Pollster.com

March 28, 2010 - April 3, 2010

 

Happy Easter & Passover 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Steven Shepard considers how differing poll demographics affect results.

National Journal's Insiders think the GOP has a good chance of taking the house in November.

Frank Newport answers questions on offshore drilling and the enthusiasm gap.

Harris' Whitney Heckathorne says the media encourages "wingnuts" on the left and right.

Three Republicans warn against a conservative boycott of the census.

Kristen Soltis reviews the Winston Group's Tea Party poll.

Minnesota passes new law legalizing exit polling at polling places.


Obama: 'It's Been a Week, Folks'

Topics: Barack Obama , Health Care Reform

As is typical for me on Friday afternoon, my circuits are fried after filing my National Journal column (that will appear on Monday). So for today, I want to turn the poll analysis over to the President of the United States.

Yesterday, President Obama offered his own take on why polls on his health care reform act have not shifted in a positive direction since passage (a topic we have explored here, here and here).

I've copied the relevant portion of the official transcript below, but whether you agree or disagree with Obama's argument, the transcript does little justice to the video (h/t Andrew Sullivan).

But the thing is, though, you have to love some of the pundits in Washington. Every single day since I signed the reform law, there's been another poll or headline that said "Nation still divided on health care reform. Polls haven't changed yet." Well, yeah. It just happened last week. (Laughter and applause.) It's only been a week. (Applause.)

Can you imagine if some of these reporters were working on a farm? (Laughter.) You planted some seeds, and they came out the next day, and they looked, and nothing's happened! (Laughter and applause.) There's no crop! We're going to starve! Oh, no! (Applause.) It's a disaster! (Laughter.)

It's been a week, folks. (Laughter.) So before we find out if people like health care reform, we should wait to see what happens when we actually put it into place. Just a thought. (Applause.)


OH: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 3/30)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/30/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Ohio

2010 Senate
43% Portman, 38% Fisher (chart)
45% Portman, 38% Brunner (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Rob Portman: 45 / 26
Lee Fisher: 39 / 38
Jennifer Brunner: 34 / 41

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 46 / 53 (chart)
Gov. Strickland: 47 / 52 (chart)


WY: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 3/25)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/25/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Wyoming

2010 Governor
43% Mead (R), 25% Massie (D)
45% Micheli (R), 23% Massie (D)
43% Meyer (R), 26% Massie (D)
41% Simpson (R), 26% Massie (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Matt Mead: 39 / 19
Ron Micheli: 38 / 18
Mike Massie: 36 / 24
Rita Meyer: 50 / 20
Colin Simpson: 56 / 20
Dick Cheney: 61 / 31

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 31 / 68
Gov. Freudenthal: 75 / 23


AZ: 2010 Sen (Kos 3/29-31)

Topics: poll

DailyKos.com (D) / Research 2000
3/29-31/10; 600 likely voters, 4% margin of error
400 likely Republican primary voters, 5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kos release)

Arizona

2010 Senate: General Election
52% McCain, 37% Hayworth

2010 Senate: General Election
48% McCain (R), 42% Babbitt (D)
53% McCain (R), 34% Giffords (D)
52% McCain (R), 33% Glassman (D)
57% McCain (R), 21% Walden (D)
43% Hayworth (R), 42% Babbitt (D)
49% Hayworth (R), 36% Giffords (D)
48% Hayworth (R), 37% Glassman (D)
53% Hayworth (R), 22% Walden (D)

Would you be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports and will work to improve the new health care reform law, or a candidate who will work to repeal it completely?
39% Supports, 44% Repeal

Favorable / Unfavorable
John McCain: 47 / 46
J.D. Hayworth: 34 / 42
Bruce Babbitt: 43 / 31
Gabrielle Giffords: 32 / 24
Rodney Glassman: 23 / 15
Nan Stockholm Walden: 11 / 3
Jan Brewer: 39 / 54
Jon Kyl: 45 / 43
Barack Obama: 41 / 55


US: National Survey (Economist 3/27-30)

Topics: poll

Economist / YouGov
3/27-30/10; 1,000 adults, 3.3% margin of error
Mode: Internet
(Economist release)

National

Obama Job Approval
46% Approve, 47% Disapprove (chart)
Dems: 86 / 11 (chart)
Reps: 5 / 95 (chart)
Inds: 42 / 53 (chart)
Economy: 40 / 52 (chart)
Health care: 44 / 48 (chart)

Congressional Job Approval
15% Approve, 61% Disapprove (chart)

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot (chart)
Registered voters: 47% Democrat, 44% Republican
All respondents: 44% Democrat, 39% Republican

State of the Country
34% Right Direction, 52% Wrong Track (chart)


US: National Survey (Kos 3/29-4/1)

Topics: poll

DailyKos.com (D) / Research 2000
3/29-4/1/10; 1,200 registered voters, 2.8% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kos release)

