February 21, 2010 - February 27, 2010


Enten: But What About the Incumbent's Margin?

Topics: 2010 , Incumbent , Incumbent Rule , Nate Silver , Senate

Harry Joe Enten is a junior at Dartmouth College and will be interning with Pollster.com this spring and summer.

Yesterday, Nate Silver posted a well thought out post on why the 50% incumbent rule no longer applies. I think Nate's post is straight on, but I think that he misses a potentially larger point. In his chart, you'll notice something very interesting: no incumbent from 06, 08, or 09 won when trailing by more than 1.5 points in the January to June average of polls. I think that points to potentially very large problems for Democrats in the 2010 United States Senate Elections. Why? If current polling averages hold through June, the Democrats would be on the verge on losing the United States Senate, according to Silver's findings. What follows is a simple rundown of the top (and some not so top) United States Senate races involving seats held by Democrats. I apply Nate's rule of averaging all the polls available (including partisan ones). I supply a two month (starting in January as Nate did) and six month (using length of time of) Nate's average (when available) to try and catch short and long term trends. To be fair, I take only the highest polling Republican candidates. I don't intend this to be a be all end all, but the results are still amazingly scary for Democrats.

I find 6 Democratic incumbents who would most likely lose re-election, if the polling averages held through June. One Democratic incumbent does lead, but she is also going to have a difficult time in her fight for re-election.


1. Arkansas- Democratic Senator Lincoln trails by an average of 21.5 points since January to Rep. John Boozman and 10 points since January and 5.4 points since September to Gilbert Baker. Not only is Lincoln in trouble, but her trouble seems to be getting worse by the day. Unless a dramatic turn occurs in the polls (and considering Boozman is the likely Republican candidate), Lincoln is probably a goner.

2. Nevada- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in major trouble. He had trailed potential Republican candidates Danny Tarkanian by an average of 7.8 points since January and 6.9 points since September and Sue Lowden by 7.8 points since January and 8.2 points since September. Such polling and past history would argue that Reid is dead in the water; however, the emergence of Tea Party candidate Jon Ashjian has thrown the race somewhat into doubt. Reid still trails both candidates, but, with Ashjian in the race, Lowden leads by only 5 and Tarkanian only leads by 1 point in the only poll including the Tea Party candidate. Still, Reid's position is precarious at best, and he would almost definitely lose to Lowden, if the averages held through June.

3. Colorado- Senator Michael Bennet is not an incumbent in the traditional sense (he was appointed to the post), and both appointed Senators Bob Menendez and Roger Wicker were among the incumbents who performed significantly better than the average of polls between January and June indicated. Bennet is also facing a primary challenge from Andrew Romanoff. If Bennet makes it out of the primary (an if, but the only poll conducted so far indicated Bennet leads), he trails by 9.5 since January and 9.3 points since September to Republican Jane Norton, 2.3 points since January and 2 since September to Tom Wiens, and 2 points since January and 0.8 since September to Ken Buck. If those leads hold (and they seem to slightly be expanding), Bennet is in major, major trouble especially against Norton. Ramonoff does not do much better; he trails Norton by 6.8 points since January and 7.7 points since September, 1.7 points since January and 1.5 points since September to Tom Wiens, and 2 points in both the January and September averages to Ken Buck. Romanoff seems to be a slight underdog, especially against Norton.

4. Pennsylvania- Republican turn Democrat Arlen Specter is in as in much troubled as the 2010 New York Mets. He trails Republican challenger Fmr. Rep. Pat Toomey by 8.8 points in an average of the polls since January and 4 points since September. Both of these averages would render him on life support applying Silver's standard come June. Specter is being challenged in the Democratic primary by Congressman Joe Sestak. Specter currently leads Sestak in that primary by 20 points (a lead, which is growing). If Sestak somehow won the primary, he trails Toomey by an average of 12 points and 6.9 points in polls conducted since January and September respectively. In a Republican year, it would be very difficult for Sestak to make a comeback from being this far back.

5. New York- Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, like Senator Bennet, is an appointed Senator in trouble. Her negative net approvals indicate a good challenger would have a fair shot. The mostly unheard of Bruce Blakeman trails Gillibrand by 22 points and 24.7 points in the polling average since January and September respectively. Potential candidate Fmr. Governor George Pataki would make it a race. He leads Gillibrand by 5.5 points in the average since January and 1.4 points in the average since September. Pataki leads the other potential Democratic candidate Harold Ford (who has trailed by 14 points or greater in every primary poll against Gillibrand) by an even larger 14.8 points since January. If Pataki does get into the race, he would be a very formidable challenger. Of course, even if Pataki does not enter the race, Gillibrand's approvals leave her in a vulnerable position.

6. Washington- Senator Patty Murray is not the first Senator you think of as in danger. The Cook Political Report, Rothenberg Political Report, and Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball all have this race rated as safely Democratic, but one Republican challenger could make it a race. Republican Dino Rossi leads by 2 points over Murray in two recent polls. Rossi nearly won the Governor's mansion in 2004, losing in a recount, and he only lost by 6.5 points in 2008 when President Obama carried the state by 17 points illustrating his appeal as a statewide candidate. If the recent polls hold, Rossi could give Murray one heck of a fight.

7. California- Democrat Barbara Boxer leads her strongest challenger Republican Tom Campbell by on an average of 5.5 points in polls taken since January. Boxer has the edge in this matchup, but the Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball have the race at only Lean Democratic. Keep in mind, Republicans Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore poll considerably weaker. As such, Republicans should hope that Campbell wins the nomination, if they are looking for the candidate with the best shot at winning. He leads in recent primary polls.

The two and six month polling averages indicate that the Republicans are in a position to defeat six Democratic incumbents. This position seems to have strengthened over the last two months. In two states, New York and Washington, they need to hope they can recruit two candidates. If they do and the averages hold, Republicans could easily be up to 47 seats in the United States Senate.

When you combine these races with open Democratic seats, the Democratic majority looks like it could fall.


1. North Dakota- Republican Governor John Hoeven leads all opponents by at least 21 points, and he is over 50% in all polls conducted since January. He'll win unless a divine miracle happens for the Democrats.

2. Delaware- Congressman At-Large (meaning he represents the entire state) Mike Castle leads Democrat Chris Coons by an 22.7 and 20 points in polls conducted since January and September respectively, and he has been over 50% in every poll ever conducted in this race. Coons is not as dead as the Democrats in North Dakota, but he has a very high hill to climb.

3. Indiana- Republicans Fmr. Senator Dan Coats and Fmr. Representative John Hostettler lead both Democratic Congressmen Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill by at least 14 points in the only poll conducted since Democratic incumbent Evan Bayh announced he was not running for re-election. We'll have to see if this poll is an aberration, but the Cook Political Report already has this seat leaning Republican.

