June 24, 2007 - June 30, 2007


POLL: CBS News on Bush, Congress, Iraq & Campaign 2008

A new CBS News national survey (Bush/Iraq story, results; Campaign 2008 story, results) of 835 adults (conducted 6/26 through 6/28) finds:

  • 27% approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president and 65% disapprove, "the lowest number yet recorded in the CBS News Poll."

  • 27% approve of the way Congress is handling its job and 60% disapprove. The rating "has dropped nine points since last month and is now at the level it was prior to last fall's mid-term elections."

  • 66% of Americans "say the number of U.S. troops in Iraq should be decreased, with 40% wanting all U.S. troops removed - up seven points from April."

  • Among 336 Democratic primary voters, when presented a three-way choice 48% prefer Hillary Clinton, 24% Barack Obama, 11% John Edwards, 8% would rather see someone else nominated and the rest (9%) are completely undecided or unsure

  • Among 212 Republican primary voters, when presented a four-way choice 34% prefer Rudy Giuliani, 22% Fred Thompson, 21% John McCain, 6% Mitt Romney, 7% would rather see someone else nominated and the rest (10%) are say they are completely undecided or unsure.
Typo corrected -- thanks regret

Michael McDonald on the CPS 2006 Turnout Data

Topics: 2006 , The 2006 Race

George Mason University Professor Michael McDonald, whose voter turnout web site is one of the most useful election data resources on the web, sends along this note:

The 2006 Current Population Survey (CPS) Voting and Registration Supplement, a primary source of data for many voting studies because of its large state sample sizes, is now available for download. To access these data, use the Census Bureau's Data Ferret program.

Preliminary analysis

The CPS reports that 47.8% (+/- 0.4%, remember, the CPS sample size of over 100,000 is very large and that margin of error varies with sub-sample sizes) of the citizen voting-age population reported voting, which compares to my most recent turnout rate estimate of 41.3%. The higher CPS turnout rate is consistent with a well-known phenomenon known as "over-report" bias, where more people report voting than aggregate statistics indicate. For comparison purposes, 46.1% of the 2002 CPS citizen voting-age population reported voting while my turnout rate estimate is 40.5%.

The overall percentage of the electorate reporting voting before Election Day is 18.5%, down slightly from 20.0% in 2004 and up from 14.2% in 2002. California and Washington saw an increases in early voting to 33.2% in 2006 from 29.9% in 2004 (CA) and to 71.8% in 2006 from 60.6% in 2004 (WA), however, increases were reported in only 15 states. This may reflect a tendency of early voting to drop off in midterm elections, so I would caution that 2006 is probably not indicative of a new downward trend in early voting which has increased strongly in every election since 1998 from 11.2%. (Of course, these are self-reported rates, not actual election statistics such as those collected by The Early Voting Center.) If these trends persist, it may very well be true that more Californians will have voted early before the 2008 New Hampshire primary than all New Hampshire voters.

Turnout by demographic categories show that higher turnout in 2006 versus 2002 likely came from younger, white, moderately educated citizens (slightly more women, too). Perhaps most interesting is the lower turnout among non-Hispanic African-Americans, which indicates that Democrats likely won in 2006 by expanding their base rather than relying on their core constituencies, though we can't know for certain from these data because the CPS does not ask who people voted for.

One other interesting tidbit is found in Tennessee where Harold Ford ran in a closely contested U.S. Senate race. If the CPS is correct, non-Hispanic African-American turnout rates went down in Tennessee a non-statistically significant amount between 2002 and 2006, from 41.1% to 38.9% (+/- 7.6%).


POLL: CNN on Congressional Democrats and Republicans

Yet more results from the latest CNN/ORC national survey (story, results) of 1,029 adults (conducted 6/22 through 6/24) finds:

  • Although fewer adults approve (42%) than disapprove (49%) "what the Democratic leaders in the U.S. House and Senate have done so far this year," a majority says it is good (57%) rather than bad (31%) "that the Democratic Party is in control of the Congress."
  • The "Democratic Party" receives a net positive rating (51% favorable, 38% unfavorable), while the ratings of the "Republican Party" are net negative (36% favorable, 53% unfavorable).
  • Among 907 registered voters, Democrats begin with a twelve point lead (53% to 41%) in the generic Congressional vote.