National

Favorable / Unfavorable
Barack Obama: 55 / 40 (chart)
Nancy Pelosi: 42 / 50
Harry Reid: 28 / 63
Mitch McConnell: 21 / 63
John Boehner: 18 / 65
Democratic Party: 41 / 51
Republican Party: 27 / 66

State of the Country
40% Right direction, 57% Wrong track (chart)


US: National Survey (CBS 3/29-4/1)

Topics: poll

CBS News
3/29-4/1/10; 858 adults, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(CBS: story, results-early release)
Check back for more from this poll later this evening

Update - Additional releases: Most Americans remain against health care overhaul (article, results); Americans losing faith in Pope (article, results)

National

Obama Job Approval
44% Approve, 41% Disapprove (chart)
Health Care: 34 / 55 (chart)
Economy: 42 / 50

CBS:

Americans are still worried about the economy, with 84 percent telling CBS they thought it was still in bad condition. However, even that high number represents an improvement: nine in ten thought the economy was bad during the last half of 2008 and at the beginning of 2009, when Mr. Obama assumed the Presidency.

Concern about job loss remains high; slightly more Americans now (35 percent) than in February (31 percent) were "very concerned" that someone in their household would lose a job. Nearly six in ten Americans said they were at least "somewhat concerned" about a job loss.


US: Dems vs Reps (CNN 3/25-28)

Topics: poll

CNN / Opinion Research Corporaton
3/25-28/10; 1,009 adults, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(CNN release)

National

Do you think the Republicans in Congress or the Democrats in Congress would do a better job of dealing with each of the following issues and problems?
Economy: 48% Republicans, 45% Democrats
Foreign Affairs: 48% Democrats, 44% Republicans
Afghanistan: 46% Democrats, 44% Republicans
Terrorism: 50% Republicans, 40% Democrats
Health Care: 48% Democrats, 46% Republicans
Taxes: 48% Republicans, 45% Democrats
Federal Budget Deficit: 46% Republicans, 44% Democrats
MedicarE: 47% Democrats, 46% Republicans
Unemployment: 46% Republicans, 46% Democrats
Education: 50% Democrats, 40% Republicans
Environment: 57% Democrats, 34% Republicans


AL: 2010 Sen, Gov (Rasmussen 3/29)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/29/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen: Governor, Senate)

Alabama

2010 Senate
59% Shelby (R), 32% Barnes (D)

2010 Governor
50% Byrne (R), 33% Davis (D)
43% Ivey (R), 36% Davis (D)
49% James (R), 35% Davis (D)
44% Davis (D), 40% Moore (R)
43% Byrne (R), 33% Sparks (D)
39% Ivey (R), 33% Sparks (D)
38% James (R), 34% Sparks (D)
40% Sparks (D), 35% Moore (R)

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 42 / 58
Gov. Riley: 51 / 47


Pew Pew Pew 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Chris Good notes an increase in enthusiasm for both Democrats and Republicans.

Mark Ambinder warns Democrats against expecting too much of a health care bounce.

David Broder thinks "independent voters" are sick of partisanship, Dylan Matthews and Chris Bowers disagree.

Jonathan Bernstein still can't look at polls on health reform (via Sullivan).

Thomas Edsall asks whether Obama's electoral coalition will hold in 2012.

The Winston Group takes a look at what drives the tea party movement.

Patrick Murray analyzes recent polling on offshore drilling.

Edison Research reports that half of Americans think there will be no more newspapers.

Organizing for America is hiring data analysts.

President Obama fills out his census form.

Alex Lundry finds higher census participation rates in Republican areas.

The New York Times profiles the spots with the highest and lowest census participation.

The RNC's "census" fundraising mailer included a racy phone number.

Research Rants makes a subtle suggestion for the next Census.

Pew reminds us that 79% of Americans are missing the point entirely.

And the Pew Internet Project adds a new Twitter feed mascot (and considers updating its twitter handle).

pewpewpew.jpg


MO: Approval Ratings (PPP 3/27-28)

Topics: poll

Public Policy Polling (D)
3/27-28/10; 495 likely voters, 4.4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

Missouri

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Nixon: 37 / 29 (chart)
Kit Bond: 44 / 35 (chart)
Claire McCaskill: 38 / 51 (chart)


US: Generic Ballot (USAToday/Gallup 3/26-28)

Topics: poll

USA Today/Gallup
3/26-28/10; 1,033 adults, 4% margin of error
968 registered voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(USA Today story, Gallup story)

National

2010 Congress: General Election
Adults: 47% Republican, 45% Democrat
Registered voters: 46% Republican, 45% Democrat (chart)

Party ID
32% Democrat, 28% Republican, 39% independent (chart)


AL: 2010 Sen (PPP 3/27-29)

Topics: poll

Public Policy Polling (D)
3/27-29/10; 1,270 likely voters, 2.8% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

Alabama

2010 Senate
55% Shleby, 37% Generic Democrat

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 42 / 55
Sen. Sessions: 41 / 34
Sen. Shelby: 44 / 34

Do you think that Republicans should work to repeal the health care bill that was passed this week?
54% Yes, 40% No

Do you support or oppose President Obama's health care plan, or do you not have an
opinion?

