Politics » Polls http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics The latest Politics news and blog posts from ABC News contributors and bloggers including Jake Tapper, George Stephanopoulos and more. Sun, 01 Feb 2015 18:08:02 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 History’s a Positive for Clinton; Not So for Bush or Romney http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/01/historys-a-positive-for-clinton-not-so-for-bush-or-romney/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/01/historys-a-positive-for-clinton-not-so-for-bush-or-romney/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:58:22 +0000 Gary Langer http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=898108 Hillary Clinton’s potential place in history and her husband’s tenure in the White House boost her presidential prospects, while Jeb Bush’s political legacy and Mitt Romney’s 2012 run for the office are negatives, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds.

Clinton leads both in hypothetical head-to-head matchups at this early stage – as well as Rand Paul, Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee alike.

See PDF with full results and charts here.

The national survey finds 53 to 56 percent support for Clinton among registered voters against each of these potential Republican candidates, while they get 39 to 41 percent. One reason is that Clinton is stronger in her political base, given the far more fragmented nature of the current GOP field.

Further, registered voters by a 13-point margin say the fact that Clinton would be the first female president makes them more likely rather than less likely to support her. Her husband having served as president is another net positive, by an 8-point margin.

Those results stand in contrast to Bush’s and Romney’s backgrounds. The fact that his brother and father held the office is a net negative for Bush by a broad 25 percentage points; a third of registered voters say it makes them less likely to support him for president. And Romney’s having run as the Republican nominee three years ago is a 14-point net negative for him.

Most registered voters, 57 to 65 percent, say none of these items would be a factor in their vote. But a presidential election is a game of margins, making these views potentially important in the campaign ahead.

THE FIELD – The poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds several reasons that Clinton leads all five potential GOP candidates tested:

  • She’s stronger in her base, backed by nine in 10 or more Democrats who are registered to vote, as well as by at least eight in 10 liberals and about six in 10 moderates.
  • As with Barack Obama, the recovery helps Clinton. About three-quarters of registered voters who rate the economy positively support her, and she leads overwhelmingly among those who say they’ve gained ground financially under Obama’s presidency. But she also leads, by 16 to 20 points, among those whose finances have just held steady.
  • Clinton has a strong advantage among those who see income inequality as a major problem, and she runs essentially evenly vs. these potential Republican nominees among those who think it’s a problem, but not a major one. She trails only among those who don’t think the income gap is a problem – just 16 percent of registered voters.
  • Women favor Clinton by 20- to 24-point margins, men by non-significant 2- to 7-point margins. She’s also strong among racial and ethnic minorities, adults under 40 and lower-income voters.

The potential GOP candidates may be hamstrung by their intramural battle ahead; core Republican support likely will coalesce around the ultimate nominee. For the moment, those tested against Clinton in this survey win support from 76 to 81 percent of Republican registered voters and about six in 10 conservatives (including 67 to 73 percent of strong conservatives).

Each also has the support of half of white voters overall, far fewer than a GOP nominee needs to prevail, given whites’ shrinking share of the country’s population. (Romney won 59 percent of whites and lost the 2012 election nonetheless.)

In an example of the comparatively unsettled GOP base, Huckabee and Bush both hold more than 40-point leads over Clinton among evangelical white Protestants, but that eases to 27- and 32-point leads in this group for Christie and Romney, respectively.

Paul, for his part, runs essentially evenly with Clinton among college-educated registered voters, while Christie, Bush, Huckabee and Romney trail her by 12- to 17-point margins in this group. But there are few other differences, suggesting that partisanship, rather than individual candidate assessments, is playing the starring role in current choices.

Early matchups such as these are not predictive; campaigns matter, as Clinton demonstrated in 2008, and an ultimate double-digit margin is virtually unthinkable given the country’s close political divisions. That said, Obama vs. Romney stood at a 49-45 percent in their earliest ABC/Post matchup, in April 2011. Clinton today leads Romney by 15.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Jan. 12-15, 2015, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,003 adults, including 843 registered voters. Results have margins of sampling error of 3.5 and 4 points for the general population and registered voters, respectively, including design effect. Partisan divisions are 30-24-37 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents among the general population, 33-26-33 percent among registered voters.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

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The State of the Union, 2015: Not Great, but Getting Better http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/01/the-state-of-the-union-2015-not-great-but-getting-better/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/01/the-state-of-the-union-2015-not-great-but-getting-better/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 23:28:17 +0000 Gary Langer http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=898098 The state of the nation? Not great – but it’s sure been worse.

