Pollster.com

March 7, 2010 - March 13, 2010

 

Hitting Back 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Gallup data suggests generational differences on abortion are narrowing.

Jennifer DePinto says most independents once identified with a political party.

Nate Silver tabulates house effects for five prolific pollsters this cycle.

Jon Chait and Andrew Sullivan respond to the Schoen-Cadell op-ed.

John Judis challenges the Zogby-Casscells op-ed on health reform.

Jonathan Cohn posts the full text of Joel Benenson's health reform polling memo.

The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) awards Precision Polling a "Pollie."


FL: 2010 Gov (PPP 3/5-8)


Public Policy Polling (D)
3/5-8/10; 849 likely voters, 3.4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

Florida

2010 Governor
44% McCollum (R), 31% Sink (D) (chart)
47% Crist (R), 27% Sink (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Alex Sink: 23 / 27
Bill McCollum: 25 / 26


PA: 2010 Sen, Gov (Kos 3/8-10)

Topics: poll

DailyKos.com (D) / Research 2000
3/8-10/10; 600 likely voters, 4.5 margin of error
400 likely Democratic primary voters,
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kos release)

Pennsylvania

2010 Senate: Democratic Primary
51% Specter, 32% Sestak (chart)

2010 Senate: General Election
47% Specter (D), 41% Toomey (R) (chart)
42% Toomey (R), 39% Sestak (D) (chart)

2010 Governor: Democratic Primary
19% Onorato, 12% Hoeffel, 10% Wagner, 3% Williams (chart)

2010 Governor: General Election
40% Corbett (R), 34% Onorato (D) (chart)
41% Corbett (D), 31% Hoeffel (R)
41% Corbett (R), 32% Wagner (D)
47% Corbett (R), 19% Williams (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Arlen Specter: 48 / 42 (chart)
Joe Sestak: 35 / 23
Pat Toomey: 41 / 36
Dan Onorato: 32 / 15
Jack Wagner: 30 / 14
Joe Hoeffel: 29 / 15
Anthony Williams: 9 / 3
Tom Corbett: 39 / 12
Ed Rendell: 45 / 47 (chart)
Bob Casey: 54 / 27 (chart)
Barack Obama: 51 / 44 (chart)


MN: 2010 Gov, Pawlenty (Rasmussen 3/10)

Topics: poll

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

Minnesota

2010 Governor (trends)
38% Dayton (D), 35% Emmer (R), 7% Horner (i)
37% Emmer, 34% Kelliher (D), 10% Horner (i)
38% Rybak (D), 35% Emmer (R), 9% Horner (i)
39% Seifert (R), 38% Dayton (D), 7% Horner (i)
39% Seifert (R), 35% Kelliher (D). 8% Horner (i)
38% Seifert (R), 38% Rybak (D), 8% Horner (i)
36% Emmer (R), 29% Bakk (D), 8% Horner (i)
38% Emmer (R) 29% Rukavina (D), 7% Horner (i)
37% Emmer (R), 28% Entenza (D), 8% Horner (i)
37% Seifert (R), 30% Bakk (D), 9% Horner (i)
39% Seifert (R), 30% Rukavina (D), 9% Horner (i)
38% Seifert (R), 30% Entenza (D), 9% Horner (i)

Suppose Governor Tim Pawlenty runs for President in 2012 and wins the Republican nomination. If Pawlenty was the Republican Presidential candidate, would you vote for him?
38% yes, 50% No

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 49 / 49 (chart)
Gov. Pawlenty: 50 / 49 (chart)
Sen. Klobuchar: 67 / 30 (chart)
Sen. Franken: 50 / 46 (chart)


CO: 2010 Sen (PPP 3/5-8)

Topics: poll

Public Policy Polling (D)
3/5-8/10; 58- likely voters, 4.1% margin fo error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

Colorado

2010 Senate
43% Bennet (D), 43% Norton (R) (chart)
46% Bennet (D), 40% Buck (R) (chart)
45% Bennet (D), 37% Wiens (R) (chart)
44% Romanoff (D), 39% Norton (R) (chart)
44% Romanoff (D), 36% Buck (R) (chart)
45% Romanoff (D), 34% Wiens (R) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Jane Norton: 25 / 35
Ken Buck: 14 / 18
Tom Wiens: 11 / 17
Andrew Romanoff: 28 / 26

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 47 / 50 (chart)
Sen. Udall: 39 / 42 (chart)
Sen. Bennet: 32 / 46 (chart)


US: National Survey (Kos 3/8-11)

Topics: poll

DailyKos.com (D) / Research 20000
3/8-11/10; 1,200 registered voters, 2.8% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kos release)

National

Favorable / Unfavorable
Barack Obama: 54 / 42 (chart)
Nancy Pelosi: 35 / 56
Harry Reid: 26 / 67
Mitch McConnell: 20 / 63
John Boehner: 19 / 63
Democratic Party: 40 / 56
Republican Party: 29 / 67

State of the Country
39% Right Direction, 60% Wrong Track (chart)


Rasmussen and the Colbert Repoll: Truth Grinding

Topics: Colbert Repoll , Scott Rasmussen , Steven Colbert , Truth Grinder

In case you missed it, last night's Colbert Report included an interview with pollster Scott Rasmussen that began with an extended metaphor on polling as a "Truth Grinder" and Colbert's own proven-to-be "scientific" online poll. Regular readers will want to watch it all.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Colbert Repoll - Scott Rasmussen
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorSkate Expectations

The full "results" of the Colbert Repoll are posted here (via Alex Lundry).