39% Support, 56% Oppose


OH: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 3/30)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/30/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Ohio

2010 Governo
46% Kasich, 45% Strickland (chart)

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

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Strickland: 47 / 52 (chart)


US: Census (CNN 3/19-21)

Topics: poll

CNN / Opinion Research Corporation
3/19-21/10; 1,030 adults, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(CNN release

National

Do you think the Census is useful or do you think it's a waste of money?
80% Useful, 20% Waste of money

Do you consider the Census an invasion of your privacy, or not?
16% Yes, 83% No

Just your best guess -- how accurate do you think this year's Census will be --
12% Very accurate
55% Somewhat accurate
25% Somewhat inaccurate
8% Very inaccurate


US: Generic Ballot (Gallup 3/22-28)

Topics: poll

Gallup
3/22-28/10; 1,623 registered voters, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Gallup release)

National

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


AR: 2010 Sen (Rasmussen 3/30)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/30/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(
Rasmussen release
)

Arkansas

2010 Senate (trends)
51% Hendren (R), 35% Lincoln (D) (chart)
51% Baker (R), 36% Lincoln (D) (chart)
48% Coleman (R), 36% Lincoln (D) (chart)
51% Holt (R), 35% Lincoln (D)
51% Boozman (R), 36% Lincoln (D)
42% Hendren (R), 34% Halter (D)
44% Baker (R), 36% Halter (D)
40% Coleman (R), 37% Halter (D)
43% Holt (R), 34% Halter (D)
48% Boozman (R), 34% Halter (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Kim Hendren: 38 / 21
Blanche Lincoln: 37 / 61
Gilbert Baker: 37 / 25
Curtis Coleman: 35 / 25
Jim Holt: 46 / 24
John Boozman: 47 / 25
Bill Halter: 47 / 40

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 37 / 61
Gov. Beebe: 74 / 25


The disappearing Democratic brand advantage

Topics: 2010 , midterm , party brand

Back in October, I noted that the GOP's brand (as measured by its favorable/unfavorable ratings) was in much worse shape than any opposition party at that stage in the previous four midterm election cycles. That stigma, I suggested, might limit Republican gains in the November midterm elections relative to a 1994-style scenario.

Things have changed, however. In a column for Roll Call, Stuart Rothenberg flags a new NBC/WSJ poll (PDF) suggesting that the Democratic brand has lost most of its advantage relative to the GOP.

Unfortunately for Democrats, their own brand has fallen like a rock.

In April, almost a year ago, the Hart/McInturff poll found 45 percent of Americans with a positive view of the Democratic Party and 34 percent with a negative view. In the most recent Hart/McInturff survey, the Democratic Party's positives have sunk to 37 percent and its negatives have risen to 43 percent. Yes, those numbers are slightly better than the GOP's (31 percent positive/43 percent negative), but not enough to help Democrats in the fall.

Here's how the net positive numbers (% positive-% negative) for Democrats and Republicans have changed over the course of Obama's presidency:

Nbc netpos

Perceptions of the GOP have only improved a bit, but the negative press and opposition party criticism faced by Democrats have apparently taken their toll. Since my original post in October, the difference in net positive numbers between the parties has closed from 27 points to 6 -- a decline that coincides with the most intense stage of the health care reform debate.

As a result of this change, the difference between the major party brands no longer appears to be unusual for this stage in the midterm election cycle (polls in the chart were the closest available):

Nbcposmt

I interpret this shift as reflecting the underlying fundamentals of the election cycle, which favors the GOP (a Republican takeover of the House is a realistic possibility). The question now is whether the Republicans will continue to gain ground. In 1994, the GOP opened up a major lead in perceptions of the party relative to Democrats between June and October:

94pos

I still don't expect a 1994-style landslide in November, but it seems clear that the Democratic valence advantage that might have helped prevent such an outcome has evaporated.

Update 4/1 2:56 PM: This graphic from USA Today is especially ominous for Democrats' chances:

Cci

[Cross-posted to brendan-nyhan.com]


US: News Interest (Pew 3/26-29)


Pew Research Center
3/26-29/10; 1,018 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Pew release)

National

Most Closely Followed Story
66% Debate over health care reform
5% Vandalism and threats directed at Democrats who voted for health care reform
4% Reports about the Vatican's handling of sex-abuse scandals in the Catholic Church
4% Reports about tensions between Israel and the United States
3% Recent ups and downs in the stock market
1% Google's decision to stop using servers in China to avoid government censorship

How well do you feel you understand how the new health care reform law will affect you and your family?
18% Very well
37% Somewhat well
21% Not too well
23% Not at all well