That summarizes public attitudes as Barack Obama prepares to deliver his penultimate State of the Union address. There are grace notes, largely based on improving views of the economy. But deep concerns about long-term and structural economic challenges remain, alongside sharp divisions across a range of policy issues and approaches.

All told, 42 percent of Americans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll rate the state of the nation positively, as excellent or good; a majority, 57 percent, rates it negatively, not so good or poor. The president may well hope for a brighter legacy.

See PDF with full results and charts here.

But long-running public discontent at last is being leavened by a growing sense that the economy is getting better. In one example, as many Americans now say their financial situation has improved since Obama took office as say they’ve lost ground – 25 percent each, with the other half reporting no change. That’s a first for his presidency; “worse off” beat “better off” by anywhere from 8 to 22 percentage points in eight previous ABC/Post polls since 2009.

Moreover, a plurality in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, gives Obama credit for the improving economy: Forty-two percent say his policies have helped the economy, easily surpassing the 27 percent who say he’s slowed economic improvement. But that leaves three in 10 who say he’s made no difference – no harm, but also no good.

Further, among Americans who say the nation is in good shape overall, the economy leads as the chief reason, cited by 41 percent. Among those who say the nation’s in bad shape, by contrast, many fewer – 21 percent – blame the economy. The rest scatter among other concerns, including political, social, national security and international issues, or some combination of them.

As noted in a separate analysis yesterday, 41 percent say the economy is in excellent or good shape, up sharply from 27 percent just before the midterm elections. That’s fueled a 9-point one-month advance in Obama’s job approval rating and a 12-point drop in the number of Americans saying the country’s headed seriously off on the wrong track.  (That analysis also covers the public’s divisions on a variety of policy preferences.)

Yet substantial economic concerns remain. Consider:

  • Sixty-two percent are worried about being able to maintain their current standard of living – down from its peak, 68 percent, in mid-2008, but still a sizable majority of the population. It was 51 percent, for comparison, in late 2007, at the beginning of the downturn.
  • To the extent the economy has improved, half the public says it’s mostly helped wealthy Americans. Substantially fewer, 38 percent, the say recovery has helped all income groups.
  • A vast 83 percent say the income gap between wealthy Americans and others is a problem for the country; 51 percent call it a major problem. A possible theme in the 2016 presidential election, the Democratic Party leads the GOP in being seen as having better ideas on how to address the issue, by 44 to 33 percent – but neither has majority backing.

GROUPS – Views on the economy and on the state of the nation more broadly are closely linked. Among people who rate the economy positively, 77 percent say the country is in good shape overall; so do 66 percent of those who say they’ve become better off with Obama in office. Positive views of the nation dive to 17 percent among those who say the economy is still hurting, and 14 percent of those who say they’re worse off now than when the president took office.

There’s also a strong political aspect to views of the country overall. Even as a lame duck, the occupant of the White House influences these attitudes: Ratings of the state of the nation are brightest among Democrats and Democratic-leaning groups such as young adults and nonwhites, and far less so among some others, including older adults, whites and (especially) evangelical white Protestants, a core Republican group. Strikingly, while 65 percent of liberal Democrats say the country’s in good shape, a mere 20 percent of conservative Republicans agree, despite the GOP’s gains in the 2014 midterms.

There also are differences among groups in economic experiences and attitudes. Young adults by 40-9 percent say they’ve gotten better off rather than worse off under Obama; this shifts with age until, among seniors, “worse off” sentiment prevails by a 14-point margin. Wealthier people say they’re better off by an 11-point margin, while those with incomes less than $100,000 split about evenly.

