December 13, 2009 - December 19, 2009


HCR Mandates and Lessons 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Paul Krugman shares "the right poll to look at" on Massachusetts' health reform (via Ezra Klein).

Greg Sargent reports on a health care reform poll question on an individual mandate commissioned by Howard Dean's Democracy for America, Nate Silver critiques its question wording; Brian Beutler has more.

John Sides reviews lessons learned from the health reform debate.

Jon McHenry argues the AARP doesn't speak for all seniors.

Politifact finds Karl Rove's characterization of Obama's approval trend "mostly true."

Lymari Morales blogs on the (behavioral) economics of Christmas (through Gallup data).

Gerald Seib weighs the damage to the American spirit evident in the NBC/WSJ poll.

Fred Yang and Bill McInturff look forward to 2010.

Tom Jensen considers two potential sources of damage to Democrats prospects in 2010.

Andrew Gelman points to a draft article on predicting elections using the "most important issue" question.

And could you help me with some research for a future post? Click this link (it leads to a "pollster" web site) and email me or leave a comment if you get any sort of error message (if you can, please include the text of the message)

US: Global Warming (ABC/Post 12/10-13)

ABC News / Washington Post
12/10-13/09; 1,003 adults, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(ABC: story results; Post: story, results, graphic).

(See also previous update on results on Obama, health reform, Afghanistan)

Post story:

As President Obama arrives in Copenhagen hoping to seal an elusive deal on climate change, his approval rating on dealing with global warming has crumbled at home and there is broad opposition to spending taxpayer money to encourage developing nations to curtail their energy use, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. There's also rising public doubt and growing political polarization about what scientists have to say on the environment, and a widespread perception that there is a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether global warming is happening. 

Obama Job Approval on "Handling Global Warming"
 45% Approve, 39% Disapprove
Do you think the federal government should or should not regulate the release of greenhouse gases from sources like power plants, cars and factories in an effort to reduce global warming?
65% should, 29% should not

It's been proposed that the United States and other developed countries contribute 10 billion dollars a year to help developing countries pay for reducing the amount of greenhouse gases they release. Is this something you support or oppose?
39% support, 57% oppose

How much do you trust the things that scientists say about the environment - completely, a lot, a moderate amount, a little, or not at all?
10% completely, 19% a lot, 40% a little, 14% not at all

Do you think (most scientists agree with one another) about whether or not global warming is happening, or do you think (there is a lot of disagreement among scientists) on this issue?
36% most agree, 62% a lot of disagreement

Kaiser: December HCR Opinion Looks Like August

Topics: Health Care Reform , Kaiser Family Foundation , Open-end

The Kaiser Family Foundation has just released its latest tracking survey. Although a majority (54%) still say it "is more important than ever to take on health care reform now (41% choose the alternative, "we cannot afford to take on health care reform now), the December survey shows a "dip on several measures" of health care reform:

The number of Americans who say they personally will be better off if reform passes fell to 35 percent in December, down from 42 percent last month. Meanwhile, 27 percent say they will be worse off, and 32 percent said they don't expect to see much of a difference. Similarly, 45 percent say the country would be better off if health care reform passes down from 54 percent in November. This compares to 31 percent who say the country will be worse off and 17 percent who see no impact. Public opinion in December looks more like it did in August, the last time this debate became so contentious.


In addition to their usual tracking measures, this month's survey also includes open-ended questions asking respondents to offer the "main ways" that their families would be better or worse off if health reform passes (see the toplines for coded results). Their summary of key findings (which includes selected verbatim responses from those open-ends) is well worth the click).

PA: 2010 Sen-Specter 44, Toomey 44 (Quinnipiac 12/8-14)

12/8-14/09; 1,381 registered voters, 2.6% margin of error
588 Republicans, 4% margin of error
619 Democrats, 3.9% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews

(Quinnipiac release)


2010 Senate: Democratic Primary
Specter 53%, Sestak 30% (chart)

2010 Senate: General Election
Specter 44%, Toomey 44% (chart)
Toomey 40%, Sestak 35% (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Arlen Specter (D): 43 / 45 (chart)
Pat Toomey (R): 35 / 10
Joe Sestak (D): 20 / 9

Job Approval / Disapproval
Sen. Specter: 47 / 45 (chart)
Sen. Casey: 53 / 29 (chart)
Pres. Obama: 49 / 45 (chart)

Looking ahead to the 2010 election for United States Senator, do you feel that Arlen Specter deserves to be reelected, or do you feel that he does not deserve to be reelected?
38% Yes, deserves; 50% No, does not

Americans Not Feeling the Rebound

While many have predicted or heralded a rebounding economy here in the United States, unfortunately the American consumer is just not there yet.

StrategyOne research from a national telephone survey conducted November 17-22, 2009 finds that:

1. While 5% of the American public describes the economy as doing fine, 34% feel we're in a mild recession, 41% feel we're in a deep recession and 12% feel we're in a 1930's style economic depression.

2. Our economic segmentation (getting better, hit bottom but not improving, and still falling) has barely budged since July. 45% say the economy has not hit bottom yet and will get worse. Another 18% think it has hit bottom, but is going nowhere.

With so much of our economic activity driven by consumer spending, at what point do these attitudes become self-fullfilling?

Combine these findings with the new NBC-Wall Street Journal Survey, and the natural question is whether Americans see this downturn as (a) just another recession that is part of the normal business cycle or (b) part of a much broader economic and geopolitical shift away from American dominance and toward a more multi-polar world.

Based on the Hart/McInturff poll, which I view as gold standard, the answer today appears to be "B".


1. Only 27% today feel that "our children's life will be better than it has been for us". (Q3b)
2. 61% feel that America is in a state of decline. (slightly better now compared to September 2008 during the financial meltdown) (Q15)
3. Americans are now split as to whether China or America will be the dominant power in 20 years. (Q23)

I was at the main market research conference for the US this fall. The prevailing opinion of this group, a group paid to follow consumer trends, was that this downturn is different, possibly a values changer. Our survey suggests that there is something to this thinking, as 30% said that the current economic recession has "very significantly" changed their general outlook on life.

Update: How Accurate Were the Benchmarks?

Topics: David Yeager , Gary Langer , Harris Poll , Humphrey Taylor , Internet Polls , Jon Krosnick , Opt-in internet polls

Regular readers will recall that after ABC News polling director Gary Langer posted a new paper on a study conducted by a team of Stanford University researchers that found surveys conducted using op-in internet panels, we subsequently ran two guest posts by pollsters whose companies produce such surveys. One was from Douglas Rivers, the president and CEO of YouGov/Polimetrix (the company that is also the principal sponsor of Pollster.com).