We're interested in how people are learning about what's in the health care reform law and how it will affect people. Have you gotten information about the health reform law from each of the following, or not?
The news media: 81% Yes, 19% No
Family and Friends: 46% Yes, 54% No
Your Employer: 7% Yes, 92% No
Your Church or Religious Community: 7% Yes, 93% No


ID: 2010 Sen, Gov (Rasmussen 3/23)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/23/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen: Senate, Governor)

Idaho

2010 Governor
60% Otter(R), 28% Allred (D)

2010 Senate
60% Crapo (R), 28% Generic Democrat

Favorable / Unfavorable
Butch Otter: 62 / 35
Keith Allred: 34 / 34
Mike Crapo: 63 / 28

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 30 / 70
Gov. Otter: 60 / 37


Ignore Polls Not People 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Tom Edsall considers the political implications of the shifts in American "have" and "have not"coalitions.

Stan Greenberg says 2010 looks like 1994...for now (more here and here, poll here).

Chris Bowers notes that the national House ballot question remains stable, despite a shift to registered voter samples.

David Krane asks what would happen if the 2012 election were held today.

John Sides argues
the "important" events in 2008 weren't actually that important.

Jon Cohen revisits recent polling on offshore drilling.

David Hill favors a less-is-more mindset in Congress.

Mark Mellman finds robust support for financial reform.

Kevin Drum says issue polling means little when Americans haven't formed opinions on the issue yet (via Sullivan).

National Media finds sports viewers skew Republican.

Bob Groves wins over critics.

Nate Silver finds no evidence that red states are falling behind on census participation.

And the Census shows up in unexpected places.


Cell Phone Interviewing in Florida

Topics: Automated polls , Cell Phones , Florida , IVR , Quinnipiac

A South Florida Sun Sentinal article on the impact of the rising use of cell phones on surveys includes this bit of news:

The Quinnipiac University Poll plans to begin calling cell phones with its next Florida poll, later this spring...The Institute for Public Opinion Research [at Florida International University] already does, in almost every poll.

Most of the well-known, national media surveys (including those conducted by the Pew Research Center, Gallup Daily, USA Today/Gallup, ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/ORC, NBC/Wall Street Journal, and AP-GFK) now interview respondents on both landline and cell phones, but we have so far seen very little of the same at the state and local level. As such, shifts by pollsters like Quinnipiac that poll at the state level mark a significant milestone.

The cell-phone-only issue presents a special challenge to pollsters that rely on automated, recorded voice methodology (sometimes referred to as interactive voice response or IVR), because the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) bans any sort of unsolicited call to a cell phone using "automated dialing devices." The ban means that prolific statewide pollsters like Rasmussen Reports, SurveyUSA and Public Policy Polling (PPP) cannot dial voters on their cell phones.

For more detail, see our posts on cell phones and survey and the Pew Research Center report from 2008 on their research on calling via cell phones in 2008.

Update - I emailed Doug Schwartz, the director of the Quinnipiac University Poll and he confirms that they have been or will be adding cell phone samples to their statewide polling in 2010:

We've already started call cell phones in our NYC, NY, NJ, OH, and national polls. And over the next few months we will begin calling cell phones in the rest of our states - PA, CT, and FL.


AL: 2010 Gov (PPP 3/27-29)

Topics: poll

Public Policy Polling (D)
3/27-29/10; 1,270 likely voters, 2.8% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

Alabama

2010 Governor
48% Byrne (R), 32% Davis (D)
44% Ivey (R), 33% Davis (D)
42% James (R), 33% Davis (D)
43% Moore (R), 37% Davis (D)
43% Byrne (R), 30% Sparks (D)
39% Ivey (R), 33% Sparks (D)
38% James (R), 33% Sparks (D)
42% Moore (R), 37% Sparks (D)

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Riley: 36 / 50

Favorable / Unfavorable
Bradley Byrne: 18 / 18
Artur Davis: 20 / 35
Kay Ivey: 19 / 26
Tim James: 14 / 24
Roy Moore: 33 / 34
Ron Sparks: 20 / 20


MO: 2010 Sen Primary (PPP 3/27-29)

Topics: poll

Public Policy POlling (D)
3/27-19/10; 400 likely Republican primary voters, 4.9% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

Missouri

2010 Senate: Republican Primary
48% Blunt, 18% Purgason (chart)

2012 President: Republican Primary
32% Huckabee, 28% Palin, 22% Romney


US: National Survey (Marist 3/25-29)

Topics: poll

Marist
3/25-26,29/10; 956 adults, 3.5% margin of error
860 registered voters, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Marist release)

National

Obama Job Approval
46% Approve, 43% Disapprove (chart)
Dems: 77 / 15 (chart)
Republicans: 11 / 85 (chart)
Independents: 39 / 45 (chart)
Economy: 46 / 49 (chart)
Health Care: 41 / 53 (chart)

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

State of the Country
43% Right Direction, 53% Wrong Direction (chart)

