Pollster.com

August 1, 2010 - August 7, 2010

 

GA: 46% Deal, 46% Handel (InsiderAdvantage 8/5)

Topics: Georgia , governor , poll , Primary

InsiderAdvantage
8/5/10; 514 likely Republican primary voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(InsiderAdvantage release)

Georgia

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
46% Handel, 46% Deal (chart)


DE: 49% Castle, 37% Coons (Rasmussen 8/5)

Topics: Delaware , poll

Rasmussen
8/5/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Delaware

2010 Senate
49% Castle (R), 37% Coons (D) (chart)
46% Coons (D), 36% O'Donnell (R)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Chris Coons: 51 / 33
Mike Castle: 65 / 27
Christine O'Donnell: 41 / 38

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 55 / 44 (chart)
Gov. Markell: 65 / 32 (chart)


IN: 50% Coats, 35% Ellsworth (Polling Company 7/31-8/3)

Topics: House of Representatives , indiana , poll , senate

The Polling Company (R) for The Susan B. Anthony List
7/31-8/3/10; 502 statewide registered voters, 4.36% margin of error
309 2nd Congressional district registered voters, 5.57% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Murphy campaign release)

Note: The Susan B. Anthony List opposes abortion and government funded abortions.

Indiana

2010 Senate
50% Coats (R), 35% Ellsworth (D) (chart)

2010 House: 2nd Congressional District
53% Donnelly (D), 35% Walorski (R)


CA: 43% Brown, 41% Whitman (Rasmussen 8/3)

Topics: California , poll

Rasmussen
8/3/10; 750 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

California

2010 Governor
43% Brown (D), 41% Whitman (R) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Meg Whitman: 47 / 46
Jerry Brown: 47 / 50


NC: 49% Burr, 40% Marshall (Rasmussen 8/3)

Topics: North Carolina , poll

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

North Carolina

2010 Senate
49% Burr (R), 40% Marshall (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Richard Burr: 55 / 37 (chart)
Elaine Marshall: 44 / 41

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 41 / 57 (chart)
Gov. Perdue: 44 / 53 (chart)


MI: 49% Snyder, 37% Bernero (Rasmussen 8/4)

Topics: governor , michigan , poll

Rasmussen
8/4/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Michigan

2010 Governor
49% Snyder (R), 37% Bernero (D)

Favorable/Unfavorable
Virg Bernero: 43 / 44
Rick Snyder: 66 / 18

Job Approve/Disapprove
Gov. Granholm: 37 / 61
Pres. Obama: 46 / 54


KY: 41% Paul, 31% Conway (Braun 8/2-4)

Topics: Kentucky , poll , Senate

Braun Research for CN2 Politics
8/2-4/10; 802 likely voters, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(CN2 Release)

Kentucky

2010 Senate
41% Paul (R), 31% Conway (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Jack Conway: 44 / 21
Rand Paul: 50 / 26


FL: 36% Meek, 35% Greene (Feldman 8/1-3)

Topics: Florida , Poll , Primary , Senate

Feldman Group (D) for Kendrick Meek
8/1-3/10; 800 likely Democratic primary voters, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Kendrick Meek Memo)

Florida

2010 Senate: Democratic Primary
36% Meek, 35% Greene, 8% Ferre (trend)


FL: 2010 Gov and Sen Primaries (Mason-Dixon 8/2-4)

Topics: Florida , Governor , poll , Primary , Senate

Mason-Dixon for Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association
8/2-4/10; 625 likely Republican Primary voters, 4% margin of error
625 likely Democratic primary voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Tampa Bay Online article)
Update: toplines attached

Florida

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
37% Scott, 31% McCollum (chart)

2010 Senate: Democratic Primary
33% Meek, 29% Greene (trend)


Daily Kos Hires PPP and a Pollster-To-Be-Named-Later

Topics: Daily Kos , PPP , Research2000

Markos Moulitsas, who first fired his former polling partner Research 2000 in June and subsequently filed suit alleging that polling conducted by that firm was fraudulent, announced this afternoon that his DailyKos website will soon resume polling with two new partners: Public Policy Polling (PPP) for "horserace" polling in statewide contests and another pollster to be named later for national surveys. The first survey, to be fielded in Delware, will be released next week.

Moulitsas was also quick to tweet what will amount to a new standard in polling disclosure:

And while we won't be able to do it next week, both pollsters have agreed to RELEASE ALL RAW DATA. We just have to figure out the logistics.

Access to raw data will mean that anyone with basic statistical software will be able to use the data to run their own tabulations or analysis. While many national media pollsters provide such raw data to academic archives like the Roper Center for Public Opinion and the Pew Research Center provides it on their website, those resources are usually available many months after the results are released.

Tom Jensen, PPP's polling director, provided this reaction for The Huffington Post:

We're very excited for the opportunity, especially because Daily Kos has shown such a strong interest in surveying 'under polled' races over the years. We're looking forward to getting data out there in states like Delaware, where we're kicking off, that don't usually see a lot of public polling. We're also glad in a time when a few bad apples have cast a shade over the polling industry to let people see that we're really doing our work. We really appreciate Markos' commitment to transparency and are happy to partner with him on that

UPDATE: Markos posts more details to Daily Kos, including news that they "hope to be back up to pre-scandal polling frequencies by September" as well as this comment:

I'm so excited about all of this I can barely contain myself. While the R2K mess has been a nightmare, it has opened up new possibilities -- the ability to work with some of the most accomplished pollsters in the biz, and break new ground by providing unparalleled transparency.