[Hat tip: TPMCafe]

Bush Approval: Fox at 31%, Trend at 29.5%

Topics: George Bush


The new Fox poll taken 6/26-27/07 pegs approval of President Bush at 31%, disapproval at 60%. With this addition, my trend estimate of approval stands at 29.5%.

The diagnostics show well behaved data so little to be suspicious of at the moment.






Cross-posted at Political Arithmetik.

POLL: Mason-Dixon Candidate Survey

A new Mason-Dixon national survey (via MSNBC's First Read) of 625 likely general election voters (conducted 6/23 through 6/25) tests favorable ratings and whether respondents would or would not consider voting for each of eleven current or potential presidential candidates.

NBC's Mark Murray: "[Sen. Hillary] Clinton is the only major presidential candidate -- either Democrat and Republican -- for whom a majority of likely general election voters say they would not consider voting. In addition, she's the only candidate who registers with a net-unfavorable rating."

POLL: CBS News Immigration

A new CBS News national survey (story, results) of 505 adults (conducted 6/26 through 6/27) finds:

  • 13% think Congress should pass "a bill dealing with illegal immigration," based on what they've heard or read about the debate over this legislation; 35% think they should not pass the bill; 51% haven't heard enough to say.

  • 65% believe "ILLEGAL immigrants who have lived and worked in the United States for at least two years" should be offered a chance to keep their jobs; 28% say they should be deported back to their native country.

POLL: Fox National Survey

A new Fox News/Opinion Dynamics national survey (story, results) of 900 registered voters (conducted 6/26 through 6/27) finds:

  • 31% approve of the job George Bush is doing as president; 60% disapprove.

  • Among Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton (at 42%) leads Sen. Barack Obama (19%), former V.P. Al Gore (14%), and former Sen. John Edwards (10%) in a national primary. Excluding Gore, Clinton leads Obama 47% to 21%.

  • Among Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 29%) leads Sen. John McCain (17%), and former Sen. Fred Thompson (15%) in a national primary; former Gov. Mitt Romney and former Speaker New Gingrich both trail at 8%.

What To Do About Al Gore?

Topics: 2008 , The 2008 Race

Despite his repeated assertions that he isn't a candidate his supporters keep hoping he'll enter the race. In the national polls he has consistently been in 3rd place, ahead of Edwards, and winning about 15% of the vote as of recently. But he says he isn't a candidate. So what should pollsters do about including him or not in the polls?

Whenever a survey question offers an added choice, that option must win at least some votes. In the primary contest, a well known and popular (among Democrats) figure like Gore is likely to attract support from voters not happy with the top candidates and not familiar with the bottom tier. The result is that Gore runs well even as he is not running.

On the Republican side, this issue has been somewhat less of a problem. Newt Gingrich and Fred Thompson have both made clear they are "considering" runs making the rationale for including much more compelling.

Some polls have asked for second choices and reallocated the Gore vote to those second choices as a way of measuring the race both with and without Gore. But the practice is quite inconsistent and many polls report only results with Gore. A smaller number report polls only without Gore. The result is a mix of questions asked across different survey organizations and across different states. For example, a majority of Florida polls have included Gore, while only one California poll included him. How should we handle this variation across polls?

We could try to standardize only on polls without Gore, and use 2nd choices when polls include him. But that would eliminate all the many polls that don't report 2nd choices without Gore. More national polls have included him than not, and so we've used that as the standard. If a pollster chooses to leave Gore out of the candidate list, we go ahead and use that poll, despite the difference in candidates. It is a considered judgment of the pollster to measure candidate preference either way and we yield to the pollster's judgment.

There are two other reasons to keep Gore in, so long as many pollsters (at least) keep his (non-)candidacy alive. First, his name provides some measure of how many Democratic voters are still looking for Prince Charming. Given the low probability of a Gore run, it is hard not to interpret his support as essentially a statement of dissatisfaction with at least the top three other Democrats. So for that reason the Gore line is revealing even if he isn't a candidate. Once he does clearly decline to run and is dropped from the questions, we'll see the other lines respond as voters face the choices they actually have. But we should just wait and see that happen in the real world rather than force it through excluding questions that include Gore.

