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. Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:27:40 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Support for Airstrikes against ISIS: Following the Trend Lines http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/support-for-airstrikes-against-isis-following-the-trend-lines/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/support-for-airstrikes-against-isis-following-the-trend-lines/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 21:08:55 +0000 Ryan Struyk http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=894072 ap iraq isis kb 140704 16x9 608 Support for Airstrikes against ISIS: Following the Trend Lines

AP Photo

What a difference events can make.

U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq remained largely divisive for most of the summer. But our ABC News/Washington Post poll earlier this week found support rising from 54 to 71 percent in just three weeks. The shift, although in line with President Obama’s policies, includes many of his political opponents on other issues.

Specifically, the overall increase of 17 percentage points in support for airstrikes since mid-August includes a 22-point leap among Republicans (from 61 to 83 percent) and a remarkable 32-point jump among “very conservative” Americans, from 49 percent to 81 percent.

What’s intervened, of course, is the emergence of online videos recording the ISIS murders of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Support for airstrikes had already been on the rise among Democrats, in accord with Obama’s actions. But it grew especially sharply among Republicans and strong conservatives after the videos became public.

The results make sense: Democrats and liberals were more apt to support Obama’s policy from the start. Republicans and conservatives likely needed an impetus from another source.

Regardless of when the trend lines moved, Republicans and strong conservatives are more supportive than other Americans of airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq – a customary result when it comes to military action.

In the meantime, support for the airstrikes is lower among nonwhites – a core support group for the president – and adults younger than 40.

Despite an 11-point bump to 57 percent support in the last three weeks, nonwhites remain one of the groups least supportive of airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq. Among whites, by contrast, support reaches 77 percent. Similarly, just 56 percent of under-40s back airstrikes – including only 44 percent of those age 18-29, another Obama base group. That compares with eight in 10 of those older than 40.


http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/support-for-airstrikes-against-isis-following-the-trend-lines/feed/ 0
Obama Hits a New Low for Leadership, With Criticism on ISIS & Immigration Alike http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/obama-hits-a-new-low-for-leadership-with-criticism-on-isis-immigration-alike/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/obama-hits-a-new-low-for-leadership-with-criticism-on-isis-immigration-alike/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 04:01:35 +0000 Gary Langer http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=893836

Barack Obama’s rating for strong leadership has dropped to a new low in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, hammered by criticism of his work on international crises and a stalled domestic agenda alike. With the midterm elections looming, Americans by a 10-point margin, 52-42 percent, see his presidency more as a failure than a success.

Just 38 percent now approve of Obama’s handling of international affairs, down 8 percentage points since July to a career low; 56 percent disapprove, a majority for the first time. Fifty-two percent say he’s been too cautious in dealing with Islamic insurgents in Iraq and Syria. And the public is ahead of Obama in support for a military response to that crisis, with 65 percent in favor of extending U.S. air strikes to Syria.

See PDF with full results and charts here.

With the president set to address the nation on the issue Wednesday, concern is at a peak. A vast 91 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, see the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as a serious threat to U.S. vital interests. After its execution of two American journalists, support for air strikes against ISIS in Iraq has swelled from 45 percent in June to 71 percent now. Support for arming their Kurdish opponents is up by 13 points, to 58 percent, in just the past month.

At home, with Obama holding off his promised executive action on immigration reform, a new low of just 31 percent approve of his handling of immigration. Fifty-nine percent disapprove, up by a broad 18 points from spring 2013, when progress on the issue seemed imminent.

In general assessments, moreover, Americans by a 17-point margin say Obama has done more to divide than to unite the country, a rating worse than George W. Bush’s early in his poorly rated second term – and one that’s deteriorated among Obama’s supporters as well as among his critics. Just 43 percent call Obama a strong leader, down 11 points in the past year to the fewest of his presidency. And his overall job approval rating, at 42 percent, is a point from its all-time low this spring.

NOVEMBER – The risks to Obama’s party in the November elections are great – but they’re mitigated, all the same, by the Republican Party’s concurrent problems. While Americans by 55-38 percent say Obama has done more to divide than to unite the country, that expands to a 63-27 percent negative view of the Republicans in Congress on the same question. And just 21 percent approve of the way congressional Republicans are handling their jobs, a point from their low in polling dating back 20 years.