4. Illinois- Republican Congressman Mark Kirk trails Democrat Alexi Giannoulias by 0.2 points in the polling average since January, but Kirk leads Giannoulias by 0.4 points in the average since September. It could go either way.

In conclusion, I am by no means saying that the Republicans will take back the Senate; however, the polling in conjunction with past results indicate that it not that long of a shot that they do. Democratic candidates seem to be consistently weak over the last six months, and the Republicans seem to be moving into a stronger position in the last two months. Keep in mind that in 06 and 08, Democrats pretty much swept all the hotly contested races (save Tennessee in 06 and Georgia in 08. In these years as well as 1994, the party who lost seats (Democrats in 1994 and Republicans in 2006 and 2008) did not win a single seat belonging to the other party.

If the national environment for Democrats does not improve, these polling averages probably will not get that much better for Democrats. And if the averages do not get better, Silver's findings show the Republicans are at least in a position to win 10 seats and take back the United States Senate.

Fried on Friday 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Frank Newport assesses poll references in the health care summit.

FactCheck.org checks
the summit poll watchers .

Greg Sargent and Chris Bowers tell Democrats not to worry about reconciliation.

Jed Lewison says millennials' support for Democrats has returned to a pre-2008 norm.

Democracy Corps and Women's Voices Women Vote release
a survey of populatons underrepresented in the electorate (more here).

The American National Elections Studies (ANES) receive a $10 million award from NSF (via Lundry).

Slate debuts an interactive chart showing news stories as a social network .

US: Congress (Fox 2/23-24)

Topics: poll

Fox News / Opinion Dynamics
2/23-24/10; 900 registered voters; 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Fox: Congress, Government Spending)


Congressional Job Approval
14% Approve, 80% Disapprove (chart)

Who do you want to win this year's congressional elections -- the
Democrats or the Republicans?

36% Democrats, 35% Republicans

When thinking about the elections this year, which one of the following phrases best describes your mood -- voters should throw out all of the incumbents, voters should throw out just the Democrats, voters should throw out just the Republicans, or voters should stay the course with the people currently in office?
36% Incumbents, 10% Democrats, 9% Republicans

WI: 2010 Sen (Walls 2/22-23)

Topics: poll

Public Opinion Strategies (R) for Terrence Wall
2/22-24/10; 500 likely voters, 4.4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Wall release)


2010 Senate (trends)
46% Feingold, 39% Wall

MD: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 2/23)

Topics: poll

2/23/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)


2010 Governor
49% O'Malley (D), 43% Ehrlich (R)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Martin O'Malley: 54 / 40
Bob Ehrlich: 55 / 36

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 59 / 40
Gov. O'Malley: 53 / 42

DE: 2010 Sen (Kos 2/22-24)

Topics: poll

DailyKos.com (D) / Research 2000
2/22-24/10; 600 likely voters, 45 margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kos release)


2010 Senate (trends)
53% Castle, 35% Coons
47% Coons, 31% O'Donnell

2010 House
46% Carney, 29% Copeland
50% Carney, 26% Cullis
45% Carney, 35% Wharton

Favorable / Unfavorable
Chris Coons: 52 / 25
Mike Castle: 65 / 32
Christine O'Donnell: 33 / 39
John Carney: 47 / 22
Charlie Copeland: 21 / 23
Fred Cullis: 10 / 18
Ferris Wharton: 48 / 38
Jack Markell: 54 / 30 (chart)
Tom Carper: 52 / 33 (chart)
Ted Kaufman: 40 / 27 (chart)
Barack Obama: 59 / 36 (chart)

SD: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 2/23)

Topics: poll

2/23/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

South Dakota

2010 Governor
34% Hiedepriem (D), 31% Knudson (R)
41% Daugaard (R), 32% Heidepriem (D)
37% Heidepriem (D), 29% Howie (R)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Dave Knudson: 32 / 21
Dennis Saugaard: 45 / 22
Scott Heidepriem: 42 / 33
Howie: 29 / 29

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 40 / 59
Gov. Rounds: 71 / 28

NC: Approval Ratings (Elon 2/22-25)

Topics: poll

Elon University
2/22-25/10; 508 adults, 4.4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Elon release)

North Carolina

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 50 / 45 (chart)
Sen. Burr: 40 / 35 (chart)
Sen. Hagan: 40 / 40 (chart)
Gov. Perdue: 41 / 46 (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Barack Obama: 53 / 41 (chart)

Thinking about your current United States Senator, Richard Burr . . . do you think [he has performed his job well enough to deserve re-election, or do you think it's time to give a new person a chance?
24% Deserves re-election, 51% Time for new person

NC: 2010 Senate (Rasmussen 2/23)

Topics: poll

2/23/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

North Carolina

2010 Senate
50% Burr, 34% Marshall (chart)
51% Burr, 29% Cunningham (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Richard Burr: 60 / 28 (chart)
Elaine Marshall: 44 / 32
Cal Cunningham: 34 / 34

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 43 / 56 (chart)
Gov. Perdue: 43 / 55 (chart)

US: National Survey (Kos 2/22-25)

Topics: poll

DailyKos.com (D) / Research 2000
2/22-25/10; 2,400 adults, 2% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kos release)


Favorable / Unfavorable
Barack Obama: 55 / 40 (chart)
Nancy Pelosi: 38 / 52
Harry Reid: 23 / 67
Mitch McConnell: 20 / 62
John Boehner: 20 / 62
Demoratic Party: 40 / 55
Republican Party: 29 / 62

State of the Country
29% Right Direction, 58% Wrong Track (chart)

NV: 2010 Gov (LVRJ 2/22-24)

Topics: poll

Las Vegas Review Journal
2/22-24/10; 625 registered voters, 4% margin of error
300 Republicans, 6% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(LVRJ release)


2010 Governor: Republican Primary
37% Sandoval, 30% Gibbons, 9% Montandon (chart)

2010 Governor: General Election (trends)
42% Reid, 38% Gibbons
51% Sandoval, 29% Reid

Favorable / Unfavorable
Oscar Goodman: 47 / 15
Barack Obama: 39 / 46 (chart)
Sue Lowden: 36 / 17
Brian Sandoval: 33 / 7
Harry Reid: 33 / 51 (chart)
Danny Tarkanian: 30 / 17
Rory Reid: 22 / 36
Sharron Angle: 19 / 9
Jim Gibbons: 17 / 51 (chart)

MA: 2010 Gov (Suffolk 2/21-24)

Topics: poll

Suffolk University
2/21-24/10; 500 registered voters, 4.4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Suffolk: release, toplines)


2010 Governor: Democratic Primary
59% Patrick, 15% Ross

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
47% Baker, 17% Mihos

2010 governor: General Election
33% Patrick (D), 25% Baker (R), 23% Cahill (i), 3% Stein (G)
34% Patrick (D), 26% Cahill (i), 19% Mihos (R), 3% Stein (G)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Deval Patrick: 38 / 50
Tim Cahill: 31 / 16
Charlie Baker: 18 / 12
Christy Mihos: 20 / 28
Bill Galvin: 39 / 11
Scott Brown: 61 / 24
Martha Coakley: 40 / 52
John Kerry: 54 / 27

