 6/12) finds:

  • Among likely Republican primary voters, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani leads former Sen. Fred Thompson (30% to 22%) in a national primary; Sen. John McCain trails at 18%, former Gov. Mitt Romney at 11%, and former Speaker Newt Gingrich at 8%.

  • In a multiple-response question, 30% of all adults would consider voting for Giuliani for president, 21% for McCain, 19% for Thompson, 14% for Romney, 11% for Gingrich.


Gloom, Doom and Opportunity


1BushApproval2ndTermRough20070611.png

The latest round of polls has produced a batch of collectively bad numbers for President Bush, the Congress, the direction of the country and the Iraq war. They also show troubles for front runners. And opportunities for others.

President Bush returns from his European trip to find yet more new lows in individual polls but more importantly a new low and a continued sharp downturn in my estimated approval trend, which now stands at 31.0%, well below his previous sustained low of 34% in December-March. The current downturn started April 24 and continues unabated.

In the figure above I add the more sensitive estimator ("Ready Red") to the standard more conservative ("Old Blue") estimated trend. Since April the two estimates overlap almost perfectly (making Red seem to disappear under Blue in the graph.) This means the current change in approval is not a fluke-- regardless of how I estimate it, the trend is the same. That suggests that the current downturn continues at a steady rate, otherwise Red and Blue would disagree near the end.

Bush reversed a previous downward trend in February-May 2006 with a speech in support of immigration reform. Is it possible that his trip to Capitol Hill to meet with Republican Senators will do any good? Or has the time for him to rally a consensus on immigration now passed? I think it has, despite what was once a clear opportunity for him to gain support.

But gloom and doom doesn't stop with the President. Congress has taken some hard knocks in the last month as well. The two latest polls, from NBC/Wall Street Journal and Quinnipiac University both peg approval of Congress at 23%. That comes on the heels of the LA Times/Bloomberg finding of 27% approval. The trend started down for Congress on April 15, but shows no sign of slowing. The trend estimate now stands at 27.5% approval. And Red thinks it might be lower still. I think Red is overreacting to the two polls at 23% and Blue is probably a better estimate. But gee-whiz either way.

2CongApprovalRough20070611.png

Democratic supporters have been quick to point out that opinion of Congress is not the same as approval of Democrats in Congress. I made that same point here and provide regular updates of the party evaluations here as well. But I think that argument is beginning to take on a bit of desperation and denial. There is good evidence that Republicans in Congress remain less approved of than Democrats, but there is no evidence that Democrats are gaining in approval from their recent actions. The polling here is thin, with approval of the parties only asked occasionally, so it is hard to track short term change. But the evidence we have is that Democrats are suffering declines in support relative to their January numbers. There is some evidence that this loss of support comes significantly from their base among liberals, who are unlikely to shift to support of Republicans. But an unpopular Congress has been the undoing of majority parties before and it seems Democrats should pay attention to the decline in approval of Congress, not whistle past the graveyard by pointing out that Republicans are worse off still.

Profound pessimism about the direction of the country continues at amazing levels. The trend estimate has sunk to only 20.8% saying right direction and 73.5% saying wrong track. Even if we discount for the artificially high levels of positive feeling following 9/11, the decline has been profound and sustained.

3RightDirectionCurrent070614.png

With all this gloom, where is the politician with the skill to take advantage by offering some attractive alternative? Ronald Reagan with a happy vision of a shining city on a hill (with low taxes) or Bill Clinton saying the economy can be better. Who can capture the public's confidence that they can move the country in a new and better direction?

At the moment, the front-runners seem to be failing to seize that opportunity. Instead, the momentum in both parties has stalled for front-runners and turned to non-candidates.

The Republicans provide the strongest example of a party unhappy with its choices. Both Giuliani and McCain have suffered significant losses over the past 3 months. Now the excitement is behind the not-yet candidate Fred Thompson, who has gained sharply in the last month to near parity with McCain.