A second came from Humphrey Taylor, chairman of the Harris Poll at Harris Interactive. Taylor's response argued that "social desirability bias" -- the notion respondents might not be comfortable accurately reporting on sensitive behaviors such as smoking and drinking -- might have caused errors in both the live interviewer telephone surveys and the in-person government surveys used as benchmarks in the paper authored by David Yeager, Jon Krosnick and their colleagues.

Today, Langer shares a response by Yeager and Krosnick to Taylor's critique that provides a long and detailed argument that the benchmark measures used in their analysis were not contaminated by social desirability bias. It is "perhaps not," as Langer notes, "the most casual reader's cup of Java," but is certainly worth your time if you read Taylor's guest post here in October.

As just about everyone involved seems to agree, these are serious issues for the survey research profession and worthy of this sort of high level argument. For those interested in a more basic review of the issues raised by the initial Yeager, et. a. paper, I devoted two columns to the subject in October.

No Happy Ending 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Andrew Kohut previews the challenges Obama faces in 2010.

John Sides punctures three myths about independents.

Mickey Kaus explores the sources of rising liberal discontent with health reform.

Ed Goeas says 2010 could be the year of the "angry white male."

Chris Bowers sees
no happy health reform ending for Democrats.

IL: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 12/14)

12/14/09; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)


2010 Governor
Quinn (D) 41%, McKenna (R) 33%
Quinn (D) 45%, Brady (R) 30%
Quinn (D) 41%, Dillard (R) 30%
Hynes (D) 43%, McKenna (R) 30%
Hynes (D) 46%, Brady (R) 27%
Hynes (D) 42%, Dillard (R) 29%

Favorable / Unfavorable
Quinn: 52 / 44
Brady: 36 / 37
Dillard: 38 / 36
McKenna: 42 / 34
Hynes: 52 / 30

US: Congress Approval (Gallup 12/11-13)

12/11-13/09; 1,025 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Gallup release)


Congressional Job Approval
25% Approve, 69% Disapprove (chart)

SD: 2010 Gov (PPP 12/10-13)

Public Policy Polling (D)
12/10-13/09; 702 likely voters, 3.7% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

South Dakota

2010 Governor
Daugaard (R) 42%, Heidepriem (D) 29%
Knudson (R) 39%, Heidepriem (D) 29%
Knuppe (D) 32%, Heidepriem (D) 30%
Munsterman (R) 35%, Heidepriem (D) 30%

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Rounds: 55 / 32
Sen. Johnson: 46 / 45

Favorable / Unfavorable
Dennis Daugaard: 18 / 15
Scott Heidepriem: 21 / 23
Dave Knudson: 14 / 14
Ken Knuppe: 4 / 14
Scott Munsterman: 10 / 12

NE: Favorable Ratings (Tarrance 12/14-15)

Tarrance Group for American Future Fund*
12/14-15/09; 500 likely voters, 4.4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(?American Future Fund release)

*American Future Fund advocates "conservative, free market ideals" and opposes current health care reform proposals


Favorable / Unfavorable
Dave Heineman: 64 / 12
Ben Nelson: 58 / 34
Mike Johanns: 65 / 24

Job Approval / Disapproval
Sen. Nelson: 51 / 41

GA: 2010 Gov Primary (Rasmussen 12/15)

12/15/09; 762 likely Republican primary voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
Rasmussen release)


2010 Governor: Republican Primary
28% John Oxendine
14% Karen Handel
13% Nathan Deal
2% Jeff Chapman
2% Eric Johnson
2% Ray McBerry
2% Austin Scott

Favorable / Unfavorable (among Republicans)
Handel: 41 / 12
McBerry: 16 / 18
Oxendine: 55 / 20
Scott: 17 / 16
Johnson: 18 / 17
Deal: 30 / 19
Chapman: 15 / 16

MO: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 12/15)

12/15/09; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)


2010 Senate
46% Carnahan, 44% Blunt (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Roy Blunt (R): 50 / 43
Robin Carnahan (D): 51 / 43

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 47 / 53 (chart)
Gov. Nixon: 63 / 33 (chart)

CA: 2010 Gov (PPIC 12/1-8)

Public Policy Institute of California
12/1-8/09; 2,004 adults, 2% margin of error
963 likely voters, 3% margin of error
352 Republican primary likely voters, 5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(PPIC: summary, complete report)


2010 Governor: Republican Primary
32% Whitman, 12% Campbell, 8% Poizner (chart)

2010 Governor: General Election (trends)
43% Brown, 37% Whitman (chart)
46% Brown, 34% Campbell
47% Brown, 31% Poizner (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Jerry Brown: 35 / 36
Meg Whitman: 22 / 19
Tom Campbell: 16 / 14
Steve Poizner: 9 / 18

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Schwarzenegger: 27 / 60 (chart)
Pres. Obama: 61 / 33 (chart)

PA: 2010 Gov (Quinnipiac 12/8-14)

12/8-14/09; 1,381 registered voters, 2.6% margin of error
588 Republicans, 4% margin of error
619 Democrats, 3.9% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Quinnipiac release)

2010 Governor: Democratic Primary
14% Onorato, 8% Hoeffel, 7% Wagner, 6% Doherty, 5% Knox (chart)

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
38% Corbett, 12% Gerlach (chart)

2010 Governor: General Election (trends)
45% Corbett, 30% Onorato
43% Corbett, 33% Wagner
46% Corbett, 30% Hoeffel

Favorable / Unfavorable
Jim Gerlach: 10 / 5
Dan Onorato: 18 / 9
Jack Wagner: 22 / 5
Tom Knox: 9 / 4
Tom Corbett: 43 / 6
Chris Doherty: 8 / 4
Joe Hoeffel: 13 / 7

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Rendell: 43 / 49 (chart)

US: Obama, Palin (Gallup 12/11-13)

USA Today / Gallup
12/11-13/09; 1,025 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Gallup release)


Favorable / Unfavorable
Barack Obama: 56 / 42 (chart)
Sarah Palin: 44 / 47 (chart)

US: National Survey (NBC/WSJ 12/11-14)

NBC News / Wall Street Journal
12/11-14/09; 1,008 adults, 3.1% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(NBC: story, results; WSJ: story, results)


State of the Country
33% Right Direction, 55% Wrong Track (chart)

Obama Job Approval
47% Approve, 46% Disapprove (chart)
Economy: 42 / 51 (chart)
Foreign Policy: 49 / 42 (chart)
Afghanistan: 46 / 42

Congressional Job Approval
22% Approve, 68% Disapprove (chart)

Positive / Negative
Barack Obama: 50 / 37 (chart)
Democratic Party: 35 / 45
Republican Party: 28 / 43
Tiger Woods: 15 / 42

What is your preference for the outcome of next year's congressional elections--a Congress controlled by Republicans or a Congress controlled by Democrats?
43% Democrats, 41% Republicans

In the next election for U.S. Congress, do you feel that your representative deserves to be reelected, or do you think that it is time to give a new person a chance?
38% Deserves to be reelected
49% Give new person a chance

From what you have heard about Barack Obama's health care plan, do you think his plan is a good idea or a bad idea? If you do not have an opinion either way, please just say so.
32% Good idea, 47% Bad idea, 17% No opinion (chart)

Do you think it would be better to pass Barack Obama's health care plan and make its changes to the health care system or to not pass this plan and keep the current health care system?
41% Better to pass plan
44% Better to not pass plan

As health care legislation is being debated in Congress, some changes to the legislation are being proposed. I am going to read you some of these proposed changes, and for each one, please tell me whether that proposed change is acceptable to you or not acceptable to you.