Second, we prefer to report results from questions that present voters with a single set of choices rather than reallocate their second choices. It isn't that voters can't give a second choice, but that second choice is more hypothetical than their first. Also, we don't know if the second choice is a close second or a distant second.

So long as some pollsters include Gore and others exclude him, we can't avoid mixing some apples and oranges here. Our decision rule has been to take the first question that asks presidential preference and use that, no matter who is included or not, and avoid subsequent second choices, or in some cases a subsequent addition of candidates. This best reflects what the pollster thought their best question was, and allows the majority decision of pollsters to dominate our data.

(Mark Blumenthal analyzes the effects in the variation of how pollsters test a potential Al Gore candidacy in recent New Hampshire primary surveys.)

Gore in NH: 12% or 32%?

Topics: 2008 , The 2008 Race

The curious poll result du jour: As we just posted, a new 7 News/ Suffolk University poll of New Hampshire voters shows Hillary Clinton leading the Democratic primary contest (with 37%) vote with Barack Obama (19%) and the rest of the pack trailing far behind. Yet according to the release:

Twenty-nine percent of Clinton voters would switch to Gore if he announced for president, and when all of the switches from other Democratic candidates were recalculated, Gore would defeat Clinton. In total, 32 percent of Democratic voters would support Gore over the candidate they are currently leaning toward.

That result conflicts with other recent New Hampshire surveys that include Gore in their trial heat vote question and show him with nowhere near that level of support. The recent CNN/WMUR/University of New Hampshire survey had Gore at 12%. Other New Hampshire polls conducted since March showed Gores support varying between 8% and 15%. So what's up with this new result?

The answer is almost certainly in the very different ways these pollsters measure support for Gore. Let's start with the two-part question asked by the CNN/WMUR/UNH poll, which is also the approach taken by most other pollsters:

Q7. I'm going to read you the names of the candidates who are either running or considering running for the Democratic nomination. If the Democratic primary for president were held today, which of the following would you support for the Democratic nomination -- Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Al Gore, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson or someone else?

Q8. Who is your second choice?

Again, on this survey conducted June 6-10, only 12% support Gore, while Clinton leads with 36%, to 22% for Obama, 12% for Edwards, 10% Richardson and all other candidates in the low single digits. They recalculated using the second choices of Gore voters, and showed Clinton receiving 39%, Obama 24%, Edwards 11% and Richardson 10% without Gore in the race.

Now consider the very different two-part question taken by the 7 News/ Suffolk University poll (PDF):

Q14. The following eight Democratic candidates may seek the Democratic nomination. Listed alphabetically on your ballot, they are: Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson... For whom would you vote or toward whom would you lean at this time?

Q15. If Al Gore were to enter the presidential race, would you support him over the candidate you are currently leaning towards?

Clinton's lead over (37% to 19% for Obama) on the first 7 News/Suffolk University question is very similar to her lead (39% to 24%) on the recalculated vote without Gore on the CNN/WMUR/UNH poll. Yet despite the relatively small sample size of Democrats in each poll (n=232 for the former, n=309 for the latter), the difference in Gore's support is highly statistically significant.

So while some other minor variation in methodology may explain some of the disparity, the most likely culprit is the very different way the pollsters measure Al Gore's potential support:

  • CNN/WMUR/UNH and most other pollsters include Gore on the laundry list of "potential" Democrats. Given the results, it seems that some voters who might support Gore are discounting the possibility that he will run and tentatively supporting for other candidates.

  • 7 News/Suffolk University is taking a deeper step into what CBS News pollster Kathy Frankovic calls "Pollster Land," by asking respondents to imagine that Al Gore has entered the presidential race. Perhaps more important, rather than repeating the list of choices with Gore included, they simply pose a "yes/no" question, "would you support him over the candidate you are currently leaning towards?" The result is probably a bit of what pollsters call "acquiescence bias," a tendency of some respondents to agree with all questions.

So which is the better approach? Neither, or perhaps both. The reality for New Hampshire voters is probably somewhere in between these two results. Since many well informed voters have likely concluded Gore will not run, the trial heat questions asked by most pollsters understate his potential support. On the other hand, the 7 News/Suffolk University poll probably overstates it. In either event, the way an actual Gore candidacy might alter current preferences is hypothetical and difficult to predict.