LA: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 3/10)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/10/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Louisiana

2010 Senate
Vitter 57%, Melancon 34% (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
David Vitter: 63 / 32 (chart)
Charlie Melancon: 43 / 44

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 37 / 62 (chart)
Gov. Jindal: 68 / 32 (chart)


Gaining or Losing? 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Gallup charts the most commonly used words in the health care debate; Bowers has more.

Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen say the battle for public opinion on health reform has been lost (via Cillizza).

Joel Benenson says support for health reform is growing.

Stan Greenberg projects that Democrats are better off if a health care bill passes.

MoveOn.org members overwhelmingly support the Obama health care bill.

Politifact finds
satisfaction with health insurance is not quite as high as George Will claimed.

Alan Abramowitz sees short-term success but long-term danger in the Republican Party's future.

Frank Newport explains the Gallup Approval Center.

Resurgent Republic and Steve Singiser look at voter enthusiasm from different perspectives.

Democracy Corps says Democrats must bridge the gap on the economy.

Andrew Sullivan questions a Democracy Corps poll, Jeremy Rosner responds, Glen Greenwald counters Rosner.

Alexi Giannoulias trashes a Rasmussen poll, then cites another.

John Sides and colleagues find that blog readers self segregate.

The State Department introduces a new interactive opinion-grouping tool (via techPresident).

The Pew Research Center launches
an Ask the Expert feature.

Scott Rasmussen will appear on the Colbert Report tonight.


Dr. George Gallup and the Literary Digest Poll

Topics: George Gallup , Literary Digest , Pollsters

Just to shake things up a bit, here's a post on a polling controversy from 1936.

Earlier this week, Investor's Business Daily ran a fascinating biographical profile of Dr. George Gallup, the founder of the Gallup poll and, for all practical purposes, the founder of political polling as we know it. The article includes some details that I had not heard before, such as the fact that Gallup's first application of market research to political campaigns was on  behalf of his mother-in-law's successful campaign for secretary of state in Iowa. It is well worth a click.

That said, I want pass along some interesting commentary about the story posted earlier today on the members-only listserv of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (and quoted with permission).  The article opens by revisiting Gallup's bold prediction that Franklin Roosevelt would win reelection in 1936 in the face of well known polling by the Literary Digest magazine showing a big lead for Republican Alf Landon. The IBD story is correct that Roosevelt's ultimate victory "led to the death of the Literary Digest" and helped make Gallup "a household name." According to statistical consultant Dominic Lusinchi, however, the story "perpetuates two myths" about the infamous Literary Digest polls:

1) That Gallup "predicted" that the Digest poll would forecast a Landon victory and

2) That the Digest failed because its sampling frame was "skewed ... to the wealthy".

Myth 1: In a July 12, 1936 syndicated column "America Speaks", Gallup wrote:"If the Literary Digest were conducting its poll at the present time [my emphasis], following its usual procedure, Landon would be shown in the lead." (Wash. Post, Section III, p.2, col. 7, Sunday, July 12, 1936) It's one thing to say "at the present time" and another to say "when the Digest presents its final results".... It is only after the Digest poll debacle that this story morphed into a "prediction". What Gallup really predicted, at that time (7/12/1936), was that the election was going to be a close one: the title of his column "1936 Election Seen As Closest in Years".

Myth 2: The Digest poll failed because its original sample, composed mainly of telephone and/or car owners, was irretrievably skewed against Roosevelt. A close analysis of a May 1937 Gallup (yes, Gallup!) poll, which asked its respondents if they had received and returned a Digest ballot card, shows that the principal cause of the Digest poll's failure was non-response bias. As Peverill Squire wrote in POQ (vol. 52, 1988, p.125), "if all those who were polled had responded, the magazine would have, at least, correctly predicted Roosevelt the winner." In fact, its prediction (my analysis) would have been as good if not better than Gallup's - he was off by nearly 7 points of the two-party vote.

Why Gallup never referred to this May 1937 poll done by his organization when he commented (many many times) on the failure of the Digest poll...?

Well that would take too long... got to get back to work.

Thanks Dominic!

Update: These comments provoked a lengthy exchange with another knowledgeable AAPOR member who takes with Dominic Lusinchi's version of the history. 


CA: 2010 Sen, Gov (Kos 3/8-10)

Topics: poll

DailyKos.com (D) / Research 2000
3/8-10/10; 600 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kos release)

California

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
52% Whitman, 19% Poizner (chart)

2010 Governor: General Election
45% Brown (D), 41% Whitman (R) (chart)
48% Brown (D), 33% Poizner (R) (chart)

2010 Senate: Republican Primary
33% Campbell, 24% Fiorina, 7% DeVore (chart)

2010 Senate: General Election (trends)
47% Boxer (D), 43% Campbell (R)
49% Boxer (D), 40% Fiorina (R) (chart)
49% Boxer (D), 39% DeVore (R) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Jerry Brown: 52 / 40
Meg Whitman: 51 / 35
Steve Poizner: 37 / 40
Barbara Boxer: 50 / 45 (chart)
Tom Campbell: 46 / 37
Carly Fiorina: 35 / 43
Chuck DeVore: 34 / 42