His post also notes that PPP was one of only two pollsters from a short list of those he considers most accurate that was available to do "horserace" polling. He explains that automated pollster SurveyUSA "couldn't do horserace polling because of exclusivity contracts with other media organizations." Could that be a clue to the identity of the yet-to-be announced pollster that will conduct non-horserace "weekly State of the Nation national polling" for DailyKos?"

[Cross posted at the Huffington Post].


Not Top 5 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Seth Masket visualizes House gains and losses by presidential approval.

Tom Jensen thinks Republicans must do more to appeal to moderates.

PPP finds Californians divided on the Prop 8 reversal.

Chris Good wonders whether chatter about changing the 14th amendment will hurt the GOP among Hispanics.

Andrew Gelman points to wide variation by state on opinions about same-sax marriage.

David Hill is sick of accusations of push-polling.

Mark Mellman thinks Americans with disabilities are an overlooked constituency.

Pew finds cell phone users increasingly using non-voice applications.

LeBron James has fallen out of Harris' top 5 list of most popular US athletes.


Polling Repeal of the Bush Tax Cuts

Topics: Bush tax cuts , Fox News , Pew Research Center , Rasmussen , Taxes

"The people speak: Keep the Bush Tax Cuts." So reads the headline in today's New York Post.

Really?

I tend to flinch at declarations about the feelings of "the people," especially when based on survey questions that assume most Americans have pre-existing opinions on the subjects being probed. Just last week the Pew Research Center provided another reminder that many Americans struggle to identify political figures, foreign leaders or facts central to public policy debates. They find, for example, that only 28% can identify John Roberts as the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and only 34% know that the TARP bailout of banks and financial institutions was enacted when George W. Bush was president.

As such, one of my first rules of poll interpretation is to remember that many Americans pay scant attention to policy debates, so their answers typically amount to reactions to the ideas and language presented rather than expressions of pre-existing opinion.

With that in mind, let's go back to the lead sentence of the New York Post article that inspired the headline:

Americans by a wide majority want to extend former President George W. Bush's tax cuts, and more than half believe that letting them expire will further hurt the country's shaky economy, according to a survey released yesterday.

The survey is an automated, recorded-voice telephone poll of 1,000 "likely voters" conducted August 1-2, 2010 conducted by Rasmussen Reports. Here are the results of the two questions highlighted by the Post article:

Should the Bush Administration tax cuts be extended or should the tax cuts end this year?

54% Tax cuts should be extended
30% Tax cuts should end this year
16% Not sure

Suppose you had a choice between extending the Bush Administration tax cuts for all Americans or extending the Bush Administration tax cuts for everyone except the wealthy. Which would you prefer?

48% Extending the Bush Administration tax cuts for all Americans
40% Extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone except the wealthy
12% Not sure

These questions follow two others that ask respondents how closely they have been following news reports about "the tax cuts implemented during the Bush years" and whether an expiration of "Bush Administration tax cuts" will help or hurt the economy. Not until the fourth question do respondents hear any mention that those tax cuts might benefit "the wealthy," and even then they do not define what "wealthy" means. You might wonder how many even heard the words "except the wealthy" in that last question before pressing the "1" or "2" on their touch-tone phones.

Now compare the Rasmussen results to two similar questions asked in recent weeks (via the Polling Report). First, a survey of 900 registered voters conducted July 27-28, 2010 by Fox News and Opinion Dynamics:

As you may know, a series of tax cuts that were passed at the beginning of former President George W. Bush's term are set to expire this year. If you were president, would you continue the tax cuts for everyone, continue the tax cuts for everyone except families earning more than $250,000 dollars a year, or allow the tax cuts to expire and let taxes go back up to their previous level?

44% Continue for everyone 36% Continue for those under $250,000
14% Allow to expire
6% Unsure

Next, consider a similar question posed by a Pew Research/National Journal Congressional Connection poll of 1,004 adults conducted July 22-25, 2010:

Which comes closer to your view about the tax cuts passed when George W. Bush was president? All of the tax cuts should remain in place. Tax cuts for the wealthy should be repealed, while others stay in place. All of the tax cuts should be repealed.

30% Keep all the tax cuts
27% Repeal the tax cuts for the wealthy
31% Repeal all the tax cuts
12% Unsure

So the Rasmussen story shows more likely voters prefer to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone rather than letting them expire for the wealthy, while the Fox and Pew Research surveys show plurality or majority support for letting the Bush tax cuts expire entirely or only for the wealthy.

What's going on here? First, Americans like having their taxes cut. The more general the question, and the more it implies that everyone gets a tax cut, the more positive the response. Second, all three polls show that Republicans are more enthusiastic about keeping the Bush tax cuts in place than Democrats. That means that about a third of Americans react favorably to the notion of leaving all of the Bush tax cuts in place, regardless of question wording and format. The partisan skew in the results also tells us that the Rasmussen survey, which samples only "likely voters" (using an undisclosed definition), likely produces a more Republican-leaning sample, especially in the current environment in which Republicans are far more enthusiastic about voting than Democrats are.

Finally, we ought to be especially cautious about that final Rasmussen question, as it provides no clear answer category for those who want to say "neither" (i.e. those who want all of the Bush tax cuts to expire).

What these seemingly contradictory results imply, however, is that a large number of Americans are hazy on the details of whose taxes were cut when George W. Bush was president, whether those cuts were intended to be temporary or permanent, what impact they have had on the deficit and the terms of the current debate. As such, their reactions to poll questions on the subject may vary widely depending on the language used and the options offered.