Keep in mind what is probably the most important result from the CNN/WMUR poll: Nearly half of New Hampshire Democrats (49%) say they have "no idea" who they will vote for in the presidential primary, while only 8% have "definitely decided" on a candidate. So the answers many respondents give to these early trial heat questions are tentative, at best.

Finally, the fact that some pollsters include Gore in their trial heat questions while others do not raises an important issue: Which should we include on our charts here are Pollster.com? My colleague Charles Franklin addresses that issue today in a separate post.

typo corrected

POLL: Suffolk New Hampshire Primary

A new 7NEWS/Suffolk University statewide survey (release, results, crosstabs) of likely voters in New Hampshire (conducted 6/20 through 6/24) finds:

  • Among 232 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton (at 37%) leads Sen. Barack Obama (19%) in a statewide primary; Gov. Bill Richardson and former Sen. John Edwards both trail at 9%.

  • Among 200 Republicans, former Gov. Mitt Romney edges out former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (26% to 22%) in a statewide primary; Sen. John McCain and former Sen. Fred Thompson trail at 13%.

Suffolk's report on potential support for an Al Gore candidacy.

Charles Franklin discusses our policy on which trial heat questions (with or without Gore) we include in charts here on Pollster.com.

See all New Hampshire poll data on Pollster.com:

Democrats Republicans

POLL: ARG New Hampshire Senate

A new American Research Group statewide survey of 553 registered voters in New Hampshire (conducted 6/23 through 6/26) finds former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen leading Sen. John Sununu (57% to 29%) in a hypotherical general election match-up for U.S. Senate.

POLL: USA Today/Gallup Hispanic Survey

Additional analysis from recent USA Today/Gallup national surveys (USAT story; Gallup 08 analysis; Immigration analysis) of 2,388 adults nationwide, including 502 Hispanics (conducted 6/4 through 6/24) finds:

  • 58% of Hispanics say either they are Democratic or they lean Democratic; 20% say Republican; 22% say independent.

  • Among Hispanic Democrat, Sen. Hillary Clinton runs at 59%, Sen. Barack Obama at 13%, Gov. Bill Richardson at 11, and former Sen. John Edwards at 7%.

  • 68% of Hispanics have been following "the news about proposed legislation to deal with the issue of illegal immigration" closely; 58% disapprove "of the government's recent efforts to deal with illegal immigration."

POLL: CNN Homosexuality

Additional results from the recent CNN/ORC national survey of 1,029 adults (conducted 6/22 through 6/24) finds:

  • Among about 515 adults, 36% of Americans think "someone who is a homosexual can change their sexual orientation if they choose to do so;" 56% think they can not.

  • 39% think homosexuality "is something a person is born with;" 42% think it is "due to factors such as upbringing and environment."

POLL: Quinnipiac FL/OH/PA Surveys

Three new Quinnipiac University statewide surveys of registered voters in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania (conducted 6/18 through 6/25) find:

  • Among Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack obama in Florida (38% to 15%) and in Pennsylvania (32% to 18%). In Ohio, Clinton (at 40%) leads Obama, former V.P. Al Gore, and former Sen. John Edwards (all at 12%).

  • Among Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani leads former Sen. Fred Thompson in Florida (27% to 21%), in Ohio (25% to 17%), and in Pennsylvania (29% to 15%).

  • In general election match-ups, Giuliani leads Clinton and Obama in Florida, but runs statistically dead even with both Democrats in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

POLL: CBS/NYT/MTV 17-29yo National Survey

A new CBS News/New York Times/MTV national survey (CBS story; NYT story, results) of 659 17 to 19 29 year olds (conducted 6/15 through 6/23) finds:

  • 18% are enthusiastic about Sen. Barack Obama running for president; 17% are for Sen. Hillary Clinton; 4% are for former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

  • 37% believe abortion "should be generally available to those who want it;" 38% say "available but under stricter limits than it is now;" 24% say abortion "should not be permitted."

  • 44% believe gay couples should be "allowed to legally marry;" 24% say "allowed to form civil unions;" 30% say there should be "no legal recognition of gay couple's relationships."

  • 31% think the U.S. is "more safe from terrorism" as a result of the its military action against Iraq; 19% say "less safe;" 47% say there's been no difference.