Vote preferences for November are closely matched; registered voters divide by 46-44 percent between the Democrat and the Republican in their congressional district. Among those who say they’re certain to vote, that goes to a 47-44 percent Republican-Democratic race, underscoring the GOP’s customary advantage in midterm turnout. As a rough guide, when the Democrats lack a double-digit lead among registered voters in the generic matchup, they’re at some risk.

Indeed, independents side substantially more with GOP candidates – by 47-35 percent among registered voters. That puts all the more pressure on Democrats to boost their turnout, or suffer.

At the same time, even with Obama’s problems, Democratic voters in this survey are a bit more energized than their Republican counterparts. Among those who intend to back the Democrat in their district, 71 percent say they’re enthusiastic about doing so. Among those who favor the GOP candidate, fewer, 63 percent, are enthusiastic about it.

The extent of Obama’s impact on the election remains to be seen, but – given his ratings – he’s not helping his party. Registered voters are more likely to say they’ll be casting their midterm ballot to show opposition to Obama than support for him, by 27 percent vs. 19 percent – not an overwhelming gap, but one similar to the result on Bush in 2006, a sweep year for the out-party. Further, Democrats win broad support from voters who see Obama as a strong leader and approve of his performance on a range of issues, international affairs and immigration among them. To the extent that these ratings continue to suffer, his party could feel the pain.

The economy and jobs prevail by a substantial margin as the issue of top concern in the election; while views of the economy are their least negative since the start of the Great Recession, 69 percent still say it’s in bad shape, and just 42 percent approve of how Obama’s handling it. It follows that 65 percent say the country is “seriously off on the wrong track,” twice as many as say it’s headed in the right direction. And even more, three-quarters, are dissatisfied with the way the federal government is working.

ISIS and LEADERSHIP – Obama is scheduled to speak to the nation this week on his emerging strategy to deal with ISIS, and, aides say, to build support for military action against the group. This poll, though, indicates that he’s trailing rather than leading opinions on the issue.

As noted, substantial majorities now favor U.S. air strikes on ISIS in Iraq (71 percent, up by a remarkable 26 points since June, and 17 points just since mid-August) and extending those strikes to hit ISIS in Syria (65 percent), as well as arming the Kurdish forces that are among those opposing ISIS (58 percent). Moreover, while 52 percent say Obama has been “too cautious” in dealing with ISIS, just 8 percent say he’s been too aggressive. That leaves only 35 percent who say he’s handled it “about right.”

These views extend to international affairs more broadly – 53 percent say Obama has been too cautious in handling them. (Fewer, but 43 percent, also say he’s been too cautious in dealing with the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.) Further, the decline in Obama’s approval rating on handling international affairs has included some of his core support groups – down by 20 points since July among young adults and by 16 points among nonwhites.

These criticisms – along with those on the immigration issue – likely are contributing to Obama’s career-low rating for strong leadership (which also is notably down among young adults, by 13 points since January). His ratings on two other attributes, by contrast, while not strong, are essentially unchanged: even, 49-48 percent splits both on understanding “the problems of people like you” and being honest and trustworthy.

CONGRESS and INCUMBENTS – The Congress and its parties return from summer vacation to a Bronx cheer all their own. Just 15 percent approve of the way Congress is doing its job, very near its record low, 12 percent, about a year ago. The Democrats in Congress get a 33 percent approval rating, a dozen points ahead of the Republicans but hardly a bumper-sticker result.

Anti-incumbency remains near its all-time high: Just 23 percent of Americans are inclined to re-elect their representative in Congress; 67 percent are inclined to “look around for someone else.” The record in polling back 25 years, just a point away on each side, was 22-68 percent in March.

Another result, though, shows some respite for incumbents. Americans divide by 45-41 percent on approval or disapproval of their own representative in Congress. While still a weak score by historical standards, that’s a 10-point drop in disapproval from early August – and it’s occurred chiefly among Democrats, a sign of life for the party. (Incumbents are hard to unseat in any event.)

Asked for a bit of punditry, 45 percent of Americans say they expect the Republicans to win the Senate – but almost as many, 40 percent, say otherwise. (Compare to 2012, when 55 percent expected Obama to win.) The public by a 7-point margin, 32-25 percent, also says that change in control would be a good thing – but a plurality says it’d make no difference.

