Gallup Daily is already showing a notable bounce in some metrics associated with the Democratic National Convention. Obama's job approval rating has spiked up to 52% compared to values which have been fairly stable in the mid-to-high 40's prior to both conventions. The poll is an average of surveys taken Tuesday through Thursday, so even Michelle Obama's speech is not yet fully included, and the speeches from Joe Biden and Barack Obama are not yet factored in at all.
Perhaps more surprisingly, Gallup Daily's U.S. Economic Confidence Index has also seen a spike, rising about 10 points as the impact of the convention start to get factored in.
But what you really want to know about are the horserace numbers, right? Well, Gallup Daily computes that on a seven day basis, as opposed to three for the other measures. So the latest reading includes surveys taken from the Friday after the Republican Convention through yesterday. Thus there's no real sign of a bump there yet, because it's mixed together with any bounce from the Republican Convention.
Observant readers may notice that I called the effect of the Republican Convention a "bounce" and the effect of the Democratic Convention a "bump." Only time will tell if that characterization is correct--that the point or two that Romney might have gained after his convention will fade while Obama will never look back.
Nevertheless, first impressions are that this was a very successful convention for Democrats, after a somewhat lackluster one for the GOP.
Personally, I'm not big on the idea of choosing a convention site based on the state's importance in that year's Presidential election, but a recent poll caught my eye.
Conventional wisdom has it that if Obama wins North Carolina in 2012, it will only be because he is winning handily nationally. In other words, North Carolina is not a swing state, but a "reach" state, and thus is not important to Obama's chances for reelection.
But PPP has released a series of early polls on the 2012 Presidential race, testing Romney, Huckabee, Gingrich, and Palin against Obama. Obama trounces both Gingrich and Palin almost everywhere, so let's set those two aside for a moment. Here is Obama's margin against Romney and Huckabee in several states PPP has recently surveyed:
Unfortunately, PPP has not surveyed Missouri, Ohio, or Minnesota recently. But the North Carolina result is an eye-opener. To within the margin of error, Obama does as well there as he does nationally. The results are also essentially the same as Pennsylvania--Pennsylvania!
For President Obama, North Carolina could easily be a key to victory. With his relative weakness among working-class whites and the elderly, and his strength with African-Americans and the highly educated, it's possible to imagine scenarios in which President Obama loses Ohio and Missouri, and yet wins North Carolina and perhaps, because of it, the Presidency.
There are good reasons that the DNC might prefer not to hold their convention in Charlotte. But this poll suggests the importance of the state to Obama's 2012 chances is no longer one of them.
Overnight, ABC News announced results of a new poll indicating that the answer to the question "Would you vote for a Tea Party candidate?" has fallen from 30% in July to 18% now. I heard it on the 4 a.m. news, but cannot find a link on-line. I assume it will post later today.
That's really HUGE: from 30% to 18%. Almost cut in half. Thank you Christine O'Donnell. I honestly believe that Americans were unaffected by all of the legitimate reasons to oppose the teabaggers - things like cutting Social Security and every other facet of the safety net, the birthers, the inconsistencies on taxes....but Christine a witch who wants to outlaw sex? The electorate is ON IT! [grin]
This is a good thing: we've been talking since late winter 2009 about the fight for the soul of the Republican Party. While it might seem that sticking with the teabag contingent would help us, it's actually better for us if the least radical portion of the party prevails. They're still a bad choice, but it means that the "moderates" will think twice before signing on for pure insanity. It might even mean that some of them defect on issues that matter to their constituents.
Here's an example. My Congressman is Jim Gerlach. He's a Republican. As Republicans go, he's a moderate, but votes with his party. And then in July, he voted to extend unemployment benefits, in direct opposition to the party line. From what I understand, he did so because of the sheer number of constituents who called his office and said "I'm unemployed. I'll lose my house if I don't get the extension." Will Gerlach win in November? Yeah, probably, and that's too bad. But I would rather have a Republican who will vote the will of his constituency than stick with a party line that has shifted to insanity.