If you want to produce a poll finding that supports your side of the tax-cut debate, you probably can, but the voice of "the people" may not be as clear as some headlines make it out to be.

[Cross posted at the Huffington Post].


KS: 61% Moran, 28% Johnston (Rasmussen 8/4)

Topics: poll , Rasmussen

Rasmussen
8/4/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Kansas

2010 Senate
61% Moran (R), 28% Johnston (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Jerry Moran: 63 / 31
Lisa Johnston: 44 / 30

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 36 / 63
Gov. Parkinson: 58 / 34


OH: 45% Kasich, 42% Strickland (Rasmussen 8/2)

Topics: Ohio , poll

Rasmussen
8/2/10; 750 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Ohio

2010 Governor
45% Kasich (R), 42% Strickland (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
John Kasich: 47 / 34
Ted Strickland: 43 / 51 (chart)

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 46 / 53 (chart)
Gov. Strickland: 43 / 54 (chart)


CA: 45% Boxer, 40% Fiorina (Rasmussen 8/3)

Topics: California , poll

Rasmussen
8/3/10; 750 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

California

2010 Senate
45% Boxer (D), 40% Fiorina (R) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Barbara Boxer: 47 / 46 (chart)
Carly Fiorina: 46 / 42

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 56 / 41 (chart)
Gov. Schwarzennegger: 29 / 69 (chart)


CT: 2010 Governor (Quinnipiac 7/29-8/1)

Topics: Connecticut , poll

Quinnipiac
7/29-8/1/10; 1,299 registered voters, 2.7% margin of errpr
1,003 likely Republican primary voters, 3.1% margin of error
979 likely Democratic primary voters, 3.1% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Quinnipiac release)

Connecticut

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
41% Foley, 26% Fedele, 13% Griebel (chart)

2010 Governor: Democratic Primary
45% Lamont, 40% Malloy (chart)

2010 Governor: General Election
46% Lamont (D), 33% Foley (R) (chart)
48% Lamont (D), 33% Fedele (R) (chart)
50% Lamont (D), 27% Griebel (R)
46% Malloy (D), 31% Foley (R) (chart)
47% Malloy (D), 30% Fedele (R) (chart)
50% Malloy (D), 25% Griebel (R)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Ned Lamont: 45 / 29
Dan Malloy: 40 / 15
Tom Foley: 25 / 24
Mike Fedele: 20 / 18
Oz Griebel: 9 / 7


US: Health Care (Fox 7/27-28)

Topics: health care , national , poll

Fox News / Opinion Dynamics
7/27-28/10; 900 registered voters, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Fox News: Health Care release)

National

What should happen to the new health care law?
15% Implement as is, 42% Make changes, 36% Repeal it all together

Which one of the following best describes how you feel about the changes that will take place under the new health care law -- do you think the changes go too far, don't go far enough, or is it about the right amount of change?
45% go too far, 25% don't go far enough, 16% about right


Greatest in the World 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Chris Bowers releases a modestly titled election forecast.

Michael Barone thinks 1966 may be a more apt comparison than 1994 for the Democrats.

Tom Jensen takes an early look at 2012 primary polling in Super Tuesday states.

Pew finds most Americans have no idea who is Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Neil Glassman notices women spending more time on social media than men.


FL: 38% Crist, 36% Rubio, 16% Meek (AIF 7/31-8/1)

Topics: Florida , poll

McLaughlin & Associates (R) for Associated Industries of Florida
7/31-8/1/10; 600 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Orlando Sentinel blog post)

Florida

2010 Senate
38% Crist (i), 36% Rubio (R), 16% Meek (D) (chart)
37% Crist (i), 37% Rubio (R), 16% Greene (D) (chart)


US: 46% Republican, 38% Democrat (Zogby 7/27-29)

Topics: National , poll

Zogby
7/27-29/10; 2,389 likely voters
Mode: Internet
(Zogby release)

National

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot
46% Republican, 38% Democrat (chart)

Obama Job Approval
43% Approve, 57% Disapprove (chart)
Dems: 76 / 24 (chart)
Reps: 9 / 90 (chart)
Inds: 38 / 61 (chart)

Congressional Job Approval
22% Approve, 76% Disapprove (chart)

State of the Country
29% Right Direction, 60% Wrong Track (chart)


OH: 44% Portman, 40% Fisher (Rasmussen 8/2)

Topics: Ohio , poll

Rasmussen
8/2/10; 750 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Ohio

2010 Senate
44% Portman (R), 40% Fisher (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Rob Portman: 46 / 27
Lee Fisher: 40 / 41

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 46 / 53 (chart)
Gov. Strickland: 43 / 54 (chart)


New CNN poll on birther myth

Topics: Barack Obama , birth , birth certificate , birther

CNN has released a new poll on the birther myth and the news, as usual, is depressing. Only 42% of the public thinks Obama was "definitely born in the United States" and 27% of Americans specifically stated that President Obama was "probably" or "definitely" born in another country.

Here's the wording of the question and a bar chart of the results:

Do you think Barack Obama was definitely born in the United States, probably born in the United States, probably born in another country, or definitely born in another country?

Cnn-all

The cross-tabs by party (PDF) show that 41% of Republicans and 29% of independents said Obama was "probably" or "definitely" not born here:

Cnnbyparty

To its credit, CNN is very clear about the facts:

It's surely not what the leader of the free world wants for his birthday. But, for a stubborn group of Americans, conspiracy theories about President Obama's birthplace are the gifts that keep on giving...

Yet there is ample evidence that defies Limbaugh's statement and the beliefs of the 27-percent of Americans that, according to the poll, doubt the president's birthplace. CNN and other news organizations have thoroughly debunked the rumors.