PARTIES and ISSUES – Comparing the parties, there are close (or fairly close) divisions in which side Americans trust more to handle various issues, the Democrats or Republicans. That includes essentially an even split on handling “the main problems the nation faces”; a scant +5 on the economy (45-40 percent) and +4 on immigration (43-39 percent) for Republicans; and +6 on health care for Democrats (46-40 percent).

Notably, neither party gets majority endorsement on any of these. At the same time, there are better-than-usual results for the Republicans: Their result on handling immigration is its best vs. the Democrats in polling back to 2006. Their score on the economy ties its best since late 2002. And their competitiveness in handling the country’s main problems, 40 vs. 39 percent, is unusual – the gap is its best for the GOP since 2003.

The Republicans also are +6 points in having “better ideas about the right size and role of the federal government.” But that shifts to larger Democratic advantages in being “more concerned with the needs of people like you” (+12) and better understanding the economic problems people are having (+13).

The poll finds some explanation for why Obama backed off the immigration issue this past week; it shows a 46-50 percent division on providing legal status for undocumented immigrants now living and working in the United States – a shift from 51-43 percent support last fall. Moreover, Americans by 36-27 percent say they’re more likely to oppose than to support a candidate for Congress who favors a path to legal status. (At the same time, though, the public by 52-44 percent would like to see Obama act unilaterally on immigration if Congress doesn’t take action, suggesting a general weariness with the lack of progress on the issue.)

There are differences among Hispanics compared with others: Many more support legal status (82 percent, vs. 37 percent among whites). Eight in 10 also back executive action by Obama. And Hispanics, naturally, are far more apt to back like-minded candidates.

Other results also mark the striking disparity of attitudes among racial and ethnic groups. Obama’s overall job approval rating, for example, is 87 percent among blacks, 57 percent among Hispanics – and just 31 percent among whites, a single point from his career low. Differences on whether Obama has united or divided the country are at least as sharp: Seventy-eight percent of blacks see Obama as a uniter rather than a divider; that declines to 53 percent of Hispanics and just 27 percent of whites.

Another issue, health care, shows the public’s disconnect with both Obama and the Republicans alike. As has been the case more often than not, more Americans oppose than support Obamacare, now 52-43 percent. Still, more either support it, or oppose it but are willing to let it go ahead – 57 percent – than prefer to see it repealed, 40 percent.

Finally, despite their many complaints, Americans by 57-39 percent think the country’s best days are still ahead of it. But as in so much else, there’s a strong political and ideological component to that view: It ranges from 74 percent among liberal Democrats to a low of 43 percent among conservative Republicans.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Sept. 4-7, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,001 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 33-23-38 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.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/obama-hits-a-new-low-for-leadership-with-criticism-on-isis-immigration-alike/feed/ 0
Support for U.S. Air Strikes in Iraq Jumps http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/support-for-u-s-air-strikes-in-iraq-jumps/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/support-for-u-s-air-strikes-in-iraq-jumps/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:00:28 +0000 Greg Holyk http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=892678 After splitting evenly two months ago, a majority of Americans now support U.S. air strikes in Iraq – but without additional credit to Barack Obama for ordering them.

Support for the military action against Sunni insurgents in Iraq is up by 9 percentage points since June, from 45 to 54 percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, while opposition is down by 7 points, to 39 percent. Yet views on Obama’s handling of the situation are essentially unchanged – 42 percent approve, while 51 percent disapprove.

On a third question, the public divides on providing arms and ammunition to the Kurdish military forces who are opposing the insurgents, with 45 percent in favor, 49 percent opposed.

See PDF with full results and charts here.

The air strikes, which began nearly two weeks ago, represent the most significant U.S. military operations in Iraq since the withdrawal of the last ground troops in late 2011. Interviews for this survey, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, were completed before the announcement that U.S. air strikes had assisted Iraqi and Kurdish forces in recapturing the Mosul Dam, a major strategic objective.

An increase in support for U.S. military action occurred among Democrats and political independents – up by 10 and 8 points, respectively, while remaining largely stable and higher among Republicans. Similarly, support has increased by 8 to 12 points among liberals, moderates and those who say they’re “somewhat” conservative, while holding steady among strong conservatives.

Partisanship and ideology also continue to play a major role in ratings of Obama’s performance on the issue. Two-thirds of Democrats and 63 percent of liberals approve of the president’s handling of the situation, falling among political independents and moderates (to 37 and 44 percent, respectively) and plummeting to a quarter of conservatives and two in 10 Republicans.

