The Fix: Polling

Why you shouldn’t pay any attention to debt ceiling numbers right now

Why you shouldn’t pay any attention to debt ceiling numbers right now

SIREN: A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll shows that twice as many people oppose raising the debt ceiling as support it!!!

Before the political machine gets itself too wound up over this data point, let’s make one thing clear: this polling question should not be taken as evidence of much of anything just yet.

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How Twitter could predict elections: A rebuttal

How Twitter could predict elections: A rebuttal

On Monday, The Post's op-ed page ran a piece on "How Twitter can help predict an election" suggesting campaigns no longer need pollsters. It lit up the polling world. (We also took a look at the study here on The Fix.) Rob Santos, the president of The American Association for Public Opinion Research and a senior statistician at the Urban Institute weighs in below with a rebuttal.

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No, it's not a push poll

No, it's not a push poll

Republicans are crying foul over a Public Policy Polling survey that finds Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes tied in a hypothetical 2014 Senate matchup.

Two things are true: 1. McConnell is probably not as vulnerable as this poll might suggest. 2. it's not a push poll, as some Republicans have alleged.

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The GOP's confidence gap over the deficit, in 3 charts

The GOP's confidence gap over the deficit, in 3 charts

The question of whether Democrats and Republicans can reach a broad long-term deficit reduction deal remains an open one. For now though, it's notable that polling shows the public has more confidence in President Obama to deal with the deficit than it does in Republican congressional leaders.

A new Pew Research Center survey released Thursday shows that more than half (53 percent) of Americans said they have at least a fair amount of confidence in Obama when it comes to the deficit. By comparison, only 39 percent said the same thing about GOP congressional leaders; and only 45 percent said the same thing about congressional Democratic leaders:

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Repealing Obamacare is a nonstarter, but many Americans don't like the law

Repealing Obamacare is a nonstarter, but many Americans don't like the law

When Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) introduces his new budget blueprint Tuesday, the plan will promote the repeal of President Obama's signature health-care law. While the prospect of reversing the law is a legislative nonstarter, it's worth noting that polling shows a substantial percentage of Americans don't like the measure.

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Why it's too soon to declare the end of Obama's post-election honeymoon

Why it's too soon to declare the end of Obama's post-election honeymoon

Polling data released in recent days suggested that President Obama's post-election honeymoon may well have come to an end. But a review of a wide cross-section of polling conducted over the last few months suggests it's too early to declare Obama the honeymoon over just yet.

Here's the bottom line: There are data points that should worry the president and his top advisers. But across the board, his numbers haven't exactly dive-bombed.

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Why the debate over tax revenue isn't over

Why the debate over tax revenue isn't over

The debate over new tax revenue is dead. Long live the debate over new tax revenue.

That more or less sums up the respective positions Republicans and Democrats have staked out in the related fiscal battles over the required spending cuts known as the sequester, the budget, and deficit reduction. When it comes to the American people, the debate is far from settled, with deep divides mirroring the ones that have seized Washington.

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Why Obama shouldn't expect a big State of the Union polling bounce

Why Obama shouldn't expect a big State of the Union polling bounce

President Obama can reasonably expect a lot of things after he delivers his State of the Union address tonight, but a substantial polling bounce isn't one of them.

A look at recent history shows that presidents Obama included simply don't move the public's opinion about them all that much with their annual speeches before a joint session of Congress.

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The remarkable similarities between the first terms of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton -- in 5 charts

The remarkable similarities between the first terms of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton -- in 5 charts

President Obama's first term is now history.

Which raises the question: How did the public view his first four years in office? A lot like they way they viewed Bill Clinton, according to one metric.

Obama's first-term average approval rating was just over 49 percent, according to data from Gallup. Compared to all post-World War II presidents Gallup tracked, Obama's 49.1 percent average most closely resembled Bill Clinton's 49.6 percent number.

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A post-convention bounce for Elizabeth Warren?

A post-convention bounce for Elizabeth Warren?

Elizabeth Warren is back. And she may have the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte to thank for shoring up support among Democrats and supporters of President Obama.

A Suffolk University poll released late Monday night was the third survey in as many days that showed the Democratic Senate candidate either leading slightly or running neck and neck with Sen. Scott Brown (R) after a summer in which the Republican appeared to have most of the momentum in the race.

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People want smaller government — and they think Mitt Romney does too

People want smaller government — and they think Mitt Romney does too

Mitt Romney will accept the Republican presidential nomination this week not only with a significant advantage in campaign cash but also a philosophical leg up on President Obama: Most Americans in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll want a shrunken federal government, and most believe Romney wants that too.

