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US: National Survey (ABC/Post 10/15-18)


ABC News / Washington Post
10/15-18/09; 1,004 adults, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
ABC: story, results, Iran blog post, Iran results;
Post: story, results, Iran blog post

National

Obama Job Approval
57% Approve, 40% Disapprove (chart)
Economy: 50 / 48 (chart)
Health care: 48 / 48 (chart)
Iran: 52 / 39

State of the Country
44% Right Direction, 54% Wrong Track (chart)

2010 House: Generic Ballot
51% Democratic candidate, 39% Republican candidate (chart)

Party ID
33% Democrat, 20% Republican, 42% independent (chart)

Obama has been president for about nine months. Would you say he has accomplished a great deal during that time, a good amount, not very much or little or nothing?
49% Great deal/Good amount, 50% Not much/Little or nothing

Overall, given what you know about them, would you say you support or oppose the proposed changes to the health care system being developed by Congress and the
Obama administration?

45% Support, 48% Oppose (chart)

Would you support or oppose having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans?
57% Support, 40% Oppose

Which of these would you prefer - a plan that includes some form of government sponsored health insurance for people who can't get affordable private insurance, but is approved without support from Republicans in Congress; or a plan that is approved with support from Republicans in Congress, but does not include any form of government-sponsored health insurance for people who can't get affordable private insurance?
51% Prefer government-sponsored insurance, 37% Prefer Republican support

Medicare is the government health insurance program for people 65 and over. Do you think health care reform would strengthen the Medicare program, weaken Medicare orhave no effect on it?
8% Strengthen, 43% Weaken, 31% No effect

To try to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, would you support or oppose...

Direct diplomatic talks between the United States and Iran to try to resolve the situation:
82% Support, 18% Oppose

Offering Iran financial incentives such as aid money, or more trade, if it abandons any effort to develop nuclear weapons:
30% Support, 67% Oppose

Imposing international economic sanctions against Iran:
78% Support, 18% Oppose

The United States bombing Iran's nuclear development sites:
42% Support, 54% Oppose

Invading with U.S. forces to remove the Iranian government from power:
33% Support, 62% Oppose

 

Comments
Brad Forsythe:

Excellent poll for Obama. But, I thought the sky was falling?

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Speedo Bandit:

Too bad ABC polls are a freaking joke. They might as well have a poll out conducted by Obama himself.

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Brad Forsythe:

Speedo Bandit:

Which polls are good? Last week, Stillow berated the CBS poll, too. Is it like this? High Obama approval=Bad Poll. Low Obama approval=Excellent Poll.

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Speedo Bandit:

I'm sure you think Rasmussen is a joke because you just praised an ABC poll, so how about Gallup which is one point away from Obama's all-time low right now at 51%. ABC and CBS polls are so predictable. They are always well higher than all the other polls. Are you not seeing a trend from their polls compared to almost every other poll over and over.

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Brad Forsythe:

Gallup polls are fine, but they wobble all over the place. It was at 54 a couple days ago, and will likely be there again soon. I discredit Rasmussen because they're more interested in driving a narrative, than providing good polling data.

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IdahoMulato:

@Speedo Bandit
So what do you consider a good poll? It seems any poll that has bad numbers is considered a good poll by your goodself. All major polls are showing uptick in Obama's numbers. I've said it here and other plcaes that everything is tied to the economy. Now the Dow is over 10,000 and moving up. Wall St looks like fixed now. We're now waiting for Main St in terms of jobs. Anybody who has studied economics or understands the relationship between the DOW and employment, knows that usually employment is a lagging indicator. I believe that by mid-2010, when the job situation would have been fixed, all these numbers wilkl go up to somewhere in mid 60.

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The Moderator:

@ Speedo

Sorry, my man. I realize it's tough to cope with the cognitive dissonance - you think Obama is a failure, but since your minority opinion is not held by the general public (or, at least the random samples that are representative of the general public) you look for ways to justify the disconnect, such as dismissing the polling organization. WaPo/ABC polls have a good reputation (even Republican pollsters will agree with this, based on my personal communication with some of these folks). Thus, you're going to have to come up with a better defense of why you think this poll is somehow flawed, because right now your seething rage is blocking an actual argument.

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sasha:

Speedo look at the internals...Obama is 55% with indes..how slanted is it when Obama is gaining support with Indes and losing with liberals....You+thinking=fail

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Brad Forsythe:

I wonder if Charlie Cook will consider this another "outlier".

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Speedo Bandit:

Why is that ABC and CBS are always way higher than Gallup,Rasmussen,Marist,Quinnipiac,Marist,The Economist,Zogby,Fox,Harris,and basically every other polling organization. Sasha, keep drinking the Kool-aid.

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Speedo Bandit:

Oops, I said Marist twice. Here come the insults.

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Brad Forsythe:

Speedo Bandit:

Why is Rasmussen always lower than the rest?