MO: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 3/9)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/9/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Missouri

2010 Senate
47% Blunt, 41% Carnahan (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Roy Blunt: 56 / 37
Robin Carnahan: 47 / 48

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 42 / 56 (chart)
Gov. Nixon: 53 / 42 (chart)


CO, FL: 2012 Pres Primary (PPP 3/5-8)

Topics: poll

Public Policy Polling (D)
3/5-8/10;
Colorado: 497 likely Republican primary voters, 4.4% margin of error
Florida: 492 likely Republican primary voters, 4.4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

Colorado

2012 President: Republican Primary
44% Romney, 25% Palin, 17% Huckabee

Florida

2012 President: Republican Primary
52% Romney, 21% Huckabee, 18% Palin


US: News Interest (Pew 3/5-8)

Topics: poll

Pew Research Center
3/5-8/10; 1,017 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Pew release)

National

Most Closely Followed Story
30% Debate over health care reform
22% A major earthquake in Chile
13% Reports about the condition of the U.S. economy
7% The current situation and events in Iraq
7% News about state and local budget problems
4% News about this year's congressional elections

Are you hearing mostly good news about the economy these days, mostly bad news about the economy or a mix of both good and bad news?
4% Mostly good, 30% Mostly bad, 66% Mixed


NH: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 3/8)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/8/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

New Hampshire

2010 Governor (trends)
51% Lynch, 32% Kimball
54% Lynch, 28% Testerman
50% Lynch, 35% Stephen

Favorable / Unfavorable
John Lynch: 59 / 37 (chart)
Karen Testerman: 22 / 30
Jack Kimball: 27 / 25
John Stephen: 32 / 30


IL: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 3/8)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/8/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Illinois

2010 Senate
44% Giannoulias, 41% Kirk

Favorable / Unfavorable
Mark Kirk: 49 / 33
Alexi Giannoulias: 44 / 43


FL: 2010 Sen (InsiderAdvantage 3/9)

Topics: poll

InsiderAdvantage / Florida Times-Union
3/9/10; 512 likely Republican primary voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(InsiderAdvantage release)

Florida

2010 Senate: Republican Primary
60% Rubio, 26% Crist (chart)


Stop the Pie Chart Insanity 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Gallup introduces a new interactive tool on historical presidential approval data (via Smith).

Jon Cohen analyzes ABC/Post data on presidential versus congressional approval.

Chris Good assesses
Obama's approval in states with competitive Senate races.

Mark Mellman says some are too quick to write off Obama.

David Hill says state and local government reforms are not getting through to the public.

Jon Chait illustrates the Democrats turnout emergency; Ed Kilgore adds more.

Glen Bolger interprets Democracy Corps data on national security as positive for Republicans.

Jim Geraghty reports
on Republican sponsored health care polling in key house districts.

Ben Smith highlights a new study showing the Obama-as-Muslim myth was more chronic than viral.

Andrew Romano explains why Ed Tufte's appointment matters (via Lundry)

Andrew Gelman finds a really bad pie chart; Junk Charts tops him.

Frank Luntz gets the Colbert treatment (via Lundry).


Health Reform Opposition Falling?

Topics: Health Care Reform , House Effects , Measurement , Rasmussen , YouGov/Polimetrix

Our chart of the favor-or-oppose questions on health care reform has generated a fair amount of discussion this week. Both Chris Bowers and the analysts at Democracy Corps (the Democratic affiliated polling outfit) noticed a slightly tighter margin in recent weeks (support increasing and opposition decreasing), which in turn caught the attention of Jon Chait. Andrew Sullivan leaned heavily on our chart this morning in effort to refute a new Wall Street Journal op-ed by pollsters Scott Rasmussen and Doug Schoen about the "steady" nature of public opinion on health reform, which in turn drew a response from Megan McArdle taking issue with Sullivan's conclusions about which polls are "outliers" on health reform.

All of this commentary gets at two important questions: Is support for health reform growing (and opposition fading)? And do the large "house effects" among pollsters obscure our ability to see trends amidst the noise?

2010-03-10-Health-Plan.png

The version reproduced above is a snapshot of our chart as of this writing (click here to see the regularly updated, interactive version). Remember, our chart is something of a mash-up that combines different questions and surveys produced by more than 20 different pollsters. In it, we do something that many pollsters and statisticians advise against, which is to compare apples and oranges in terms of the question text and populations sampled. When we look at horse-race results for election campaigns, most pollsters use very similar questions and ultimately at least try to measure the same population (the likely electorate). In this case, the wording and format of the questions vary widely. Some sample all adults, others sample "likely voters." Look closely at the chart and you will see far more variation in the results than is typical for our horse-race charts -- between 10 and 20 points worth of variation in the favor and oppose percentages at any given time.

That variation also reflects the vague sense that many Americans have of the health care reform legislation now being debated in Congress. When the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll asks about health reform, they prompt respondents to say if they "do not have an opinion either way." As a result, roughly one-in-five adults (23% on their last survey) do not express an opinion. Other pollsters (such as ABC/Washington Post and Rasmussen) report an "unsure" percentage in the low single digits, while another (YouGov/Polimetrix) reports none at all. Thus, the degree to which pollsters push their respondents for an opinion explains some of the "house effect" variation.