If November's election for congress were held today, would you support your current congressperson who represents your district in Washington D.C. or would you vote for someone else?
41% Current, 45% Someone else


MI: 2010 Gov Primary (Rasmussen 3/24)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/24/10; 662 likely Republican primary voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Michigan

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
27% Hoekstra, 18% Snyder, 13% Cox, 6% Bouchard


NY: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 3/29)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/29/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

New York

2010 Governor
52% Cuomo, 29% Lazio (chart)
51% Cuomo, 28% Paladino
50% Cuomo, 26% Levy

Favorable / Unfavorable
Carl Paladino: 31 / 31
Rick Lazio: 46 / 32
Andrew Cuomo: 60 / 31
Steve Levy: 33 / 34

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 54 / 46 (chart)
Gov. Paterson: 35/ 65 (chart)


FL: 2010 Gov (MasonDixon 3/23-25)

Topics: pol

Mason-Dixon
3/23-25/10; 625 registered voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Miami Herald Story)

Florida

2010 Governor
49% McCollum (R), 34% Sink (D) (chart)


OH: 2010 Gov, Sen (Quinnipiac 3/23-29)

Topics: poll

Quinnipiac
3/23-29/10; 1,526 registered voters, 2.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Quinnipiac release)

Ohio

2010 Governor
43% Strickland (D), 38% Kasich (R) (chart)

2010 Senate
41% Fisher (D), 37% Portman (R) (chart)
38% Brunner (D), 37% Portman (R) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Ted Strickland: 46 / 35 (chart)
John Kasich: 24 / 10
Lee Fisher: 27 / 13
Jennifer Brunner: 21 / 12
Rob Portman: 25 / 8

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Strickland: 49 / 40 (chart)
Sen. Brown: 45 / 30 (chart)
Sen. Voinovich: 46 . 36 (chart)
Pres. Obama: 47 / 48 (chart)


Obama as Reagan, cont'd


EarlyPresPopOverlay20100329.png

I've been pointing out the similarities between the circumstances of Presidents Obama and Reagan for a while now. See an earlier post on this here.

The short version is both come in with inherited economic troubles that don't turn around miraculously in the first 24 months. Both replace deeply unpopular predecessors, and suffer from high expectations in comparison. And both set out to dramatically change the direction of national policy. Reagan suffered substantial losses in the House in his first midterm (26 seats lost), and Obama looks headed to similar if not larger losses in 2010.

So how is the analogy holding up? In approval terms, still quite well. The two continue to track rather well. Obama has occasionally been slightly below and recently slightly above Reagan's trend, but the parallel movement remains striking. Likewise, their relative location compared to other first term post-war presidents continues to drive home the point that these have been (so far) among the lowest approval ratings in the first 24 months.

Despite the similarity, I don't think the two presidents are metaphysically linked by fate. Both suffer from the economy and their large policy goals. At the moment, the economy is looking to have turned up sooner for Obama than it did for Reagan (who suffered until the very month of the midterm before the economy bottomed out and started to recover.) Obama has a more hopeful looking GDP trend, though his unemployment trend has not yet started down. (Political science finds that GDP is consistently a better predictor of midterm outcomes than is unemployment, despite the vastly greater emphasis on unemployment in public commentary.)

So I don't think the 2010 results are yet set in stone, nor that the track of Obama's approval is necessarily going to continue following Reagan's. Rather it has been driven by similar circumstances, and those circumstances appear to be diverging on the economy at least. Whether Obama's approval responds, and with what effect on midterm outcomes, remains to be seen. The politics is yet to finish baking.

Bonus Chart: The first term presidents through midterm but in separate charts rather than overlaid. Data are Gallup polls only to provide comparability over the decades.

AllPresApprovalEarly20100329.png


Health Care Smorgasbord 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Bill Schneider thinks the health bill changes (the politics of) everything.

Howard Fineman says health care has created a partisan gap that could be difficult for Obama to solve.

Ana Marie Cox ponders the limits of polls on health care reform.

Frank Newport posts a cost-benefit analysis of the health care bill's passage.

Nate Silver responds to David Paul Kuhn on Obama, health care and racial divides.

Josh Green notes some irony in recent pronouncements on public opinion; Steve Benen adds more.

Chris Bowers considers a Rasmussen free Senate forecast.

John Sides adds more on how Obama won the 2008 nomination.

Media Matters isn't surprised that Harris found belief in smears of Obama.

Will Wilkinson observes rapid change in public opinion on homosexuality in the U.S and Europe (via Sullivan).

Jon Cohen shares the Washington Post poll's mayor crosstabs.

A new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll finds 50% of Americans would support an openly gay person serving as president (via Goddard).

Center For American Progress and Citizen Opinion begin
a series of monthly economic tracking surveys.