What’s changed is the relationship between views on air strikes and Obama’s handling of the situation. For example, in June, among Democrats who opposed air strikes, 74 percent also approved of his work on the issue; today it’s only 56 percent. In effect, the jump in support for air strikes among Democrats is offset by a drop in approval of the president’s handling of the situation among those who continue to oppose the air strikes, leaving his overall approval on the issue unchanged.

The gain in support for military strikes, with no increase in support for Obama’s handling of the situation, also may reflect different bases on which these judgments are made. The U.S. military action has widely been reported as successful. Obama’s work on the issue, though, extends beyond military action to broader strategic objectives, and his success at communicating and achieving them – a more complex judgment, and one whose outcome remains an open question.

Beyond air strikes, it was reported last week that the United States also has provided limited small arms and ammunition to the Kurds. Great Britain and France are reported to be furnishing them with weapons as well. Support for the two approaches is related, though not identical: Two-thirds of those who favor air strikes also support arming the Kurds, while eight in 10 of those who oppose air strikes likewise oppose providing weapons.

Apart from partisanship and ideology, support both for air strikes and for providing arms and ammunition to Kurdish military forces is greater among men, whites, college graduates, older Americans and those who are better off financially, compared with their counterparts. Save for older adults, these same groups saw double-digit increases in support for air strikes since June.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cell phone Aug. 13-17, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,025 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.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/support-for-u-s-air-strikes-in-iraq-jumps/feed/ 0
Public Opinion and Nixon’s Downfall http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/public-opinion-and-nixons-downfall/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/public-opinion-and-nixons-downfall/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 13:52:06 +0000 Gary Langer http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=891600 Forty years after Richard Nixon resigned the presidency, observers today are re-examining how the White House, the courts and the Congress handled that crisis. An additional element worth considering is the weight of public opinion.

In January 1973, boosted by the Vietnam cease-fire, Nixon held a powerful 67 percent job approval rating in Gallup polling. By the start of that April, as the last combat troops left, but with Watergate clouds darkening, it was 57 percent. At the end of April, after Nixon took to television to announce the resignation of two of his closest (and most complicit) aides, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, it was 48 percent.

Down 19 points in three months – and counting.

By early August, with Nixon’s secret tapes disclosed and ordered released, his approval rating hit 31 percent – less than half what it had been earlier that same year. By October, and the Saturday Night Massacre, it was 27 percent, and there it stayed, more or less, for nine more painful months ’til he quit.

The likes of John Sirica, Sam Ervin and Howard Baker steered well in that storm, for sure. But it was public opinion that provided the ballast – and, I like to think, would again.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/public-opinion-and-nixons-downfall/feed/ 0
“Own Rep” Rating Hits a Record Low, Marking the Public’s Political Discontent http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/own-rep-rating-hits-a-record-low-marking-the-publics-political-discontent/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/own-rep-rating-hits-a-record-low-marking-the-publics-political-discontent/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 11:01:08 +0000 Gary Langer http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=891520 AP government shutdown capitol jef 131011 16x9 608 Own Rep Rating Hits a Record Low, Marking the Publics Political Discontent

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

Three months before the midterm elections a record number of Americans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll disapprove of their own representative in Congress – a potentially chilling signal for incumbents that marks the depths of the public’s political discontent.

Insult, moreover, follows injury: Both political parties, for their part, are near their all-time lows in popularity.

See PDF with full results and charts here.

Just 41 percent in this national survey approve of the way their own representative in the U.S. House is handling his or her job, the lowest in ABC/Post polls dating back a quarter century, to May 1989. Fifty-one percent disapprove – more than half for the first time.

The result, extending a drop from last October, turns on its head the old chestnut that Americans hate Congress but love their Congress member. It also recalls an ABC/Post poll result in April, in which just 22 percent said they were inclined to re-elect their representative, a low also dating back to 1989. Were it not for gerrymandering, these are the kind of results that could portend a serious shakeup come Nov. 4.

The actual impact remains to be seen, given both the few competitive House districts and the low esteem in which both parties are held.

PARTY TIME – The grimmest score is the GOP’s: A mere 35 percent express a favorable impression of the Republican Party, a number that’s been lower just twice in polls since 1984 – 32 percent last October, just after the partial government shutdown in a Washington budget dispute; and 31 percent in December 1998, immediately after the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

The Democratic Party is seen favorably by more Americans, 49 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. But that, similarly, is one of the party’s lowest popularity ratings on record in 30 years.