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No immigration bounce for President Obama

President Obama’s announcement of his support for relaxed enforcement of immigration laws on young illegal immigrants has not provided any lift for him on the issue according to the new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

His approval rating on dealing with immigration issues is no better (nor worse) than it was two years ago, and he runs evenly with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on who people trust to handle the issue. Fewer than one in five voters — 18 percent — say immigration is an extremely important issue in their vote.

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The amazing number of people who know nothing about the health-care ruling

One of the most common mistakes made in political reporting is to assume that average voter is following the daily news cycle as closely as we are. He or she isn’t.


This Oct. 8, 2010, photo shows the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court at the Supreme Court. Seated from left are Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Standing from left are Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito Jr. and Elena Kagan. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
The latest poll numbers from the Pew Research Center on the Supreme Court’s decision on President Obama’s health-care law are (yet another) affirmation of that fact.

Forty-five percent — yes 45 percent! — of respondents in the Pew poll either didn’t know what the court had done in regards the health care law (30 percent) or thought that the court had rejected most of the provisions of the law (15 percent).

Let’s just make sure we are all clear: Forty-five percent of people didn’t know about or were misinformed about the most highly publicized Supreme Court case since — at least — Bush v. Gore in 2000 that dealt with the landmark legislative accomplishment of Obama’s first term in office. That is staggering stuff.

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Poll: Obama, Romney lack clear plans for nation

Majorities of Americans say neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney has a clear plan to fix the nation’s problems, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday, a signal that neither candidate has made a successful case to be president in 2013.


FILE - In 2012 file photos President Barack Obama, left, Talks to reporters in Washington on June 8 and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 14 (AP Photo/Scott Applewhite, left, and Evan Vucci, file)
Fifty-nine percent of the public says Obama, who has been in office more than three years, lacks a clear plan to fix the country’s problems. Slightly fewer, 53 percent, say the same of Romney.

And, the problems for both candidates go deeper than that. Even as both outline their vision on the campaign trail, many Americans will be leery of trusting them: Six in 10 say Obama and Romney each change their positions on issues for political reasons.

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Why people hate Congress — in one chart

Congressional approval has resided in used car salesman/reporter/trial lawyer territory for the better part of the last few years as members of the House and Senate are increasingly regarded as out-of-touch by the men and women who elect them.

The growing sense in the country is that Members of Congress get special treatment, treatment not available to the average Joe. And, according to a Washington Post series called “Capitol Assets”, they do.

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President Obama’s mythical black voter problem — in three charts

A new North Carolina poll conducted by the automated pollster (and Democratic affiliated) Public Policy Polling has set the political world on its head — suggested that not only has former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney made up significant ground on President Obama in the swing state but that the incumbent is losing roughly one in every five black voters in the Tarheel State.

Here’s the problem: There’s no evidence — outside of this single PPP poll — that Obama is suffering any significant erosion among African American voters.

The story of Obama’s continued — and sustained — strength in the black community can be told in three charts, all of which examine Washington Post-ABC News polling conducted over the first three-plus years of Obama’s presidency. (HUGE thanks to the Post polling team for building out these charts; do yourself a favor and follow them on Twitter @postpolls.)

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Obama’s ‘08 economic advantage disappears

Roughly four in 10 voters assess the economic proposals offered by President Obama and Mitt Romney favorably in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, a sharp contrast to the wide lead the incumbent enjoyed over John McCain on the issue in the 2008 presidential race.

In the latest Post-ABC poll, 43 percent of voters express favorable opinions about Obama’s economic agenda, while 40 percent say the same of Romney.

Compare that relative parity on economic plans to the 20-point edge Obama held over McCain in a 2008 election eve poll, and you begin to grasp the challenge before Obama when it comes to winning the economic argument this fall.

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Partisanship doesn’t seem worse. It is worse.

Partisanship in America is at a 25-year high, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, with the majority of that movement to the two ideological extremes coming in just the last decade.


MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 01: Supporters of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett attend a Get Out The Vote Rally for Barrett who is trying to unseat Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a recall election on June 1, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
In 1999, the average percentage point difference between Republicans and Democrats on 48 values question in Pew polling was 11 percent. (In 1997, it was just a nine-percent difference.) By 2012, that difference had soared to 18 points.

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Gay marriage? Bullying? Voters don’t care.

Gay marriage? Bullying? Voters don’t care.

The political world has been consumed in recent weeks by President Obama’s decision to come out in support of same-sex marriage and by a Washington Post story detailing allegations of high school bullying by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney .

And what sort of reaction have these two major stories elicited from the voting public? In a word: “Eh”.

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Why the 2012 election will be the closest since Bush vs Gore

Why the 2012 election will be the closest since Bush vs Gore

The 2012 presidential election is going to be close. Very close. Incredibly close. Like Al-Gore-vs-George-W.-Bush close.