The proposed legislation would no longer create a public health care plan administered by the federal government to compete directly with private health insurance companies:
42% Acceptable, 45% Not acceptable

Instead of creating a government-administered public health care plan, the proposed legislation would create a health insurance plan offered by private insurers that would be available in every state for people who lack employer-provided coverage, and would allow people between the ages of fifty-five and sixty-four years old to buy into Medicare, the government health care plan for seniors:
58% Acceptable, 32% Not acceptable

Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose increasing troop levels in Afghanistan?
55% Support, 39% Oppose

From what you know about global climate change or global warming, which one of the following statements comes closest to your opinion?
23% Global climate change has been established as a serious problem, and immediate action is necessary
31% There is enough evidence that climate change is taking place and some action should be taken
29% We don't know enough about global climate change, and more research is necessary before we take any actions
12% Concern about global climate change is unwarranted

Party ID
30% Democrat, 21% Republican, 42% independent (chart)

FL: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 12/14)

12/14/09; 1,000 likely voters, 3% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)


2010 Senate
Crist 42%, Meek 36% (chart)
Rubio 49%, Meek 35% (chart)

Job Approval / Disapproval (previously released)
Gov. Crist: 52 / 45 (chart)
Pres. Obama: 44 / 55 (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Charlie Crist: 59 / 38 (chart)
Kendrick Meek: 41 / 33
Marco Rubio: 51 / 29

Turning Heads 'Outliers'

Chris Cilizza says Democrats are losing PR fight over health care reform.

Mark Mellman considers secular vs. religious thinking and "God Gap."

David Hill ponders the meaning of a study of party switchers in 2008.

DemFromCT digs into the CBS/NY Times poll of the unemployed.

Chris Bowers examines the progressive politics of defeating the health reform bill.

Stanford offers
a course on Obama's first year in office.

Marc Ambinder notes that "nothing turns GOP activists head like a Rasmussen poll."

US: Obama's Inner Circle (Clarus 12/7-12)

Clarus Research Group
12/7-12/09; 800 registered voters self identified as "news watchers," 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Clarus release)


Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Barack Obama: 51 / 45
VP Joe Biden: 50 / 41
Sec. Of State Hillary Clinton: 75 / 21
Treasury Sec. Timothy Geithner: 44 / 45
Attorney General Eric Holder: 41 / 35
Defence Sec. Robert Gates: 69 / 20
HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius: 41 /35
Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: 40 / 40
Pres. Advisor David Axelrod: 38 / 36
Econ. Advisor Larry Summers: 25 / 41
Nat'l Security Advisor James Jones: 30 / 23
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: 50 / 33

US: National Survey (AP-GfK 12/10-14)

12/10-14/09; 1,001 adults, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(AP-GfK release)


State of the Country
46% Right Direction, 50% Wrong Track (chart)

Obama Job Approval
56% Approve, 42% Disapprove (chart)
Economy: 48 / 46 (chart)
Health Care: 49 / 46 (chart)

Congressional Job Approval
33% Approve, 65% Disapprove (chart)

In general, do you support, oppose or neither support nor oppose the health care reform plans being discussed in Congress?
36% Support, 44% Oppose (chart)

Do you favor or oppose the war in Iraq?
31% Favor, 65% Oppose

Do you favor or oppose the war in Afghanistan?
39% Favor, 57% Oppose

Would you favor or oppose sending more troops to Afghanistan?
42% Favor, 56% Oppose

Party ID
28% Democrat, 22% Republican, 27% independent, 24% Don't know (chart)

US: News Interest (Pew 12/11-14)

Pew Research Center
12/11-14/09; 1,000 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Pew release)


Most Closely Followed Story
31% Debate over health care reform
19% Reports about the condition of the U.S. economy
12% The U.S. military effort in Afghanistan
9% President Obama accepting the Nobel Peace Prize
6% International meeting about climate change in Copenhagan
5% The arrest of five Muslim American men in Pakistan with suspected ties to terrorists

Thinking about the issue of health care reform, do you think it...
70% Is interesting, 27% Is boring
80% Affects you personally, 19% Does not affect you personally
29% Is easy to understand, 69% Is hard to understand
93% Is important, 6% Is unimportant

What does Bart Gordon's (D-TN6) retirement tell us?

They say actions speak louder than words.

If this is true, then Democratic Representative Bart Gordon's recently announced retirement is the equivalent of a loudspeaker.

Some folks were trying to minimize the announced retirements of Dennis Moore (D-KS), John Tanner (D-TN) and Brian Baird (D-WA). And, to be fair, I thought that these three retirements were not yet indicative of a wave of retirements that typically precede a difficult election.

But, Bart Gordon's retirement now strikes me as the begining of a trend in which seasoned Democrats in swing, purple or red districts head for the exits and higher pay in the private sector.

Dennis Moore (D-KS) has been a perennial target for Republicans, but in the 1990's Bart Gordon (D-TN) (along with Bud Cramer in Alabama) was something more like Moby Dick with Republicans playing the role of Captain Ahab.

One of the reasons he's been able to survive for so long is his prowess at fundraising. Like any smart incumbent, Gordon has always been exceptional at raising money and using it to intimidate challengers.

What does Bart Gordon's district look like?

In 2000, with Al Gore on the balllot (this was Al Gore's old district), Bush edged out Gore 112,096 to 111,872. In 2004, Bush took 60% to Kerry's 40%. So the district is a purplish-red.

But Gordon has won by solid margins in recent years: 2000 (62%), 2002 (66%), 2004 (64%), 2006 (67%) and 2008 (74%).

So why would a longtime, 60 year old incumbent at the top of his game retire?

I'm sure it was a mix of reasons (although "spending more time with family" has become a cliche, there is often something to this, especially among west coast Members with families back in the district), but political animals with good insitincts know when to go out on top.

Typically, and I have seen this firsthand, Members conduct benchmark polling in the winter of an election year, get their re-elect number, look hard at the generic ballot and Presidential job approval in their district and study the awareness levels and favs of the opponent they think they will need to take down in the fall.