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Patrick: 35 / 54

US: Health Care (Fox 2/23-24)

Topics: poll

Fox New / Opinion Dynamics
2/23-24/10; 900 registered voters, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Fox release)


Obama Job Approval: Health Care
37% Approve, 56% Disapprove (chart)

Do you want Congress to pass major health care reform legislation this year or would you rather Congress do nothing on health care for now?
46% Pass legislation, 50% Do nothing

As you may know, President Obama is holding a health care summit this week with members of Congress of both parties. Which of the following do you think better describes why the president is holding the summit -- a sincere effort to work out a compromise on health care reform that is acceptable to both parties, or is it just for show so he can say he got feedback from Republicans before attempting to pass a Democratic health care bill?
50% Sincere effort, 40% Just for show

If President Obama can't work out a compromise with Congressional
Republicans at the health care summit, do you think he should drop the current health care bill and start over later, or try to pass the current bill without Republican support?

59% Drop and start over, 34% Pass current

US: National Survey (Fox 2/23-24)

Topics: poll

Fox News / Opinion Dynamics
2/23-24/10; 900 registered voters, 3% margin of error
345 Democrats, 5% margin of error
329 Republicans, 5% margin of error
155 independents, 8% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Fox News release)


Obama Job Approval
47% Approve, 45% Disapprove (chart)
Dems: 82 / 11 (chart)
Reps: 14 / 80 (chart)
Inds: 38 / 51 (chart)
Afghanistan: 51 / 36
Terrorism: 50 / 40
Iran: 41 / 42
Job creation: 41 / 52
Economy: 40 / 56 (chart)
Health Care: 37 / 56 (chart)
Federal deficit: 31 / 61

Party ID
38% Democrat, 37% Republican, 17% independent (chart)

Chart Challenge 'Outliers'

Topics: poll

Alan Abramowitz runs his model and sees Republicans gaining 37 seats.

Jennifer De Pinto says
Americans are running out of patience on health care.

Mike Mokrzycki and Jennifer Agiesta discuss ABC/Post data on China.

Kristen Soltis asks if Millenials will switch to Generation GOP.

Gary Andres assesses the Millennial support for the Democrats.

Stu Rothenberg asks Bill McInturff about health care reform and the 2010 elections.

John Sides corrects
his "conflicted conservatives" chart.

And FlowingData issues a graphic challenge (can you think of a better line)?

NC: 2010 Sen Primary (Civitas 2/15-18)

Topics: poll

Civitas (R)
2/15-18/10; 367 Democrats and Unaffiliateds
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Civitas release)

North Carolina

2010 Senate: Democratic Primary (trend)
14% Marshall, 5% Lewis, 4% Cunningham

re: Incumbent Rule

Thank you Mark and Nate for the thoughtful critique of my post regarding incumbents polling under 50%. I think this is an excellent example of the kind of smart, civil dialogue we can have around polling data. And, I think it serves the public interest well.

The data is the data. It is certainly compelling. And it suggests that the old 50% incumbent rule may have fit the 1980s and 1990s more than the 2000s. As Mark noted in his post, those that gained their formative public opinion research experience in that era, absorbed the conventional wisdom of that era. I'm a product of that time. But, times change. Mea culpa.

I found Mark's "Four Pollsters on the Incumbent Rule" (December, 2006) to be the most interesting. Here I agree most with Hickman (incumbents are much more aggressive, not worrying as much about building their opponent's name ID) and Greenberg (nationalization and partisan consistency). I also think that microtargeting combined with a renewed focus on turnout machines can have the effect of both saving endangered incumbents and complicating the vote models.

It will be interesting to see how this old rule works in 2010. Like baseball statistics, we always have another wave of data to analyze.

In the case of the Strickland-Kasich race in Ohio, I remain VERY skeptical of the Governor's reelection prospects.

1. First, Strickland's ballot support average in the new year puts him within that perilous under 45% group that Nate's analysis of the 2006-2009 data highlights (67% average loss rate). Even throwing out the hard to believe OH Right to Life survey, Strickland's average ballot support is 42.5%. Moreover, of the last four surveys, Strickland has only led Kasich in one. This data reminds me somewhat of the DeWine reelect in 2006.

2. Second, Strickland's image looks to be in tough shape and approaching a 1-1 fav-unfav ratio.

3. Third, the President's job approval seems to have slipped into negative territory in the Fall of last year.

4. Finally, as I noted in my initial post on the Quinnipiac survey, Kasich is handily defeating Strickland 46%-34% in Central Ohio. This is the part of the state where voters are most likely to remember Kasich. It is also a key battlegound. This does not bode well for Strickland.

IL: 2010 Sen (Kos 2/22-24)

Topics: poll

DailyKos.com (D) / Research 2000
2/22-24/10; 600 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kos release)


2010 Senate
43% Giannoulias, 36% Kirk
46% Quinn, 35% Dillard
47% Quinn, 32% Brady

Favorable / Unfavorable
Alexi Giannoulias: 49 / 34
Mark Kirk: 42 / 35
Pat Quinn: 37 / 41
Kirk Dillard: 31 / 37
Bill Brady: 29 / 41
Roland Burris: 24 / 54
Dick Durbin: 52 / 32
Barack Obama: 60 / 36

Sorry, Bob, but Nate's Right

Topics: Bob Strickland , Chris Bowers , Incumbent Rule , Nate Silver , Nick Panagakis , Ohio , Robert Moran

Nate Silver begins his rebuttal to Robert Moran this morning by saying, "I don't like criticizing our good friends over at Pollster.com." Well, I don't like criticizing our contributors either, but when Bob wrote on Tuesday in the context of a post on the latest results on the Ohio governor's race that incumbent candidates "get what they get in the tracking, " that it's a "fairly ironclad rule" that "incumbents tend to get trace elements of the undecideds at the end of a campaign," Nate is right and Bob is wrong.

I sympathize with Bob because my instincts led me to a similar line of argument when I started blogging five years ago. My experience as a campaign pollster, gained mostly during the late 1980s and 1990s, taught me to expect the sort of "incumbent rule" patttern that Bob refers to. It was not just an impression. Nick Panagakis, the long time pollster for the Chicago Tribune and other Midwestern media outlets, published some evidence on the Rule in a 1989 article in The Polling Report. Progressive blogger Chris Bowers updated the Panagakis data in 2004, and I summarized both a few months later. When I saw five polls in Ohio showing amazing consistency in Bush's number (46% to 47%), with considerable variation in the Kerry number (45% to 50%), I argued that we were seeing the "underlying principles of the Incumbent Rule in action."