All of this makes it prudent to take an apples-to-apples approach in pondering the recent trend. That's what I tried to do in the two charts that follow. I separated the lines the favor and oppose percentages into two charts to make them more legible. I also limited the plotted pollsters to the seven organizations that have updated health reform tracking over the last month. However, I also included the Pollster.com trend line from our interactive chart, which is based on all available polls, not just the seven whose dots are connected below.

2010-03-10-health-plan-oppose.png
2010-03-10-health-plan-favor.png

Some observations:

1) The trend evident in the grey Pollster.com trend line -- a 4.4 percentage point drop in opposition and a 1.6 percent increase in support -- is more or less consistent with the trends shown by YouGov/Polimetrix and Rasmussen Reports, the two organizations that have polled most often on this topic during 2010. The results from PPP and IPSOS are also consistent with the same trend.   

2) The results from Gallup's two polls appear to show a contradictory trend, although we should note that the Gallup changed their question wording slightly between January and March. Their most recent survey asks, "would you advise your representative in Congress to vote for or against a healthcare reform bill similar to the one proposed by President Obama?" In previous surveys, they asked about voting for "a health care bill this year" without reference to the President or either party. Note that Gallup's own analysis does not treat the January and March results as comparable.

3) Rasmussen shows a house effect on the oppose percentage (typically 5-6 point higher than our trend line; early January was an exception), but tends to be in the middle of the pack on the favor percentage. YouGov/Polimetrix shows a similar house effect on the favor percentage (typically 5-6 points higher than average), but not the oppose percentage. Whatever doubts you might have about their methods -- Rasmussen uses automated, recorded voice interviewing and YouGov/Polimetrix conducts online interviews sampled from an opt-in panel -- both are consistent in their respective questions and methods and both shown trends that generally track with those measured by other pollsters.

[Correction: The wording of the question asked on the most recent Economist/YouGov/Polimetrix survey, conducted February 28 to March 2, was slightly different from what they had asked before. Their previous surveys asked, "Overall, given what you know about them, do you support or oppose the proposed changes to the health care system being developed by Congress and the Obama Administration?" On their 2/28-3/2 survey, they dropped the reference to Congress and simply referred to the proposal as "being proposed by the Obama administration." That change could account for the spike in support to 53%].

4) We would still see a closing margin (increased support, falling opposition) if we use our charts filter tool to remove both Rasmussen and Polimetrix (as per the snapshot below). One reason may be the absence in recent weeks of surveys like Quinnipiac and NBC/Wall Street Journal (which typically report lower than average support percentages) and CNN (which typically reports higher than average oppose percentages). Notice how the range of dots is narrower over the last few weeks than in previous months. To be absolutely sure the trend is real, we will need to wait for updates from these organizations.

2010-03-10-HCR-without-rasmussen-polimetrix

So yes, there are certainly large "house effects" in the health care favor-or-oppose results, but even though different pollsters gauge different levels of support, most pick up more or less the same trends, especially when they ask exactly the same questions on multiple surveys exactly the same way. Any way you slice it, there does appear to be a real tightening of opinion on health reform although as always, these results are snapshots and subject to change.

Update: Given the correction above regarding the small wording change on the most recent YouGov/Polimetrix survey, I thought it best to create two new charts that connect-the-dots for only those polls with consistent wording. So the two charts that follow drop the two Gallup surveys and the most recent YouGov/Polimetrix survey. The grey Pollster.com trend line, however, is still consistent with the line on our standard chart that is based on all surveys on this questions, regardless of wording. My bottom line remains the same: There does appear to be a small but real tightening of opinion.


2010-03-11-hcr-oppose-new.png


2010-03-11-hcr-favor-new.png


NH: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 3/8)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/8/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Rasmussen

2010 Senate
47% Ayotte (R), 37% Hodes (D) (chart)
42% Hodes (D), 38% Lamontagne (R) (chart)
46% Binnie (R), 36% Hodes (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Kelly Ayotte: 60 / 22
Paul Hodes: 46 / 42
Ovide Lamontagne: 33 / 33
Bill Binnie: 47 / 26

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 48 / 52 (chart)
Gov. Lynch: 63 / 36 (chart)


WA: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 3/9)

Topics: poll


Rasmussen
3/9/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Washington

2010 Senate
49% Rossi (R), 46% Murray (D)
48% Murray (D), 37% Benton (R)
49% Murray (D), 30% Didier (R)
47% Murray (D), 32% Widener (R)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Dino Rossi: 51 / 45
Don Benton: 26 / 29
Patty Murray: 53 / 41
Clint Didier: 26 / 26
Chris Widener: 26 / 26

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 50 / 49
Gov. Gregoire: 40 / 60


CO: 2010 Gov (PPP 3/5-8)

Topics: poll

Public Policy Polling (D)
3/5-8/10; 580 likely voters, 4.1% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

Colorado

2010 Governor (trends)
50% Hickenlooper (D), 39% McInnis (R)

Favorable / Unfavorable
John Hickenlooper: 51 / 27
Scott McInnis: 28 / 27

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Ritter: 38 / 50 (chart)


FL: 2010 Sen (PPP 3/5-8)

Topics: poll

Public Policy Polling (D)
3/5-8/10; 859 likely voters, 3.4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

Florida

2010 Senate (trends)
46% Crist (R), 33% Meek (D) (chart)
44% Rubio (R), 39% Meek (D) (chart)
34% Rubio (R), 27% Crist (i), 25% Meek (D)
43% Rubio (R), 34% Crist (D)

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 46 / 50 (chart)
Gov. Crist: 35 / 51 (chart)
Sen. Nelson: 37 / 40 (chart)
Sen. Le Mieux: 12 / 33 (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Kendrick Meek: 17 / 20
Marco Rubio: 31/ 32

Do you think that Charlie Crist should remain a
Republican, become an independent, become
a Democrat, or are you not sure?