If the data paints a grim picture and they are realists and pragmatists, as opposed to idealists and/or self-deceiving egomaniacs, they decide that the rallies and fundraising and rubber chicken dinners and more fundraising just aren't worth it. That's when a nice trade association gig or hot lobby shop starts to look very appealing.

I suspect something like this happened with Bart Gordon.

He has plenty of cash on hand, he has seniority, he has won handily now for years, but the district is not entirely Democrat friendly and the internal polling data must have been awful.

Add Gordon's retirement to those of Moore, Tanner and Baird, and I believe we are seeing the beginning of what will become a wave of retirements in Democratically held districts that went for Bush in 2004.

US: National Survey (Pew 12/9-13)

Pew Research Center
12/9-13/09; 1,504 adults, 3% margin of error
416 Republicans, 6% margin of error
456 Democrats, 6% margin of error
561 independents, 5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Pew release)


Obama Job Approval / Disapproval
49% Approve, 40% Disapprove (chart)
Reps: 19 / 73 (chart)
Dems: 83 / 11 (chart)
Inds: 42 / 44 (chart)

Job Approval / Disapproval
Republican leaders in Congress: 29 / 51
Democratic leaders in Congress: 36 / 47

Do you think that...
53% Barack Obama has a new approach to politics in Washington
37% Barack Obama's approach to politics in Washington is 'business as usual'?

Since taking office, have Barack Obama's economic policies made economic conditions better, worse, or not had an effect so far?
30% Better, 24% Worse, 39% No effect

So far, do you think Barack Obama is...
45% Trying to address too many issues at once
8% Focusing on too few issues
42% Doing about right

When it comes to national policy, who do you think Barack Obama is listening to more...
43% Liberal members of his party
31% Moderate members of his party

Would you say that Barack Obama has kept almost all of his campaign promises, most campaign promises, only a few campaign promises or almost none of his campaign promises?
8% Almost all, 28% Most, 33% Only a few, 24% Almost none

Do you favor or oppose Obama's decision to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan?
51% Favor, 39% Oppose

Who do you think is more responsible for the current economic conditions
39% The Republican Party, 27% The Democratic Party, 19% Both

As of right now, do you generally favor or generally oppose the health care proposals being discussed in Congress?
35% Favor, 48% Oppose (chart)

Party ID
32% Democrat, 25% Republican, 38% independent (chart)

SD: 2010 Sen, House (PPP 12/10-13)

Public Policy Polling (D)
12/10-13/09; 702 likely voters, 3.7% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP Senate, House)

South Dakota

2010 Senate
Thune (R) 56%, Generic Democrat 33%

2010 House
Herseth Sandlin (D) 46%, Nelson (R) 39%
Herseth Sandlin (D) 52%, Curd (R) 31%

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 41 / 52
Sen. Thune: 57 / 35
Rep. Herseth Sandlin: 49 / 38

Favorable / Unfavorable
Chris Nelson: 29 / 12
Blake Curd: 6 / 13

NC: 2010 Sen (PPP 12/11-13)

Public Policy Polling (D)
12/11-13/09; 593 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)
Update: Obama Approval

North Carolina

2010 Senate
45% Burr, 36% Cunningham (chart)
43% Burr, 37% Lewis (chart)
42% Burr, 37% Marshall (chart)
42% Burr, 41% Generic Democrat (chart)

Job Approval / Disapproval
Sen. Hagan: 36 / 44 (chart)
Sen. Burr: 35 / 37 (chart)
Pres. Obama: 48 / 47 (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Cal Cunningham: 7 / 11
Kenneth Lewis: 8 / 12
Elaine Marshall: 19 / 12

NC: 2010 Sen (Civitas 12/1-3)

Civitas Institute (R)
12/1-3/09; 600 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Civitas release)

North Carolina

2010 Senate: General Election (trends)
40% Burr, 32% Marshall (chart)
40% Generic Democrat, 39% Generic Republican

Mokrzycki: Cord-cutting Continues at Steady Pace

Topics: CDC , Cell Phones , Economic Issues , Probability samples , Sampling , Young Voters

Mike Mokrzycki is an independent consultant who has studied implications of the growing cell-phone-only population for survey research. He was the founding director of the Associated Press polling unit. He may be reached at mike@mikemokr.com.

Sometimes a study is more intriguing not for what it finds but for what it doesn't. That's the case with the latest federal estimates, released this morning, of how many Americans can no longer be reached by landline telephones.

First, what the semiannual update from the Centers for Disease Control did find: Steadily worsening news for surveys that exclude cell phones. Americans keep abandoning landline phones at about the same pace as in the last couple years - in the first half of 2009, 21.1 percent of adults live in households with no landline, up from 18.4 percent in the second half of 2008. By a slightly different measure - particularly relevant to random digit dial surveys using households as a sampling frame - 22.7 percent of households now have only wireless phones, up 2.5 percentage points from six months earlier. (With sample sizes of 12,447 households and 23,632 adults, sampling error for overall results is generally around plus or minus 1 percentage point.)


Somewhat surprisingly, though, the CDC's National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) - the ongoing in-person study that is the benchmark for telephone status estimates in the United States - did not find a disproportionate increase in cord-cutting overall or among the poor or unemployed, despite the deep and sustained economic downturn. In the latest NHIS, 33 percent of those households falling below the U.S. Census poverty threshold were cell-only, up 2.1 percentage points from six months earlier; 14 percent of those who were unemployed or gave "something else" as their employment status (but weren't students) were cell-only, up 3 percentage points from the previous report.

"We would have expected that the recession would have led to outsized increases, both in overall rate of wireless substitution and also perhaps among the poor relative to those with higher incomes. We did not see that effect," Stephen J. Blumberg, co-author of the CDC study with Julian Luke, told me this morning.

"It appears that lifestyle issues, such as where you live, who you live with and age are still bigger predictors of cord-cutting," Blumberg said. "Ever since we've been tracking these data, income has not been a strong predictor of being wireless-only. Yes, the poor are more likely to be wireless-only than those with higher income, but that has largely reflected the fact that people who have substituted wireless for landlines are younger, more likely to still be in school, and more likely to be renters than homeowners."

The NHIS not only measures the cell-only population but attempts to gauge what proportion of Americans still have landlines but can't really be reached on them, contributing to non-coverage for survey researchers. The NHIS began tracking cellular telephone trends in 2003 to understand the implications for landline-only federal health surveys and in 2007 also started asking respondents whether in their households "all or almost all calls are received on cell phones, some are received on cell phones and some on regular phones, or very few or none are received on cell phones." Some of these results are eye-opening:

About one in seven U.S. households (14.7 percent) are "cell-mostly." Add that to the cell-only figures and at least 37 percent of households definitely or probably cannot be reached by landline. (The cell-mostly group has been growing at a slower rate than cell-only.)

