Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Posts Tagged ‘incumbent’

Attitudes Toward National Political Candidates Change Dramatically

In Governor, House, Polling, Senate on May 29, 2014 at 10:53 am

Though we are approaching an important primary next Tuesday and charges and counter-charges from candidates and outside groups are penetrating the electronic airwaves across the country, we take a break from that action to review the new Pew Research Center for the People and Press survey. Their data shows an extraordinary change in public attitude toward national political candidates.

As late as 2007, a vast majority of the electorate believed that being a member of the Senate or House proved a better preparatory ground for the presidency than did serving as governor. Just seven years later, today’s respondents now look at Washington experience far more negatively.

According to the results of this late April survey of 1,501 adults that was released in mid-May, the respondents now rate being a governor equal to serving in Washington. Responding to the question, “which better prepares someone to be president, serving as a state’s governor or as a senator or member of Congress”, 44 percent responded governor, the same number who answered congressional service. In 2007, this question drew a 55-24 percent response in favor of Washington service.
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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.