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Speedo Bandit:

He polls likely voters,while Gallup polls adults. Look at any poll that polls even registered voters and the numbers are always lower for Obama. Go look at the numbers on this site, all the polls in the high 50's are polls of adults, which favor Obama. Many of those have no intention of showing up to vote.

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Brad Forsythe:

Speedo Bandit:

For job approval, wouldn't it make more sense to poll all adults? Whether a person votes or not, Obama is still their president and can form an opinion about the job he's doing.

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sasha:

Speedo

Again riddle me this. The internals say Indes 40 or so in Voter ID Dems 33% and Repubs 20%...when it comes to who would you vote for in the next election you have 51-39% Dems over Repubs(which makes sense since there are more Dems) but if you poll indes alone...its much closer 45-41% Dems so if you can believe this which seems plausible why can't Obama be at 55% approval with the same Indes..again You +thinking=fail I always find it amusing that Rasmussen more than any other poll had Bush jr performing better ~30% or so...than other polls which had him at 20-25%

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Speedo Bandit:

Not in my opinion. Those people are of no consequence because they will never get off the couch and vote. When people look at polls they are trying to get a gauge on the next election cycle. People want to know what voters think not just some guy who runs his mouth but never takes the time to put in a vote for who he supports. I have a friend who talks bad about politicians all the time and claims to be a conservative, but he has never voted in his life.

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Speedo Bandit:

Sasha, you are a walking cliche. Everytime someone disagrees with a liberal they start with the personal insults. I don't care what the internals of the polls say, it is garbage. There is no way that Obama has a 57% approval rating. He only got 53% of the vote last November.

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Wong:

These numbers look solid for an all adult model. The President still enjoys widespread public support. He's a very likable guy and one has to think that his numbers will continue to inch up as the economy improves.

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Brad Forsythe:

Speedo Bandit:

By that logic, Bush's approval rating never could have gotten above 49% for his first four years in office... and Clinton's never could have gone past 49% in his entire eight years in office.

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Speedo Bandit:

Brad, I don't think it is logical because his policies have been very aggressive towards the left. There is no way his policies have shifted middle of the road voters in his favor. Most polls show that his support is well below 57%, but I give up. Believe what you want if it makes you feel good. There will be more polls everyday showing his numbers much lower than this poll.

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sasha:

Brad, you so nailed Speedo...If you looked at the trajectory Obama was at 52% in September polling...did you have any problem with this poll Speedo? And why would it matter who is a likely voter or not? They are not polling a horse race? They are saying do you approve of the work the pres is doing? SO I don't understand your rationale that is poll is an outlier because the people who approve would never go to the polls...they are not asking them who they would vote for..I remember post 9/11 Bush was at 90 or so..but I don't remember a landslide in 2000

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Speedo Bandit:

I didn't say it was an an outlier. I am saying ABC is completely in the tank for Obama.
They have no intention of putting out any poll right now that will hurt their own agenda and the same goes for CBS. Anyway, at least Brad seems reasonable. Sasha, you just seem like the typical liberal with insults and probably a Che poster on your wall.

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Speedo Bandit:

I didn't say it was an an outlier. I am saying ABC is completely in the tank for Obama.
They have no intention of putting out any poll right now that will hurt their own agenda and the same goes for CBS. Anyway, at least Brad seems reasonable. Sasha, you just seem like the typical liberal with insults and probably a Che poster on your wall.

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sasha:

Yes, I have a Che Poster next to my Mao is God poster but not completely obstructing my Hitler was right lamp..and I'm the one hurling insults. All I am saying is that if you are looking at Independents and dispensing of Dems and Reps because they are predictable..Obama is at 55%...if you agree that this is a center right nation...then I don't understand how this rationale does not hold true by this poll....the majority of Dems are left or far left..the majority of the Reps are Southerners and very conservative while the Indes are moderate Dems and Reps..and if we say how the indes vote determines the mood of this country..I don't understand your beef with this rationale...It is more than plausible that the Indies cannot stand Pelosi, Reid et al...thats why its closer for Congressional races 45-41% Dems over Reps but for Obama its 55% with Indes meaning about 30-35% for Reps...And you call me partisan just as I am not in bed with MSNBC I urge you to hop out of the bed with FOX

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Speedo Bandit:

Should I watch CNN? I can watch them fact check SNL skits or I can watch Olbermann act like a lunatic ready to kill somebody. Should I watch Katie Couric with her hard hitting jouralism. Maybe I can watch Brian Williams lick Obama's boots or maybe Charles Gibson who was completely unaware of the Acorn scandal. Tell me who to watch Sasha.

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sasha:

You can watch Scooby Doo for Market tips for all I care that still does not change the fact that you have not rebutted my earlier post...I await your rebuttal

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Speedo Bandit:

My rebuttal is that the independents in that poll don't match the numbers in most other polls. I have a serious distrust of ABC and CBS polls from what I have seen since Obama has been president and before. I can predict when they are about to put out a poll a good 5 or 6 points higher than most other polls. They are clearly trying to cover Obama from the falling numbers in many other polls. Surely I can't be the first person you have came across with a hard time believing anything put out by these organizations. Anita Dunn admitted on tape that the Obama administration contolled the media.

