The Washington Post

Poll watcher: Most say Obama is a liberal; courting the religious vote in 2012; GOP ‘horserace’; bike sharing

More than six in 10 see President Obama as liberal - Fully 62 percent of Americans say the president is a liberal, while just 16 percent see him as a moderate and 18 percent call him a conservative, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released Wednesday. By contrast, the public largely sees Obama’s potential competitors as conservatives, though many are still unsure. Roughly half say Herman Cain is conservative (48 percent), while 55 percent say the same of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. And while he has been criticized as holding more liberal views in the past, just 13 percent say former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is a liberal (including 13 percent of Republicans). Some 51 percent see him as conservative, including 58 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents.

Despite the president running even or better in general election match-ups against Romney, Perry and Cain, Obama’s image as a liberal could make him vulnerable to attacks that he is out of the mainstream. Only 20 percent of respondents in the AP/GfK poll said they were liberal, while 39 percent identified as conservative.

Obama courting Christians in 2012? Obama’s reelection campaign plans to announce an effort to court religious voters in the upcoming election, according to Politico. Religion has been a persistent dividing line in presidential elections, with more observant voters tending to lean more Republican, a trend that continued in 2008.

Obama lost voters who attend religious services weekly or more by a 55 to 43 percent margin, but won 62 to 36 among those who attend yearly or less according to exit polls. Obama made similar efforts in his inaugural run and attracted a larger share of the vote from some religious groups than Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) received in 2004, making particularly large gains among younger white evangelical Protestants.

New GOP “horserace” numbers – The AP/GfK poll asked which candidate whom respondents would “most like to see win the Republican nomination?” Among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, Romney won 30 percent, Cain 26 percent, Perry 13 percent, Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) 8 percent, former House speaker Newt Gingrich 7 percent, Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) 4 percent, and former senator Rick Santorum and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman 2 percent each. A CNN poll released Tuesday found Romney and Cain at 26 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

Bike sharing in the Big Apple – New York City voters overwhelmingly support a proposal to bring a bike rental program to the big apple, and more than four in 10 say they would participate, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday. Whether New Yorkers are avid bikers or just support bike sharing, only one in 10 Washington residents reported ever using Capital Bikeshare or another bike sharing service in the area according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll this spring. Bike sharing peaked among whites (16 percent) and residents with incomes $100,000 or higher (15 percent).

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Scott Clement is a survey research analyst for The Washington Post. Scott specializes in public opinion about politics, election campaigns and public policy.


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