Imagine if the moderate Republicans were suddenly willing to actually consider the Democratic initiatives that would help their constituencies. I'm not talking about people like Rick Perry, Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, etc., etc., who railed against the stimulus and then took all the dollars they could, but would have actually voted for it. (Or in the case of the governors, come out and said "hey, delegation, vote for it, our residents need it.")
I'll be voting on 2 November, and I hope you will be, too. (PLEASE start making calls to the people you know and remind them that a vote for a Republican is a vote to repeal Social Security in 2011.) But certainly some Republicans will win in November: and I'd rather they be willing to defect from their party line than be those who would move the party line off the end of the flat earth they so believe in...
Yet another poll has demonstrated the religious tolerance of most Americans, and I guarantee that yet again almost no one will report it that way.
In a recent survey by Time/CNN, only 47% believe Obama is a Christian...and he has a 46% approval rate! Since it is certainly the case that there are some who know Obama is Christian but don't approve of him anyway, that means he is getting significant approval from people who don't know he's Christian.
Think about that for a moment.
Another result from the same survey: 55% of those surveyed would favor a Muslim community center and place of worship two blocks from their home--that's only 18% lower than the support a similar Jewish institution would get.
The result that 61% oppose "the building of the Muslim community center and mosque near where the World Trade Center stood" is, therefore, a complicated number to evaluate. Some of the opposition is from people who hold prejudices against Muslims. Some is from people who, in that region, want to defer to the sensitivities of people who lost loved ones on September 11. Some is probably from people who don't think centers connected to any religion should be built in the area (those people presumably don't understand how many churches, temples, and mosques are already there). And there may be other reasons as well--perhaps some people afraid of continued political backlash, for instance.
"Bias" and "tolerance" are sometimes tricky concepts to get at--46% of those surveyed did say that "the Islamic religion is more likely than other religions to encourage violence against nonbelievers" (reflecting confusion between the religion itself and current geopolitics) and there may be some people who answer differently to a pollster than they would at their kitchen table. Nevertheless, as in other surveys, it appears that most Americans understand and believe in our principles of religious tolerance.
33% strongly approve (was last higher in mid-September)
50% total approval (was last higher in mid-November)
38% strongly disapprove (was last lower in mid-November)
49% total disapproval (was last lower in mid-November)
Interestingly, the biggest part of the bump didn't show up until the weekend. Either it took a while for the effect of the State of the Union to reverberate, or the bigger influence was the Q & A with the Republican members of Congress on Friday.
So is this just a bounce that will fade in a few weeks, or does it represent the beginning of a turnaround for the Obama administration?
Last week, an interesting study came out indicating that more American homes had cell phone service only than had landline service only. This is a first. Fully 20% of all American households have cell phone service only, and not surprisingly, the younger the members of the household, the higher the probability that it is a cell-phone-only household.
Remember, 20 years ago, virtually no one had a cell phone, and virtually everyone had a landline. As recently as 2003, 43% of households had landlines only, and now that number is down to 17%. When you add in the number of people who have a landline but take no calls on it (for example, it's only used for a fax or internet service), the number of households reachable only by cell phone rises to 35%.
The United States is behind the curve: worldwide, cell phone usage is about 60%.The most recent county-by-country breakdown I could find is shown here. Meanwhile, 1.1 billion (with a "b") cell phones were sold in 2007.
Please use the comments to discuss when you think that landlines will cease to exist. Or will there always be a reason for them to exist in residential settings? The corrolary question is whether or not "actual" landlines (copper wire or FiOS) will end, replaced by internet-based landlines? While these are not technically landlines, they are a great cost-saver for businesses, who only have to keep one server on for an entire company using desk phones.
And if the US reaches the saturation of cell phones of the rest of the world, will laws be changed to allow for cell-phone polling? If so, does that mean that everyone's cell phone number will become subject to the same "get your swampland now" calls that landlines get because the numbers need to be published?
Yesterday, I cut the cord: called Verizon and had them turn off the land line number I've had for the better part of a quarter century.