Problem was, I was wrong. Both Bush and Kerry got a bigger percentage of the vote on Election day than they had received in the polling averages (Bush gained a little bit more in Ohio, but not much). Moreover as Bowers had, to his credit, already flagged in 2004, the Rule had been "weakening" since 1998, and by 2006 it was clear that it had largely vanished in competitive, statewide races (the same post includes comments from four campaign pollsters on why they think the "doctrine" was no longer valid). Contests like the 2009 New Jersey Governor's race have been the rare exception, and not a rule.

Since 2004, however, I have also realized that when pollsters or political junkies cite the Incumbent Rule, they sometimes mean two different things. The topic I obsessed over in 2004 involved whether we should anticipate a "break" among undecided voters toward the challenger between the final round of polling and Election Day. Bob's argument on Tuesday, however, argues something a little different: That the incumbent's percentage is unlikely to rise during the course of the campaign, that you get on Election Day what you're getting in tracking, even as far out as February.

Nate's post -- which is well worth reading in full -- attacks the second idea, and I want to stay focused on that topic for the rest of this post. He looks at 63 elections for Senate and Governor since 2006 in which there were polls conducted between January and June and where the two major party candidates ultimately won at least 90% of the combined vote. He then calculated a simple average of all polls fielded between January and June and compared those to the election results.

Nate finds that it is "extremely common for an incumbent to come back and win reelection." He finds that 19 of 30 incumbents who scored under 50 percent in the average of early polls ultimately won reelection. Further he finds that in almost every case (58 of 63) the incumbent ended up with a larger percentage of the vote than they had received in the early polling average. Those findings contradict Bob Moran's argument. .

However, Nate's data also suggests a middle ground and confirms that campaign pollsters and other political professionals are right to focus more on the incumbent's percentage than that of the challenger in early polling. First, as Nate puts it, the "corollary of Bob's hypothesis is almost always true." The incumbent won in 32 of 33 cases since 2006 where early polling showed the incumbent with more than 50% of the vote. Further, when the incumbent's percentage fell under 45%, their probability of succeeding dropped dramatically: Only 5 of 15 ultimately won. Finally,

[I]t does appear to be the case that the incumbent's share of the vote is a better predictor of the final voting margin than the challenger's share. The correlation between the incumbent's vote share in early polls and the final voting margin is .85; the correlation between the challenger's vote share and the final margin has a smaller magnitude, at (negative) .80. Interestingly, the correlation between the margin in early polls and the final margin is also just .85 -- no better than that obtained from looking at the incumbent's vote share alone. This may suggest that the opponent's vote share provides little additional informational value once the incumbent's vote share is known. As I hope I've made clear, however, this does not mean that incumbents "get what they get in the tracking"; they almost always add to their number.

DE: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 2/22)

Topics: poll

2/22/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release


2010 Senate (trends)
53% Castle (R), 32% Coons (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Chris Coons: 43 / 35
Mike Castle: 65 / 30

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 51 / 48 (chart)
Gov. Markell: 61 / 37 (chart)

US: Health Care (Gallup 2/23)

Topics: poll

USA Today / Gallup
2/23/10; 1,009 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Gallup release)


Obama Job Approval: Health Care
45% Approve, 48% Disapprove (chart)

At this week's summit, do you think Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress will or will not make a sincere effort to work with Republicans in Congress to find solutions to healthcare reform that are acceptable to both parties?
56% Yes, will make effort, 40% No, will not

At this week's summit, do you think the Republicans in Congress will or will not make a sincere effort to work with Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress to find solutions to healthcare reform that are acceptable to both parties?
41% Yes, will make effort, 54% No, will not

Just your best guess, do you think the two sides will or will not reach an agreement on a healthcare bill at this week's summit?
22% Yes, 77% No

Suppose the two sides do not reach agreement on a bill. Would you strongly favor, favor, oppose or strongly oppose Congress passing a healthcare bill similar to the ones proposed by President Obama and the Democrats in the House and Senate?
42% Favor, 49% Oppose

Would you strongly favor, favor, oppose or strongly oppose the Democrats in the senate using a parliamentary procedure that would allow them to avoid a Republican filibuster and pass their healthcare bill by a simple majority vote?
39% Favor, 52% Oppose

Health Summit Reality Check

Topics: Barack Obama , Cable news ratings , Debates , Health Care Reform , Health care reform summit , Ratings , Television ratings

The point of this post is probably obvious, but given the tendency among political junkies to assume that other Americans follow politics the way we do, it's probably worth repeating: While it is true that the health care summit will likely draw an "audience of millions," live viewing will be limited to those who watch live via C-SPAN, cable news networks or the internet. As such, that audience is likely to be a significantly smaller than the numbers that watched the Obama-McCain debates or typically tune into prime-time presidential addresses.

Let's think for a moment about what it means to have an audience of "millions." We are a nation of 304 million people (of all ages), 286 million in television households, and nearly 213 million who were eligible to vote and just over 131 million who cast a ballot int the 2008 presidential election.   

Now consider the way the health care summit will be televised today: My colleagues at The Hotline tell me that live coverage will likely be limited to C-SPAN and the cable news networks (CNN, Fox News and MSNBC), plus websites that stream video over the internet.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for the Nielsen Company kindly shared the following ratings data with me. The average audiences for the cable news networks for this "season to date" is 1,235,000 million for Fox News, 495,00 for CNN and 362,000 for MSNBC (all statistics represent averages across each networks programming day for all persons including children over age 2 -- you can find similar reports at the invaluable web site, TV by the Numbers). So if we assume that the overlap between these audiences is trivial, it means that those three networks typically draw a combined average of a little over 2 million.

Sure, that doesn't include C-SPAN or the internet or any ancillary coverage on networks like CNBC or CNN Headline News, and the cable networks are likely to get a modest boost in viewing today. But let's assume the live audience tops five million. That would certainly be "millions" (plural), but still a single digit percentage of all American voters.

Compare that to the audiences for the following events that were covered live by all of the broadcast networks during prime-time evening hours:

  • 48 million watched Obama's first State of the Union Address last month.
  • 32.1 million watched Obama's live address on health care in September 2009.

The September health care address, combined with the news coverage that followed, did result in a brief and modest increase support for health care reform and in Obama's health care approval rating, but the audience was much larger than those likely to tune in to the health care summit today. The overwhelming majority of those that watch live today or follow news coverage of the event later tonight and tomorrow will likely be the same news junkies that have been closely following news about health care reform all along.

But this event is extremely important with one small but very crucial audience: The members of the House and Senate and the news junkies that surround and advise them. For them this event probably serves as something of a demonstration project for how the health care debate might play out in their own elections later this fall: Will the substance of the discussion help change the tone of the debate or the coverage? Will health reform supporters gain an upper hand in selling whatever plan faces further votes in the House and Senate? As such, the very small live audience is important, I just wouldn't look for a big, overnight polling surge in either direction.