Most impressively, they even put giant images of Obama's certification of live birth and birth announcement at the top of the story:

Cnnpics

For more on why misperceptions are so difficult to correct, see my research with Jason Reifler (PDF).

[Cross-posted on brendan-nyhan.com]


NJ: Approval Ratings (FDU 7/27-8/2)

Topics: New Jersey , poll

Fairleigh Dickinson University
7/27-8/2/10; 801 registered voters, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(FDU release)

New Jersey

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 49 / 40 (chart)
Gov. Christie: 47 / 36 (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Chris Christie: 41 / 36 (chart)


CT: 50% Blumenthal, 40% McMahon (Quinnipiac 7/28-8/2)

Topics: Connecticut , poll

Quinnipiac
7/28-8/2/10; 1,299 registered voters, 2.7% margin of error
1,003 likely Republican primary voters, 3.1% margin of error (separate sample)
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Quinnipiac release)

Connecticut

2010 Senate: Republican Primary
47% McMahon, 30% Simmons, 14% Schiff (chart)

2010 Senate: General Election
54% Blumenthal (D), 35% Simmons (R) (chart)
50% Blumenthal (D), 40% McMahon (R) (chart)
57% Blumenthal (D), 30% Schiff (R) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Richard Blumenthal: 57 / 30
Rob Simmons: 40 / 14
Linda McMahon: 43 / 37
Peter Schiff: 16 / 9


FL: 31% Sink, 27% McCollum, 20% Chiles (Rasmussen 8/2)

Topics: Florida , poll


Rasmussen
8/2/10; 750 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Florida

2010 Governor
31% Sink (D), 27% McCollum (R), 20% Chiles (i) (chart)
35% Scott (R), 31% Sink (D), 16% Chiles (i) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Bill McCollum: 35 / 54
Alex Sink: 49 / 29
Rick Scott: 38 / 48
Bud Chiles: 27 / 32

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 49 / 50 (chart)
Gov. Crist: 59 / 38 (chart)


NY: 48% Gillibrand, 34% Blakeman (Rasmussen 7/29)

Topics: new york , poll , senate

Rasmussen
7/29/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

New York

2010 Senate
50% Gillibrand (D), 33% DioGuardi (R)
48% Gillibrand (D), 34% Blakeman (R) (chart)
51% Gillibrand (D), 31% Malpass (R)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Kirsten Gillibrand: 51 / 36 (chart)
Bruce Blakeman: 32 / 24
David Malpass: 30 / 25
Joe DioGuardi: 36 / 21

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 57 / 42 (chart)
Gov. Paterson: 43 / 55 (chart)


Meh 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Mark Ambinder says Obama may have a "meh" effect on the midterms.

Tom Jensen compares 2010 Republicans to 2006 Democrats.

Ezra Klein notes divided public opinion on the Bush tax cuts.

The National Center for Disaster Preparedness surveys Gulf Coast residents on the oil spill.

CNN surveys respondents on characteristics of the Parties.

Nate Silver thinks polling on the mosque near Ground Zero may be misleading.

Andrew Gelman points to academic literature on social desirability bias in surveys.


NV: 48% Reid, 44% Angle (Ipsos/Reuters 7/30-8/1)

Topics: Nevada , poll

Ipsos/Reuters
7/30-8/1/10; 600 registered voters, 4% margin of error
462 likely voters, 4.6% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Reuters story)
Update: Toplines

Nevada

2010 Senate
Likely voters: 48% Reid (D), 44% Angle (R) (chart)
Registered voters: 52% Reid (D), 36% Angle (R)

2010 Governor
Likely voters: 50% Sancoval (R), 39% Reid (D) (chart)
Registered voters: 43% Sandocal (R), 42% Reid (D)

Job Approval / Disapproval (among RVs)
Gov. Gibbons: 26 / 68 (chart)


WA: 49% Murray, 46% Rossi (PPP 7/27-8/1)

Topics: poll , Washington


Public Policy Polling (D)
7/27-8/1/10; 1,204 likely voters, 2.8% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

Washington

2010 Senate: Primary (top 2 advance)
47% Murray (D), 33% Rossi (R), 10% Didier (R), 4% Akers (R)

2010 Senate: General Election
49% Murray (D), 46% Rossi (R) (chart)
50% Murray (R), 39% Didier (R) (chart)

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 49 / 47
Sen. Murray: 46 / 45

Favorable / Unfavorable
Paul Akers: 10 / 14
Clint Didier: 22 / 23
Dino Rossi: 43 / 48


Gallup 'Surge' Epilogue

Topics: 2010 , Gallup , Generic House Vote

For the last 10 days, we've been watching the bouncing ball that is the Gallup weekly tracking of the generic House ballot -- the question that asks voters if they are supporting "the Democratic Party's candidate or the Republican Party's candidate" in their district. It bounced up for the Democrats in Gallup's tracking two weeks ago, and appeared to remain up last week, but I wrote two posts arguing that the apparent "jump" was most likely random noise, especially since other tracking polls did not show a similar pattern.

Well, sure enough, the latest weekly update from Gallup out yesterday shows the numbers bouncing back in the Republican direction. Republicans now have a five-point advantage (48% to 43%), roughly the opposite of the lead indicated for Democrats for the last two weeks.

Having devoted nearly 1,400 words to this subject already, I'll keep this short: The week-to-week variation in the chart above is mostly random noise. In fact, if any real changes in vote preferences are afoot, we can't distinguish them from the random variation built into each poll. That variation, by the way, is what the "margin of error" is all about. The results above are basically a picture of 46%, plus or minus 3%.