Landline abandonment is most prevalent among people age 25-29, 63.5 percent of whom live in cell-only (45.8 percent) or cell-mostly (17.7 percent) households. (Not as many people age 18-24 can't be reached by landline as they're less likely than those 25-29 to live in wireless-only households, probably because some younger people still live with parents who haven't cut the cord.)

Blumberg observed: "Interestingly, we see an increase in cell-phone usage among people living with relatives, people living with children, and older adults. More people in these groups tell us they receive all or most calls on their cell phones, but they haven't given up their landlines in disproportionate numbers."

What does it all mean for surveys that only sample landline phones? Clearly, sample non-coverage is a growing problem, at least as a perception - it's easy to wonder about survey validity if more than a third of the population of interest has little to no chance of being included. True, excluding cell phones didn't appreciably harm presidential vote preference in 2008 pre-election polls. But a deep dive into a phone-status question on the 2008 national exit poll yields cause for concern for anyone interested in not just the overall horserace but understanding why different subgroups behave and think as they do - more on this in an article I wrote with two co-authors for a soon-to-be-published issue of Public Opinion Quarterly (an earlier draft, presented in May at the annual conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, is available here). See also extensive Pollster.com coverage of who is abandoning landlines and what it means for the survey profession.

FL: 2010 Sen, Gov (Rasmussen 12/14)

12/14/09; 1,000 likely voters, 3% margin of error
431 likely Republican primary voters, 5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen: Senate, Governor)


2010 Senate: Republican Primary
Crist 43%, Rubio 43% (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable (among Republicans)
Charlie Crist: 61 / 38
Marco Rubio: 64 / 15

2010 Governor: General Election
McCollum (R) 44%, Sink (D) 39% (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Bill McCollum: 54 / 30
Alex Sink: 45 / 31

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Crist: 52 / 45 (chart)
Pres. Obama: 44 / 55 (chart)

US: National Survey (GWU 12/6-10)

George washington University / Tarrance Group (R) / Lake Research (D)
12/6-10/09; 1,000 likely voters
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Tarrance Group: release, analysis)


Obama Job Approval
50% Approve, 45% Disapprove (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Barack Obama: 57 / 40 (chart)
Reps in Congress: 41 / 46
Dems in Congress: 42 / 49
Nancy Pelosi: 30 / 53
Harry Reid: 19 / 37
Sarah Palin: 45 / 46 (chart)

State of the Country
34% Right Direction, 57% Wrong Track (chart)

2010 House: Generic Ballot
42% Republican, 41% Democrat (chart)

Congressional Job Approval
24% Approve, 68% Disapprove (chart)

Do you prefer to have:
41% Divided government where Congress is controlled by one party and the White House is controlled by a different political party
38% Unified government where Congress and the White House are controlled by the same political party?

Which of the following statements best describes your views on health care...
5% No change is needed
29% Only minor changes are needed for the current health care system
49% Major changes are needed for the current health care system
14% Our current health system needs to be replaced with a new system

Based on what you have seen, read, and heard, do you think that the country would benefit from these health care reforms if they are enacted?
49% Yes, 44% No

Based on what you have seen, read, and heard, do you think that you and your family would benefit from these health care reforms if they are enacted?
40% Yes, 52% No

As you may have heard, Congress recently passed a law that creates a market for businesses to buy and sell energy usage credits. Some have called this law, "cap and trade" while others have called this law the energy and climate bill. Based on what you know about this law, would you say that you favor or oppose this law?
22% Favor, 40% Oppose

Sample A: Please tell me if you agree or disagree with this statement: The economic stimulus legislation passed by Congress is working.
34% Agree, 62% Disagree

Sample B: Please tell me if you agree or disagree with this statement: President Obama's economic stimulus legislation is working.
40% Agree, 54% Disagree

Party ID
36% Democrat, 27% Republican, 37% independent (chart)

US: Health Care (Gallup 12/11-13)

USA Today / Gallup
12/11-13/09; 1,025 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Gallup release)


Thinking about health care legislation now being considered by Congress, Would you advise your member of Congress to vote for or against a healthcare bill this year, or do you not have an opinion?
46% Vote For, 48% Vote against (chart)

US: National Survey (ABC/Post 12/10-13)

ABC News / Washington Post
12/10-13/09; 1,003 adults, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(ABC: story results; Post: story results


Obama Job Approval
50% Approve, 46% Disapprove (chart)
Economy: 46 / 52 (chart)
Health Care: 44 / 53 (chart)

Who do you trust to do a better job handling [ITEM] - (Obama) or (the Republicans in Congress)? (each asked of half sample)
The economy: 48% Obama, 36% Reps
Health care reform: 46% Obama, 39% Reps
The situation in Afghanistan: 47% Obama, 35% Reps
Energy policy: 46% Obama, 36% Reps

Overall, given what you know about them, would you say you support or oppose the proposed changes to the health care system being developed by Congress and the Obama administration?
44% Support, 51% Oppose (chart)

Medicare is the government health insurance program for people 65 and over. Do you think health care reform would strengthen the Medicare program, weaken Medicare or have no effect on it?
22% Strengthen, 45% Weaken, 24% No effect

Just your best guess, do you think health care reform would increase the federal budget deficit, decrease it, or have no effect? (IF INCREASE) Do you think that would be worth it, or not?
23% Increase, worth it
43% Increase, not worth it
11% Decrease
19% No effect

Do you think the government should or should not expand Medicare to cover people between the ages of 55 and 64 who do not have health insurance?
63% Should, 33% Should not

There are a few ideas on health insurance for people who are not insured through work, or Medicare or Medicaid. One is to create a government health insurance plan to compete with private insurance plans for these people). Another is to have the government negotiate with private insurers to offer these people insurance that meets government specifications). A third is to leave the current system as it is. Which of these would you prefer for people who do not have health insurance - a government plan to compete with private plans), (private plans coordinated by the government, or (the current system as it is now)?
36% Government plan to compete with provate plans
30% Private plan coordinated by the government
30% Current system as it is now

Which comes closer to the way you feel: government reform of the nation's health care system is necessary to control costs and expand coverage), or government action on health care will do more harm than good? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?
51% Necessary, 46% More harm than good

Changing topics, many economists say that using the standards they apply, the recession probably is over. Thinking about your own experience of economic conditions, would you say that from your point of view the recession is over, or not over?
13% Over, 86% Not over

On another subject, all in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States, do you think the war in Afghanistan has been worth fighting, or not?
52% Worth fighting, 44% Not worth fighing

Do you support or oppose Obama's decision to send approximately 30,000 additional U.S. military forces to Afghanistan?
58% Support, 40% Oppose

Party ID
32% Democrat, 26% Republican, 37% independent (chart)

Polling on the Individual Mandate

Topics: Barack Obama , Health Care Reform , individual mandate , Kaiser Family Foundation

Last night's news that Senate Democrats have agreed to abandon both a government run public option and a Medicare buy-in provoked a storm of criticism from the Netroots left. Markos Moutlisas (the Kos of DailyKos) tweeted a desire to "kill" the Senate bill and later explained that his main objection is the mandate on individuals to purchase health insurance: "My position on #HCR -- kill it if it includes mandate. Strip out the mandate, then what's left is inoffensive."

