The Washington Post

Poll Watchers: Obama approval, Iowa GOP poll, smartphones, space shuttle

• Obama approval – President Obama takes to the bully pulpit with middling approval ratings. In the latest Gallup tracking data released Friday, Obama’s approve/disapprove ratings are split 46 to 45 percent. A common comparison point for Obama has been to President Reagan, the last president to face such a troubled economy. Reagan’s approval ratings were 42 percent at roughly this same time in his presidency in Gallup polling. Political independents give Obama a 46 percent approval rating, slightly below Reagan’s 50 percent approval at a similar time.

• Michele Bachmann; Iowa’s favorite daughter – The Minnesota congresswoman sits atop a new poll of likely Republican Iowa caucus-goers with 25 percent support, edging out Mitt Romney at 21 percent, but within the poll’s margin of error. Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain earn 9 percent support each. The poll for The Iowa Republican was conducted by a Republican polling firm in late June. The results are similar to polling from the Des Moines Register conducted just a week prior which had Romney and Bachmann at 23 and 22 percent each.

• Smartphones – More than a third of American adults own a Smartphone according to a new poll from the Pew Internet and American Life project. Smartphone users are more likely to be well-off financially, more highly educated, non-white and younger. Nearly seven in 10 use the device to access the Internet or e-mail at least daily. Fully a quarter say they use their phone more often than traditional computers to go online.

• Space Shuttle final mission – There is lingering public nostalgia for the space shuttle program, with Atlantis now on the program’s final mission. More than six in 10 say the shuttle program has been worth the costs and risks in a late June CBS/New York Times poll. Almost half – 48 percent – are disappointed to see the program come to an end. The public divides on the U.S. space program overall – from the moon landing to the present – with 36 percent saying it has accomplished about what they expected, 36 percent saying less and 23 percent more than expected.

Peyton M. Craighill is polling manager for the Washington Post. Peyton reports and conducts national and regional news polls for the Washington Post, with a focus on politics, elections and other social and economic issues.
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