I write this not to criticize Gallup: Their results are bouncy in comparison to some other polls because they do not weight their results by party identification, so random variation within the predictable range is inevitable.

That said, the reason we plot results from many different pollsters on one chart, as we have done at Pollster.com for the last four years, is to try to put new poll results into the larger context of all other public polls. Our national generic House ballot can be tricky, because some polls that report frequently -- especially the Rasmussen Reports automated survey -- have large "house effects" that make their results consistently different than other surveys. Sometimes results from one pollster can "fool" the chart.

However, what our chart distills from all of the available public data on the generic ballot is a slight trend in the Republican direction over the last month or so. You can see that trend even if I set our "smoothing tool" to its least sensitive setting (to minimize the impact of individual polls or pollsters):

You see the same trend even if you drop both the Gallup and Rasmussen tracking:

These are relatively small changes -- just a few percentage points movement at most -- but the changes are mostly consistent across polling organizations, which gives me more confidence that they are real than any brief "jump" in an individual pollster's results.

[Cross posted at the Huffington Post.]


SC: 62% DeMint, 20% Greene (Rasmussen 7/29)

Topics: poll , South Carolina

Rasmussen
7/29/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

South Carolina

2010 Senate
62% DeMint (R), 20% Greene (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Jim DeMint: 69 / 24
Alvin Greene: 18 / 70

Job Approval / Disapproval
pres. Obama: 40 / 58
Gov. Sanford: 46 / 50


CO: 43% Hickenlooper, 25% McInnis, 24% Tancredo (Rasmussen 8/2)

Topics: Colorado , poll

Rasmussen
8/2/10; 750 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Colorado

2010 Governor
43% Hickenlooper (D), 25% McInnis (R), 24% Tancredo (I)
42% Hickenlooper (D), 27% Maes (R), 24% Tancredo (I)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Scott McInnis: 32 / 59
John Hickenlooper: 49 / 46
Dan Maes: 39 / 43
Tom Tancredo: 39 / 51

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 44 / 55 (chart)
Gov. Ritter: 39 / 61 (chart)


NC: 39% Burr, 37% Marshall (PPP 7/27-31)

Topics: north carolina , poll , senate

Public Policy Polling (D)
7/27-31/10; 624 likely voters, 3.9% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

North Carolina

2010 Senate
39% Burr (R), 37% Marshall (D), 7% Beitler (L) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Elaine Marshall: 23 / 19
Michael Beitler: 6 / 13

Job Approval / Disapproval
Sen. Hagan: 33 / 45 (chart)
Sen. Burr: 32 / 44 (chart)


GA: 46% Handel, 37% Deal (Landmark 8/1)

Topics: Georgia , poll

Landmark Communications (R)
8/1/10; 800 likely Republican primary runoff voters, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Landmark: results, methodology)

Georgia

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
46% Handel, 37% Deal (chart)


US: Afghanistan, Wikileaks (USA Today/Gallup 7/27-8/1)

Topics: National , poll

USA Today / Gallup
7/27-8/1/10; 1,208 adults, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Gallup release, USA Today release)
Update: Full Obama approval here.

National

Obama Job Approval
41% Approve, 53% Disapprove (chart)

Thinking now about U.S. military action in Afghanistan that began in October 2001, do you think the United States made a mistake in sending military forces to Afghanistan, or not?
43% Yes, a mistake, 52% No, not

In general, how would you say things are going for the U.S. in Afghanistan -
1% Very well, 33% Moderately well, 42% Moderately badly, 20% Very badly

If you had to choose, which do you think is better for the U.S. --
38% Keep troops in Afghanistan until situation gets better
57% Set time-table for removing troops from Afghanistan

As you may know, the documents about the war in Afghanistan were leaked to a website called "Wikileaks." Do you think it was right or wrong for that website to publish those documents?
25% Right, 66% Wrong


US: Elena Kagan (CNN 7/16-21)

Topics: National , poll

CNN / Opinion Research Corporation
7/16-21/10; 1,018 adults, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(CNN release)

National

As you may know, Elena Kagan is the person nominated to serve on the Supreme Court. Would you like to see the Senate vote in favor of Kagan serving on the Supreme Court, or not?
54% Vote in favor, 34% Not vote in favor


US: National Survey (Pew/National Journal 7/29-8/1)

Topics: National , poll

Pew Research Center / National Journal
7/29-8/1/10; 1,003 adults, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Pew release, National Journal story)

National

Thinking about the elections for Congress this year, please tell me whether you would be more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate with each of the following characteristics, or whether it would make no difference in your vote either way.

If a candidate has a record of bringing government projects and money to your district:
53% More likely, 12% Less likely, 33% No difference

If a candidate is neither a Republican nor a Democrat:
15% More likely, 21% Less likely, 61% No difference

If Barack Obama campaigns on a candidate's behalf:
27% More likely, 285 Less likely, 43% No difference

If Sarah Palin campaigns on a candidate's behalf:
18% More likely, 38% Less likely, 42% No difference

If a candidate is a supporter of the Tea Party movement:
22% More likely, 31% Less likely, 41% No difference

Which ONE would you say should be the highest priority goal of US energy policy?
31% Reducing our dependence on imported energy sources
21% Keeping energy prices low
21% Protecting the environment from the effects of energy development and use
20% Creating jobs within the energy sector

For each, please tell me whether you favor or oppose including this in an energy bill.

Limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions:
65% Favor, 28% Oppose

Incentives for increased development of nuclear power:
56% Favor, 36% Oppose

Expanded exploration and development of coal, oil and gas in the U.S.:
72% Favor, 23% Oppose

Requirements that utilities produce more energy from wind, solar or other renewable sources:
78% Favor, 17% Oppose

Stricter regulations on oil drilling:
69% Favor, 26% Oppose

Party ID
33% Democrat, 23% Republican, 33% independent (chart)


AZ: 53% McCain, 34% Glassman (Rasmussen 7/29)

Topics: Arizona , poll

Rasmussen
7/29/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Arizona

2010 Senate
53% McCain (R), 34% Glassman (D) (chart)
43% Glassman (D), 38% Hayworth (R) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
John McCain: 50 / 51
Rodney Glassman: 37 / 39
J.D. Hayworth: 36 / 60

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 39 / 60
Gov. Brewer: 67 / 33


KS: 49% Moran, 39% Tiahrt (SurveyUSA 7/29-8/1)

Topics: Kansas , poll

SurveyUSA
7/29-8/1/10; 837 likely Republican primary voters, 3.5% margin of error
441 likely Democratic primary voters, 4.8% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(SurveyUSA release)

Kansas

2010 Senate: Republican Primary
49% Moran, 39% Tiahrt, 3% Little, 2% Londerholm (chart)

2010 Senate: Democratic Primary
29% Johnston, 21% Schollenberger, 12% Haley, 7% Conroy, 6% Weisner

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
75% Brownback, 18% Heffington


US: Generic Ballot (Gallup, Rasmussen 7/26-8/1)

Topics: Generic House Vote , national , poll

National

Gallup
7/26-8/1/10; 1,562 registered voters, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Gallup release)

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot
48% Republican, 43% Democrat (chart)


Rasmussen
7/26-8/1/10; 3,500 likely voters, 2% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot
46% Republican, 38% Democrat (chart)


Fall Strategies Begin to Emerge


As we enter the summer's home stretch and try to relax by the beach and read a book, the headlines over the weekend were relentless: we had Chelsea Clinton's wedding, the apparent over-use of dispersants by BP in the Gulf, more Wikileaks fallout, Rangel's 13 ethics violations and the Netherlands quitting the war in Afghanistan all interrupting our holiday. But under the radar screen, each political party has been carefully calibrating their Fall strategy to keep or capture Congress. While specific tactics are not yet in place, Republicans and Democrats will spend the rest of August trial-ballooning campaign messages to see what sticks. In a year in which the status quo and politicians in general will be anathema to voters, it remains to be seen how receptive they will be to blatant political messages of any kind. Polling data confirms this, and suggests that voters will be extremely skeptical of what they consider to be typical "political" rhetoric. So let's take a look at each party's current message track.

In a nutshell, the following appear to be the main tenets of the Democratic strategy: first, link the GOP to the Tea Party and second, raise the specter of a return to "Bush economics." The first strategy was on full display with a DNC ad released last Wednesday called "The Republican Tea Party Contract On America." To be sure, there are some elements of the Tea Party platform that are considered extreme by the mainstream electorate (swing voters). The goal with this line of attack is to paint all Republicans as extremists. The problem, as illustrated in the latest Pew survey, is that the electorate as a whole is more conservative than it was five years ago; in fact, Independents are much more closely aligned with the Republican Party than with Democrats. Furthermore, only about half of voters have any significant impression of the Tea Party; 48% of voters haven't heard of it or have no opinion about it either way. Unless the backlash against Tea Party movement becomes substantially stronger than it is today, this strategy will not be very successful.

The second core element of the Democrat's strategy, to link the GOP to Bush, was flagged by David Broder two weeks ago in a piece in which he cited a Benenson Strategy Group (one of Obama's pollsters) polling memo suggesting that when voters hear Bush's name associated with the GOP economic plan they prefer Obama's plan by a good margin. When voters are read the broad outline of each plan, however, they tend to support the Republican proposal to shrink government, spend less and lower taxes. There is no doubt that Bush's brand is still tarnished, but it is still surprising to see the Democrats fall into the trap of waging the 2010 battle like it is still 2008. It might work, but since Bush has been privately living his life out of office for almost two years and probably will not even be doing the Sunday talk show circuit anytime before the elections (even though he is releasing his book), it's a stretch.

While Democrats are busy tying the GOP to "Tea Baggers" and Bush, Republicans will focus on linking Democratic congressional candidates to just one person: Barack Obama. The GOP strategy is pretty simple: remind likely voters that things have only gotten worse in the last 18 months since Obama and the Democrats have been running things and get those who are most upset with the current direction of the country to the polls in November. The GOP wants this election to be a referendum on Obama and Democrats in Congress. They have history on their side. Most off-year elections in a President's first term are a referendum on that President. This is especially true if the President's party is in the majority in Congress. The GOP message is very simple and straightforward: "if you are unhappy with the way things are now, vote for change." This approach, of course, has the benefit of being naturally aligned with the electorate's overall mood of dissatisfaction with the direction of the country and its politicians and institutions. If Republicans are successful, this will be the third consecutive "change election"--a first.

Of course there are myriad sub-messages that will be built within each party's political message frame, but for the most part these are likely to be the overarching themes. Time will tell us which is more effective.