35% Republican, 30% Democrat, 19% independent

A year from now would you like to see Charlie
Crist serving as Governor, as US Senator, or
out of elected office?

47% Out of office, 24% Governor, 15% Senator


MA: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 3/8)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/8/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen: Brown, 2010 Gov)

Massachusetts

2010 Governor
34% Patrick (D), 30% Cahill (i), 19% Mihos (R)
35% Patrick (D), 32% Baker (R), 19% Cahill (i)

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 54 / 46
Gov. Patrick: 39 / 61
Sen. Brown: 70 / 26

Favorable / Unfavorable
Christy Mihos: 38 / 42
Deval Patrick: 43 / 55
Tim Cahill: 55 / 28
Charlie Baker: 46 / 26

This post has been corrected to reflect March results


OR: 2010 Sen (Wyden 3/5-8)

Topics: poll

Grove Insight for Ron Wyden (D)
3/5-8/10; 500 likely voters, 4.4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Grove release)

Oregon

2010 Senate
53% Wyden (D), 23% Huffman (R), 5% Delphine (L)
53% Wyden (D), 22% Atkinson (R), 5% Delphine (L)
52% Wyden (D), 24% Walden (R), 5% Delphine (L)


NY: Paterson (Quinnipiac 3/5-8)

Topics: poll

Quinnipiac
3/5-8/10; 1,454 registered voters, 2.6% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Quinnipiac release)

New York

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Paterson: 21 / 61 (chart)

Do you think Governor Paterson should serve his full term until December 31 or should he resign?
50% Serve term, 39% Resign

Favorable / Unfavorable
Richard Ravitch: 12 / 6


US: National Survey (AP-GfK 3/3-8)

Topics: poll

AP-GfK
3/3-8/10; 1,002 adults, 4.2% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(AP-GfK: Health care, National trends)

National

State of the Country
38% Right Direction, 56% Wrong Track (chart)

Obama Job Approval
53% Approve, 46% Disapprove (chart)
Economy: 46 / 48 (chart)
Health Care: 49 / 46 (chart)

Congressional Job Approval
22% Approve, 76% Disapprove (chart)
Dems in Congress: 36 / 61
Reps in Congress: 30 / 67

Do you want to see the Republicans or Democrats win control of Congress?
44% Democrats, 38% Republicans

Would you like to see your own member of Congress get re-elected in November, or
would you like to see someone else win the election?

40% Own member, 49% Someone else

Favorable / Unfavorable
Joe Biden: 48 / 43
Sarah Palin: 42 / 51 (chart)
Michelle Obama: 71 / 23
Hillary Clinton: 66 / 31 (chart)
Dick Cheney: 38 / 56
Nancy Pelosi: 36 / 51

In general, do you support, oppose or neither support nor oppose the health care reform plans being discussed in Congress?
41% Support, 43% Oppose (chart)

Party ID
33% Democrat, 23% Republican, 29% independent, 15% Don't know (chart)


US: Health Care (Gallup 3/4-7)

Topics: poll

Gallup
3/4-7/10; 1,014 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Gallup release)

National

Would you advise your representative in Congress to vote for or against a healthcare reform bill similar to the one proposed by President Obama?
45% Vote for, 48% Vote against (chart)


Census Savings 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Robert Groves defends use of advance letters by the Census; Jennifer Agiesta has more.

Democracy Corps sees a rise in public support for health care; Jon Chait has more.

Chris Bowers notes that "unlikely" voters approve of Obama.

PolitiFact describes as "barely true" Dana Milbank's claim that G.W. Bush was our "least popular" modern president.

Katie Connolly says there's bad news for Obama in a new Harvard survey of young voters.


NY: Paterson (Marist 3/8)

Topics: poll

Marist
3/8/10; 529 registered voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Marist release)

New York

Governor Paterson has said he will not run for election for governor this November. Do you think he should also resign as governor or do you think he should serve out the rest of his term?
28% Resign, 68% Serve out term

An investigation is underway to find out what occurred during a conversation Governor Paterson had with the victim of a possible domestic violence case against one of the governor's top aides. Regarding Governor Paterson's contact with the victim, do you think the governor:
7% Did nothing wrong
51% Unethical, but not illegal
25% Illegal

In general, do you think Governor Paterson is being treated fairly or unfairly?
54% Fairly, 39% Unfairly

Job Rating
Gov. Paterson: 19 / 79 (chart)
Lieut. Gov. Ravitch: 21 / 38
Attorney Gen. Cuomo: 54 / 39


IL: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 3/8)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/8/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Illinois

2010 Governor
47% Brady (R), 37% Quinn (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Pat Quinn: 44 / 51
Bill Brady: 51 / 30

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Quinn: 43 / 55


US: National Survey (Zogby 3/2-4)