The irony in this latest twist in the health reform debate is that Obama's opposition to individual mandates was the key point of differentiation with Hillary Clinton on health care reform during campaign 2008. This new turn will inevitably draw more attention to an aspect of the reform bill that has received surprisingly little attention so far.

So it's probably worth reviewing what surveys can tell us about public opinion regarding an individual mandate.

Not surprisingly, the monthly tracking surveys done by the Kaiser Family Foundation have some of the most useful data. Their November tracking survey finds 72% of Americans in favor or "requiring all Americans to have health insurance, either from their employer or from another source, with financial help for those who can't afford it" (39% say they favor the idea strongly, 25% are opposed). Support on their tracking surveys has ranged between 66% and 72% over the last 12 months.

However, just last month the Kaiser pollsters demonstrated just how tenuous that positive reaction might be. When the informed those in favor that an individual mandate "could mean that some people would be required to buy health insurance that they find too expensive or did not want," support plummets to just 21%.


So this data takes us back to the main point explored in my column earlier this week. To those in the middle on health reform, affordability is the key word. Requiring that everyone buy affordable insurance sounds mostly inoffensive. Requiring people to buy coverage that is too expensive could prove to be a very unpopular proposition. The real impact that this proposal will have on the cost of insurance is what should be the focus. That's the subject of Nate Silver's analysis this morning and is a worthy subject for further discussion and debate.

US: Economy (CNBC 12/1-3)

CNBC / Hart/McInturff
12/1-3/09; 808 adults, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
CNBC release


Job Approval / Disapproval on the Economy
Pres. Obama: 46 / 44 (chart)
The Democratic Party: 39 / 47
The Republican Party: 26 / 54
Ben Bernanke: 22 / 25
Timothy Geithner: 18 / 30

State of the Economy
7% Excellent/Good, 93% Fair/Poor

And over the course of the next year, do you think the state of the economy will get better, stay about the same, or get worse?
43% Better, 29% Same, 25% Worse

Party ID
31% Democrat, 20% Republican, 43% independent (chart)

Insignificant Noise 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Robert Eisenger and George Bishop examine the meaning of presidential approval.

Glen Bolger says the public wants TARP money to go to the deficit, not more stimulus.

Greg Sargent finds a question he likes about bipartisanship.

The Census Bureau reports an explosion in texting (via Rainie).

Gary Sargent and Sam Stein cite a new poll showing Democrats angry with Lieberman and dispirited by dropping the public option.

And Josh Marshall thinks the "insignificant statistical noise" is trending toward the Democrats.

AZ: 2010 Sen (Tarrance 12/8-10)

Tarrance Group (R) / Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America*
12/8-10/09; 600 likely Republican primary voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(12 News release)

*Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America has ties to McCain supporters.


2010 Senate: Republican Primary
John McCain 56%, J.D. Hayworth 36%

Favorable / Unfavorable
McCain: 78 / 20
Hayworth: 60 / 15

US: Environment (AP-GfK 11/17-29)

AP-GfK / Stanford University
11/17-29/09; 1,005 adults, 3.1% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(AP release)


If nothing is done to reduce global warming in the future, how much do you think it will hurt future generations--a great deal, a lot, a moderate amount, a little or not at all?
42% A great deal, 21% A lot, 13% A moderate amount, 8% A little, 15% Not at all

Do you think most scientists agree with one another about whether or not global warming is happening, or do you think there is a lot of disagreement among scientists on this issue?
31% Most scientists agree
66% Most scientists disagree

How much do you think the U.S. government should do about global warming? A great deal, quite a bit, some, a little, or nothing?
31% A great deal. 21% A little bit, 23% Some, 10% A little, 15% Nothing

Do you think that the United States doing things to reduce global warming in the future would cause there to be more jobs for people around the country, would cause there to be fewer jobs, or wouldn't affect the number of jobs for people around the country?
40% More, 23% Fewer, 33% No effect

Do you think that the United States doing things to reduce global warming in the future would hurt the U.S. economy, would help the economy, or would have no effect on the U.S. economy?
46% Help, 27% Hurt, 24% No effect

Half sample: There's a proposed system called ―cap and trade. The government would issue permits limiting the amount of greenhouse gases companies can put out. Companies that did not use all their permits could sell them to other companies. Companies that need more permits can buy them, or these companies can pay money to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that other people or organizations put out. This will cause companies to figure out the cheapest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Would you favor or oppose this system?
58% Favor, 37% Oppose

Half sample: There's a proposed system called ―cap and trade. The government would issue permits limiting the amount of greenhouse gases companies can put out. Companies that did not use all their permits could sell them to other companies. The idea is that many companies would find ways to put out less greenhouse gases, because that would be cheaper than buying permits. Would you favor or oppose this system?
50% Favor, 47% Oppose

Party ID
28% Democrat, 23% Republican, 24% independent

US: National Survey (Gallup 12/11-13)

USA Today / Gallup
12/11-13/09; 1,025 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(USA Today article, Gallup release)


Obama Job Approval / Disapproval
49% Approve, 46% Disapprove (chart)

Do you favor or oppose the U.S. signing a binding global treaty at the Copenhagen meeting that would require the U.S. to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
55% Favor, 38% Oppose

Which do you think should be a higher priority for the Obama administration right now?
85% Improving the economy
12% Reducing global warming

US: Unemployment (CBS/Times 12/4-10)

12/4-10/09; 1,650 adults, 2% margin of error
708 unemployed adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(CBS: story, results; Times: story, results)


Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling job creation?
Total: 38 / 47
Unemployed: 47 / 44

How would you rate the condition of the national economy these days? Is it very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?
Total: 22% Very/Fairly Good, 77% Very/Fairly Bad
Unemployed: 12% Very/Fairly Good, 88% Very/Fairly Bad

Do you think the economy is getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?
Total: 29% Better, 23% Worse, 47% Same
Unemployed: 27% Better, 22% Worse, 50% Same

Regardless of how you usually vote, do you think the Republican party or the Democratic party is more likely to create new jobs?
Total: 42% Democratic, 31% Republican
Unemployed: 45% Democratic, 24% Republican

So far, do you think the government's stimulus package has made the economy better, made the economy worse, or has it had no impact on the economy so far?
Total: 32% Better, 15% Worse, 46% No impact
Unemployed: 33% Better, 13% Worse, 50% No impact

