Tuesday’s top polls…

Tablet users: Power news consumers – The latest computer device revolution is encouraging news junkies, according to a new report by Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and The Economist Group. The 11 percent of Americans who own a tablet computer (mostly iPads) are more educated, hold higher incomes and skew toward the 30 to 49 age group. The group also fits another category: power news consumers.

More than half of tablet users get news on their device on a daily basis; three in 10 report spending more time consuming news than before they owned the tablet (only 4 percent spend less time); and over four in 10 regularly read in-depth articles on the device. These trends peak among news app users – 58 percent routinely get stories from new sources, and 43 percent report spending more time getting news than before they had their tablet.

News organizations see tablets as a potential revenue source, but the surveys find that few tablet news users have paid for news through their device (14 percent) or by way of newspaper or magazine subscription (23 percent).

And while news is valued by tablet users, few are jumping at the opportunity to pay for it -- even from their favorite sources. More than eight in 10 of those with news apps say price was a major factor in their decision to download, and barely one in five non-paying users are willing to pay $5 a month for access to their favorite source on their tablet; half as many said they are willing to pay $10 a month.

The full report includes more information on the app/browser divide, social networking and reading books on tablets.

Obama still a favorite son in Illinois – President Obama holds a 52 to 46 percent approval rating among registered voters in the state where he was senator. He also leads 2012 “horse race” matchups against all his most likely opponents by at least seven points according to poll by the University of Illinois’ Paul Simon Institute. While he’s a favorite to win the state in next year’s election (every Democrat has since George H.W. Bush), his standing back home has withered substantially from 2008, when he won Illinois by a 25-point margin over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), 62 to 37 percent.

Bizarre Cain ad and polls on smoking - A Web ad apparently made for businessman Herman Cain’s campaign features his chief of staff, Mark Block, talking up Cain’s candidacy. But it finishes with a strange close-up of Block drawing a puff from a cigarette. While Block was undoubtedly going for the “cool” look, polling suggests the allure of the cigarette has burned out.

Just over one in five Americans smoke at least once a week according to Gallup (very close to CDC estimates). That number has been stable since the early 2000s but down substantially from about 40 percent in the 1970s and as many as 45 percent in the ’50s. Support for banning smoking in public is also on the rise – 59 percent supported making smoking in public illegal earlier this year, marking a massive increase from 40 percent in 2007.

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