Topics: poll

Zogby
3/2-4/10; 2,847 likely voters, 1.8% margin of error
Mode: Internet
(Zogby release)

National

Obama Job Approval
48% Approve, 51% Disapprove (chart)

State of the Country
36% Right Direction, 54% Wrong Track (chart)


The 15 Seat Gap


Make no mistake: this is going to be a very good year for the GOP. But there's a big difference between gaining 25 seats in the House and gaining 40 seats: picking up 40 seats would give the Republicans a narrow majority. Call it the "15 seat gap," and it's almost entirely dependent on a) perceptions of the economy and b) perceptions of the President's performance. It's clear that an electoral wave has been building since last fall. The problem for Republicans is that at some point a wave must crest. And so the question that begs to be asked is this: are we seeing the crest of the wave now or is it still gaining strength and getting bigger? There is conflicting data on this.

On the one hand is data that we are seeing in our national polls showing sustained increases in Republican party identification and voter enthusiasm. This is real. Like most off-year elections, 2010 will be about turnout and, right now, most polls show the GOP with a substantial edge in voter enthusiasm. Republicans have a 3-5 point edge in likely voter models. We are seeing an even split on self-identified voter registration between Democrats and Republicans and a slight GOP advantage on party identification (both a big swing from 2008). The GOP resurgence is real.

This is the same thing we saw in 1994. There was a GOP surge on the generic party ID question that gave us our first clue that Republicans were going to have a big year. As a pollster, at some point you have to stop "weighting" the partisanship data back to historical patterns and start using the new numbers, especially when you see a consistent pattern across multiple national and state surveys.

On the other hand, unemployment data and the President's approval ratings still have time to move around considerably, and it is these two factors that will determine whether the GOP has a good year or a great year. Ultimately, this election will be a referendum on President Obama. Dissatisfaction with the direction of the country and his performance has "nationalized" this election and created the wave we are seeing. Virtually every political commentator has drawn comparisons between 1994 and 2010 in terms of the potential Congressional sea change. While some areas of comparison are apt (the nationalization of the election and an unpopular health care push), we agree with Charlie Cook that the earlier formation of this 2010 "wave" is a crucial difference. And while it isn't perfectly similar either, we believe that the 1982 election might also provide a useful point of comparison.

Here's what happened in 1982: a net loss of 26 seats for Republicans while the country was in the middle of a deep recession. President Reagan's approval rating had dropped consistently during the year. But one look at the chart below also tells another story: the election occurred at the height of unemployment and during the deepest part of the recession (at least as perceived by voters).

march 9 2010 reagan.jpg

Note the correlating trends: Reagan's approval rating declined in step with the rising unemployment rate. The trend was the problem for Republicans, not the specific unemployment level. By the time of the election Reagan's approval rating was at 42%, a debilitating level for the President's party.

That's why 2010 might be different than 1994. There is the potential, at least, for the unemployment rate to be declining as we move closer to November. We are not economists--and there is no doubt that job growth will be very slow indeed--but there is a pretty good chance that the rate of unemployment will be trending down for the three or four months prior to the 2010 elections. And, as has been noted before, Obama's approval rating has leveled off around 50%. That's not good, but it's also not in the toxic zone like Reagan's in '82 (42%) or Clinton's in '94 (46%).

march 9 2010 obama.jpg

Go ahead and project your own lines out to November. It's anyone's guess, but our sense is that the "15 seat gap" will depend on the trend of a) unemployment and b) perceptions of the President's job performance. If unemployment shows no discernable downward trend and remains at or near 10%, then our feeling is that Obama's approval rating slips into the mid 40's: a danger zone for Democrats, giving the GOP a chance at regaining the House. On the other hand, if unemployment inches downward over the next six months and is at or below nine percent--and the President's approval rating is around 50%--then a net gain of 20-25 seats is about the most that Republicans can expect.

If that happens, the GOP will look back with fondness at March of 2010 as the time when the wave probably did crest.


Conflicts at UW-Madison

Topics: Charles Franklin , Ken Goldstein , Pollster.com , University of Wisconsin-Madison , Wisconsin Policy Research Institute

On Sunday, the Associated Press published a lengthy report on a controversy brewing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that involves some friends of Pollster.com.

What AP reporter Ryan Foley describes as a "fiasco" involves a year-old agreement between the University and the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI), a conservative think-tank, to conduct statewide polls this year in partnership with the University. Under the agreement, WPRI would help fund statewide polling, including a $13,000 contract with UW political scientist Ken Goldstein. According to the AP report, however, the University never had a formal contract with WPRI. And then there are these details uncovered by a liberal activist:

Scot Ross, a liberal muckraker who runs the group One Wisconsin Now, was critical of the deal from the beginning. He said his "worst fears were confirmed" after he obtained e-mails under the open records law showing WPRI President George Lightbourn lobbied Goldstein to publicize results from one question in a way favorable to its agenda.

The question asked whether government funding should be used for school vouchers, which WPRI supports. A majority of residents statewide were opposed, but those surveyed from Milwaukee County were in favor.

Lightbourn wrote Goldstein he was concerned critics would portray the data as showing a lack of support for vouchers and asked for the Milwaukee County results to be emphasized. The university's press release read: "School choice remains popular in Milwaukee."