The Democrats’ 14-point advantage in favorability may look like an edge in the midterms, and indeed it may make them less vulnerable than they’d be otherwise. But other elements factor into election math, including turnout, which customarily favors the Republicans; the number of open Senate seats each party has to defend, higher this year for the Democrats; competitive House seats, which as noted are few; the quality of individual candidates; and the presence or absence of an overarching theme that can galvanize voters in one party’s favor, which has yet to emerge.

What it does mean, undoubtedly, is that the public is in an extended political snit.

A confluence of factors likely is at play. One is the still-slow growth in jobs and wages that’s marked the nation’s tortuous emergence from the deepest and longest downturn since the Great Depression; another is the public’s evident frustration with the political process (or lack thereof) in Washington.

Yet the partisanship that divides Washington is evident in public sentiment itself: Each side overwhelmingly likes its party and dislikes the other.

Specifically, 85 percent of Democrats see the Democratic Party favorably; exactly as many see the Republican Party unfavorably. An identical 85 percent of Republicans view the Democratic Party unfavorably, while 79 percent of Republicans express a favorable opinion of their own party.

The Democrats get a little boost out of their better in-party rating, and also benefit from the fact that there’s more of them – 32 percent of Americans identify themselves as Democrats, vs. 22 percent who say they’re Republicans, basically where it’s been, on average, since 2009. The Democratic Party also gets a lift from independents; they frown on both parties, but more on the GOP (31-61 percent, favorable-unfavorable) than on the Democrats (a 41-50 percent split).

Independents, who tend to be less favorably inclined toward politics in general, are notably annoyed with their own representative: just 35 percent approve, while 56 percent disapprove. Approval rises to slightly fewer than half of Democrats and Republicans alike.

MORE GROUPS – Disapproval of “your own representative” peaks, at 58 percent, among Hispanics, perhaps expressing dissatisfaction with the stalled overhaul of immigration policy. Hispanics are particularly negative toward the Republican Party – 65 percent see it unfavorably, while 61 percent of Hispanics express a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party.

Blacks tilt even more heavily pro-Democratic (82 percent) and anti-Republican (81 percent). Indeed, whatever occurs in this year’s midterms, the results among nonwhites overall underscore the GOP’s challenges as whites’ share of the nation’s population shrinks. Seventy percent of nonwhites see the Republican Party unfavorably overall, while about as many, 68 percent, have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party. Whites, for their part, are equally negative about both parties.

Among other groups, as long has been the case, the Democrats are more popular with women than with men. The gap between favorable ratings of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party among men is just 6 percentage points (44 vs. 38 percent). Among women it’s 21 points (54 vs. 33 percent).

Combining race, sex and education shows a longstanding difference in one particular group: college-educated white women, who are much more favorably inclined toward the Democratic than the Republican Party. White women who lack a college degree see both parties equally, and white men are more favorable toward the GOP, regardless of education.

Single women also are a markedly more Democratic-inclined group. But married men tilt heavily in the opposite direction – toward the GOP – and there’s twice as many of them. Of such threads are election strategies woven.

In addition to differences in party favorability, there’s also a striking gap between single women and married men in their disapproval of their representative in Congress (a 21-point gap) and a similar gap between college-educated white women vs. non-college-educated white men, 22 points. In both cases, men are more critical of their representative than are women.

Age is another partisan factor, with a wide 26-point gap in favorability for the Democrats vs. the Republicans among young adults, age 18 to 29. That said, they’re a weak turnout group, especially in midterms. And conservatives – more apt to vote when they’re fired up – are more likely to favor the GOP than the Democratic Party by a 31-point margin.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cell phone July 30-Aug. 3, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,029 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points. Partisan divisions are 32-22-41 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents. The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y.


http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/own-rep-rating-hits-a-record-low-marking-the-publics-political-discontent/feed/ 0
Obama Rated Poorly on Mideast Conflict http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/obama-rated-poorly-on-mideast-conflict/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/obama-rated-poorly-on-mideast-conflict/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 11:00:02 +0000 Ryan Struyk http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=891027 AP obama dallas immigration mar 140709 16x9 608 Obama Rated Poorly on Mideast Conflict

(Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)

Barack Obama falls short of majority approval for his handling of two of the world’s prime hotspots in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, with an especially weak rating for his work on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Just 39 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip, while more than half, 52 percent, disapprove. The president does better for his response to the downed Malaysian Airlines jetliner in Ukraine; 46 percent approve – but virtually as many, 43 percent, disapprove.