MI: 2010 Gov Primary (Rasmussen 3/24)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/24/10; 541 likely Democratic primary voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Michigan

2010 Governor: Democratic Primary
12% Dillon, 10% Wheeler Smith, 8% Bernero


US: Generic Ballot (CNN 3/25-28)

Topics: pol

CNN / Opinion Research Corporation
3/25-28/10; 1,009 adults, 3% margin of error
935 registered voters, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(CNN release)

National

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot (chart)
Registered voters: 49% Republican, 45% Democrat
All respondents: 48% Republican, 46% Democrat

Job Approval / Disapproval
Dem leaders in Congress: 42 / 57
Rep leaders in Congress: 36 / 63
Nancy Pelosi: 43 / 54


AL: 2010 Gov Primary (PPP 3/27-29)

Topics: poll

Public Policy Polling (D)
3/27-29/10; 407 likely Democratic primary voters, 4.9% margin of error
457 likely Republican primary voters, 4.6% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

Alabama

2010 Governor: Democratic Primary
38% Davis, 28% Sparks, 9% Thomas

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
27% Byrne, 23% Moore, 10% Bentley, 10% Ivey, 9% James, 1% Johnson


MO: 2010 Sen (PPP 3/27-28)

Topics: poll

Public Policy Polling (D)
3/27-28/10; 495 likely voters, 4.4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

Missouri

2010 Senate (trends)
45% Blunt, 41% Carnahan (chart)
42% Carnahan, 38% Purgason

Favorable / Unfavorable
Roy Blunt: 25 / 41
Robin Carnahan: 38 / 43
Chuck Purgason: 4 / 14

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 43 / 52 (chart)

Do you support or oppose President Obama's health care plan, or do you not have an
opinion?

37% Support, 54% Oppose


SD: 2010 House, Gov (Rasmussen 3/25)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/25/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen: Governor, House)

South Dakota

2010 Governor
37% Heidepriem (D), 32% Knudson (R)
49% Daugaard (R), 32% Heidepriem (D)
39% Heidepriem (D), 34% Howie (R)

2010 House
44% Herseth Sandlin (D), 42% Nelson (R)
46% Herseth Sandlin (D), 35% Noem (R)
45% Herseth Sandlin (D), 33% Curd (R)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Dave Knudson: 35 / 17
Dennis Daugaard: 60 / 14
Scott Heidepriem: 42 / 33
Gordon Howie: 38 / 25
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: 52 / 43

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 43 / 55
Gov. Rounds: 64 / 35


KS: 2010 Sen Primary (SurveyUSA 3/26-28)

Topics: poll

Survey USA / KCTV-TV / KWCH-TV
3/26-28/10; 519 likely Republican primary voters, 4.4% margin of error
ModE: Automated phone
(SurveyUSA release)

Kansas

2010 Senate: Republican Primary
42% Moran, 32% Tiarht, 5% Londerholm


OH: 2010 Sen Primary (Quinnipiac 3/25-28)

Topics: poll

Quinnipiac
3/25-28/10; 978 likely Democratic primary voters, 3.1% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Quinnipiac release)

Ohio

2010 Senate: Democratic Primary
33% Fisher, 26% Brunner (chart)


Don't Take My TV 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Chris Good reviews new health care polling.

Daniel Gross thinks Democrats may do better than expected in 2010; Jon Chait warns to watch his caveat.

John Sides shares new research on the sources of Obama's 2008 victory.

Lou Harris assesses the tea party movement.

Eric Zorn rounds up reactions to the Harris "Wingnut" poll.

A familiar name voices support for Pelosi.

Amy Gershkoff laments the lack of data driven decisions in television advertising (via Lundry).

Edison research finds more Americans would give up television than the internet.


US: Health Care (USA Today/Gallup 3/26-28)

Topics: poll

USA Today / Gallup
3/26-28/10; 1,033 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Gallup release)
More: Gallup, USA Today

National

As you may know, this past week Congress passed legislation that restructues the nation's health care system. All in all, do you think it is a good thing or a bad thing that Congress passed this legislation?
47% Good thing, 50% Bad thing (chart)


US: Health Care, National Survey (CNN 3/25-28)

Topics: poll

CNN / Opinion Research Corporation
3/25-28/10; 1,009 adults, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(CNN release)
Update: More

National

Obama Job Approval
51% Approve, 48% Disapprove (chart)
Economy: 44 / 55 (chart)
Foreign Affairs: 51 / 44 (chart)
Health Care: 45 / 54 (chart)

Suppose the 2012 presidential election were being held today. If Barack Obama runs for reelection, are you more likely to vote for Obama, the Democrat, or for the Republican party's candidate for President?
Registered voters: 48% Republican, 47% Obama
All Respondents: 48% Obama, 47% Republican

Which of the following statements best describes your views about the health care bill that Congress passed this week:
15% You approve of the bill becoming law and have no reservations about it
27% You approve of the bill becoming law but you think it did not go far enough
31% You disapprove of the bill becoming law but you support a few of its proposals
25% You disapprove of the bill becoming law and oppose all of its proposals