POLL: Strategic Vision (R) Iowa Caucus

A new Strategic Vision (R) statewide survey of 600 likely caucus-goers in Iowa (conducted 6/22 through 6/24) finds:

  • Among 600 Democrats, former Sen. John Edwards (at 26%) edges out Sen. Barack Obama (21%) and Sen. Hillary Clinton (20%) in a statewide caucus; Gov. Bill Richardson trails at 11%.

  • Among 600 Republicans, former Gov. Mitt Romney (at 23%) leads former Sen. Fred Thompson (17%), former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (14%), and Sen. John McCain (10%) in a statewide primary.

POLL: CNN Bush, Iraq

Additional results from the latest CNN/ORC national survey (story, results) of 1,029 adults (conducted 6/22 through 6/24) finds:

  • 32% approve of the way George Bush is handling his job as president; 66% disapprove.

  • 30% favor the war in Iraq -- an "all-time low;" 67% oppose.

  • 17% say the U.S. should send more troops to Iraq; 16% say keep the same number as now; 63% say it should either withdraw some or all troops.

More Clinton "Message Testing"

Topics: Push "Polls"

Yesterday, the Iowa Independent news website ran a story about a Democrat from Iowa city who says he participated in a long political survey that tested reactions to positive statements about Hillary Clinton and negative statements about John Edwards' "$400 haircut" and Barack Obama's votes "to fund" the Iraq war. Politico's Ben Smith linked to that story, as well as a recent DailyKos diary about a similar call received by a New Hampshire Democrat that mentioned the recent unflattering article about Edwards in the New York Times Magazine. TPMCafe's Greg Sargent located another respondent from Iowa and noted that all three said the call came from a firm called "PSA Interviewing," the telephone call center of the firm of Clinton Pollster, Mark Penn.

This is not the first such story to involve surveys testing negative messages about Clinton's opponents originating from "PSA Interviewing." Similar reports a few months made it into the profile of Penn by The Nation's Ari Berman Melber, including a response from Penn that "the charges were false and that ‘this firm conducts standard political and market research polls...and does not do push polling.'"

Two reactions:

1) No, Ana, and no, Taegan, it is not a "push poll." TPMCafe commenter "slcathena" gets it exactly right:

It's not a push poll. It's just this side of a fine line between message testing, and a push poll, but it's not a push poll. Now, were it a 30 second to 1 minute call with just negatives, going to tens of thousands of people (ie, not a standard 300-1000 sample size) THAT would be a push poll.

Remember, a "push poll" is not a poll at all but an effort to communicate a message under the guise of legitimate research (more here and here). And let's give due credit to Greg Sargent, Ben Smith and the Iowa Independent's Chase Martyn for avoiding the "push poll" label altogether.

2) Even if only "message testing," the story does not end there. Pollsters still have an ethical obligation to tell the truth to respondents, and this incident raises some interesting questions about whether campaigns should be willing to take ownership of the messages they allow pollsters to test.

In this case, no one seems to be questioning the truthfulness of the messages tested (although we have not seen the verbatim text). What seems more at issue is whether these sorts of negative attacks are appropriate, even if technically true.

Consider the context: Message testing" is ubiquitous in campaigns. Virtually every campaign that hires a pollster will conduct surveys that test messages, and most will test negative messages about their opponents. In my career as a campaign pollster, I wrote hundreds of surveys that did exactly that. And I can testify that campaigns frequently test messages they opt out of using in the campaign. At this stage, they are keeping all options open. Campaigns also consider the benchmark message testing survey one of the most closely held documents in the campaign and are hugely reluctant to discussing details with reporters.

What I find fascinating is the way the Internet is forcing a change in that culture. Ten or twenty years ago, if a voter participated in a "message testing" poll, they might have the same angry reaction as the respondents quoted in the stories above. They might mention their experience to a friend or colleague, but few bothered to call a reporter. Now, however, if you call 600 or 1000 voters, the odds are good that a handful will know how to leave a comment on a blog, and rather than ask friends or family, they will turn to thousands of readers of, say, DailyKos and ask, "what the heck was that?" And given the nature of the blogosphere, one comment will beget another, and these various testimonials will quickly get into the hands of political reporters.