4TopReps070614.png

The evidence is pretty good that Thompson's surge is not a fluke of a single poll or two, but is widespread across polls (though we could use some more to be sure!). This kind of surge for a new candidate is typical of what we see when there remain a significant number of partisans not happy with their choices and looking for any more attractive alternative to the front-runners. We saw this most famously in 1984 when Democrats unhappy with Mondale jumped on the Hart bandwagon once they saw the possibility of a credible alternative. At the moment, I think that is Thompson's greatest strength-- the hope of a better alternative. As Hart shows, it is not enough ultimately to be "not-Mondale", but at least for a while Fred Thompson may benefit significantly from being "the" alternative. Once in the race, can he take advantage of a discontented public? Does he have a story to tell about how to make America better?

I have to add that Mitt Romney is looking like the steady tortoise to the other hares. His trend has remained steadily up despite a number of mistakes earlier. He hasn't enjoyed even a moment of Thompson's "surge", but he's also escaped downturns. His current Iowa and New Hampshire polling also looks good. He has a very far ways to go to emerge in first place, but this far out you might like that long term positive trend.

The Democratic frontrunners haven't suffered the sharp declines that Giuliani and McCain have, but none are showing strong positive gains either. Clinton has fallen off just a few points recently, Obama seems stalled and Edwards has a very slight decline in support. So who do Democrats like more and more? Al Gore, the non-candidate.

5TopDems070614.png

The Gore increase is no where close to that of Fred Thompson, but of the four possible nominees pictured above, he is the only one with steady gains throughout 2007. Given the low level of encouragement Gore has given to a possible candidacy (FAR less than Thompson) it is remarkable that he's moved up at all. And while the Thompson candidacy looks increasingly likely, a Gore campaign seems a remote possibility to me at least. Nonetheless, a non-trivial number of Democrats are looking longingly at him while passing up the easy opportunity to support Clinton or Obama or Edwards. Clearly they are looking for someone else who can take this opportunity to exploit the moment. Other evidence (here and here) makes Gore seem an unlikely white knight. In terms of partisan feelings, polarization and support in a general election, Gore looks a lot like Clinton-- well known and well liked among Democrats but not very popular among independents and actively despised among Republicans. But that isn't the point here. He is "someone else" at the moment within the Democratic party.

The front-runners have won substantial support within their parties and one may yet go on to win. But the current flatness or decline in their support trends argues strongly that none have sealed the deal with their primary voters. The widespread public disaffection with current leaders and conditions can be seen as a difficult environment to run in. But it is also the great opportunity to be seized by an able politician, one who can convince supporters that they have a vision of how to lead the country out of these bad times and into a new "morning in America". Based on the evidence here, I don't think any of the top six candidates has managed that yet. And that leaves them all vulnerable to someone who can. Fred Thompson is evidence that it is not yet too late for such candidates to emerge.

Cross-posted at Political Arithmetik.


POLL: NBC/WSJ Approvals, 2008


A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal national survey (NBC story, results; WSJ story, results) of 1,008 adults (conducted 6/8 through 6/11) finds:

  • 29% approve of the job George Bush is doing as president -- "his lowest mark ever;" 66% disapprove.

  • Among Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton (at 39%) leads Sen. Barack Obama (25%) and former Sen. John Edwards (15%) in a national primary.

  • Among Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 29%) leads former Sen. Fred Thompson (20%) in a national primary; Sen. John McCain and former Gov. Mitt Romney trail at 14%.


POLL: American Research Group National Primary


A new American Research Group national survey of likely primary voters (conducted 6/9 through 6/12) finds:

  • Among 600 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama (39% to 19%) in a national primary; former Sen. John Edwards trails at 13%.

  • Among 600 Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 24%) edges out Sen. John McCain (20%) in a national primary; former Sen. Fred Thompson trails at 15%, former Speaker Newt Gingrich at 12%, and former Gov. Mitt Romney at 10%.


POLL: Quinnipiac National Primary


A new Quinnipiac national survey of 1,711 registered voters (conducted 6/5 through 6/11) finds:

  • ADDED: 28% approve of the job George Bush is doing as president; 65% disapprove.

  • Among 789 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama (35% to 21%) in a national primary; former V.P. Al Gore trails with 18%, former Sen. John Edwards with 9%.

  • Among 663 Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 27%) leads Sen. John McCain and former Sen. Fred Thompson (both at 15%) in a national primary; former Gov. Mitt Romney trails with 10%.