Notably, views of the wealth gap as a problem reach across political and income groups alike.  However, Democrats and liberals are much more apt to call it a “major” problem, Republicans, and conservatives, much less so.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Jan. 12-15, 2015, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,003 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including design effect. Partisan divisions are 30-24-37 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

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An Improving Economy Gives Obama His Game Back http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/01/an-improving-economy-gives-obama-his-game-back/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/01/an-improving-economy-gives-obama-his-game-back/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 11:58:32 +0000 Gary Langer http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=898079 AP barack obama jt 150103 16x9 608 An Improving Economy Gives Obama His Game Back

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

An improving economy is putting Barack Obama back in the game, boosting the president and his party in a striking turnaround from their devastating midterm losses.

Americans approve of the president’s job performance by 50-44 percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, a remarkable 9-point gain in approval and a 10-point drop in disapproval just since December. It’s his best rating in a year and a half, and matches his previous best one-time advance, after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in spring 2011.

See PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

Further, while 56 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, still say the country is headed seriously off on the wrong track, that’s down by 12 percentage points since late October to its lowest since fall 2012, just before Obama’s re-election.

The economy is driving these changes. Three months ago just 27 percent said it was in good shape. Today 41 percent say so, the most since April 2007, before the onset of the Great Recession and its long aftermath. People who rate the economy positively are vastly more likely than others to approve of the president’s performance and the country’s direction alike.

These shifts give Obama some political traction after a year in the political wilderness. The public now divides, 40-36 percent, in whom it trusts more to handle the main problems facing the country, Obama or the Republicans in Congress. That’s gone from +4 for the GOP last month to today’s +4 for Obama. Again, economic sentiment is largely responsible.

Obama’s rating specifically for handling the economy is hardly stellar, a 48-48 percent split. But that’s up 6 points in approval from late October.

ISSUES – If the economy is providing new wind in Obama’s sails, some issues are puffing along for him as well. This poll finds broad backing, 61-34 percent, for his position on the Keystone oil pipeline, in a question that focuses on the specific dispute at hand – whether to approve it now or await a needs assessment. He has narrower but still majority support (53 percent in both cases) for his plan for free community college tuition and for maintaining Obamacare’s rule mandating employer-provided insurance for 30+-hour workers. (A GOP proposal would make it 40+ hours.

At the same time, the public is pushing back against Obama’s executive action on immigration, with 56 percent saying Congress should block it. That reflects conflicted views on the issue of immigration reform, with the devil very much in the details.

More generally, Obama has a vast 61-22 percent advantage over the Republicans in being seen as having better ideas on how to help more students afford college, and a 17-point lead in dealing with climate change. Those shrink to much closer divisions on a range of other issues – helping the middle class (+8 Obama), creating jobs (+5 Obama), increasing home ownership (+1 Obama) and encouraging economic development (+6 GOP).

One additional issue may indicate challenges for Obama and the Republicans alike in any deal to try to repatriate offshore corporate profits by cutting the corporate tax rate. In a notably lopsided result, 65 percent of Americans say large business corporations pay too little in taxes; just 19 percent say they pay their fair share

DIVISION – Close divisions mark political attitudes more broadly. The public splits, 50-46 percent, on whether or not it’s justified for Obama to take executive actions to bypass Congress. And people divide just as evenly, 49-46 percent, on whether or not it’s justified for Congress to pass new laws or sue to block such actions. (These two questions, naturally, attract political and ideological opposites.) There’s an additional split on who’s taking the stronger leadership role in Washington, Obama or the congressional Republicans, 42-40 percent

In another telling example, Americans divide almost exactly evenly, 35-34 percent, on whether they’d like the country to go in the direction in which Obama wants to lead it, or in the direction set by the Republicans in Congress. It’s notable, moreover, that a quarter says that neither of those directions is what they’re looking for – a sign of continued disaffection from both parties.

That sentiment shows up in bold in a further question: A near-unanimous 91 percent say government dysfunction is a problem for the country, and 66 percent call it a major problem. When those who call it a problem are asked whose fault that mainly is, a fifth pick Obama, a fifth pick the GOP – and six in 10 blame both equally.

There’s further division on what the political future may hold. On one hand, Americans by 33-20 percent are more apt to say the new Republican-controlled Congress will be better rather than worse than the last Congress. But a plurality, 44 percent, expects no change. About as many expect no relief from government dysfunction more generally, with another split on whether this will get better (23 percent) or worse (29 percent)

All this frustration is reflected in declining party allegiance: As has been the case almost continuously for the past six years, more Americans identify themselves as independents, 37 percent, than as either Republicans (24 percent) or Democrats (30 percent, up 4 points from last month’s nearly 34-year low).