Thinking about the health care bill that Congress passed this week, which of the following statements best describes your view of what Congress should do in the future?
23% Congress should leave the bill as it is
27% Congress should make additional changes to increase the government's involvement in the nation's health care system
47% Congress should repeal most of the major provisions in that bill and replace them with a completely different set of proposals

From what you know of that legislation, do you think you and your family would, in general, be better off, worse off or about the same if it becomes law?
225 Better, 39% Worse, 37% Same


Recess Appointees and Time to Confirmation


Confirmations.png

President Obama made 15 recess appointments over the weekend, the first of his presidency. The White House announced the appointments and made their case based on the long wait for Senate action in a press release here. The recess appointments have waited an "average of 214 days" according to the release (the mean in the data I analyzed is 213.6 with a median of 194 days.) The nominations and confirmations data I used is available at the White House website here. I've excluded 9 appointees who are holdovers from the Bush administration who do not require confirmation. The White House release says 217 nominees are pending though in these data I find only 207 pending, including the 15 recess appointees.

The figure above puts the delays in perspective by also showing the 550 confirmed appointees and all the wait times until final action. (At the moment, no nominee has been rejected, so the duration is days until confirmation vote or March 27 (the date of the recess appointments).

Among the confirmed nominees, the median wait time was 56 days, with 75% confirmed in 91 days and 90% confirmed in 129 days. In contrast, for the 15 recess appointees, the minimum wait was 144 days, with a median of 194 days, and a third have waited more than 249 days for a confirmation decision.

The key take-away is that 73% of nominees have been confirmed, while 27% are pending. Some of those pending are recent nominees, with 34% waiting less than the 56 day median for confirmed nominees. But there is also a considerable right tail to the distribution, with many pending nominees having waited well beyond the normal range for confirmed appointees. And the recess appointments are mostly from the right tail of the unconfirmed.

Confirmations2.png

The top half of the figure shows the distribution of wait times for the confirmed and unconfirmed nominees. The red distribution for those waiting for confirmation has a much heavier right tail than the blue line for confirmed cases. The red dots show the 15 recess appointees, which are visibly to the right of the distribution of times. The lower half of the figure shows the individual wait times for the recess appointees by name and agency.

Finally, we can compare the wait times for confirmed, pending (excluding recess) and recess appointees.

Confirmations3.png

The recess appointees are mostly outliers compared to those confirmed and have all waited longer than more than three-quarters of other pending nominees.

These data put the delays in confirmation in perspective. As the White House complains, the group of recess appointees have indeed waited considerably longer than is normal for eventual confirmations, and longer than a large majority of other pending appointments. But the White House also glosses over the relative speed of the 73% of nominees who have been confirmed, 90% of whom were confirmed in 129 days, or about 4 months, or less. The reason some nominees face long delays is political-- either due to the individual nominee's background or the agency to which they are nominated or holds placed by individual Senators. Those are normal political battles, and it is worth noting that the delay in decisions is not universal. That may be cold comfort to the 35 still-pending nominees who have been waiting for a vote for more than 150 days.

Addendum: University of Kansas political scientist Michael Lynch sent me and The Monkey Cage an email summarizing the results of his (and colleagues) analysis of recess appointments since 1987. The key finding is that length of delay alone is not the key determinant of who receives a recess appointment and who does not. Not too shockingly, presidents use recess appointments to further their political goals and especially so with regulatory commissions, such as NLRB and EEOC appointments among Obama's 15. The Monkey Cage has Lynch's summary of his research here. Of course, before going to a temporary recess appointment, nominees must normally have waited longer than those most easily confirmed, as my analysis above shows. Among those waiting, who gets a recess appointment and who does not certainly is a political and policy choice, as Lynch's research demonstrates. --Charles


WI: 2010 Sen, Gov (Kos 3/22-24)


DailyKos.com (D) / Research 2000
3/22-24/10; 600 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kos release)

Wisconsin

2010 Senate (trends)
48% Feingold, 44% Thompson (chart)
52% Feingold, 37% Wall (chart)
54% Feingold, 36% Westlake

Favorable / Unfavorable
Russ Feingold: 53 / 41 (chart)
Tommy Thompson: 53 / 42
Terrence Wall: 37 / 32
Dave Westlake: 31 / 30
Herb Kohl: 55 / 38
Jim Doyle: 44 / 50 (chart)
Barack Obama: 54 / 41 (chart)


FL: Fav Ratings, 2012 Sen (MasonDixon 3/23-25)

Topics: poll

Mason-Dixon
3/23-25/10; 625 registered voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Mason Dixon release, St. Petersburg Times story)

Florida

Favorable / Unfavorable
Jeb Bush: 57 / 28
Charlie Crist: 37 / 31 (chart)
Barack Obama: 37 / 52 (chart)
Bill Nelson: 36 / 34
Marco Rubio: 27 / 17