Update:  Ironically, after all the barbs traded over lack of final health care "negotiations" being conducted "on C-SPAN" (as candidate Obama pledged in 2008), and after this hilarious satirical trailer that bounced around the internet yesterday, the summit is not being broadcast live on either C-SPAN or C-SPAN2 since both the House and Senate remain in session.  However, C-SPAN plans to re-air the entire summit tonight in prime time. My guess is that C-SPAN's prime-time audience is not large enough to significantly alter my calculus above.

Oops 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Magellan Research pollster David Flaherty issues an unusual apology.

Pew finds that favorability ratings for labor unions have fallen sharply.

David Hill questions the public advice offered by Democratic pollsters.

Mark Mellman proposes an end to the filibuster.

Tom Jensen finds 2010 swing voters to be "pretty Democratic leaning" and divided on health reform.

John Sides identifies conservative conflicts on spending (and helps launch Salon's "theNumerologist").

Amy Walter cautions against misreading voter anger.

Ezra Klein asks whether health-care reform is popular.

AAPC names Glen Bolger and Neil Newhouse pollsters of the year (more here).

US: News Interest (Pew 2/19-22)

Topics: poll

Pew Research Center
2/19-22/10; 1,007 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Pew release)


What recent news story, if any, have you and your friends been talking about?
18% Tiger Woods
16% The Olympics
8% Plane crashing into IRS office in Austin, Texas
7% Health care reform
6% The economy/jobs
6% Haiti earthquake relief/Release of Americans accused of attempted kidnapping in Haiti
5% Politics (General)
3% Local Stories
2% Weather
1% Afghanistan
1% Iraq
1% Obama
1% Shooting at University of Alabama at Huntsville
1% Sports

Most Closely Followed Story (from list)
18% Reports about the condition of the U.S. economy
16% Debate over health care reform
9% A man crashing a small plane into an IRS office in Austin, Texas
9% Haiti releasing most of the Americans who were accused of attempted kidnapping
8% The U.S. military effort in Afghanistan

US: Health Care (POS 2/17-18)

Topics: poll

Public Opinion Strategies (R) for the Center for Health Transformation*
2/17-18/10; 900 registered voters, 3.3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Public Opinon Strategies release)

*note: the Center for Health Transformation was founded by Newt Gingrich


State of the Country
31% Right Direction, 63% Wrong Track (chart)

Obama Job Approval
48% Approve, 48% Disapprove (chart)

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot
43% Republican, 42% Democrat (chart)

Do you think the American health care system needs a complete overhaul, major reform, minor reform, or is there no need for

62% Complete overhaul/Major reform
36% Minor reform/No need for change

When it comes to dealing with health care which party do you think would do a better job the Democratic Party or the Republican Party?
37% Democratic, 32% Republican

Do you think it is the responsibility of the Federal government to...
23% Provide government-run health care coverage to all Americans
38% Assist those Americans who can least afford health care coverage to purchase it
35% is it not the Federal government's responsibility?

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?
40% Support, 52% Oppose (chart)

Pew Research Millennials Report

Topics: Millenials , Pew Research Center

I'm a little late in sharing this news, but the Pew Research Center is running a live webcast all day today of their Millennials conference, timed to coincide with their release of an new survey report that, according to their release, "contrasts the attitudes and behaviors of 18- to 29-year-olds with those of older generations."

The final session, from 12:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern time, will focus on whether younger Americans will turn out in and how they will affect the political landscape in 2010 and beyond. Speakers will include Matt Bai of the New York Times, Eli Pariser of MoveOn.org, Reihan Salam of the New America Foundation and Scott Keeter and Michael Dimock from the Pew Research Center. I'm guessing they will have more to say about this chart and its ramifications:


You can watch the webcast here (although caveat emptor: my video has been a bit choppy).

NM: 2010 Gov (PPP 2/18-20)

Topics: poll

Public Policy Polling (D)
2/18-20/10; 990 likely voters, 3.1% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

New Mexico

2010 Governor
Denish (D) 47%, Arnold-Jones (R) 33%
Denish (D) 45%, Domenici Jr (R) 40%
Denish (D) 46%, Martinez (R) 32%
Denish (D) 46%, Turner (R) 32%
Denish (D) 48%, Weh (R) 30%

Favorable / Unfavorable
Diane Denish: 41 / 34
Janice Arnold-Jones: 8 / 21
Pete Domenici Jr.: 27 / 35
Susana Martinez: 17 / 21
Doug Turner: 12 / 19
Allen Weh: 12 / 20

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 45 / 48
Gov. Richardson: 28 / 63
Sen. Bingaman: 48 / 36
Sen. Udall: 48 / 36

KY: 2010 Sen (Magellan 2/18)

Topics: poll

Update: Magellan pollster David Flaherty issued this unusual apology:

Magellan Strategis CEO David Flaherty today contacted US Senate candidate Bill Johnson and apologized for not included (sic) his name in Magellan's February 18th survey of likely Republican primary voters. Magellan CEO David Flaherty stated "It was a gross oversight on our part and we sincerely apologize for any problems this may have caused to the Johnson, Grayson and other
Republican US Senate campaigns in Kentucky."

Flaherty continued, "The US Senate ballot test question from our February 18th
survey is not accurate because Bill Johnson and other declared candidates were not
included in the question. Without Bill Johnson and the other primary candidates included in the ballot test question the results are obviously not an accurate reflection of the Republican primary ballot that voters will choose from on May 18th." David Flaherty also contacted the Try Grayson Campaign to apologize for error.

[Original Post:]
Magellan (R)
2/18/10; 560 likely Republican primary voters, 4.2% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Magellan release)


2010 Senate: Republican Primary
44% Rand Paul, 23% Trey Grayson

2012 President: Republican Primary
28% Palin, 24% Huckabee, 16% Romney, 12% Gingrich, 4% Paul, 2% Pawlenty

TX: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 2/23)

Topics: poll

2/23/10; 1,200 likely voters, 3% margin of error
500 likely Republican primary voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen: primary, general)


2010 Governor: Republican Primary
48% Perry, 27% Hutchison, 16% Medina

2010 Governor: General Election
47% Perry, 41% White
47% Hutchison, 38% White
47% White, 37% Medina

Favorable / Unfavorable
Rick Perry: 53 / 45
Kay Bailey Hutchison: 57 / 41
Bill White: 55 / 32
Debra Medina: 42 / 45

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pre. Obama: 41 / 57
Gov. Perry: 52 / 46

RI: 2010 Gov (Brown 2/9-12)

Topics: poll

Brown University
2/9-12/10; 605 registered voters, 3.9% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Brown release)

Rhode Island

2010 Governor: Democratic Prrimary
31% Caprio, 22% Lynch

2010 Governor: General Election
34% Chafee (i), 28% Caprio (D), 12% Robitaille (R)
33% Chafee (i), 18% Lynch (D), 14% Robitaille (R)