From what you know so far, which comes closest to your own view?
6% Total / 2% Unemployed: The economic stimulus package has already created a substantial number of new jobs in the U.S.
44% Total / 51% Unemployed: It will create a substantial number of new jobs but hasn't done that yet
45% Total/ 41% Unemployed: It will not create a substantial number of new jobs

Over the next year, do you think the job market in your area will get better, get worse, or stay about the same?
Total: 39% Better, 18% Worse, 41% Same
Unemployed: 39% Better, 22% Worse, 36% Same

NC: Perdue (PPP 12/11-13)

Public Policy Polling
12/11-13/09; 596 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

North Carolina

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Perdue: 27 / 53 (chart)

Do you think Bev Perdue's performance as Governor has improved since the legislative session ended?
18% Yes, 49% No

Do you think Bev Perdue will do a better job as Governor in the second year of her term than she has in the first?
32% Yes, 44% No

NY: 2010 Sen (Siena 12/6-9)

12/6-9/09; 665 registered voters, 3.8% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Siena release)

New York

2010 Senate: Democratic Primary (trends)
32% Gillibrand, 23% Thompson, 3% Tasini, 7% Ford

2010 Senate: Repubican Primary (trends)
57% Giuliani, 26% Pataki
7% Balboni, 6% Feld, 4% Blakeman

2010 Senate: General Election (trends)
49% Giuliani, 42% Gillibrand (chart)
46% Gillibrand, 43% Pataki (chart)
52% Gillibrand, 22% Blakeman
56% Giuliani, 34% Thompson
49% Pataki, 36% Thompson
40% Thompson, 23% Blakeman

Favorable / Unfavorable
Rudy Giuliani: 58 / 36
Kirsten Gillibrand: 31 / 22 (chart)
George Pataki: 53 / 35
Chuck Schumer: 60 / 28 (chart)
Bill Thompson: 25 / 17
Harold Ford: 19 / 7
Michael Balboni: 6 / 8
Liz Feld: 9 / 6
Bruce Blakeman: 4 / 6

I know it's a ways off, but if Kirsten Gillibrand runs for United States Senator in 2010, would you vote to elect her or would you prefer someone else? 30% Elect Gillibrand, 34% Prefer someone else

CO: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 12/10)

12/10/09; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)


2010 Governor (trends)
48% McInnis (R), 40% Ritter (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Bill Ritter: 50 / 50 (chart)
Scott McInnis: 52 / 33

NY: 2010 Gov, Sen (Quinnipiac 12/7-13)

12/7-13/09; 1,692 registered voters, 2.4% margin of error
719 Democrats, 3.7% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Quinnipiac release)

New York

2010 Governor: Democratic Primary
60% Cuomo, 23% Paterson (chart)

2010 Senate: Democratic Primary (trends)
41% Thompson, 28% Gillibrand

2010 Governor: General Election
41% Paterson, 37% Lazio (chart)
62% Cuomo, 22% Lazio (chart)

2010 Senate: General Election (trends)
Giuliani 50%, Gillibrand 40% (chart)
Giuliani 52%, Thompson 36%

Favorable / Unfavorable
Andrew Cuomo: 57 / 14
David Paterson: 38 / 44 (chart)
Rick Lazio: 19 / 13
Kirsten Gillibrand: 26 / 15 (chart)
William Thompson: 25 / 10
Rudy Giuliani: 59 / 32

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Paterson: 40 / 49 (chart)
Sen. Gillibrand: 40 / 21 (chart)
Sen. Schumer: 62 / 27 (chart)
Pres. Obama: 59 / 36 (chart)

Looking ahead to the 2010 election for Governor, do you feel that David Paterson deserves to be elected to a full 4-year term, or do you feel that he does not deserve to be elected to a full 4-year term?
28% Deserves, 64% Does not deserve

Data Under the Tree: Part 1 (Factory or Forest?)

With the Christmas season in full swing, we decided to take a look at some of the changing American behaviors surrounding our annual December festivities.

To do this, StrategyOne conducted some brief national survey research (n=1,000 adults Dec. 4-7, 2009) on a range of holiday topics. We'll be putting one piece of data under the virtual tree each day this week.

Let's begin with the Christmas tree. (Note: My firm has no business interest in either side of this debate.)

In 2009, Americans' Christmas trees are more likely to come from a factory and not a forest.

Our research finds that 55% of Americans now put up an artificial tree and 24% put up a real tree. 8% will have both in their home this holiday season. 13% report either not putting up a tree or not celebrating Christmas.

Interestingly, when you add the 24% saying they will purchase a farm grown tree with the 8% that say they will put up both, our data (32%) comes within 3 points of the National Christmas Tree Association's 2009 survey.

But how does this relate to past years?

Fortunately, we have trend data going back to 1989 from Gallup.

Reviewing this data shows a long term decline in real Christmas trees in the home.

See below (Data is among those who celebrate Christmas and have a Christmas tree):

1989 40% (artificial) 52% (real) 8% (both)
1994 49% (artificial) 51% (real) NA (both)
2004 58% (artificial) 37% (real) 5% (both)
2009 63% (artificial) 28% (real) 9% (both)

The decline of the real Christmas tree over the past 20 years is significant and the tipping point seems to have occurred somewhere between 1994 and 2004.

The region with the most affinity for real trees appears to be the Northeast (33% real), higher than the upper Midwest (21%), the South (21%) or the West (26%).

As one might expect, there is a straight line correlation between household income and the ownership of a genuine Christmas tree. Only 16% of households making less than $35,000 have a real Christmas tree in their homes this season. Among households making over $100,000 this number rises to 34%.

Tomorrow we'll take a look at what Americans have on top of those trees. It's the great Star vs. Angel debate...

US: Generic Ballot (Gallup 12/11-13)

12/11-13/09; 898 registered voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Gallup release)


2010 House: Generic Ballot
48% Democrat, 45% Republican (chart)

Cutting out the Middle Man 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Frank Newport ponders public opinion on Afghanistan, Oslo and extramarital affairs.

Gary Langer and Jon Cohen release data showing a precipitous drop in Tiger Woods' favorable rating.

Glen Bolger and Jim Hobart say the White House has been unable to stop Obama's ratings slide.

Charlie Cook assesses a slight Obama drop in the Gallup Daily.

Tom Bevan chronicles Obama's new polling lows (via Reynolds).

Bill Schneider says its the economy driving Obama's numbers down.

Steve Benen thinks the public is misguided in its economic priorities.

Alan Reifman plots the relationship between party and support for heath reform.

Tom Jensen seeks input for PPP's final poll of 2009.

And Bill Quick starts a "firm" that skips the respondents and guarantees results (via Reynolds).

New RSS, Twitter Feeds and Email Updates

Topics: Email updates , Housekeeping , Pollster.com , RSS , Twitter

We are excited to share some minor changes involving our RSS feeds, Twitter and email updates that we hope will make life a little easier for our regular readers.