Now let's take an up-to-the-minute snapshot of the current political and public opinion landscape:

  • The idea that POTUS is over-exposed is flat out wrong. The President's turn on "The View" was a smart PR move and important given that his approval rating with women has dropped 20 points in 12 months (it's hovering just above 50% at last check). Everyone inside the beltway will almost always think that Obama is overexposed, but for the rest of America his level of TV presence probably feels about right. Given the multiplicity of viewing options and news outlets (digital and traditional), it would be awfully hard for any President to be overexposed in this day and age. Having said that, there is something to be said about making sure you have some message discipline. Here, the administration has proven to be inconsistent. We have said for several months now that the President seems hell bent on covering every topic and policy issue out there. This problem is far more real for this administration than the claim that the President is over-exposed.


  • While the environmental impact of the Gulf oil spill may turn out to be less than previously feared, its impact on perceptions of government and the President has been enormous. Yes, to some extent it will be "out of sight, out of mind," and the massive use of dispersants while potentially bad for the environment...helps BP and the government because it takes the problem out of view. But for many voters, the image of a slow government reaction to the crisis from the beginning will linger in their minds and continue to hurt the President's ratings. There may be some improvement in the coming weeks in terms of public perceptions of the spill cleanup, but overall the crisis has hurt the Obama brand because it tarnished one of his key attributes (and one of his key differentiators from the previous administration): competence.


  • Don't buy the recent Democratic push-back spin that things might turn out alright in November. Things are, in fact, every bit as bad as they seem. Every available polling metric suggests a substantial "wave" election in the GOP's favor. The list is extensive:

    1. The GOP lead on the generic congressional ballot is about four points (our average of recent public and private polls);
    2. The President's approval rating is approximately 46% (not quite toxic but low enough to depress Democratic turnout and help put swing districts in the GOP column in November);
    3. Only 31% of voters believe the country is going in the "right direction";
    4. Partisan identification is running even or with Republicans slightly ahead in our national polls of registered voters. This almost never happens. Democrats usually have between a 4-8 point lead. In 2008, their lead was 10 points;
    5. Those most likely to vote this November are far more likely to be Republican than Democrat. Democrats have an intensity issue. Republicans and lean GOP voters are far more interested in the upcoming election than their Democratic counterparts; and,
    6. Voters are far more likely to say that it is "time to elect someone new" to congress than say that they are leaning toward "re-electing" current congressmen. This anti-incumbency sentiment is at its highest level since 1994.
  • The economy may in fact be heading into a double-dip recession and, even more importantly, consumer confidence is shot. Friday's government report on GDP was signaled a major blow to any hope that 2010 would be a turnaround year. The 2.4% GDP growth was weaker than expected, the weakest growth in a year. Additionally, the revised data for 2009 is now saying that it was the weakest annual economic growth for the U.S. since 1946. The economy is by far the number one issue in America today and a majority of voters (52% in the latest CBS News poll) say that Obama has spent "too little time" working on the issue. In the same poll, more than eight in ten believe that Obama's economic programs have either had no effect (63%) or actually hurt them personally (23%). Only 40% approved of the job the President is doing on the economy. Additionally, according to the Conference Board's consumer-confidence index, faith in the economy dropped in June and even further in July. The index is currently at 50.4. Generally consumer confidence is high when the unemployment rate is low (which it is not) and GDP growth is high (which it is not). So, while we have seen some improvement in confidence from its low in 2008, the last two months suggest consumer confidence is in fact dropping again.

  • At the time of this writing it is unclear whether Charlie Rangel will cut a deal and save his party from a trial/hearings in November, but if he does not the scandal is sure to be a drag on Democrats in the fall.

  • We continue to believe that while the political fallout from the Arizona immigration controversy may have long-term implications on perceptions of the political parties in Presidential cycles, the issue will have little impact in 2010. Immigration is the new "third rail" in politics and both parties could get burned. At this point, however, given the demographic growth of Hispanics, the GOP has the most to lose (literally and figuratively).

While the economy is the dominant issue on the minds of most voters, there several national that could emerge front and center in the coming months. Terrorism and national security are powerful issues that have at least temporarily moved lower on the national agenda but could re-emerge quite quickly. July was the deadliest month in the history of the Afghanistan war. While the military expected this, it does suggest that at some point the country may get "war fatigue" much like they did with Iraq. In other words, we are facing a very crowded, volatile issue agenda--so stay tuned.

Thanks to John Zirinsky and Peter Ventimiglia for their thoughts and insights. Follow us on Twitter @lcgpolling.


FL: 41% Crist, 30% Rubio, 12% Meek (NYTimes Newspapers 6/24-28)

Topics: Florida , poll

New York Times Newspapers (FL) / University of South Florida Polytechnic
7/24-28/10; 590 likely voters, 4% margin of error
243 likely Republican primary voters, 6% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Ledger: Governor, Senate)

Florida

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
41% Scott, 25% McCollum

2010 Governor: General Election
27% Sink (D), 26% McCollum (R), 12% Chiles (i) (chart)
30% Scott (R), 28% Sink (D), 11% Chiles (i)

2010 Senate: General Election
41% Crist (I), 30% Rubio (R), 12% Meek (D) (chart)
37% Crist (I), 29% Rubio (R), 16% Greene (D) (chart)


MN: 2010 Governor (StarTribune 7/26-29)

Topics: Minnesota , poll

Star Tribune / PSRA
7/26-29/10; 831 registered voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Star Tribune: Governor, Obama)

Minnesota

2010 Governor
40% Dayton (D), 30% Emmer (R), 13% Horner (I)
38% Kelliher (D), 29% Emmer (R), 135 Horner (I)
36% Entenza (D), 31% Emmer (R), 15% Horner (I)

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 44 / 44 (chart)


SC: 49% Haley, 35% Sheheen (Rasmussen 7/29)