All too often in the not so distant past, campaign consultants operated under the illusion that they could test the "family jewels" of a campaign in secrecy. Now, the reality is that if you put it on a questionnaire, especially in the context of a high profile campaign, it stands a good chance of being discussed somewhere on the Internet and found out by the political press. As such, campaigns will need to reconsider their willingness to take responsibility for the messages they test.

Last year, I argued that message testing polls "deserve the same level of scrutiny as any charge or statement made in the political realm." I think that works in both directions. We ought not holler "push poll" whenever someone tests a negative message on a legitimate survey, implying that the research is somehow more ethically questionable than running the same message in a television add. Similarly, we ought not exempt the testing of those messages from criticism simply because it is research.

In my last few years as a campaign pollster, I tried to give my clients the same advice: Don't put anything in a message testing questionnaire that you are not willing to publicly defend. If the Clinton campaign is willing to test the negative messages alleged above, they ought to be willing to take ownership of those messages and the tactics they imply. If not, then we are all left to draw our own conclusions.

Update: Politico's Ben Smith has much more.

Pres08: Adding Richardson to the Top Dems

Topics: 2008 , The 2008 Race


Starting today I'm adding Bill Richardson to the Top Democrats charts for both state primaries and the national nomination polling. The graph above shows his substantial movement in Iowa, and New Hampshire looks quite similar. While Richardson is still in fourth place in both states (5th in NH if you include Gore), his is the only trajectory that is clearly moving up. So it seems fitting to start watching it with each new poll.

Richardson's movement is substantially concentrated in Iowa and New Hampshire, so when I include him elsewhere, you might wonder why I'd call him a "Top Democrat." See Florida below for an example.


Here Richardson has edged up just a little bit (to 3.9%!), but certainly not like the move he has made in Iowa or New Hampshire. But that is EXACTLY the point. By seeing what he is doing everywhere, we can track how his movement in the earliest states compares to how he is doing in the rest of the primary and caucus states. If I left him out of the "Top Dems" everywhere except where he is doing well, you'd have no comparison across states.

Likewise, I'm adding him to the national Top Democrats plot for the same reason. As you can see below, his moves in Iowa and New Hampshire are completely invisible in the national polling.


And again, that is exactly the point. When you see his campaign move in early states but not others and not nationally, you see the variation in strength and the possibility of future growth elsewhere. But not if I leave him out of the plots.

For other Democratic candidates, we've not seen a substantial upturn anywhere. Richardson stands alone in that respect at the moment.

Of course, I'll continue to monitor the top candidates and make additions (or perhaps deletions!) as developments warrant.

Cross-posted at Political Arithmetik.

Bush Approval: CNN at 32%, Trend at 29.4%

Topics: George Bush


A new poll from CNN/ORC taken 6/22-24/07 finds approval at 32% and disapproval at 66%. With this new poll the approval trend estimate stands at 29.4%.

While 3 points above trend, this poll is in line with CNN's recent house effects of about +3 points, so is quite consistent with a trend at 29 or so.

The plots below show the usual diagnostics. There are no recent outliers, and no diagnostics to raise worries, so the approval trend seems to be continuing as recent polls have suggested.






Cross-posted at Political Arithmetik.

POLL: CNN Immigration Bill

Additional analysis from the recent CNN/ORC national survey of 1,029 adults (conducted 6/22 through 6/24) finds:

  • Based on what they "have read or heard about all the proposals in the Senate immigration bill," 47% of Americans oppose the bill; 30% favor it.

  • 28% say they oppose the bill because it "goes too far toward helping illegal immigrants;" 15% say the bill "does not go far enough."

*** Since there is a delay for these results to appear on CNN.com, we have uploaded the release.

POLL: Iowa Dem Caucus (Richardson)

A new Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin and Associates (D) statewide survey of 500 likely caucus-goers in Iowa (conducted 6/18 through 6/20 for Gov. Bill Richardson) finds:

  • Among likely caucus-goers, former Sen. John Edwards leads Sen. Hillary Clinton (34% to 24%) in a statewide caucus; Sen. Barack Obama trails at 17%, Richardson at 13%.

  • Among the "likeliest" caucus-goers -- "who attended the 2004 caucus, voted in the 2006 primary, and say they are definite to attend next year's caucus," Edwards runs at 31%, Clinton at 23%, Richardson at 18%, and Obama at 16%.