PA: 2010 Sen, Gov (F&M 2/15-21)

Topics: poll

Franklin and Marshall
1/15-21/10; 1,143 adults, 2.9% margin of error
954 registered voters, 3.2% margin of error
481 Democrats, 4.5% margin of error
340 Republicans, 5.2% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(F&M release)


2010 Senate: Democratic Primary
33% Specter, 16% Sestak (chart)

2010 Senate: General Election

Registered voters:
33% Specter, 29% Toomey
25% Toomey, 22% Sestak

Likely voters:
44% Toomey, 34% Specter (chart)
38% Toomey, 20% Sestak (chart)

2010 Governor: Democratic Primary
6% Onorato, 6% Wagner, 6% Hoeffel, 4% Doherty, 1% Williams (chart)

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
26% Corbett, 4% Rohrer

Favorable / Unfavorable
Ed Rendell: 41 / 44 (chart)
Arlen Specter: 32 / 45 (chart)
Bob Casey Jr: 33 / 18 (chart)
Barack Obama: 49 / 39 (chart)
Joe Sestak: 10 / 3
Pat Toomey: 16 / 7
Tom Corbett: 21 / 6

Job Rating
Pres. Obama: 41% Excellent/Good, 59% Fair/Poor (chart)
Sen. Specter: 30% Excellent/Good, 62% Fair/Poor (chart)

OH: 2010 Sen (Quinnipiac 2/16-21)

Topics: poll

2/16-21/10; 1,662 registered voters, 4% margin of error
604 Democrats, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Rasmussen release)


2010 Senate: Democratic Primary
29% Fisher, 20% Brunner

2010 Senate: General Election
40% Portman, 37% Fisher (chart)
40% Portman, 35% Brunner (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Lee Fisher: 26 / 12
Jennifer Brunner: 21 / 12
Rob Portman: 25 / 7

Job Approval / Disapproval
Sherrod Brown: 43 / 30 (chart)
George Voinovich: 51 / 32 (chart)

Names in the Phonebook 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Gary Langer calls health care reform a "perfect storm... for partisan division.

Marc Ambinder takes a closer look at Obama and independents.

Two respondents tell all (about a Harold Ford internal poll) to the New York Times (via Smith)

Andrew Gelman seconds Harry Enten - "Democrats are going to get hammered."

Gene Weingarten polls
random selections from the wrong phonebook.

WI: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 2/17)

Topics: poll

2/17/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)


2010 Governor (trends)
44% Neumann (R), 42% Barrett (D)
49% Walker (R), 40% Barrett (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Mark Neumann: 49 / 31
Scott Walker: 55 / 29
Tom Barrett: 49 / 36

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 47 / 52 (chart)
Gov. Doyle: 40 / 60 (chart)

US: National Survey (ARG 2/17-20)

Topics: poll

American Research Group
2/17-20/10; 1,100 adults, 2.6% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(ARG release)


Obama Job Approval
48% Approve, 46% Disapprove (chart)
Reps: 8 / 88 (chart)
Dems: 84 / 9 (chart)
Inds: 46 / 50 (chart)
Economy: 43 / 49 (chart)

Is Rasmussen 'Flooding the Zone?'

Topics: Daily Kos , Pollsters , PPP , Quinnipiac , Rasmussen , Research2000 , SurveyUSA

A regular reader wrote recently to ask if we could compare the polls we have entered at this point in the current electorate cycle (2009 to 2010) to those we entered at this point two years ago. His concern is the possibility that Rasmussen Reports, the automated pollster whose results often show a house effect favoring Republicans, might be "flooding the zone" to a greater degree than in past elections. He pointed me to this post by Swing State Project diarist blogger spiderdem, arguing that Rasmussen polls "have dominated the narratives in many of these [2010] races as a result of their sheer frequency."

I've done a crude comparison that shows considerable apparent growth on the pace of polling so far this cycle -- though not just for Rasmussen -- but I need to caution readers about the limits of this data. Since races for Governor are far more numerous in a non-presidential years, I looked only at polls that tested U.S. Senate contests. In 2008, I counted up horserace results -- one per state -- for the general election match-ups that ultimately appeared on the November ballot. Unfortunately, we were only starting to enter polling data for non-presidential races at this point in 2008, so our internal database does not include many polls for potential match-ups that failed to materialize.

The problem, of course, is that we cannot predict which candidates will run and win primaries in 2010, so it is impossible to generate a strictly comparable list. Instead, I opted to count polls for this cycle for the candidate match-up in each state that has generated the most results to date. Also, I used wikipedia (sorry, Harry) to gather a few dozen polls in the less competitive contests that we are not yet charting here on Pollster.com.

The main point: my method is fuzzy. Others might come up with slightly different counts, and mine probably exaggerates the apparent increase in polling in the current cycle. Still, it should be close enough to give a sense for whether any one pollster is "flooding the zone."

On to the data. The following table shows my count of polls conducted at this point in each cycle. It shows a huge overall increase in polling on U.S. Senate races: 160 polls conducted as of last week as compared to just 74 at this point in 2008. Yes, Rasmussen has conducted more than three times as many polls fielding (45 vs. 13), but you can see similar rates of growth for PPP (21 vs. 5), Quinnipiac University (14 vs. 0), DailyKos/Research2000 (13 vs. 5) and several others.


Equally interesting is the decline for SurveyUSA, whose surveys are usually sponsored by local television stations. They had fielded 16 surveys on general election contests for U.S. Senate at this point in the 2008 cycle but none that I counted so far this time. Similarly, the number of polls conducted by less prolific media or non-partisan pollsters fell as a percentage of the total (from 26% to 16%), although the absolute number was slightly higher (26 vs. 19).

The message I get from these numbers is that the growth in polling in Senate contests so far this cycle has been driven by non-traditional media and academic sponsors and pollsters (like Rasmussen and PPP) that routinely conduct and release surveys without sponsors for their marketing value. These numbers also imply that traditional media sponsors -- local television stations and newspapers -- have cut back on their polling budgets over the last year.

But back to the question that prompted this exercise. Yes, Rasmussen Reports has fielded far more polls so far this cycle, both in absolute terms (45 vs. 13) and as a percentage of the total (28% vs 18%). One likely explanation is the "major growth capital investment" from a private equity firm they announced this past August:

"This investment will enable Rasmussen Reports to expand and enhance all aspects of our business," said Scott Rasmussen, founder and president of Rasmussen Reports. "That includes expanding our Premium Membership service and subscription base, developing new index products and sponsorship opportunities, and exploring new research techniques."

The more difficult questions, which my data do not answer, are those that critics have often asked about Rasmussen and that others will ask about PPP, Daily Kos and other pollsters or sponsors with a demonstrable point of view: Is bias or partisanship at work in decisions about where to poll, what to ask, and what population (adults, registered voters or likely voters) to interview?