A review of the last year’s worth of national polling conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News makes clear that not only is the electorate almost equally divided between President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney but people are also equally split on which of the two men is better equipped to handle the economy, which, of course, is the only issue that matters to a majority of voters.

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President Obama’s tough sales job on the economy

Public opinion on President Obama’s top economic accomplishments during his first term in office is strongly divided in new polling done by the Washington Post and ABC News — a split that reflects the difficulty he will have running this fall solely on the strength of what he has done in office to improve the country’s financial standing.


People line-up to enter a fundraising event for President Obama on Thursday in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Forty-seven percent of registered voters have a favorable opinion of Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus package, while 49 percent view it unfavorably. Forty-eight percent of registered voters regard increased regulation of the financial sector by the Obama Administration favorably, while 45 percent see it unfavorably.

The bailout of the auto industry is the most popular of the trio of economic accomplishments, with 49 percent of registered voters viewing it favorably as opposed to 44 percent who rate it unfavorably.

That none of Obama’s major economic proposals garner majority support has to be worrisome for the president and his political team, who recognize that the incumbent’s stewardship of the economy will be the critical issue for many undecided voters in this election.

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Why it’s better to be in state government than federal government — in one chart

Why it’s better to be in state government than federal government — in one chart

It’s conventional wisdom these days in politics that serving in state government (as a governor, ideally) is a better launching pad to national political office than serving in the federal government. Now we have some empirical evidence that it’s true.

New data from the Pew Research Center — we heart them here at the Fix — shows that over the last ten years, the favorable rating of the federal government has plummeted while remaining remarkably steady for state and local governments.

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Mitt Romney is the momentum candidate. But why?

It’s official: Mitt Romney is the momentum candidate in the presidential race.

The Gallup daily tracking polling has shown him up three and five points on President Obama over the last two days. A CBS/New York Times survey released this morning showed the race tied at 46 percent. And a Pew Research Center poll pegged Obama’s lead over Romney at four points, down from a 12-point bulge last month.

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The 5 things you need to know in the Wisconsin exit polls

The 5 things you need to know in the Wisconsin exit polls

Mitt Romney’s win in the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday night effectively sealed the Republican presidential nomination for the former Massachusetts governor.

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Can the White House win on health care?

Can the White House win on health care?

The assumption in the professional political world has long been that, if President Obama wants to win a second term in November, he should talk as little as possible about the health care bill that he signed into law two years ago.

Polling suggested — and continues to suggest — that the American public is unfavorably inclined to the law; in a Washington Post-ABC survey earlier this month, 41 percent supported the law while 52 percent opposed it

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Voters to GOP candidates: We don’t like any of you

The four remaining Republican presidential candidates are viewed unfavorably by large swaths of the American public, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll — a sobering reminder for the party that the extended primary season has damaged the brand.
Republican presidential candidates Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, left, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, second from right, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, right, watch as former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during a Republican presidential debate Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, in Mesa, Ariz. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Among independent voters, who are widely seen as the critical swing voting bloc in the fall election, none of the four candidates is regarded favorably by even 40 percent of the sample.

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Republicans’ authenticity problem

Republicans’ authenticity problem

A bare majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents see former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as willing to say what they actually believe, according to a new Washington Post-ABC-News poll.

Call it the authenticity gap.

Just 52 percent of Republicans in the survey say they can rely on Gingrich either a “great deal”(21 percent) or a “good amount” (31 percent) to “say what he really believes.” The numbers are even less encouraging for Romney, with just 16 percent saying they feel they can rely on him “a great deal” to voice his actual opinions and 35 percent saying they trust him a “good amount” to speak his mind.

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Republicans blah on GOP presidential field

Republicans blah on GOP presidential field

Just one in five Republican primary voters described the 2012 presidential field as “strong”in a new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, the latest piece of evidence that the current crop of GOP candidates aren’t lighting their own party on fire just yet.

In the NBC-WSJ survey, 51 percent of respondents said their field was “average” (roughly equal to their candidate choices in past elections) while 27 percent said it was “weaker” than past GOP slates.

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2012 Republicans rated less ‘acceptable’ than 2008 slate

New Gallup polling shows just two GOP presidential candidates are rated as acceptable nominees to face President Obama by a majority of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, while the rest of the crop are all rated as unacceptable.

But perhaps the most interesting nugget of data is just how unacceptable even the most acceptable Republicans are.


Mitt Romney speaks to supporters and volunteers during a rally in Manchester, N.H. over the weekend. (Jim Cole/Associated Press, File)

According to the poll, 62 percent of respondents rated former House speaker Newt Gingrich as an acceptable GOP nominee, while 54 percent rated former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as acceptable.