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sasha:

This is my last convo with you...but funny how you cherry pick polls of Independents...ok......and by the way the point of Anita Dunn statement was how they did not and could not control the media so they went around it..kinda like your folk hero Sarah "go around the filter of the mainstream media" palin..G'night and have a nice life

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tjampel:

Makes little sense to argue individual polls when we can take the mean of hundreds of them and look at the movement based on that. Sure this poll generally represents the high end and Ras the low end (even if Ras were to only look at adults the numbers would be lower for Obama). Other polls such as Gallup tend to be more in the middle.

The individual permutations shouldn't bother us nor should the peculiarities and distortions of individual polls get in the way of being able to interpret the results.

The problem here and in the blogosphere, generally is that, being ruled by a 24/7 news cycle, each little hiccup is magnified, as if it's the defining moment/crisis/pinnacle, whatever of Obama's Presidency.

Looking at the President's approval ratings since Sept 1, they are virtually flat; slightly higher now than on Sept 1 with a few oscillations. Basically he's in a narrow range between 51-54 approval and 42-45 disapproval. In the last week or so he's been at about 52/43, so 57/40 is probably a little high...duhhhh.

Kind of makes a lot more sense to say "Obama's been holding pretty steady (with a few minor ups and downs) over the past couple of months. These are very good ratings given the state of the job market, deficit, and the not-yet-recovered economy.

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Mike Chase:

I always enjoy the debate on this site, as it is usually both civil and intelligent. It seems, in reading this and other spaces, consistency is the key with a poll, not a given number in space. Rasmussen may have a conservative tilt, but a correct picture of the trend of a mood or topic can be read from it. The same can be said of other polls from "mainstream" media outlets. My question to Speedo is this; if Obama is a radical (possibly communist), then what motivation does any profit-seeking privately owned network have to be "in the tank" for him? As I recall, TASS was it in the U.S.S.R.

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Mike Chase:

Something else of interest on the ABC as "in the tank" discussion....the last cycle I find for the ABC/Post poll was 09/10-11/09. ABC showed the same number for disapprove and was lower by a point than the "OnMessage" poll conducted at the same time. OnMessage is a GOP poll I believe. Also, I have never heard of the Post being "in the tank" for Obama, and I can't help but wonder if that means we are presupposing that they have no influence on a poll with their name on it.

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BillOhio:

While I agree, arguing about an individual number in an individual poll is silly, I do have one observation.

I actually prefer the more broad polls at this point, three years out from 2012. Any likely voter model used today will exclude those who will be 18-20 year olds who might vote in 2012. While "young voters 19-29" only made up 18% of the electorate they voted for Obama 66/31. Those are the very voters usually excluded from "likely" voter models.

In the end, if you told a President they could be in the 8th year of two wars, have 10% unemployment, have passed bailouts for banks and be in the middle of a huge health care reform fight and maintain a 51-54ish approval rating, most would say, "where do I sign up?"

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abraxaf:

Considering the state of the economy, and near 10% unemployment, Obama's approval ratings have been quite robust. To bring up one example, when unemployment had risen to the same level (9.8%) in 1982, Reagan's approval rating was in the low 40s, not the low 50s. We all know what happened when that turned back around.

The real worry for Obama is that from what I can gather, many economists are predicting a much slower recovery in the jobs market than in a typical recession. If the unemployment rate simply flatlines for a while or inches down but very slowly, Obama will be in big trouble even if overall GDP grows significantly.

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tjampel:

Obama's ratings are going down eventually; the question is when and how fast. He knows that; which is why he's trying to get anything and everything he can get now, while the going is still good. He does have political capital, and it won't last.

The economy is still in the tank with respect to job creation. With credit still incredibly tight (because the bailed out financial institutions that loan are still bleeding money, and the others,who are making a killing now, are doing so by investing now, not lending) I see a very long 2 year recovery, which will hurt Democrats in the 2010 cycle, no doubt, even if the Stimulus bill kept things from getting much worse (and I think it did). The real question I have is whether unemployment will even be below 9% a year from now. 8.5% might look really good by the next election cycle. (but people have only limited patience and eventually Obama is going to get blamed for some of the stagnation).

It may be a blessing for Dems that the Stimulus bill saves most of its spending for the first 3 quarters of next year. That's not purely a political device either. It takes time to shepherd projects along to the "shovel ready" state. Many of them are still in the bidding process right now. The actual work crews won't be hired till early next year, and this should put a million or so people back to work and move unemployment down a full point due to collateral effects in suppliers for these industries. For example a lot of green energy projects are still being spec'd out; once they ramp up they'll need a lot of raw materials for windmills, solar panels, wire, generator parts, batteries, and the like.

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BillOhio:

Want to talk about the "news" from this poll. Fewer people identified themselves as republican than at any time in the history of WP polling. Not sure the block no voting is having the intended outcome for the GOP.

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