GROUPS – Some changes in Obama’s approval rating from last month are especially striking. He’s up by 19 points among 18- to 29-year-olds, 13 points among nonwhites (including 22 points among Hispanics), 12 points among adults with less-than $50,000 incomes and 10 points among Democrats. But he’s also gained in less-hospitable groups – by 13 points among non-college educated white men, 11 points among men overall and 11 points among conservatives.

There are some similar patterns in views that the country is headed in the right direction, up from late October by 21 points among nonwhites (including 26 points among Hispanics) and 16 points among Democrats, vs. just 3 points among Republicans, despite their party’s gains in Congress.

HISTORY – Given the hard knock the Democrats took in November, Obama could be in worse shape. At about this point after his party’s losses in 1994, Bill Clinton trailed the Republicans in Congress by 24-61 percent in being seen as taking the stronger leadership role. Obama, as noted, is even on this score.

Previous approval ratings also are illustrative. George W. Bush’s party’s hammering in 2006 was part of a long, painful tailspin for his presidency. At this point in his career, amid unhappiness with the war in Iraq, Bush had 33 percent job approval – a number that makes Obama’s 50 percent look almost good. In other comparisons, Clinton had a 63 percent approval rating at this point in his presidency, while Ronald Reagan’s was 50 percent – identical, as it happens, to Obama’s today.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Jan. 12-15, 2015, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,003 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including design effect. Partisan divisions are 30-24-37 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

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Worries About Terrorism Rise Post-Paris http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/01/worries-about-terrorism-rise-post-paris/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/01/worries-about-terrorism-rise-post-paris/#comments Sun, 18 Jan 2015 13:58:52 +0000 Gary Langer http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=898060 Americans’ worries about terrorism have increased modestly in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris, as has public priority on investigating terrorism even at the expense of personal privacy. Barack Obama, for his part, is doing slightly better in trust to handle the issue.

Seventy-six percent of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll say they’re worried about the possibility of a major terrorist attack in this country, up from 71 percent in October and numerically the most since 2003. It’s been a big majority steadily in ABC/Post polls since 1995, ranging from 62 to 87 percent, the latter immediately following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

See PDF with full results and tables here.

Total worry includes 34 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, who say they’re “very” worried about an attack, numerically the most since October 2001, albeit not by a significant margin. (It was 32 percent in October.)

Given that concern, the public by 2-1, 63-32 percent, says it’s more important for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats – even if that intrudes on personal privacy – than to avoid intruding on privacy, if that limits its ability to investigate. That’s shifted from a 57-39 percent division in July 2013, its closest margin in ABC/Post polls since 2002.

The two views are closely related: People who are very worried about terrorism give a higher priority to investigating threats than protecting privacy by a vast 75-21 percent, and it’s 64-31 percent among those who are somewhat worried. By contrast, among those who are less worried about terrorism, 51 percent are more concerned with protecting privacy, vs. 44 percent who give investigating terrorism the higher priority.

Obama, for his part, received criticism for not attending or sending a high-level representative to an anti-terrorism rally in Paris after the attacks there, a point his spokesman conceded. But it looks not to have damaged his approval rating at home for handling terrorism: Americans divide on the question, 47-45 percent, better than his ratings on the issue in December and October. (The latter, 42-50 percent, was his career worst on terrorism.)

There are, as usual, sharp ideological and partisan divisions on Obama’s handling of terrorism. Approval ranges from 27 to 54 to 66 percent among conservatives, moderates and liberals, and from 18 to 49 to 70 percent among Republicans, independents and Democrats, respectively.

The president’s approval rating for handling terrorism is lower among those who are worried about a major attack - in large part because they include more of his partisan and ideological opposites. Worry about a major attack ranges from 87 percent among conservative Republicans to 63 percent among liberal Democrats. (Strong worry is especially high among conservatives and Republicans alike.)