I had kept the land line for several reasons: first, in case I need to call 911. I should point out that I've never called 911, and do know that I can do so with my marvel iPhone. The second reason is because of politics and polling. I get calls from political campaigns. I'm not talking about the robo-calls where Bill Clinton asks me to remember to vote, but from primary candidates who actually use the Voter Services list. Actual candidates who are running, and are trying to get their message out to actual voters. It is much cheaper to make calls then to send a mailer, and that matters if you are a candidate who lacks funding. I don't know how they'll find me now, since cell phone numbers are unlisted.
And then there are the pollsters. I have never in my life been polled. I have been push-polled twice, but I don't know that that really counts. Still, I clung tenaciously to the hope that someone would call.
But the time came to cut the cord: I'm one of those people who never checks voice mail. The only "people" who call my home phone are normally looking to sell me swampland or get a donation for something. If people who know me need to reach me, they call my cell phone, and if I don't answer, they text me. Or else they email me, which then forwards to my cell phone.
Still, I'm concerned for the politician who will try to call me. The one that doesn't make the news, but has positions that would interest me as a voter. OK, I'm not that concerned, since I honestly keep up with who is running for every office from Tax Assessor on up. But what about the "regular" voters: you know, the ones who get 100% of their political news from 30 second TV ads? On the front page of yesterday's USA Today, they cited a poll which said that currently 35% of Americans have a cell phone only.
Most cell phone plans are pay-by-the-minute as opposed to the all-you-can-eat land line programs. Therefore, it seems unlikely that laws would be passed where cell phone numbers could be disseminated out to political types, charities, and spammers. How will the politicians reach out next year, when an even larger percentage of people have given up their land line? When I was speaking with Verizon, the agent told me that people are turning off their land lines daily, mostly because of the economy. If the percentage of cell-phone-only people rises to above 50%, what does that mean for pollsters? I know some of them do poll cell phones, but my guess is that a lot of the calls they make end up unanswered since Caller ID is an option on home phones, and automatic on cell phones. Will next year's numbers be skewed?
Rasmussen has an interesting poll out today: they compared the "populists" with the "political class"
They used the following to differentiate the two groups:
-- Generally speaking, when it comes to important national issues, whose judgment do you trust more - the American people or America’s political leaders?
-- Some people believe that the federal government become a special interest group that looks out primarily for its own interests. Has the federal government become a special interest group?
-- Do government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors?
To create a scale, each response earns a plus 1 for the populist answer, a minus 1 for the political class answer, and a 0 for not sure.
Those who score 2 or higher are considered a populist or part of the Mainstream. Those who score -2 or lower are considered to be aligned with the Political Class. Those who score +1 or -1 are considered leaners in one direction or the other.
A look inside the numbers shows the problem for Specter may be even more significant. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Republican voters in the state are less likely to vote for Specter. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, just 27% are more likely to support the long-time incumbent while 48% are less likely to do so.
"People" are going to say that this is a bad harbinger of things to come for Arlen, but I don't think so, for two reasons. First, those "Republican voters" are a far smaller percentage of the electorate than they were the last time Arlen ran. So that 58% or Republicans is somewhat specious with respect to the total number of voters. In addition, that first question is unclear. If I were polling it, I would have had answers like:
I was going to vote for him, but now I'm not I wasn't going to vote for him, and this solidifies my position I hadn't decided, but this will definitely tilt me towards him I hadn't decided, but this will definitely tilt me against) him Etc.
Had they polled me, a likely Pennsylvania voter, I would have said this makes me less likely to vote for him. And there is a 1% chance I'll vote for Arlen next year: that chance involves Rick Santorum switching parties and getting the Democratic nomination. And when that happens (which will be the day after pigs fly) I'll vote for Arlen.
