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US: National Survey (Economist 8/23-25)


Economist / YouGov
8/23-25/09; 1,000 adults, 4.9% margin of error
Mode: Internet
(Economist release)

National

Favorable / Unfavorable
Barack Obama: 49 / 45 (chart)
Nancy Pelosi: 25 / 53
Ted Kennedy: 43 / 41

Obama Job Approval
48% Approve, 45% Disapprove (chart)
Dems: 83 / 12 (chart)
Reps: 14 / 82 (chart)
Inds: 44 / 50 (chart)
Economy: 45 / 48 (chart)
Health Care: 41 / 51 (chart)

Congress Job Approval
14% Approve, 60% Disapprove (chart)

National House Ballot
41% Democrat, 38% Republican (chart)

State of the Country
32% Right direction, 54% Wrong track (chart)
Economy: 24% Getting better, 36% Getting worse (chart)

Do you favor or oppose having a "public option" which would allow individuals to purchase
health insurance coverage from the government?

43% Favor, 30% Oppose

 

Comments
Mick Walters:

Yet another poll favoring the public option. Any chance Congress will actually respond to the will of the people?

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starbase135:

Though this is an internet poll (which somewhat tend to lean Republican), those are some pretty ugly favorables for Obama. Until now his favorables have been about 10 points higher than his job approval rating...but now they seem to be tanking, too. It probably won't take long until he will have a negative net approval rating with other pollsters aside from Rasmussen.

Those low favorables for Kennedy are strange. Why did so many people have a negative opinion of a person battling brain cancer?

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Aaron_in_TX:

If you look at the crosstabs, that favorable number is misleading. Obama approval is measured in 3 ways: 1)favorable approval of individual (48.5%) also asked about 7 others including Hillary Clinton, Rush Limbaugh, Nancy Pelosi, etc... , 2)job approval (48.0%), and 3) personal likeability (63%).

The first two are basically the same question, and receive the same results.

The first question did not measure unfavorabilty. The second found 45.5% unfavorable and 6.7% undecided, the third 36.6% unfavorable and 13.8% undecided.

There seems to have been a significant shift in approval among the groups that supported Obama the most (minorities, young people) one step downward, and a strong shift in likeability to the unsure category.

I sense this is a mix of hardened opposition from those who never supported Obama in 2008 and disappointment from his strongest backers. It does seem that there is about 35% who's negative opinion has more or less solidified. I expect Obama will have serious trouble ever getting much higher than 60 ever again. It will take some sort of foriegn policy triumph or good response to an emergency to get him back to his old numbers of 61-65. The domestic and spending issues are just too divisive.

That said, this poll had a D/R/I split of 35/25/29. It seemed like the sample of independents leaned conservative, probably tilting the poll slightly lower for Obama. However, I feel that Obama's approval is in the 47-53 range anyway, so this represents the lower end of his range.

It was also "general population," not likely voters or anything.

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Aaron_in_TX:

The various questions on health care a very interesting too. Most people seem to acknowledge the problems in health care (pre-existing conditions, etc...) and feel the bill will fix them, but also mostly believe the negative information that has been bandied about this month.

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Stephen_W:

starbase, Republicans have been whipped up into such a frenzy of panic, hate and distrust, that pretty much anyone with a (D) by their names is working with a 30% disapprove/unfavorable rating, without even counting Indies and Dems. I don't find the Kennedy numbers too strange though, he's been a target of the GOP since the 60s.

As for the "public option" debate, as long as it's about policy and the idea of it being a choice, more people support it than oppose. Which is why opposition to the public option is mainly about distorting what the program really is, or scaring seniors into thinking their precious Medicare will be gutted and they will be left do die. That Republicans have suddenly become a champion of Medicare is one of the most laughable things I've ever seen.

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Aaron_in_TX:

I think you're on to something, Stephen. The unfavorable numbers among republicans are almost all "strongly disapprove." But the approval numbers are more or less unchanged from Obama's 2008 numbers among that group. Democrats and independents have moved a lot into the "somewhat disapprove" category. This poll left a lot of grey area for people to choose.

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starbase135:

Questions #46 and #47 are IMO desastrous. Only 36 percent think Obama is honest, only 15 that he is religious, only 29 that he is patriotic, only 32 that he is in-touch and so on... . 34 percent believe him to be very liberal, another 15 perceive him as somewhat liberal.

Whis this kind of numbers numbers he would be rather vulnerable in 2012. Sarah Palin alone could trump him by a mile in terms of whether voters believe that she is honest, religious, patriotic or in-touch.

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Stephen_W:

Yeah, I think that's right Aaron. Nice breakdown of the poll btw. And starbase, wow, those really are horrible numbers! I suspect (or at least hope) that the Obama camp is well aware of how fast the dynamics are changing, and have a long term strategy in place to change that).

Priority number one though, for him and the party, is getting the healthcare debate back on track. He's not going to be able to move forward on anything else until something substantive is passed here, and Republicans understand that better than anyone. Too bad they've chosen a political win over actually accomplishing anything substantive in reforming healthcare.