  • General election match-ups:

    Giuliani 44%, Clinton 45%
    Giuliani 42%, Obama 42%
    Giuliani 43%, Gore 45%
    McCain 42%, Clinton 44%
    McCain 41%, Obama 43%
    McCain 41%, Gore 44%


Clinton's Support from Women

Topics: 2008 , General , Hillary Clinton , The 2008 Race

Three different analyses in the last two days have looked at the demographic differences in recent presidential polls. While each has a different angle and emphasis, they collectively make intriguing and somewhat contradictory conclusions about Senator Hillary Clinton and her potential appeal to women.

A front page story by the Washington Post's Anne Kornblut and Matthew Mosk digs into the implications of this finding:

In the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, Clinton led Obama by a 2 to 1 margin among female voters. Her 15-point lead in the poll is entirely attributable to that margin.

Yesterday, USA Today's Susan Page looked at a mash-up of Gallup polls on the nomination races taken since January and observes:

Clinton, in contrast, is a classic Democrat. She does best among women, Democratic partisans, older voters, and less-educated and lower-income workers. She trumps Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, her top rival and an African-American, among blacks.

That mix of support could help her win Democratic primaries, but she faces hurdles in the general election. She draws only 1 in 4 independents who "lean" Democratic, for example, and 1 in 4 white men in the Democratic sample.

ISO white men

Without stronger support among white men, who made up 36% of the electorate in 2004, "it becomes very difficult for a Democrat to win the White House," says political scientist Merle Black of Emory University.

Finally, an analysis posted earler today by Gallup's Lydia Saad examines three tests of a Clinton-Giuliani trial-heat since February and concludes:

Most notably, it appears Clinton would run no stronger among women than Kerry did in 2004 -- or, for that matter, than Al Gore did when running against Bush in 2000. On average in 2007, women prefer Clinton over Giuliani by a six-point margin -- 53% to 47%, respectively. That is not much different from women's four-point preference for Kerry over Bush in 2004, or the eight-point preference for Gore over Bush in 2000.

A Clinton-Giuliani race may be more striking for its impact on the male vote. Men favor Giuliani over Clinton by a 16-point margin in 2007. That compares with a 12-point lead among men for Bush over Kerry among 2004, and a 7-point lead among men for Bush over Gore in 2000.

All of this analysis -- intriguing as it is -- suggests a different question: Should we be doing this sort of micro-analysis of national trial-heat questions asked eight months before the primary season begins and almost a year and a half before the general election? While the horse race numbers often change as the campaign progresses, there is some logic in looking at the demographic patterns in the support of frontrunners like Clinton and Giuliani. These candidates are very well known, and voters have real opinions about them that will likely persist. Thus, these initial measurements of vote preference provide a good sense of the political landscape that all of the campaigns will confront.

Also, the trial heat match-ups in early primaries often show the same demographic patterns as the national surveys, as seems to be the case in the latest CNN/WMUR poll of New Hampshire. The crosstabs provided in the University of New Hampshire show Clinton leading Obama by nearly two-to-one (43% to 22%) among women, but by only two points (24% to 22%) among men.


Congressional Approval at 10 Year Low?


CongApprovalLATimes20070610.png

The LATimes/Bloomberg poll, taken 6/7-10/07 finds approval of Congress at 27%, disapproval at 65%. That's a bit below my current trend estimate of 31.1%, but not a statistical outlier.

The headline and lede of the LA Times story are eye catching and have been quickly picked up:

Approval of Congress lowest in a decade
Only about a quarter of Americans approve of how it's doing its job, a poll shows; most see 'business as usual.'


By Noam N. Levey, Times Staff Writer
June 12, 2007

WASHINGTON — Fueled by disappointment at the pace of change since Democrats assumed the majority on Capitol Hill, public approval of Congress has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade, according to a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll.

Just 27% of Americans now approve of the way Congress is doing its job, the poll found, down from 36% in January, when Democrats assumed control of the House and the Senate.

My problem with this story is a common one. What it says is exactly true, but it ignores all polling not conducted by the LATimes and Bloomberg. This IS the lowest LA Times Poll reading of Congressional approval in a decade.