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A fracture between tea party and Republican party?

A fracture between tea party and Republican party?

As the tea party rose to political prominence in 2010, it became abundantly clear that the vast majority of those who identified themselves as members of the movement also saw themselves as Republicans.

The tea party then was best understood in that election not as the early stirring of a third party but rather a different way of describing the smaller government, lower taxes adherents that had been a part of the GOP coalition for ages.

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Herman Cain collapsing in new CNN poll

Herman Cain collapsing in new CNN poll

For weeks, polls have shown former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain holding strong despite the revelation of sexual harassment allegations against him. Now, his support is starting to collapse.

A new CNN poll finds Cain dropping 11 points among Republicans, from 25 percent in October to 14 percent on Monday. That puts him in a statistical tie for third place in the GOP nominating contest with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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No Republican consensus on waterboarding

No Republican consensus on waterboarding

On Twitter this morning, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) castigated his party’s presidential candidates for embracing waterboarding at this weekend’s CBS News debate.

“Very disappointed by statements at SC GOP debate supporting waterboarding,” the 2008 presidential candidate wrote. “Waterboarding is torture.” (President Obama offered a similar rebuke on Sunday.)

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Perry and Gingrich inch their way back to form new second tier

Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich have recovered some of the ground that they lost and are back in double digits in the GOP presidential race, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The two men now make up, along with Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), a pretty distinct new second tier in a race that hasn’t really had defined tiers until now — apart from the top tier, of course.

The two men have now positioned themselves as potential beneficiaries if Herman Cain ’s problems persist and his supporters desert him. But they need some help.

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Cain, Romney top new Des Moines Register poll

The latest Des Moines Register Iowa poll reconfirms that the Iowa caucuses are, right now, a race between former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Cain and Romney are basically tied in Iowa at 23 percent and 22 percent, respectively — even though neither candidate has spent much time in the state. The poll of 400 likely caucusgoers has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

The only other candidate in the double-digits is Texas Rep. Ron Paul, with 12 percent. Next is Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) at 8 percent; Texas Gov. Rick Perry is tied with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 7 percent.

A recent CNN poll found very similar results.

The last Iowa poll was in June; at the time, Romney and Bachmann lead the Republican pack.

Of course, Romney lead in the October 2007 Iowa poll too; he ended up losing to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in the state.

The politics of President Obama’s Iraq withdrawal decision

The politics of President Obama’s Iraq  withdrawal decision

President Obama’s lunchtime announcement that all American troops will be out of Iraq by year’s end will produce a series of political reverberations — some of which we know and some that, quite frankly, we don’t.

Here’s our look at the knowns and unknowns from Obama’s announcement today.

KNOWNS

* Promises made, promises kept: Over the past six weeks (or so), Obama’s message to the Democratic base has been clear: “I said I would do things when I ran for office and I have accomplished them.” (We are paraphrasing.) From health care to equal pay for women to the killing of Osama bin Laden, the president has emphasized that the promises he made in 2008 he has largely kept in his first term in office.

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Why Herman Cain can win

Why Herman Cain can win

Let’s start with this basic fact: Herman Cain isn’t the most likely person to be the Republican nominee for president in 2012. That’s Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.

But, a new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll released late Wednesday suggests that — at least for the moment — a path to victory does exist for the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza.

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What if the 2012 election doesn’t change anything?

What if the 2012 election doesn’t change anything?

For months, politicians have been pointing to the 2012 election as a final judgment (or at least the next judgment) on what the American people want from their government and elected officials.

Do they want more government? Less government? Somewhere in between? That, politicians of both parties say, is what the 2012 election will tell us.

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Opposition to Obama grows — strongly

Opposition to Obama grows — strongly

Four in 10 Americans “strongly” disapprove of how President Obama is handling the job of president in the new Washington Post-ABC News poll, the highest that number has risen during his time in office and a sign of the hardening opposition to him as he seeks a second term.

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A Chris Christie groundswell? Maybe not

A Chris Christie groundswell? Maybe not

Nearly six in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents either don’t want or don’t know if they want Chris Christie to run for president in 2012, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll — numbers that throw some cold water on the idea that the party is clamoring for the New Jersey governor to enter the race.

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The long, dark tea time of the American political soul

Americans are in a historically bad mood.

The question for candidates — from President Obama and the men and women running to replace him all the way down to people seeking state and local office in 2012 — is how to you win elections in an era where people feel so dismal about politics?

In an apocalyptic web ad released on Wednesday, Texas Governor Rick Perry embraces the “grim is good” approach to politics and dubs Obama “President Zero” for the struggling economy and the lack of new jobs created by it.

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