Among other groups, worry about a terrorist attack – including strong worry – is higher among women than men, and among older vs. younger adults. Strong worry peaks among less-educated Americans and in the East (likely given the locus of the 9/11 attacks). Perhaps counterintuitively, overall worry is somewhat lower in urban centers than elsewhere, especially when compared with rural areas. That reflects partisan and ideological distributions.

Putting a priority on investigating terrorism vs. protecting privacy rights peaks in some of the same groups in which terrorism concerns are highest – notably among women and older adults. However, on this issue, Democrats and Republicans hold similar views, as do conservatives and moderates. Smaller majorities of independents and liberals support investigating terrorism at the expense of privacy rights.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Jan. 12-15, 2015, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,003 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including design effect.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

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Huckabee vs. Clinton: Reconsider the Day Job? http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/01/huckabee-vs-clinton-reconsider-the-day-job/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/01/huckabee-vs-clinton-reconsider-the-day-job/#comments Sun, 18 Jan 2015 13:58:13 +0000 Gary Langer http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=898055 It’s almost enough to reconsider quitting the day job: Mike Huckabee’s got a steep hill to climb should he face off against Hillary Clinton for the presidency in 2016.

Tested in a head-to-head matchup among registered voters, Huckabee gets 39 percent support in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, vs. 56 percent for Clinton, a wide 17-point gap in presidential preference. It’s their first test in an ABC/Post poll in this cycle, and much better for Clinton than a hypothetical matchup in late 2007, when she and Huckabee ran essentially evenly among registered voters, 48-45 percent.

See PDF with full results here.

Huckabee, a guest today on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, resigned his Fox News job earlier this month and said he’s exploring another run for the Republican presidential nomination. He’s on a book tour the next few weeks, including three stops in Iowa, where the voting starts in a year.

Additional candidate matchups and attitudes about the 2016 contest will be covered later this week in a subsequent analysis of the latest ABC/Post poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

In one striking difference in their support profiles, Clinton’s backed by 92 percent of Democrats who are registered to vote (6 percent cross over to Huckabee), while Huckabee’s backed by fewer Republicans (79 percent, with 14 percent going to Clinton and 7 percent simply taking a pass.) Further, Clinton leads Huckabee among independents, potentially a swing voting group, by 52-41 percent.

Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, holds a broad 68-27 percent lead over Clinton among evangelical white Protestants, a core Republican group and one in which he did especially well in his 2008 campaign for the GOP nomination. However, that flips to a 55-39 percent race, Clinton-Huckabee, among non-evangelical white Protestants. And, typical for a Democrat, Clinton has a vast lead among nonwhites, 81-15 percent – an ongoing challenge for the GOP as nonwhites grow as a proportion of the electorate.

Clinton leads Huckabee among women by 24 points, and does particularly well among younger adults, with a 65-32 percent advantage among registered voters who are under 40. Unusually for a Democrat, Clinton is competitive with Huckabee even in rural areas, customarily a GOP stronghold, as well as the suburbs, while she’s trouncing him in urban areas, 66-29 percent.

Ideology is another strong differentiator. Huckabee leads Clinton by 73-22 percent among Americans who identify themselves as “very” conservative, and by a much closer 16 points among somewhat conservatives. Clinton, though, comes back with a 62-33 percent result among moderates and 81-15 percent among liberals, who together account for 60 percent of all registered voters.

Clinton’s lead today, of course, is no assurance of what may happen in 2016. There are hats to drop, campaigns to pursue, nominations to win – and many months ahead for voters to come to their final judgments.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Jan. 12-15, 2015, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,003 adults, including 843 registered voters, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have margins of sampling error of 3.5 and 4 points for the general population and registered voters, respectively, including design effect. Partisan divisions are 30-24-37 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents, among the general population, and 33-26-33 percent among registered voters.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

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At the End of Afghanistan War, Most Doubt its Value http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/01/at-the-end-of-afghanistan-war-most-doubt-its-value/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2015/01/at-the-end-of-afghanistan-war-most-doubt-its-value/#comments Sun, 04 Jan 2015 12:00:13 +0000 Gary Langer http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=897868 AP AFGHANISTAN3 140916 DG 16x9 608 At the End of Afghanistan War, Most Doubt its Value

(Massoud Hossaini/AP Photo)

Fewer than four in 10 Americans say the war in Afghanistan was worth fighting – up from its low but still a broadly negative judgment on the United States’ longest conflict.