See all of Pollster.com's Iowa Caucus poll data.

AIATopDems190.png AIATopReps190.png
Democrats Republicans

POLL: Cook/RT 2008 Primary/GE

A new Cook Political/RT Strategies national survey 844 registered voters (conducted 6/21 through 6/23) finds:

  • Among 378 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton (at 32%) leads Sen. Barack Obama (22%) in a national primary; former V.P. Al Gore trails at 12%, former Sen. John Edwards at 11%. When Gore is excluded, Clinton leads Obama 35% to 24%.

  • Among 347 Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain both run at 20%, former Sen. Fred Thompson runs at 14%, former Gov. Mitt Romney at 10%.

  • General election match-ups:

    Clinton 45%, Giuliani 44%
    Clinton 45%, Thompson 40%
    Obama 42%, Giuliani 41%
    Obama 46%, Thompson 35%

POLL: CNN 08 Primary/GE

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey of 907 registered voters (conducted 6/22 through 6/24) finds:

  • Among 383 Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 30%) leads former Sen. Fred Thompson (19%) and Sen. John McCain (18%) in a national primary; former Gov. Mitt Romney trails at 9%, former Speaker Newt Gingrich at 8%.

  • Among 450 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton (at 35%) leads Sen. Barack Obama (23%) in a national primary; former V.P. Al Gore trails at 16%, former Sen. John Edwards at 13%. When Gore is excluded, Clinton leads Obama 43% to 25%.

  • General election match-ups:

    Clinton 49%, Giuliani 48%
    Clinton 41%, Giuliani 38%, Bloomberg 17%
    Obama 48%, McCain 44%
    Obama 40%, McCain 34%, Bloomberg 21%

POLL: Siena NY Primary

A new Siena Research Institute statewide survey of 800 registered voters in New York State (conducted 6/18 through 6/21) finds:

  • Among 378 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton (at 43%) leads former V.P. Al Gore (19%), Sen. Barack Obama (11%), and former Sen. John Edwards (9%) in a statewide primary.

  • Among 218 Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 48%) leads Sen. John McCain (13%), former Sen. Fred Thompson (11%), and former Gov. Mitt Romney (6%) in a statewide primary.

  • General election match-ups:

    Clinton 53%, Giuliani 40%
    Clinton 55%, McCain 37%
    Obama 45%, Giuliani 43%
    Obama 49%, McCain 35%

See all New York Primary poll data.

ANYTopDems190.png ANYTopReps190.png
Democrats Republicans

POLL: Mason-Dixon Nevada Caucus

A new Mason-Dixon statewide survey of 400 likely Republican/Democratic voters in Nevada (conducted 6/20 through 6/22) finds:

  • Among Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama (39% to 17%) in a statewide caucus; former Sen. John Edwards trails at 12%, Gov. Bill Richardson at 7%.

  • Among Republicans, former Sen. Fred Thompson leads former Gov. Mitt Romney (25% to 20%) in a statewide caucus; former Mayor Rudy Giuliani trails at 17%, Sen. John McCain at 8%.

See all Nevada Caucus poll data:

ANVTopDems190.png ANVTopReps190.png
Democrats Republicans

POLL: San Jose State California Primary

A new San Jose State University statewide survey of 645 likely voters in California (conducted 6/18 through 6/22) finds:

  • Among Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 25%) leads former Sen. Fred Thompson (16%) and Sen. John McCain (14%) in a statewide primary.

  • Among Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton (at 37%) leads Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards (both at 15%) in a statewide primary.

ACATopDems190.png ACATopReps190.png
Democrats Republicans

Newsweek Knowledge Survey


Newsweek has a new "what you need to know" survey out this week. (Article, Results). The headline, "Dunce Cap Nation", pretty well captures their summary of the data. Of the 29 items, only a quarter found more than 55% of the public giving the correct answer. Half the items had between 29% and 55% correct, and a quarter fell below 29% correct. (Though defenders of American culture might note that the fourth lowest percentage correct was being able to name the winner of American Idol (A: Jordin Sparks). ) And while the lowest single item was the ability to name the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, both Speaker Pelosi and President Putin made it into the top quarter of awareness.