The AP story -- which is well worth reading in full -- includes complete details plus a reaction from Goldstein who says he is "stunned, flabbergasted, amazed -- every single adjective you can come up with" as the criticism he has received.

Our own interests in this story are as follows: Pollster.com co-creator and contributor Charles Franklin is a member of the UW-Madison political science department and a friend and colleague of Goldstein but, he tells me, was not personally involved in the WPRI polling. Also, well before the WPRI polling project, my assistant Emily Swanson worked for Goldstein as an undergraduate at UW-Madison.

If nothing else, this episode demonstrates the increasing difficulty consumers of polling data have in identifying potential conflicts in the sponsorship and funding of public polling. Simply identifying polls sponsored by a political campaign or political action committee or conducted by a campaign pollster -- something we try to do on Pollster.com -- is obviously not enough. In this case, a University of Wisconsin news release billed WPRI as a "non-partisan, non-profit think tank [that] has been conducting independent, annual polls on politics and issues for more than 20 years." Yet the Institute acknowledged to AP what their report characterized as a "free-market, limited government slant and receives funding from the Bradley Foundation, a Milwaukee group that supports numerous conservative causes."


US: Generic Ballot (Gallup 3/1-7)

Topics: poll

Gallup
3/1-7/10; 1,585 registered voters, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Gallup release)

National

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot
47% Democratic candidate, 44% Republican candidate (chart)


FL: 2010 Sen Primary (PPP 3/5-8)

Topics: poll

Public Policy Polling (D)
3/5-8/10; 492 likely Republican primary voters, 4.4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

Florida

Job Approval / Disapproval (among Republicans)
Gov. Crist: 29 / 56

Favorable / Unfavorable (among Republicans)
Marco Rubio: 49 / 23

Do you think that Charlie Crist should remain a Republican, become an independent, become
a Democrat, or are you not sure?

43% Republican, 26% Democrat, 15% independent

A year from now would you like to see Charlie Crist serving as Governor, as US Senator, or out of elected office?
19% Governor, 14% Senator, 56% Out of elected office

2010 Senate: Republican Primary
28% Crist, 60% Rubio (chart)

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
49% McColum, 35% Crist


US: National Survey (FDU 1/24-2/6)

Topics: poll

Fairleigh Dickinson
1/24-2/6/10; 1,002 registered voters, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(FDU release)

National

State of the Country
34% Right Direction, 56% Wrong Track (chart)

Obama Job Approval
44% Approve, 47% Disapprove (chart)
Dems: 82 / 12 (chart)
Reps: 10 / 83 (chart)
Inds: 41 / 48 (chart)


Beer Belly of America 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Jed Lewison examines how Rasmussen's results differ from other pollsters.

Brendan Nyhan critiques a WSJ graph; more from Jon Chait and Andrew Gelman.

Jon Chait says Americans hate everybody.

Edward Tufte is appointed to Recovery Independent Advisory Panel (via Lundry).

A BBC poll shows
almost 4 in 5 people around the world think internet access is a fundamental right.

Newsmax and Zogby release data showing Americans miss Bill Clinton.

FlowingData highlights the "beer belly of America" (via Sullivan).


CO: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 3/4)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/4/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Colorado

2010 Senate (trends)
48% McInnis (R), 42% Hickenlooper (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Scott McInnis: 53 / 33
John Hickenlooper: 55 / 36


OH: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 3/4)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/4/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Ohio

2010 Governor
49% Kasich (R), 38% Strickland (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Ted Strickland: 46 / 48 (chart)
John Kasich: 48 / 29

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Strickland: 43 / 53 (chart)


US: National Survey (DemCorps 2/20-24)

Topics: poll

Democracy Corps* (D) / Third Way** (D)
2/20-24/10; 1,001 2008 voters
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(DemCorps release)

*Democracy Corps is a non-profit organization founded by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and Democratic consultant James Carville.
**Third Way describes itself as a "moderate think-tank of the progressive movement."

National

State of the Country
32% Right Direction, 60% Wrong Track (chart)

Obama Job Approval
49% Approve, 46% Disapprove ()chart
Economy: 45 / 54 (chart)
Foreign Policy: 54 / 40 (chart)
National Security: 58 / 39

Favorable / Unfavorable
Republican Party: 31 / 46
Democratic Party: 35 / 47
Barack Obama: 48 / 42 (chart)

2010 Congress: National Ballot
46% Democrat, 44% Republican
Among likely voters: 47% Republican, 44% Democrat (chart)

Do you approve or disapprove of the job _____ in Congress are doing on national
security?

Dems in Congress: 43 / 49
Reps in Congress: 45 / 44

Generally speaking, do you feel America is more safe or less safe from foreign threats and dangers than two years ago?
41% More, 43% Less

And would you say the United States is more respected or less respected in the world than
it was two years ago?

42% More, 50% Less

As you may know, President Obama recently said he will
work with Congress and the military to repeal the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, which prohibits gay and lesbian people from disclosing their sexual orientation while serving in the armed forces. Based on what you know, do you approve or disapprove of repealing the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy?