FL: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 2/18)

Topics: poll

2/18/10; 1,000 likely voters, 3% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)


2010 Governor
48% McCollum (R), 35% Sink (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Bill McCollum: 53 / 29
Alex Sink: 38 / 34

GA: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 2/18)

Topics: poll

2/18/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)


2010 Governor
45% Oxendine (R), 37% Barnes (D)
43% Deal (R), 37% Barnes (D)
45% Handel (R), 36% Barnes (D)
37% Johnson (R), 37% Barnes (D)

US: Health Care (Rasmussen 2/21-22)

Topics: poll

2/21-22/10; 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?
41% Somewhat/Strongly Favor, 56% Somewhat/Strongly Oppose (chart)

Incumbents "get what they get in the tracking."

This morning, like every morning, I quickly scanned First Read from Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg.

I enjoy First Read and very much like Chuck Todd, but I will admit that I threw down my Blackberry in complete frustration after reading the following:

*** Buckeye State Watch: Is the worm beginning to turn for Democrats in Ohio, too? Yes and no. A new Quinnipiac poll shows that Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) now has a five-point lead over challenger John Kasich (R), 44%-39%. Back in November, the race was deadlocked, 40%-40%. Still, that Strickland is below 50% hints at his vulnerability in this swing state. Meanwhile, the poll also finds that President Obama has an upside-down approval rating in Ohio, with 44% approving of his job and 52% disapproving, which is essentially unchanged from November.

Most readers of Pollster already know what I'm going to write, but I feel duty-bound to write this.

While the Quinnipiac poll may show Strickland ahead of Kasich 44%-39%, that is in NO WAY the headline. The headline is actually that (a) Strickland is way below 50% and (b) incumbents under 50% in a two way race have a very poor track record in November. Why? Because voters already have had time to get to know the incumbent. The incumbent has had their term to close the sale with a majority of voters. If he/she can't close the deal now with voters, then it is very unlikely that they will when the contrast ads get started.

Further, the November, 2009 data showing the two "deadlocked" is in no way a deadlock. An incumbent at 40% is a clear signal to his political team that they need to start requesting cash up front and immediate payment terms. Years ago we used to refer to these clients as "wire jobs", because we knew they were going to lose and therefore were very keen for them to wire payment before their loss and the inevitable vendor scramble for payment.

Now, First Read does caveat things a little with this:

"Still, that Strickland is below 50% hints at his vulnerability in this swing state."

It doesn't "hint at" Strickland's vulnerabilty, it demonstrates it quite clearly.

As the trend data shows, Strickland hasn't been over 50% since last summer.

Barring some massive exogenous event, the next Governor of Ohio will be John Kasich. Strickland is a Governor in a swing, center-right state polling WAY under 50% with an economy that will not come back before November.

Interesting data nugget:
In the central part of the state (where the voters know Kasich) Strickland is getting crushed by Kasich 46%-34%. Ouch.

I've worked both sides of the challenger-incumbent chasm. When you're running the incumbent side campaign in this situation, this is your thought process:

1. Double down on the opposition research investment. Maybe something will turn up.
2. Find a way for (or hope for a way) a 3rd party to do most of the really tough contrast ads. I'm sure Strickland's team has this covered already and this will give them some plausible deniability when the negative campaigner stories proliferate ("Hey, they're not our negative ads and we've asked them to stop.") Standard practice.
3. How do I make this a respectable performance?
4. (If internal:) Begin circulating resume.
5. (If vendor:) Get upfront payment terms. Try not to waste too many flights. Minimize focus group swings.

Returning to the general problem for a moment, this misreporting is a constant source of frustration for those in political polling. I'm sure I wasn't the only one that didn't at least roll their eyes this morning upon reading it. Unfortunately, this is a symptom of a constant problem in reporting polling data relative to an incumbent. In a two way race, political professionals don't even bother to look at the spread between the incumbent and the challenger, they only focus on the incumbent's support relative to 50%. Incumbents tend to get trace elements of the undecideds at the end of a campaign. Sure, there is the occasional exception, but this rule is fairly ironclad in my experience.

TX: 2010 Gov Primary (PPP 2/19-21)

Topics: poll

Public Policy Polling (D)
2/19-21/10; 400 likely Republican primary voters, 4.9% margin of error
361 likely Democratic primary voters, 5.1% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)


2010 Governor: Republican Primary
40% Perry, 31% Hutchison, 20% Medina

2010 Governor: Republican Primary Runoff
52% Perry, 35% Hutchison
55% Perry, 36% Medina

2010 Governor: Democratic Primary
59% White, 12% Shami, 5% Alvarado. 3% Aguado, 2% Glenn, 1% Dear, 0% Locke

US: Health Care (Kaiser 2/11-16)

Topics: poll

Kaiser Family Foundation
2/11-16/10; 1,201 adults, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kaiser release)


As of right now, do you generally support or generally oppose the health care proposals being discussed in Congress?
43% Support, 43% Oppose

Do you think _______ would be better off or worse off if the president and Congress passed health care reform, or don't you think it would make much difference?
You and your family: 34% Better, 32% Worse, 26% No difference
The country as a whole: 45% Better, 34% Worse, 12% No difference

Do you think the delays in passing health care reform are more about Republicans and Democrats having fundamental disagreements on what would be the right policy for the country, or more about both sides playing politics with the issue?
25% Republicans and Democrats having disagreements
59% Both sides playing politics

What do you think Congress should do now on health care reform:
32% Move soon to pass the comprehensive legislation that has already been approved by the House and Senate
20% Pull out a few key provisions where there is broad agreement and pass those, even though this won't be comprehensive reform
22% Put health care on hold, so Congress can work on other priorities, and try to deal with it later in the year
19% Stop working on health care this year

If a candidate for Congress ______ health care reform legislation,
would that make you more likely to vote for him or her, less likely to vote for him or her, or wouldn't it make much difference in your vote?

Supported: 35% More likely, 24% Less likely, 37% No difference
Opposed: 26% More likely, 35% Less likely, 36% No difference

FL: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 2/18)

Topics: polll

2/18/10; 1,000 likely voters, 2% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)


2010 Senate
48% Crist, 32% Meek (chart)
51% Rubio, 31% Meek (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Charlie Crist: 55 / 41 (chart)
Kendrick Meek: 42 / 33
Marco Rubio: 51 / 27

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 45 / 54 (chart)
Gov Crist: 52 / 45 (chart)

OH: 2010 Gov (Quinnnipiac 2/16-21)

Topics: poll

2/16-21/10; 1,662 registered voters, 2.4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Quinnipiac release)


2010 Governor
44% Strickland, 39% Kasich (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Ted Strickland: 45 / 36 (chart)
John Kasich: 26 / 10

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Strickland: 48 / 40 (chart)
Pres. Obama: 44 / 52 (chart)

1994 All Over Again? 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Stanley Greenberg advises Democrats how to avoid a repeat of 1994, Matt Continetti responds.