Asked to consider its costs vs. benefits, 38 percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll say the war in Afghanistan was worth fighting; 56 percent say it was not. While still a negative view, that’s eased from 28-67 percent in July 2013, as U.S. forces gradually have disengaged.

Americans divide essentially evenly on whether the conflict achieved its aim of improving long-term U.S. security, 48-47 percent. But only 19 percent say it contributed “a great deal” to the security of the United States, a key reason most say it wasn’t worth fighting.

Despite these attitudes, the survey, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds majority support for plans to keep up to 10,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan “to train Afghan forces and assist in counter-insurgency operations” in the year ahead: Fifty-four percent are in favor, though a substantial 43 percent are opposed.

The United States and its NATO allies officially ended their combat role in Afghanistan last week, 13 years after the U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban government in response to its support for the al Qaeda terrorist network. More than 2,200 U.S. soldiers were killed, as were more than 1,000 from allied nations and thousands of Afghan civilians.

The invasion initially enjoyed broad U.S. public support, but that ebbed as the conflict dragged on. A majority hasn’t called the war worth fighting since 2009.

Assessments of whether the war improved U.S. security are central to views of whether it was worth the effort. Among the two in 10 Americans who say it bolstered security a great deal, 76 percent also say the war was worth fighting. Among those who see more modest security gains, fewer, but still 56 percent, say the same. Among the half who don’t think it improved long-term security, by contrast, only 13 percent say the war was worth fighting, 85 percent not.

There also are strong political and ideological components to these views. Republicans and conservatives – particularly those who say they’re very conservative – are far more likely than independents, Democrats, moderates or liberals to see the war as worth fighting. That said, even among Republicans, just 23 percent say the war contributed a great deal to U.S. security.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Dec. 11-14, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,000 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including design effect.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

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In Police/Community Controversies, Vast Majorities Back Special Prosecutors, Body Cams http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/12/policecommunity-controversies-vast-majorities-back-special-prosecutors-body-cams/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/12/policecommunity-controversies-vast-majorities-back-special-prosecutors-body-cams/#comments Sat, 27 Dec 2014 12:01:28 +0000 Gary Langer http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=897802 Large majorities across racial and political groups agree on two proposals to address police-community relations in the United States: The use of an outside prosecutor when police kill an unarmed civilian, and requiring all patrol officers to wear body cameras when on duty.

Eighty-seven percent of Americans in an ABC News/Washington Post poll support calling in an outside prosecutor to investigate such cases, and 86 percent back the mandatory use of so-called body cams. That includes 85 percent or more of blacks, whites and Hispanics alike, and seven in 10 or more across ideological, political and generational lines.

See PDF with full results here.

The issue has been a highly charged one recently. This survey was conducted during the second week of December, before the murder of two police officers in New York City by a gunman said to have been angered by a pair of controversial police killings of unarmed civilians last summer.

Whatever the influence of recent events, concerns about racial fairness are not new. Fifty-four percent in this survey expressed doubt that blacks and other minorities receive equal treatment as whites in the criminal justice system – 44 percent of whites, rising to 60 percent of Hispanics and 89 percent of blacks. It’s been as high in some previous ABC/Post polls back to the early 1990s.

Other results of this survey, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, also show a gulf of differing perspectives. Fifty-two percent overall were very or somewhat confident that the police in this country treat whites and blacks equally; 63 percent of whites said so, dropping to four in 10 Hispanics and just 21 percent of African-Americans.

Similarly narrow majorities overall – 54 and 52 percent, respectively – said they feel confident that the police are adequately trained to avoid using excessive force and are held accountable for any misconduct. More, 66 percent, said the police “try hard enough to maintain good relations with different groups in the community” – a view held by three-quarters of whites and nearly six in 10 Hispanics, declining to just 35 percent of blacks.

There were similar differences on whether the fatalities that ignited the controversy – in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York – reflected isolated incidents or broader problems in the treatment of African-Americans by the police. Three-quarters of blacks and half of Hispanics called it a broader problem, compared with only 35 percent of whites.