But what is not reported is that since January 2006, 42 of 146 national polls have found approval below 27%. That is 29% of the recent polls, so a congressional approval rating of 27% is by no means unique in the last decade. (If we include 27% approval then 56 of the last 146 have been this low or lower-- 38% of polls in the last year and a half.)

As the graph above shows, the LA Times polls have been generally consistent with the overall trend in Congressional approval since 1996, the earliest data I have for the LA Times polls. Their polls track well with the ups and downs of Congressional approval during this time. The "house effect", the average difference between the LA Times and the estimated trend is a moderate +2.6, meaning the LATimes approval is usually a bit above the overall trend estimate. More important the correlation of the LATimes poll and my trend estimate is a robust +.96, showing a very strong relationship between their polls and the trend.

This is just what we'd expect from an excellent poll, one that is conducted to high standards of polling methodology. That is a reputation the LA Times has justly earned. So I repeat that nothing here is evidence of a fault with the individual poll or the LATimes polling more generally. Quite the opposite.

Nor is the basic conclusion that approval of congress is going down in question. My trend estimate turned down starting April 15, and so far there is no evidence that the decline has slowed, let alone reversed.

But we come back to the need for comparison to put the poll in the context of what else we know about Congressional approval. The LA Times understandably wants to compare their polling over time and to gain value from their expensive polling. I'm all for that. But the story chooses to ignore, even for a sentence, the fact that there is a lot of polling that has been done on this subject, and that a significant amount of that polling does not support the "lowest in a decade" conclusion.

Contrast this treatment with that in USAToday last week when the USAToday/Gallup poll produced a result showing Obama with a slight lead over Clinton. USAToday wrote the story, discussed the meaning of the result, but also acknowledged in the story that there was other polling that did not show this sharp narrowing of the Obama-Clinton gap. I think the result was a very responsible treatment of the poll, still showing the value of conducting proprietary polls yet not writing as if other polls did not exist.

If we choose to pay attention to all the polling, as my trend estimate does, then we would conclude that approval of Congress remained within a half a point of 27% from June through October of 2006. This was the low point of the decade for the trend, and in fact since the Republicans gained control in November 1994. The Democratic Congress fell below 27% just before the 1994 election and again earlier in 1992. No other Congress has been had a trend estimate this low since 1990 when my data begin.

Following the Democratic takeover of Congress in January, the approval trend rose to a high of 34.4% on April 15 and has since declined to 31.1% (which includes the current LATimes/Bloomberg data in the estimate.) Based on this, the gain was about 7 points, of which about 3 points have since been given up. Net, the current Congress is still about 4 points above the lows of 2006.

It is hard to sustain a claim that this is the lowest approval in a decade, unless one focuses only on the "in-house" polls. But it is very easy to see, with support from all those other polls, that approval has started to decline and that this poses risks for the Democrats in Congress.

The LATimes/Bloomberg poll does a good job showing that decline since January and explores the reasons for the decline, especially among liberal Democrats. All of that is excellent reporting and use of a poll, showing the strengths of original data collection and analysis.

I wish editors and reporters would acknowledge that they do not exist alone. When they ignore abundant outside polling, they undercut the very credibility of their own polling as well as serve their readers poorly by creating headlines which are only true within a very limited context. This story could have correctly informed readers AND exhibited the strengths of the LATimes polling operation if it had just stayed away from the "lowest in a decade" and focused instead on the dangers to Democrats of losing their base. Instead a headline is now being repeated which is quite misleading in light of all polling on Congress.

Cross-posted at Political Arithmetik.


POLL: Rasmussen 6/12 Round-up


New Rasmussen Reports automated surveys find:

  • Among 633 likely Republican primary voters nationwide, former Sen. Fred Thompson runs even with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (both at 24%); former Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain both trail at 11% (conducted 6/4 through 6/7).

  • Among 773 likely Democratic primary voters nationwide, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama 37% to 25%; former Sen. John Edwards trails at 11% (conducted 6/4 through 6/7).

  • Among 500 likely voters in New Jersey, Clinton leads Giuliani 38% to 29% in a general election match-up, Bloomberg trails with 21%.

  • Among 800 likely voters nationwide, Giuliani edges out Clinton 47% to 44%; McCain edges out Clinton 48% to 42% (conducted 5/30 through 5/31).