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Stillow:

The Kennedy numbers I am surprised are that good. He was not exactly a role model of good behavior. He was close to being an alcoholic, he was a womanizer...not to mention the incident back in the 60's with poor Mary Joe. Plus he was seen as the iconic ultra liberal which most of the country is not. So I am sure his favorable being that hih is due in part to his battle with cancer and is generating some sympathy.

All in all not good numbers for the prez. Still losing the indy's, approval is under 50. For al lthe flak you guys give Rassmussen, he seems to have been right on for awhile now...everyoen else is now where he is, at 50. Gallup has him at 50 today which is a new low water mark for him at Gallup....so it appears Rass had this right before everyone else who is finally catching up....except for some of the networks, but they are so far in the tank for Obama I am not sure they even do the polls, they just put numbers together for fun.

@Stephen_W:

I see your still stuck on those left wing fringe attacks on those opposing some of the reforms libs want. Damn those 80 year old ladies and their racist ways!!! Damn those people vandalizing Dem offices........oooops! Those are liberal radicals doing that, sorry!

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starbase135:

@Stillow: I have never been a big fan of Kennedy, especially not after he endorsed Obama instead of Hillary. But to judge Kennedy so overwhelmingly for what he did 20 or even 40 years ago, is absolutely wrong. Of course, he was flawed - everybody is - but that does not change the fact that he did tremendous good in this country.

I have no idea whether you know how incredibly terrible and agonizing it is to suffer from a glioblastoma, as Kennedy did, but to basically attack somebody who just died from one, is kind of distasteful.

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saywhat90:

If I were President Obama's staff I wouldnt worry about this at all. Politicians need to stop worrying about opinion polls all the time. What Pres. Obama needs to do is worry about fulfilling the agenda he set forth in his campaign.

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saywhat90:

I think it is in poor taste for this pollster to even have Ted Kennedy on the list.

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starbase135:

@saywhat90: We live in an age with 24/7 media coverage, daily polls and spinning. An administration can no longer sit out bad approval ratings. If you don't push against them, you lose.

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Stillow:

@starbase135

Who is attacking? I gave a valid opinion on why his favorables are so low. He was not all that popular nationwide. And what you view as doing good, most people don't see it that way. He was a big g'ment liberal and to his credit he always stuck to his guns. But he was not a very good role model as I said, just because he passed away doesn't suddenly change the facts.

I had both my brothers die of cancer in there late 30's.....so ya I know a little soemthing about dealing with it. Its always sad when someone passes, but when they do there life must be viewed in full context.

There's no doubt Teddy was a great politican, a fighter for liberal causes....both sides will miss him i nthe Senate, but that said, his life and the things he was and was not should be viewed in full context and in its entirety.

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Bigmike:

This is not a comment either way about the late Sen. Kennedy. Just an observation of the reality of the present situation.

As long as that seat is open, the Dems do not have 60% of the Senate and cannot stop a filibuster by themselves. 59 of 99 is less than 60%.

MA law requires a special election 145-160 days after a seat becomes vacant. The MA legislature took away the power for the Governor to appoint a replacement when Romney was in office.

No doubt when an election is held, the seat will be safely back in Dem hands. But until that happens, there is an extra brake on the Obama train.

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saywhat90:

I disagree Starbase. Approval ratings should not dictate what is done by government. If you truly believe in something then do it. Opinion polls and approval ratings have made our government wusses. Noone no longer run based on their principles but on what they think people want to hear. It's pathetic. I have more respect for Cheney than I have for any current politician becuase at least he had balls to stick to his conviction and damn the approval ratings. Bush too. He got reelected and his approval was in the 40's that year. But oh well we'll see if Obama starts to grow a pair.

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IdahoMulato:

I agree intoto woth saywhat90. I don't think Obama should be worried about these poll numbers. The elctions were over since Nov. 4 2008. Obama outlined what he will do as prez and was voted for. He should damn these polls and go ahead with his plans.

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Stephen_W:

Idaho and saywhat, I'd be careful with that kind of thinking. It's exactly how Bush and Cheney approached running the country, and look where it got us. Long term budget deficits, two wars (one of which was completely baseless), and the idea that it's okay to torture people, as long as they're "terrorists." To them, American exceptionalism was interchangeable with jingoism, and it made us the most unpopular nation around the world in just less than a decade.

While I don't agree with legislating based on polling, you do have to take them into account. As Obama has said before, he's President of the United States, not just the blue states that voted for him, something Bush never understood with his 50+1 (divide and conquer) strategy. He's trying to build a coalition that will last, while Republicans are trying to move their party as far to the right as possible. That he's largely avoided attacking Republicans is a testament to his long term vision. Contrary to the posts from Stillow, there's still such a thing as a moderate Republican, they're just called Indies now.

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Stillow:

@Stephen_W:

Your comments are coming more and more fro mthe fringe.......just be careful not to fall off out there.

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Xenobion:

9/10 for trying to be the arbiter for the silent majority.

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