Today’s top polls…

Cain and Romney close in Iowa – Cain and Romney win 23 and 22 percent support respectively among likely caucus participants in Iowa, according to a poll by the Des Moines Register released Saturday. But Cain holds a 17-point edge over Romney among voters who “definitely” plan to vote in the Jan. 3 caucuses, a key group given that only 16 percent of all Iowa voters showed up to the event in 2008, 7 percent in 2000, years in which both parties held caucuses.

Buffett tax supported by millionaires? The Wall Street Journal reported last week that 68 percent of millionaire investors support raising taxes on their own income bracket. While the survey received a great deal of attention, the survey’s methods – non-random Internet panels – lack an accepted theoretical basis to be generalized to a larger population, in this case, millionaire investors.

Few nationally representative polls include enough respondents in the $1 million income bracket to tease out their views, but looking at a lower threshold, an early October Post-Bloomberg poll found that 60 percent of Americans with incomes over $100,000 supported raising taxes on those earning $250,000 or more as a way to reduce the budget deficit. That’s somewhat lower than 68 percent of Americans overall supporting such a tax hike. While not an apples to apples comparison, the poll indicates that raising taxes on the rich enjoys broad support from those with both higher and lower incomes.

Seniors and conservatives raise focus on politics – Fully 51 percent of Americans age 65 and older report following national politics “very closely,” as do 46 percent of political conservatives, according to a Gallup poll conducted in September. Attention for both groups is higher than the national average (35 percent) and up significantly from four years ago, leading into the 2008 election year. A 57 percent majority of postgraduates are highly attentive to politics in 2011, one of the few Democratic-leaning groups to beat the national average.

Among the least attentive groups, just 23 percent of moderates, 24 percent with incomes under $30,000 and 28 percent with a high school education or less pay “very close” attention to national politics.

Obama holds strong in Wisconsin – President Obama leads potential 2012 election match ups with three top Republican contenders in Wisconsin, according to a poll released Sunday by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, a conservative think tank. Obama holds a 46 to 35 percent edge over Mitt Romney and leads both Herman Cain and Texas Gov. Rick Perry by almost 20 points. In 2008, Obama won the state over John McCain (R-Ariz.) by a 56 to 42 percent margin.

Obama’s strong performance in the Badger State reflects higher job approval ratings when compared with the nation overall. A 54 percent majority of Wisconsin residents approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president, while 43 percent said the same in Gallup’s tracking poll conducted at about the same time. Earlier in 2011, Gallup found 50 percent of Wisconsinites approving of Obama, compared to 47 percent of Americans overall.

Obama’s week in approval – Obama maintained his slight late-October approval gains in Gallup’s tracking poll through the weekend, earning 43 percent approval and 50 percent disapproval in polling through Sunday. Obama held 43 percent approval in a Fox News poll of registered voters released last week (conducted October 23-25) and 46 percent in a CBS-New York Times poll conducted from October 19-24 (scroll down for the Obama results).


In response to questions about the millionaire survey, Wealth Market research director Tom Wynn, who conducted the survey for Spectrem, said in an e-mail that while their online panel looks at a very small portion of the population, its research across different methodologies “would indicate for these types of questions, the answers would not be different.”

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