RSS - As you may know, we have a variety of RSS feeds set up -- all available here -- that allow you to read Pollster.com blog entries using RSS readers like Google Reader or FeedDemon. We upgraded the process we use to produce these feeds in a way that is mostly invisible except that the feeds should update a little more quickly than before. The new feeds do use a new URL, so if you are reading this entry via one of our previously RSS feeds, it would be a good idea to resubscribe now using one of the links below, as we will shut off the old ones in a few weeks.

Twitter - Since many are starting to use Twitter in lieu of RSS, we have also set up some new automated Twitter feeds that feed a headline and a link for every new blog post on Pollster.com. Details on the specific options below, followed by links to each feed.

Email Updates - If neither Twitter nor RSS are your thing, starting today, you can also sign up for a daily email update that will deliver links to our most recent posts. You can subscribe using the links in the table below right now or via our RSS/Twitter page.

Feed Options - We have set up these RSS, Twitter and email feeds for a variety of different categories of blog content. "All content" gets you everything posted to Pollster.com. "Poll updates" includes only the brief posts on the latest polls. "Analysis" gets you everything but the poll updates from all of our contributors.   

We also have automated RSS and email alerts specific to individual authors. The four Twitter accounts listed here for yours truly, Charles Franklin, Steve Lombardo and Kristen Soltis are personal accounts that can and will include commentary beyond what you see posted here.

Follow us on RSS, automated Twitter, or email alerts:

All Content: RSS, Email alerts, Twitter
Poll Updates: RSS, Email alerts, Twitter
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Blog Author RSS, Email alerts, and personal Twitter:

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If you have any questions, comments or complaints about these feeds, please drop us an email or leave a comment below.

US: Generic Ballot (PPP 12/4-7)

Public Policy Polling (D)
12/4-7/09; 1,253 registered voters, 2.8% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
PPP release)


2010 House: Generic Ballot
44% Democrat, 42% Republican (chart)

Job Approval / Disapproval
Dems in Congress: 28 / 59
Reps in Congress: 24 / 61

Do you think Democrats in Washington have too much power right now?
50% Yes, 40% No

IL: 2010 Sen Primary (Tribune 12/2-8)

Chigaco Tribune
12/2-8/09; 600 likely Democratic primary voters, 4% margin of error
600 likely Republican primary voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Chicago Tribune story)


2010 Senate: Democratic Parimary
31% Alexi Giannoulias, 17% Cheryle Jackson, 9% David Hoffman, 2% Will Boyd, 1% Jacob Meister, 1% Robert Marshall, 1% Corey Dabney

2010 Governor: Democratic Primary
49% Pat Quinn, 23% Dan Hynes, 3% Dock Walls, 2% Ed Scanlan

2010 Senate: Republican Primary
41% Mark Kirk, 3% Kathleen Thomas, 3% Patrick Hughes, 2% John Arrington, 2% Andy Martin, 1% Donald Lowery, 1% Robert Zadek

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
26% Jim Ryan, 12% Andy McKenna, 10% Bill Brady., 9% Kirk Dillard, 6% Adam Andrzejewski, 2% Dan Proft, 2% Bob Schillerstrom

What Do Americans Want from HCR?

Topics: CenteredPolitics , health care , Health Care Reform , National Journal column , Sheri and Allan Rivlin

My column for the week picks up where this post from last week left off and attempts to answer the question, so what do Americans want with respect to health care reform?

One additional thought I didn't take the time to express in the column. For all its messiness, the legislative negotiation and debate has narrowed to the two priorities that Americans, and especially those most uncertain about the propose legislation, rank highest: making sure affordable insurance is available and not adding to the budget deficit.  From the perspective of democratic representation, the system is working as it should.

On their blog CenteredPolitics, my friends Sheri and Allan Rivlin (Allan is a Democratic pollster) focus on an issue related to what Americans want:  Why do so few Americans -- only 22% on the most recent CNN/ORC poll -- believe they will benefit from health care reform?

The reason support for health care reform is declining is really very simple. The only messages the public is receiving is that health care reform is bad. Turn on Fox News any given night and the message is this or that health reform bill is bad. Turn on MSNBC any given night and the message is this or that health reform bill is bad. Fox News blames all Democrats and MSNBC blames some Democrats.

They continue with advice for supporters of health reform.

NY: 2010 Gov (Siena 12/6-9)

12/6-9/09; 665 registered voters, 3.8% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Siena release)

New York

2010 Governor: Democratic Primary
23% Paterson, 67% Cuomo (chart)

2010 Governor: General Election
42% Paterson, 40% Lazio (chart)
68% Cuomo, 22% Lazio (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
David Paterson: 36 / 53 (chart)
Andrew Cuomo: 67 / 19
Rick Lazio: 25 / 25
Barack Obama: 63 / 32 (chart)

Job Rating
Gov. Paterson: 23% Excellent/Good, 76% Fair/Poor (chart)

I know it's a long way off, but if David Paterson runs for Governor in 2010, would you vote to elect him or would you prefer someone else?
19% Elect Paterson, 65% Prefer Someone Else

Would you prefer to see Attorney General Andrew Cuomo run for re-election as Attorney General next year or would you prefer to see him run for Governor instead?
31% Attorney General, 50% Governor

US: Health Care (Rasmussen 12/12-13)

12/12-13/09; 1,000 likely voters, 3% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)


Generally speaking, do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and the congressional Democrats?
40% Favor, 56% Oppose (chart)

If the health care reform plan passes, will the quality of health care get better, worse, or stay about the same?
21% Better, 54% Worse, 18% Same

If the health care reform plan passes, will the cost of health care go up, go down, or stay about the same?
57% Up, 17% Down, 20% Same

PA: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 12/10)

12/10/09; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)


2010 Governor (trends)
Corbett (R) 43%, Wagner (D) 30%
Corbett (R) 48%, Hoeffel (D) 26%
Corbett (R) 44%, Onorato (D) 28%
Corbett (R) 46%, Doherty (D) 23%

Favorable / Unfavorable
Tom Corbett: 59 / 18
Jack Wagner: 37 / 30
Dan Onorato: 30 / 32
Joe Hoeffel: 26 / 35
Chris Doherty: 30 / 28

WI: Obama, Doyle (UWisc 10/29-11/20)

University of Wisconsin / Badger Poll
10/29-11/20/09; 507 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(UW release)


Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Doyle: 46 / 50 (chart)
Pres. Obama: 60 / 37 (chart)

US: National Survey (Zogby 12/8-11)

12/8-11/09; 3,024 likely voters, 1.8% margin of error
Mode: Internet
(Zogby release)


Obama Job Approval / Disapproval
48% Approve, 52% Disapprove (chart)

State of the Country
36% Right Direction, 55% Wrong Track (chart)