  • Among 800 likely voters nationwide, Giuliani leads Obama 51% to 39% while Obama edges out Thompson 47% to 44% (conducted 6/4 through 6/5).


POLL: CNN/WMUR/UNH New Hampshire Primary


A new CNN/WMUR/UNH statewide survey (CNN story, results; UNH analysis) of 309 likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire (conducted 6/6 through 6/10) finds:

  • Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama (36% to 22%); former Sen. John Edwards and former V.P. Al Gore both trail at 12%, Gov. Bill Richardson at 10%.

  • When Gore is excluded, Clinton leads Obama (39% to 24%); Edwards trails at 14%, Richardson at 11%.

UPDATE: Among 304 likely Republican primary voters, former Gov. Mitt Romney runs at 28%, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John MCCain both run at 20%, and former Sen. Fred Thompson runs at 11% in a statewide primary (conducted 6/6 through 6/11).


POLL: LA Times/Bloomberg 2008 Primary


A new LA Times/Bloomberg national survey (story, results) of 1,183 adults (conducted 6/7 through 6/10) finds:

  • Among 449 likely Democratic primary voters, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama 33% to 22% in a national primary; former V.P. Al Gore trails at 15%, former Sen. John Edwards at 8%.

  • Among 408 likely Republican primary voters, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani runs at 27%, former Sen. Fred Thompson at 21%, Sen. John McCain at 12%, former Gov. Mitt Romney at 10%, and former Speaker Newt Gingrich 9% in a national primary.

  • General election match-ups:

    Clinton 41%, McCain 45%
    Clinton 41%, Romney 43%
    Clinton 39%, Giuliani 49%
    Edwards 40%, McCain 45%
    Edwards 46%, Romney 32%
    Edwards 46%, Giuliani 43%
    Obama 47%, McCain 35%
    Obama 50%, Romney 34%
    Obama 46%, Giuliani 41%


POLL: Zogby Florida Primary


A new Zogby telephone survey (story, results) of likely voters in Florida (conducted 6/4 through 6/6 for for The Miami Herald and WFOR-CBS 4 in association with The Palm Beach Post and WPEC-Channel 12) finds:

  • Among 332 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton (at 36%) leads Sen. Barack Obama (16%) and former Sen. John Edwards (11%) in a statewide primary.

  • Among 326 Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 31%) leads Sen. John McCain and former Gov. Mitt Romney (both at 12%) in a statewide primary; former Sen. Fred Thompson trails at 10%.


POLL: Gallup Evolution survey


Additional analysis from a recent Gallup national survey (analysis, video) of 1,007 adults (conducted 5/21 through 5/24) finds:

  • 41% believe "creationism, that is, the idea that God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years" is true and "evolution, that is, the idea that human beings developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life" is false, 28% believe evolution is true and creationism is false, and 24% believe both creationism and evolution are "probably" or "definitely" true.

  • 57% of Democrats, 30% of Republicans, and 61% of independents believe in evolution; 40% of Democrats, 37% of independents and 68% of Republicans do not.


POLL: AP-Ipsos National Survey


A new AP-Ipsos national survey (story, results) of 1,000 adults (conducted 6/4 through 6/6) finds:

  • Among 541 registered Democrats and those who lean Democratic, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama 33% to 21% in a national primary; former V.P. Al Gore runs at 20%, former Sen. John Edwards at 12%.

  • Among 356 registered Republicans and those who lean Republican, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani leads Sen. John McCain 27% to 19%; former Sen. Fred Thompson runs at 17%, former Gov. Mitt Romney at 10%, and former Speaker Newt Gingrich at 7%.


POLL: Rural Strategies Survey


A new Center for Rural Strategies survey (release, analysis, results) of 804 likely voters in rural parts of the United States (conducted 5/31 through 6/5 Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D) and Greener and Hook (R) ) finds:

  • 23% of rural voters think the country is going in the right direction; 66% say it's on the wrong track.

  • 44% approve of the job George Bush is doing as president; 52% disapprove.

  • 46% would vote for the Democratic candidate on a generic ballot for president; 43% would vote for the Republican. On a generic ballot for U.S. Congress, 46% would vote for the Democrat, 44% would vote for the Republican.


 

MAP - US, AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY, PR