Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Pessimism Abounds Among Electorate

In Polling on December 12, 2014 at 11:23 am

A new USA Today/Pew Research poll (Dec. 3-7, 1,507 adults; 408 Republicans, 445 Democrats, 574 Independents) tested a representative American sampling group about their attitudes and impressions toward national political institutions, now that we have moved into a post-election period.

Back in 2009, when asked whether the country was more politically divided than in the past respondents answered that it was, but only by a 46-45 percent margin. The latest data finds that 81 percent believe America is more ideologically divided, as compared to just 15 percent who say it is not. And, 77 percent say they believe the nation will become either even more divided or stay at this same apparently unbridgeable level. Additionally, 71 percent say that such a situation hurts the country “a lot”, with an additional 16 percent believing that seeing such a starkly divided ideological nation is “somewhat” harmful.

The pollsters then asked respondents to name the most important problem facing the country. Of those who answered, 76 percent (71 percent of Democrats, 78 percent among Republicans, and 80 percent from the Independent sector), said they believe President Obama and Republican congressional leaders will make little or no progress in solving the issue they identified, regardless of the topic.

In terms of job approval, 42 percent gave President Obama a positive rating as compared to just 22 percent who have a similar impression of Congress. This marks Continue reading >

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Poll on Government Shows its Parts are Greater than the Whole

In Polling on October 25, 2013 at 11:46 am

The Pew Center for the People & The Press released their “trust in government” poll (Oct. 9-13; 1,504 US adults) during the past week, and the results cause analysts to question what the conclusions really mean.

According to the Pew data, people’s trust in the US government “to do what is right just about always or most of the time” has fallen to tie an all-time low of 19 percent, and those who say they are angry with the government has risen to a record high of 30 percent, exceeding the 26 percent barrier recorded for this same question in late September.

But when asked their feelings about the individual government agencies only one, the Internal Revenue Service, draws negative ratings. Federal employees are well thought of, too. The percentage of respondents expressing a favorable view of government workers reached 62 percent in this poll.

To review, taken as a whole the government is poorly viewed but its parts are rated positively, and the people implementing the programs well liked. For example, the Center for Disease Control draws the best reviews, scoring a 75:14 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio. NASA is a close second, registering 73:15 percent positive to negative. Next, and somewhat surprisingly so, is the Department of Defense (72:23 percent). Following are the Veterans Administration (68:25 percent), Department of Homeland Security (66:30 percent), and the Food & Drug Administration (65:29 percent).

As mentioned previously, it is the IRS that scores upside down ratings, largely due to a vast amount of negative publicity surrounding the agency in the past few months. According to these respondents, 44 percent have a positive view of the IRS as opposed to 51 percent who express a negative opinion. But, even this ratio is not particularly bad. More surprisingly, the National Security Agency, regularly in the news for conducting extensive monitoring of the citizenry still enjoys a respectable 54:35 percent positive ratio. Though the NSA ratio  Continue reading >

Pew Study Shows Federal Government at All-Time Low

In Polling on April 16, 2013 at 10:56 am

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press just released the results of their new regular study (from surveys conducted on March 13-17, 1,501 adults; and March 28-31, 1,001 adults) that questioned respondents on their views and impressions about the federal, state, and local governments. The favorability response hit a new low for the federal government, but the sentiment did not carry over to state and local public sector bureaucracies.

According to the data, only 28 percent of the respondents now have a favorable opinion about the federal government. In contrast, 57 percent have a positive impression of state government and an even higher 63 percent maintain an affirmative opinion about local government.

State and Local Attitudes

There are partisan divisions within the data, but they are almost solely reserved for the federal government. For the first time since Barack Obama became president more Democrats view the national authority in negative terms: 41 percent positive compared to 51 percent negative. Republicans continue to be almost unanimous in their unfavorable opinion about the US public sector. Only 13 percent of GOP respondents, according to the current Pew data, view the federal government approvingly.

But, these partisan splits are not evident when examining attitudes toward the states or localities. In fact, Republicans have a slightly better view of state government than do Democrats (57 percent versus 56 percent). Independents hold the best opinion, recording a 59 percent positive rating. Regarding local government, the respondents’ sentiments are even more positive. Here, it is the Democrats who rate the locals the highest (67 percent), followed by Republicans (63 percent), and Independents (60 percent positive).
 Continue reading >

Gun Control: Dueling Pollsters

In Polling on January 22, 2013 at 11:10 am
Gun Control Polls

Gun Control Polls

Two national pollsters went into the field over the same period with virtually the same sample size, but derived very different conclusions about a consistent subject matter. Both Gallup (Jan. 17; 1,021 adults) and Rasmussen Reports (Jan. 16-17; 1,000 adults) asked questions about the current state of gun control, but did so from opposite perspectives. Not surprisingly, the resulting answers and underlying premise varied widely.

Gallup asked about Pres. Obama’s new gun control proposals, but did not provide the respondents with any specifics. Their question: “… as you may know, yesterday President Obama proposed a set of new laws designed to reduce gun violence in the United States. From what you know or have read about this, would you want your representative in Congress to vote for or against these new laws?” As a point of clarification, though Gallup refers to the Obama proposals as “laws,” the legislation has not yet been officially introduced nor passed.

The Gallup sampling universe responded 53-41 percent in favor of enacting the Obama proposals.
Continue reading >

Wrong Track for Incumbents

In Election Analysis on October 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Incumbents who are accustomed to success at the ballot box are generally nervous and watchful of potential electoral trends by their very nature. They know that this week’s teapot can become next week’s tempest and the spate of recent “change elections” has proven that incumbency is anything but a guarantee of lifetime employment in the U.S. Congress.

While the outcome of individual races can be predicted with a high rate success using modern opinion research tools, it remains a much more daunting task to determine national or even regional trends.

Overall congressional approval ratings and generic ballot test questions become virtually meaningless in the effort to determine trends in congressional races because each race is run locally rather than nationally. The old political saw that says, “The Congress is composed of 434 scoundrels and ‘my guy'” still holds sway more often than not.

However, there is one national indicator to which incumbent politicians should pay close attention, particularly in a presidential election year such as 2012. The well-tested “right track/wrong track indicator” has been a largely reliable indicator of incumbent satisfaction/dissatisfaction and next year is likely to be no exception.

The alarming news for incumbents planning to face the voters again in 2012 is that as of last week, only 16 percent of likely U.S. voters say that the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey taken the week ending Sunday, Oct. 23.

The latest finding is up a point from the previous week, but down a point from a month ago and down a whopping 16 points from this time last year.

Since mid-July, the number of voters who feel the nation is headed in the “right direction” has virtually mirrored the levels measured in the final months of the administration of George W. Bush, with voter confidence bobbing slightly up and down in the narrow range of 14 percent to 19 percent.

Perhaps even more disturbing news for incumbents is the fact that the “wrong track” number in last week’s Rasmussen survey was 77 percent. Since mid-July, the “wrong track” has stayed in the 75- to 80-percent range. When the ratio of likely voters who think that the nation is on the “wrong track” and is not moving in the “right direction” is nearly 5 to 1, that is a reliable sign that voters are planning to make big changes on Election Day.