But the real problem for Arlen isn't his vote for the stimulus bill, it's the other questions in the poll, and they're trouble for all of Congress. Because I think those numbers are accurate, and if the responses turn out to be objectively true, it's bad for all incumbents. Here you go:
How confident are you that Congress knows what it's doing when it comes to addressing the country's current economic problems? 7% very confident, 21% somewhat confident, 38% not very confident, 29% not at all confident, 5% not sure. Will most members of Congress understand what is in the economic recovery plan before they vote on it? 57% no, 26% yes, 17% not sure. And finally, my favourite, do you agree or disagree with the following statement: No matter how bad things are, Congress can always find a way to make them worse? 61% agree, 19% disagree, 20% not sure.
This all gets forgotten if the stimulus plan works, or begins to work, before the elections. Time will tell.
There are a lot of ways to look back on this year. Historic? ABSOLUTELY. For the first time in a long time, we all have shared memories. And they're good memories. For those of us of a certain age, we know exactly where we were when JFK was assassinated, we all see the shared horrible images of Jackie in the suit, John-John saluting. All of us have the horror memories of 9/11.
But this is 2008, and we all know where we were when Obama was elected. We have the shared GREAT memories of his speech at Invesco and Grant Park. Perhaps we’re all a little more “mavericky”. OK, maybe not.
I went through the polls run at DCW this year. There were 171 of them. I guess that counts in some small way as a shared DCW memory. Over the next few days, I’ll be letting you know how we did on a variety of topics. (You can see the Senate polls here.) It was fun, going through the polls and the columns…reading it brought back things that had faded from my mind. For example, 51.8% of DCWers thought Jesse Ventura would not run, while 48.2% thought he would. How different would that Minnesota Senate race have been?
One thing we got wrong, very wrong, as a group, was the Vice President. The first poll, in July, was split into two lists of 10, and then the highest numbers from each group were combined into one list of ten, and finally, there was a list of the final four. In the first round, Joe Biden received 18.9% of the votes, qualifying him for the second round, where he only garnered 7.6%, and there it ended for him in the DCW poll. The winners? Kathleen Sebelius, followed by Wes Clark, Bill Richardson, and Jim Webb. By late August, though, the Vice president-elect was up to 23.2% of the tally.
On the GOP side, DCWers wanted McShame to pick TLB Lieberman (29.2%), Mittens (26%), Mike Huckabee (10.6%) with a smattering of votes for Tim Ridge, Carly Fiorino, Charlie Crist (who is now married), Colin Powell (what a surprise he turned out to be), Bobby Jindal, Condi Rice and Tim Pawlenty. We were of one voice, though, in thinking that John-boy would pick Mittens, it was the “will” pick of 62.7%.
Immediately after the actual pick, and almost equal amount, 62.1%, believed that Spunky was a bad choice. Despite the gut-wrenching early September poll numbers, we turned out to be correct. She hurt him in more ways than can be mentioned.
More numbers to follow over the next several days. And by the way, if you'd like to see something polled, drop a line to the address in the left side bar. If you have a list of answers, remember, there's a limit of ten.
Back on 8 June, I began this weekly “Sunday with the Senators” column. Since this is the end of the year, I decided to look back on the columns. It’s been a lot of fun, and I look forward to continuing through the next cycle, and I guess more accurately, the completion of this one. I like the Senate. And I like that many of you are interested in the Senate, also. Another thing I did was to review the polls we’ve done here, to see what you had to say.
This post includes the numbers on your view of how the Senate would turn out. I’ll have another post up in a couple days with a whole lot more DCW poll information.
The first poll started in late July, and ran into August. The second is from September. Then there was the late-October poll, and finally, the November poll where the choices had narrowed. For that last poll “59M” indicated 59 seats including Martin, and “59F” included Franken. If a box is blank, it wasn’t included in that poll cycle.
The first thing that strikes me is how the 58 percentage dropped in September. Yes, it was a rough month. But all that victory was incredibly sweet!
We’ve been polling ever since on the replacements for the seats vacated by Obama, Biden, and the ones that Hillary Clinton and Ken Salazar will most likely vacate. Those are still going on, although from our results, y’all think that Biden’s seat will be filled first (before not only the Illinois and New York seats, but also before the Minnesota seat.)
Finally, no matter how it was polled, y'all knew that Ted Stevens was going down!
After the jump, how y'all polled on the individual Senate races.