Nate Silver says there are major differences between 2010 and 1994 and follows up with a comparison chart.

Andrew Kohut says 1994 comparisons are premature.

Ryan McClafferty discusses a turn in public opinion on Congress.

Harry Enten sees big trouble brewing for Democrats in 2010.

Andrew Romano calls out "absurdly premature" 2012 electoral college handicapping.

Jon Cohen reviews how the specific items highlighted in Obama's health reform proposal stack up in the polls.

Frank Newport outlines how he would brief the health care summit on public opinion.

Jonathan Chait says public opinion on taxes isn't a sign of ignorance.

Tom Jensen sees Obama's approval decline mostly among white voters.

National Journal's political insiders see
the Democrats benefiting from the passage of a jobs bill.

Matt Towery concedes a conflict of interest; more here.

Mark Penn donates his Clinton polls to GWU. (Note: Penn does not specify what, exactly, he intends to donate. Will these be just memos and slide presentations or will it include complete filled-in questionnaires and data files? -- Mark Blumenthal.)

The Marist Poll releases
a theme song.

US: National Survey (Zogby 2/17-19)

Topics: poll

2/17-19/10; 2,031 likely voters, 2.2% margin of error
Mode: Internet
(Zogby release)


Obama Job Approval
49% Approve, 50% Disapprove (chart)

State of the Country
35% Right Direction, 55% Wrong Track (chart)

IA: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 2/18)

Topics: poll

2/18/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)


2010 Senate
Grassley (R) 55%, Krause (D) 33%
Grassley (R) 53%, Conlin (D) 36%
Grassley (R) 56%, Fiegan (D) 28%

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 45 / 54
Gov. Culver: 41 / 57

Favorable / Unfavorable
Chuck Grassley: 68 / 29
Bob Krause: 27 / 31
Roxanne Conlin: 35 / 45
Tom Fiegan: 22 / 34

NV: 2010 Sen, Gov (POS 2/15-16)

Topics: poll

Public Opinion Strategies (R)
2/15-16/10; 500 likely voters, 4.4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(POS release)


2010 Senate: Republican Primary (trends)
35% Lowden, 28% Tarkanian, 8% Angle, 4% Christensen, 1% Amodei, 0% Chachas

2010 Governor: Republican Primary (trends)
38% Sandoval, 32% Gibbons, 9% Montandon

2010 Senate: General Election (trends)
42% Lowden (R), 37% Reid (D), 9% Ashjian (Tea Party) (chart)
40% Tarkanian (R), 39% Reid (D), 11% Ashjian (Tea Party) (chart)
39% Reid (D), 22% Ashjian (Tea Party), 21% Chachas (R)
37% Reid (D), 32% Angle (R), 16% Ashjian (Tea Party)
40% Reid (D), 25% Amodei (R), 19% Ashjian (Tea Party)

2010 Governor (trends)
50% Sandoval (R), 34% Reid (D)
47% Reid (D), 36% Gibbons (R)
40% Montandon (R), 40% Reid (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Jim Gibbons: 29 / 58 (chart)
Rory Reid: 23 / 37
Brian Sandoval: 37 / 10
Mike Montandon: 10 / 5
Harry Reid: 35 / 58 (chart)
Sue Lowden: 39 / 17
Danny Tarkanian: 35 / 17
John Chachas: 3 / 4
Sharron Angle: 18 / 8
Mark Amodei: 7 / 5
Chad Christensen: 8 / 5

NY: 2010 Sen, Gov (Siena 2/14-19)

Topics: poll

2/14-19/10; 805 registered voters, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Siena release)

New York

2010 Governor: Democratic Primary
64% Cuomo, 22% Paterson (chart)

2010 Governor: General Election
46% Lazio, 39% Paterson (chart)
63% Cuomo, 26% Lazio (chart)

2010 Senate: Democrtic Primary (trends)
42% Gillibrand, 16% Ford, 4% Tasini

2010 Senate: General Election (trends)
47% Pataki, 41% Gillibrand (chart)
51% Gillibrand, 24% Blakeman
48% Pataki, 34% Ford

Favorable / Unfavorable
David Paterson: 35 / 55 (chart)
Andrew Cuomo: 66 / 21
Rick Lazio: 31 / 26
Kirsten Gillibrand: 34 / 28 (chart)
Harold Ford: 25 / 19
George Pataki: 56 / 34
Bruce Blakeman: 5 / 11
Chuck Schumer: 61 / 29 (chart)
Barack Obama: 61 / 35 (chart)

Job Rating
Gov. Paterson: 22 / 76 (chart)

Most Independents Aren't All That 'Independent'

Topics: independents , Measurement , National Journal column , Tea Party movement

My column for this week takes up the cause of GWU Professor John Sides and looks at how the definition of "independent" used most often tends to exaggerate the degree of independence among independents. Confused by that reference? Please read the whole thing.

Update: Alan Abramowitz covered some of this material in a post in August 2009.

DC: Snow Response (Clarus 2/21)

Topics: poll

2/21/10; 441 registered voters, 4.7% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interveiws
(Clarus release)

Washington, D.C.

Job Approval / Disapproval
Mayor Fenty: 42 / 48
Rep. Holmes Norton: 84 / 7
City Council: 57 / 22

Thinking about the local snow emergency we've experienced the last two weeks... Do you think Mayor Adrian Fenty has done an excellent job, a good job, only a fair job, or a poor job handling the snow situation and removal?
33% Excellent/Good, 64% Fair/Poor

FL: 2010 Sen Primary (Rasmussen 2/18)

Topics: poll

2/18/10; 442 likely Republican primary voters, 5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)


2010 Senate: Republican Primary
54% Rubio, 36% Crist (chart)

OR: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 2/17)

Topics: poll

2/17/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)


2010 Governor
42% Kitzhaber (D), 36% Dudley (R)
40% Kitzhaber (D), 38% Lim (R)
42% Kitzhaber (D), 34% Alley (R)
48% Kitzhaber (D), 25% Sizemore (R)
39% Bradbury (D), 36% Dudley (R)
38% Bradbury (D), 35% Lim (R)
41% Bradbury (D), 35% Alley (R)
48% Bradbury (D), 23% Sizemore (R)

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 53 / 47
Gov. Kulongowski: 40 / 56

US: National Survey (Newsweek 2/17-18)

Topics: poll

2/17-18/10; 1,009 adult, 3.6% margin of error
908 registered voters, 3.8% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Newsweek: story, results)


2010 Congress: Generic Ballot
45% Democrat, 43% Republican (chart)

State of the Country
19% Satisfied, 73% Dissatisfied (chart)

Obama Job Approval
48% Approve, 40% Disapprove (chart)
Health Care: 39 / 52 (chart)

Party ID
35% Democrat, 22% Republican, 39% independent (chart)