The Washington Post

#Pollwatch: Perry holds strong; taxing rich is popular; text messaging flourishes

Note to readers: Beginning today, we'll be posting a daily rundown of the top polls and surveys to watch — and watch out for — in the political world and elsewhere. Follow #pollwatch on Twitter for updates on new polls throughout the day. If you find an interesting poll that we missed, sound off in the comment section, send us a tweet @postpolls or send an e-mail to


Now, to the polls ...

1. Perry holds strong after raucous debate — In the first major national poll since the last GOP debate where Texas Gov. Rick Perry was bombarded with criticism by his primary opponents, Perry maintains his frontrunner status. In the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, released Monday, Perry earns 31 percent support among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is next with 24 percent, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) with 13 percent and all others in single digits. In general election match-ups among all registered voters, Romney splits 49-47 with President Obama while Perry trails slightly, 45-50 percent against Obama.

2. "Class warfare" or not, raising taxes on the rich is popular — Though House Republicans are decrying Obama's new "Buffet tax" and plan to let tax cuts on income over $250,000 expire, raising taxes on the wealthy was among the most popular proposals to cut the deficit in the heat of the debt ceiling debate. As we noted Monday, fully 72 percent of Americans supported raising taxes on those with incomes over $250,000 in the July Post-ABC survey.

3. Just text me, mom — Americans who text message are prolific, sending an average of 41.5 texts a day, according to the Pew Internet Project, a number that jumps to over 100 a day among adults under age 25. But surely people would prefer the human connection of talking over the phone, right? A 53 percent majority say this, but 31 percent say they prefer communicating via text message.

Today's "Watch your back" poll alert — Algebra poll uses bad math

A survey released today — sponsored by a math tutoring company — purports to show "High Anxiety Among 8th and 9th Graders Taking Algebra." Ironically, the survey relies upon statistically unrepresentative online opt-in surveys that are recruited through Web ads advertising sweepstakes or other rewards. Such methods have been panned by the American Association for Public Opinion Research, whose 2010 online panel task force wrote that researchers should avoid online opt-in panels when trying to "accurately estimate population values,” (i.e. meaningless for this purpose).

(Full Disclosure: I'm a member of AAPOR but did not participate in the Online Panel Task Force).

Follow Post polling on Twitter. Like Post Politics on Facebook. 

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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