2012 Senate
50% Bush, 35% Nelson
47% Crist, 37% Nelson
42% Rubio, 38% Nelson

Do you support or oppose the healthcare reform bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama?
34% Support, 54% Oppose


NY: 2010 Sen (Marist 3/23-24)

Topics: poll

Marist
3/23-24/10; 775 registered voters, 3.5% margin of error
217 Republicans, 7% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Marist release)

New York

2010 Senate: General Election (trends)
47% Pataki, 45% Gillibrand (chart)
54% Gillibrand, 25% Blakeman
54% Gillibrand, 27% DioGuardi
54% Gillibrand, 25% Malpass

2010 Senate: Republican Primary
18% DioGuardi, 10% Blakeman, 9% Malpass, 4% Senor
62% Pataki, 7% DioGuardi, 4% Blakeman, 2% Malpass, 2% Senor

Job Rating
Sen. Gillibrand: 27% Excellent/Good, 51% Fair/Poor (chart)
Sen. Schumer: 51% Excellent/Good, 45% Fair/Poor (chart)
Pres. Obama: 53% Excellent/Good, 47% Fair/Poor (chart)


RI: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 3/25)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/25/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Rhode Island

2010 Governor
37% Chafee (i), 26% Robitaille (R), 22% Lynch (D)
39% Chafee (i), 28% Caprio (D), 22% Robitaille (R)

Favorable / Unfavorable
John Robitaille: 35 / 29
Frank Caprio: 53 / 29
Lincoln Chafee: 57 / 37
Patrick Lynch: 45 / 41

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 61 / 39
Gov Carcieri: 43 / 55


The Harris "Wingnut" Poll: Could We Do Better?

Topics: aquiescence bias , Harris Interactive , Harris Poll , Humphrey Taylor , Markos Moulitsas , Measurement , straightlining , Wingnut poll

My column reviews the criticism of the Harris Interactive "wingnut" survey released last week and suggests some ways to better measure some of the beliefs it tested (taking up the dare issued via Twitter by Markos Moulitsas). Please click through and read it all.

One issue I did not mention in the column, and have not yet seen raised elsewhere, is that the Harris survey asked the questions using a "grid" or "matrix" format, something Harris Poll Chairman Humphrey Taylor confirmed via email. That means that the questions and answers were presented in a table (like the examples shown here).

While many online surveys rely on the grid format, it as an critical shortcoming: It makes it easy for respondents who prefer not to think hard about the questions to "straightline"" their answers. As such, this aspect of the design may have increased the potential for the "aquiescence bias" to have increased the percentage who said that some of the statements were true.

For more on the shortcomings of grids, see this report from Survey Sampling International and the ongoing criticism from the anonymous market research blogger Research Rants.


NM: 2010 Gov (Rasmussen 3/24)

Topics: poll

Rasmussen
3/24/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

New Mexico

2010 Governor
51% Denish (D), 32% Martinez (R)
52% Denish (D), 35% Domenici Jr (R)
45% Denish (D), 35% Weh (R)
52% Denish (D), 30% Arnold-Jones (R)
43% Denish (D), 34% Turner (R)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Susana Martinez: 30 / 29
Diane Denish: 55 / 35
Pete Domenici Jr: 44 / 39
Allen Weh: 33 / 31
Janice Arnold-Jones: 26 / 32
Doug Turner: 33 / 30

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 54 / 46
Gov. Richardson: 39 / 58


US: National Survey (Post 3/23-26)

Topics: poll

Washington Post
3/23-26/10; 1,000 adults, 3% margin of error
903 registered voters, 3% margin of error
*Results are for all adults except where otherwise indicated
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Post: story, results)

National

Obama Job Approval
53% Approve, 43% Disapprove (chart)
Health Care: 48 / 49 (chart)
Economy: 45 / 52 (chart)
Afghanistan: 53 / 35
Federal budget deficit: 43 / 52
Immigration: 33 / 43

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot
Adults: 47% Democratic candidate, 43% Republican candidate
Registered voters: 48% Democratic candidate, 44% Republican candidate (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Democratic Party: 50 / 45
Republican Party: 40 / 55
Sarah Palin: 37 / 55 (chart)
Tea Party Movement: 41 / 39

On another subject: overall, given what you know about them, would you say you support or oppose the changes to the health care system that have been enacted by Congress and the Obama administration?
46% Support, 50% Oppose (chart)

(IF OPPOSE) Would you support or oppose an effort to cancel these changes in the health care system, either by a new vote in Congress or through the courts?
86% Support, 9% Oppose

Do you think the Republicans in Congress did or did not make a good faith effort to cooperate with Obama and the Democrats on health care reform?
31% Did, 63% Did not

Do you think Obama and the Democrats in Congress did or did not make a good faith effort to cooperate with the Republicans on health care reform?
48% Did, 47% Did not

Party ID
34% Democrat, 24% Republican, 38% independent (chart)


 

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