50% Approve, 38% Disapprove

Party ID
38% Democrat, 31% Republican, 29% independent (chart)


SC: 2010 Gov Primary (Rasmussen 3/3)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/3/10; 924 likely Republican primary voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

South Carolina

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
21% McMaster, 17% Bauer, 14% Barrett, 12% Haley


US: National Survey (Economist 2/28-3/2)

Topics: poll

Economist / YouGov
2/28-3/2/10; 1,000 adults, 3.6% margin of error
Mode: Internet
(Economist release)

National

Overall, given what you know about them, do you support or oppose the proposed changes to the health care system being proposed by the Obama Administration?
53% Support, 47% Oppose (chart)

Obama Job Approval
47% Approve, 46% Disapprove (chart)
Economy: 40 / 52 (chart)
Health care: 39 / 52 (chart)
Dems: 84 / 12 (chart)
Reps: 5 / 93 (chart)
Inds: 41 / 52 (chart)

Congressional Job Approval
9% Approve, 66% Disapprove (chart)

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot
46% Democrat, 37% Republican (chart)

State of the Country
30% Right Direction, 57% Wrong Track (chart)


NE: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 3/4)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/4/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Nebraska

2010 Governor
61% Heineman (R), 23% Lakers (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Dave Heineman: 71 / 27
Mark Lakers: 30 / 24

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 38 / 61
Gov. Heineman: 69 / 29


OH: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 3/4)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/4/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Ohio

2010 Senate
44% Portman (R), 39% Fisher (D) (chart)
43% Portman (R), 37% Brunner (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Rob Portman: 45 / 27
Lee Fisher: 41 / 37
Jennifer Brunner: 39 / 38

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 47 / 52 (chart)
Gov. Strickland: 43 / 53 (chart)


NY: Paterson, 2010 Gov (Siena 3/7)

Topics: poll

Siena
3/7/10; 712 registered voters, 3.7% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Siena release)

New York

2010 Governor
63% Cuomo, 25% Lazio (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
David Paterson: 21 / 67 (chart)
Andrew Cuomo: 63 / 25
Rick Lazio: 30 / 29
Richard Ravitch: 22 / 16

How would you rate the job that David Paterson is doing as Governor? Would you rate it excellent, good, fair, or poor?
19% Excellent/Good, 80% Fair/Poor (chart)

Do you think David Paterson should serve out the remainder of his term as Governor until December 31st or do you think he should resign immediately and let Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch serve as Governor for the remainder of the year?
55% Serve remainder, 37% Resign

If Governor Paterson does not resign, do you think the State Legislature should move to impeach the Governor and remove him from office or do you think that he should be allowed to finish his term?
21% Impeach, 71% Finish term


A Turnaround Perceptions of Health Reform?

Topics: Brenden Nyhan , Health Care Reform , Jason Reifler , NBC/Wall Street Journal

As promised, my column for this week considers where general perceptions of health care reform currently stand, and whether they might improve should congress finally enact the legislation into law in the coming weeks.

Read it all for details, but the short version: While it is a long shot that passage will dispel many of the common misperceptions, it might not take much of a shift in the polling numbers to change the way political insiders perceive the legislation's popularity. Think of it this way: Many opponents of health reform point to our chart of general favor-or-oppose questions to argue that the legislation is "deeply unpopular," wisdom now so conventional it was the premise of a Saturday Night Live spoof over the weekend.

Yet our current trend estimate, based on all the available surveys, shows opposition leading support by eight percentage point (51% to 43%). If just 1 voter in 25 shifts from opposition to support, our estimate would show Americans evenly divided on the issue. I'm not predicting that will happen, just pointing out that it will not take a huge shift to bring these measurements to something fairly characterized as division rather than "deep" unpopularity.


NY: Paterson (SurveyUSA 3/5)

Topics: poll

SurveyUSAc / WABC-TV / WHEC - TV / WNYT-TV
3/5/10; 500 adults, 4.2% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(SurveyUSA release)

New York

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Paterson: 25 / 66 (chart)

Do you have confidence? Or no confidence? In Governor Paterson's ability to lead the state of New York?
28% Confidence, 68% No confidence

Based on what you know, should Paterson remain in office until the end of this term? Or should Paterson resign now?
45% Remain in office, 50% Resign

If Paterson resigns from office before the end of his term, Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch will become governor. Do you have confidence? Or no confidence? In Richard Ravitch's ability to lead the state of New York?
34% Confidence, 47% No confidence


NV: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 3/3)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/3/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Nevada

2010 Governor (trends)
44% Reid (D), 36% Gibbons (R) (chart)
53% Sandoval (R), 35% Reid (D) (chart)
42% Montandon (R), 37% Reid (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Gov. Gibbons: 33 / 61 (chart)
Mike Montandon: 39 / 30
Brian Sandoval: 55 / 30
Rory Reid: 43 / 48


KY: 2010 Sen (SurveyUSA 3/1-3)

Topics: poll

SurveyUSA / Courier-Journal Bluegrass / WHAS-TV
3/1-3/10; 1800 registered voters, 2.4% margin of error
545 likely Republican primary voters, 4.7% margin of error
590 likely Democratic primary voters, 4.1% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(SurveyUSA release)

Kentucky

2010 Senate: Republican Primary
42% Paul, 27% Grayson, 5% Johnson, 3% Martin, 2% Stephenson, 1% Scribner

2010 Senate: Democratic Primary
45% Mongiardo, 27% Conway, 4% Price, 3% Buckmaster, 2% Sweeney

2010 Senate: General Election
43% Generic Republicam, 42% Generic Democrat


 

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