Topics: poll , South Carolina

Rasmussen
7/29/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

South Carolina

2010 Governor
49% Haley (R), 35% Sheheen (D)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Nikki Haley: 66 / 25
Vincent Sheheen: 49 / 34

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 40/ 58
Gov. Sanford: 46 / 50


PA: 50% Corbett, 39% Onorato (Rasmussen 7/28)

Topics: Pennsylvania , poll

Rasmussen
7/28/10; 750 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Pennsylvania

2010 Governor
50% Corbett (R), 39% Onorato (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Tom Corbett: 54 / 31
Dan Onorato: 48 / 32


KY: 51% Paul, 43% Conway (WHAS/C-JB 7/27-29)

Topics: Kentucky , poll

SurveyUSA for WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass
7/27-29/10; 568 likely voters, 4.2% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
()

Nevada

2010 Senate
51% Paul (R), 43% Conway (D) (chart)


NV: 50% Sandoval, 31% Reid (LVRJ 7/26-28)

Topics: Nevada , poll

Mason-Dixon for Las Vegas Review Journal
7/26-28/10; 625 registered voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(LVRJ release)

Nevada

2010 Governor
50% Sandoval (R), 31% Reid (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Brian Sandovakl: 49 / 17
Rory Reid: 29 / 40


CO: 48% Romanoff, 45% Bennet (Denver Post 7/27-29)

Topics: Colorado , poll

SurveyUSA for Denver Post / 9News
7/27-29/10; 536 likely Democratic primary voters, 4.3% margin of error
588 likely Republican primary voters, 4.1% margin of error
1,015 registered voters, 3.1% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(SurveyUSA release)

Colorado

2010 Governor: Republican Primary
43% Maes, 39% McInnis

2010 Senate: Republican Primary
50% Buck, 41% Norton (chart)

2010 Senate: Democratic Primary
48% Romanoff, 45% Bennet (chart)

2010 Governor: General Election
50% Hickenlooper (D), 41% Maes (R)
48% Hickenlooper (D), 43% McInnis (R) (chart)
46% Hickenlooper (D), 24% Maes (R), 24% Tancredo (AC)
44% Hickenlooper (D), 26% Tancredo (AC), 25% McInnis (R)

2010 Senate: General Election
44% Buck (R), 44% Romanoff (D) (chart)
43% Buck (R), 43% Bennet (D) (chart)
45% Norton (R), 40% Romanoff (D) (chart)
46% Bennet (D), 43% Norton (R) (chart)

Which of the following Republicans would be the strongest Republican candidate for Governor? (n=732 registered Republicans)
33% Buck, 26% Norton, 13% Penry, 9% Benson, 6% Hillman


The skinny on obesity polling

Topics: GQR , Michelle Obama , Obesity

Obesity is of course frequently in the news, particularly with the First Lady's work.  And with anywhere between 60% to 80% of Americans overweight or obese, one doesn't have to follow the news to know it's a big issue.  But only recently are public polls--and Congress--exploring some of the potential policy remedies.  Below is a summary of recent public findings.

Americans view obesity, particularly among children, as a huge problem worthy of government investment.  A recent GQR survey for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found nearly three-fourths (73%) cite childhood obesity as an important government priority.  It's not just a problem, but something that deserves real attention and "investment" (i.e., spending).   Half said we should invest more in the problem right now, with only 37% arguing "we should wait until the economy improves."

And voters welcome tighter restrictions on companies & school nutrition.  The GQR survey showed clear support for a wide range of tighter restrictions on companies to help combat childhood obesity.  Posting calorie counts in fast food stores is unsurprisingly popular (73% favor).  And clear majorities favor higher nutrition standards for school lunches and vending machines (69% strong favor).  But even limits on advertising unhealthy food to children (66% favor) receive strong support from half of voters.   

But "taxes" on one's own food fall flat.  A CBS survey from earlier this year found a "special tax on junk food" to be quite unpopular (60% oppose).   NPR conducted a survey even more recently and found similar results.  This mirrors what we see a lot in policy polling--restrictions on others are more tolerable on than restrictions on oneself.

Perhaps because people tend to feel obesity is within someone's individual control.  Despite rising obesity rates, and increases in the percentage of people who say they are trying to lose weight, Americans overwhelmingly (89%) believe obesity "is something people can control."  And this poll for the University of Georgia shows few fault marketers for these trends. 

And when it comes to personal assessment, there are inconsistencies.  Far fewer parents describe their children as overweight or obese than we see in the actual population.  Specifically, the GQR poll showed even parents who volunteer their children's height and weight underreported whether they also view them as overweight or obese.  Similarly, this McClatchy-Ipsos poll shows far fewer reporting a personal obesity issue or one in their own family than is actually true among the population. 

With a child nutrition bill passing in the House and under debate in the Senate, Congress is taking some needed steps forward.  But we look forward to seeing more polling on other proposed ideas, such as  changing farm subsidies to reward growing healthy food, restricting what food stamps can purchase, minimizing food deserts, limiting ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, or giving health insurance breaks to people who lose weight and develop healthy habits.   The public seems ready for action.


CO: 41% Bennet, 37% Romanoff (Bennet 7/27-28)

Topics: Colorado , poll

Harstad Strategic Research (D) for Michael Bennet
7/27-28/10; 6060 likely Democratic primary voters, 4% margin of errpr
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Bennet release)

Colorado

2010 Senate: Democratic Primary
41% Bennet (D), 37% Romanoff (D) (chart)


 

MAP - US, AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY, PR