A few of the items were downright tricky. (But don't let me spoil it for you... try the questions yourself.)

And as my colleague Mark Blumenthal points out, some would argue that the answer to

    From what you know about the situation, do you think the United States is losing the fight against al-Qaeda or radical Islamic terrorism?

just might be considered a tad political opinion and not so much objective fact.

But while Newsweek is primly aghast at such public ignorance, I doubt any college teacher would be. Knowledge is remarkably compartmentalized. In areas of interest, students are able to develop stunning depth of knowledge, while outside those interests the acquisition of new knowledge, and the retention of what is acquired (say, for the midterm), is quite meager.

And what is the impact of this? Most of us, most of the time, lack the foundation for and the motivation to do independent analysis of political problems outside our narrow areas of expertise. Instead we rely on political leaders with whom we think we agree to lead us. We accept and repeat the arguments that come from our side, and we reject out of hand the arguments that come from the other side. Seldom is independent knowledge and judgment involved, even as we repeat what we've heard and think we are expressing an informed opinion. And that is as true of the Jane Austen scholar who offers political views as it is of the polling expert who opines about budget policy. Outside our narrow expertise, we seldom form original opinions.

Cross-posted at Political Arithmetik.

POLL: ABC/USA Today Elderly Care

A new ABC News/USA Today national survey (ABC story, results; USA Today story, results) of 500 adults aged 42 to 61 who have a living parent (conducted 5/24 through 6/3 by The Gallup Organization) finds:

  • In terms of quality of care, 57% "rate the health care alternatives that are available for your parents" as either "excellent" or "good;" 32% say either "not so good" or "poor."

  • In terms of cost, 32% "rate the health care alternatives that are available for your parents" as either "excellent" or "good;" 57% say either "not so good" or "poor."

POLL: Gallup Iraq Positions in 2008

Additional analysis from recent Gallup national surveys of 2,004 adults (conducted 6/1 through 6/3 and 6/11 through 6/14) finds:

  • 70% think a candidate's past and current positions on the war in Iraq is either "very" or "extremely important" in determining his or her vote for president; 22% say "somewhat important;" 7% say "not that important."

  • Among Democrats who say "extremely important," Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama 41% to 27% in a national primary; among all Democrats, Clinton leads Obama 38% to 31%.

  • Among Republicans who say "extremely important," former Mayor Rudy Giuliani runs at 29%, former Sen. Fred Thompson at 21%, and Sen. John McCain at 20% in a national primary. Among all Republicans, Giuliani runs at 32%, McCain at 20%, and Thompson, at 16%.

  • In a general election match-up, Clinton leads Giuliani 42% to 45% among those who say positions on Iraq are "extremely important;" among those who say either "somewhat" or "not that important," Giuliani leads Clinton 51% to 43%.

A Test of Knowledge or Opinion?

Under the headline, "Dunce Cap Nation," Newsweek released polling results this weekend (from a survey of 1,001 adults, interviewed June 18-19) that "test" Americans knowledge "on a variety of subjects," and found "many gaps in America's knowledge-including a lingering misperception about an Iraqi connection to the September 11 terror attacks, an inability to name key figures in the American government and general cultural confusion."

Most of the questions were relatively straightforward probes of knowledge, such as:

  • Only 11% correctly named John Roberts as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on an open-ended question
  • While 59% correctly identified Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, 28% were unsure and 13% picked one of the other choices (Barbara Boxer, Tom Delay, Newt Gingrich) on a multiple-choice question.
  • Only 31% correctly chose Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

However, at least one question seemed miscast:

5. From what you know about the situation, do you think the United States is losing the fight against al-Qaeda or radical Islamic terrorism?

52 Yes
37 No
11 Don't know/Refused

Is that really an objective test of knowledge? Newsweek put the "No" response in bold type in the summary of results, indicating a "correct answer," so they seem to think so. However, given that our most informed commentators and candidates cannot agree on what to call this fight, and according to USA Today, even the Secretary of Defense "declines to say whether the U.S. and its partners are winning the war on terror," this measure strikes me as more a measure of opinion than fact.

What do you think?

PS: Just last week, Gallup posted an in-depth analysis of its own questions on whether the U.S. is "winning the war on terrorism."