Differences on these issues are not solely racial or ethnic, but also political, ideological and generational. For example, just among whites, the view that the Ferguson and Staten Island cases reflect a broader problem in police treatment of blacks ranged from 62 percent of Democrats to 30 percent of independents and 17 percent of Republicans. And 70 percent of white Democrats said minorities don’t receive equal treatment in the criminal justice system overall; 41 percent of white independents and 29 percent of white Republicans agreed.

There’s also an age effect, with concerns about racial inequities generally higher among young adults and lowest among seniors.

Individual circumstances also make a difference. Overall just 31 percent in this poll approved of the grand jury’s decision not to charge the police officer in the Staten Island case, while 57 percent disapproved. There was a much closer 48-45 percent division last month on the lack of an indictment in Ferguson.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Dec. 11-15, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,012 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including design effect.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

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Poll Finds Broad Public Support for Open Relations with Cuba http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/12/poll-finds-broad-public-support-for-open-relations-with-cuba/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/12/poll-finds-broad-public-support-for-open-relations-with-cuba/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:58:44 +0000 Greg Holyk http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=897769 Broad majorities of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll support establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, as well as ending the United States’ longstanding trade embargo and restrictions on travel to and from the Caribbean nation.

Sixty-four percent favor Cuban-American diplomatic relations, similar to its level in polls the last eight years. Two-thirds and three-quarters, respectively, favor ending the trade embargo and travel restrictions, both up considerably from an ABC/Post poll in 2009.

See PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

No more than three in 10 are opposed in each case. And strong supporters outnumber strong opponents on all three measures – by particularly large margins, about 2-1, when it comes to trade and travel.

Barack Obama moved last week to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba, restoring diplomatic relations and further easing some trade and travel restrictions. This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, indicates a solid base in public opinion for such initiatives.

Views on Cuba have transformed considerably over the years. In similar questions in 1998, just 38 percent supported diplomatic relations, only 35 percent wanted to end the embargo and Americans split evenly on doing away with the travel restrictions.

There are partisan and ideological gaps, but also some surprises. Even among Republicans and conservatives, majorities support ending the embargo and travel restrictions. They split evenly in the case of establishing diplomatic relations, with “strong” conservatives opposed. Support is much higher among Democrats, independents, liberals and moderates alike.

Among other groups, men, Hispanics, younger or middle-aged adults and higher-income earners, for the most part, are more apt than their counterparts to favor closer ties with Cuba.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cell phone Dec. 17-21, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,011 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points. The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y.

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Clinton: Off Her Peak, but Still Towering http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/12/clinton-off-her-peak-but-still-towering/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/12/clinton-off-her-peak-but-still-towering/#comments Sun, 21 Dec 2014 12:01:20 +0000 Gary Langer http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=897718 AP CLINTON 141217 DG 16x9 608 Clinton: Off Her Peak, but Still Towering

(Jason DeCrow/AP Photo)

Hillary Clinton is off her peak but still overwhelmingly strong in support for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, while Elizabeth Warren has inched up in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Clinton’s backed by 61 percent of Democratic and Democratic leaning independents who are registered to vote, giving her a vast advantage over potential rivals Joe Biden, at 14 percent, and Warren, the freshman U.S. senator from Massachusetts, at 13 percent.

See PDF with full results here.

Still, Clinton’s support has slipped from 69 percent in June, down by 8 points, while support for Warren is up by 6 points – not remotely enough to make it look competitive at this stage, but movement nonetheless. Biden has held essentially steady.

Warren’s been described as the darling of liberals, and indeed her support among liberals has gained 11 points since June, while Clinton’s has slipped in this group by 14 points. Nonetheless, Clinton still holds a wide 59-19 percent lead over Warren among liberals, with 12 percent for Biden. (Narrow it down to “very” liberals, combining the last two ABC/Post polls for an adequate sample size, and it’s similar – Clinton 63 percent, Warren 21, Biden 6.)

There are few if any substantive differences across groups in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates – and very little support for three others tested, Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb and Martin O’Malley. That makes it a far different-looking race from the GOP contest, in which, as reported last week, allegiances are widely scattered, with no clear leader.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone interviews Dec. 11-14, 2014, among a random national sample of 1,000 adults, including 346 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who reported being registered to vote. Results have a 3.5-point error margin overall, and 6.0 points for registered leaned Democrats. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York.

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Obama and Immigration: What He Did vs. How He Did it http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/12/obama-and-immigration-what-he-did-vs-how-he-did-it/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/12/obama-and-immigration-what-he-did-vs-how-he-did-it/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:00:58 +0000 Julie Phelan http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=897616 A slim majority of Americans support the immigration program created by Barack Obama’s executive action – but divisions on whether he exceeded his authority impede most of the political capital he might have gained.

Overall, 52 percent support Obama’s initiative, with 44 percent opposed. But 49 percent say he exceeded his authority, 51 percent say congressional inaction on the issue doesn’t justify his approach and the public also divides closely on whether or not Congress should try to block the program.

See PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

These sharp rifts in views of Obama’s method, combined with overall post-election advances for the GOP, are limiting the benefits the president may have hoped to glean. Fifty-five percent of Americans disapprove of his handling of the issue – down by 6 points since October, but still a majority. And more now trust Republicans in Congress over Obama to handle immigration issues, by 48-39 percent, reversing an 8-point Obama advantage a year and a half ago.

AUTHORITY – Even among people who support Obama’s program, a third don’t approve of his handling of immigration generally, and as many don’t pick him over the Republicans to handle the issue. That’s particularly true of those who back his initiative, but only “somewhat.”

At least some of this reflects the view that Obama acted outside his authority. Even among people who favor his program, nearly one in four thinks he exceeded his authority in creating it. In that group, 62 percent disapprove of his handling of immigration overall, regardless of the initiative; and 53 percent better trust the GOP on this issue.

RACE – Not surprisingly, this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds there are very sharp racial and ethnic divisions on the issue. Obama’s executive action wins support from 72 percent of Hispanics, and an equal number of nonwhites overall, compared with 42 percent of whites.

Decidedly more Hispanics approve of the president’s handling of immigration now than in October, but that’s up from a low level – three in 10 then, 53 percent now. It was seven in 10 percent in May 2013, when congressional action on the issue seemed near.

Approval among whites, meanwhile, has held essentially even in the past six weeks, now just 26 percent, and also trails what it was a year and a half ago, by 11 points. Further, six in 10 whites think Obama went beyond his authority; as many say that congressional inaction is not a valid reason for him to have acted and that Congress should block the program.

Many fewer Hispanics feel the same – but that still means that even among Hispanics, three in 10 think that Obama overstepped his authority and that congressional gridlock was an insufficient rationale for acting. One in four Hispanics, moreover, feels that Congress should block the program from going forward. Views among nonwhites overall are similar.

Additionally, the number of Hispanics who trust the GOP over Obama to handle this issue has doubled, from 16 percent in May 2013 to 34 percent now, likely reflecting hesitation about the way immigration reform has been achieved. Whites’ preferences for the GOP over Obama also have grown – from a 45-36 percent split a year and a half ago to 59-27 percent now.

One takeaway is that even Hispanics are not monolithic in their attitudes on immigration. That should not be a surprise; while 46 percent of Hispanics are Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, an additional 33 percent are Republicans, or lean that way.

GROUPS – There also are profound political and ideological differences in views of Obama’s immigration program. Eight in 10 Democrats and 73 percent of liberals support it, compared with a quarter of Republicans and a third of conservatives. Independents and moderates fall in between, with 51 and 58 percent supporting the initiative, respectively.

Eight in 10 Republicans think Obama exceeded his authority, while an equal number of Democrats think he did not; independents divide, 51-45 percent. Views of the president’s rationale for acting, and whether Congress should try to block the program, are similarly divided.

Further, approval of Obama’s handling of immigration issues has increased by 14 and 13 points since mid-October among independents and Democrats, respectively, while holding essentially steady among Republicans. But even with that gain Obama has just 34 percent approval on the issue from independents, and they prefer the GOP in trust to handle it, by 47-37 percent.

Among other groups, support for Obama’s executive action peaks at 64 percent among adults younger than 30, compared with 45 percent among seniors. And approval for Obama’s handling of immigration overall has increased disproportionately among young adults, from 27 percent six weeks ago to 46 percent now – better, but still less than half.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Dec. 11-14, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,000 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including design effect.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

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