See PDF with full results here.

The United States has realized some progress in Ukraine, where European nations this week agreed to join the U.S. in imposing sanctions on Russia. The administration continues to struggle in the Middle East, where U.S. efforts to broker a cease-fire thus far have failed.

Obama’s approval rating for handling international affairs overall, at 46 percent, is up by 5 percentage points from his career low last month. But 50 percent still disapprove, unchanged. And the number who strongly approve of Obama’s work on foreign affairs has hit an all-time low, 16 percent. Thirty-six percent strongly disapprove; that gap is the largest of his presidency.

There’s a similar, 19-point gap in strong sentiment on Obama’s handling of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians – 14 percent approve strongly, while 33 percent strongly disapprove. The division on the Ukraine incident is less sharp, but still 9 points net negative in strength of sentiment.

Partisanship is a key driver of these views: Among Democrats, 77, 72 and 65 percent approve, respectively, of Obama’s handling of international affairs, the Ukraine situation and the conflict in Gaza and Israel. Among Republicans, those numbers plummet to 13, 20 and 18 percent.

As often is the case, this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that the balance is tilted by independents: Just 37 percent approve of Obama’s work on international affairs overall, 41 percent on the Ukraine incident and 31 percent on the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Obama’s rating for handling the situation involving Israel and the Palestinians is worse than four such measures for his predecessor, George W. Bush, ranging from a high of 59 percent approval in 2002 to a low of 46 percent in 2003, amid growing doubts about the war in Iraq.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cell phone July 23-27, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,026 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.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/obama-rated-poorly-on-mideast-conflict/feed/ 0
More than Half Back Immigration Plan; Ratings Weak for Obama, GOP Leaders http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/more-than-half-back-immigration-plan-ratings-weak-for-obama-gop-leaders/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/more-than-half-back-immigration-plan-ratings-weak-for-obama-gop-leaders/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 11:01:35 +0000 Ryan Struyk http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=889793 GTY obama boehner sk 140714 16x9 608 More than Half Back Immigration Plan; Ratings Weak for Obama, GOP Leaders

(Getty Images)

More than half of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll support a White House plan to address an influx of Central American children crossing the border from Mexico, though the president himself receives poor ratings for handling the issue – as do his Republican critics in Congress.

Only a third of Americans approve of the way Barack Obama is handling the issue of undocumented immigrants entering the United States. But even fewer approve of how the Republicans in Congress are dealing with it – 23 percent, including fewer than half of Republicans themselves.

See PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

Those poor political ratings aside, 53 percent support the plan to spend $3.7 billion to address the immediate problem of unaccompanied, undocumented children entering the country. Still, sharp partisan divisions mark that view: Sixty-six percent of Democrats support the proposal, advanced by Obama last week, dropping to 51 percent of independents and just 35 percent of Republicans.

Some frustration on the issue goes beyond partisan predispositions. Perhaps indicating public dismay with political gridlock on immigration, four in 10 Americans simultaneously disapprove of how Obama and Republicans in Congress alike are handling the crisis – and half of them disapprove “strongly.”

Further, strong disapprovers of Obama’s work on immigration outnumber strong approvers by a 3-1 margin – and that grows to more than 4-1 strongly negative in terms of the Republicans in Congress in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

Obama’s poor numbers are nothing new: Never has a majority approved of his handling of immigration. Still, Americans have been more likely to trust Obama or the Democrats to do a better job than the Republicans in handling immigration in four ABC/Post polls since March 2013.

Obama’s proposal would use half of a planned $3.7 billion in emergency spending to provide care for children who’ve crossed the border without documentation while their deportation cases are heard, and the rest on speeding those deportation hearings and increasing border security. This poll’s question described these components, without identifying it as Obama’s proposal.

Indeed, among those who support the plan, just half also approve of the way Obama’s handling the situation. Given the partisanship associated with views of the president, either of two outcomes is possible should the plan become more closely identified with Obama: he may gain approval – or it may lose support.

Regardless, despite the push on immigration from the White House, the divided Congress is expected to remain at a standstill on the issue until after the midterm elections. And many voters have other priorities: In an ABC/Post poll last month, 49 percent called immigration highly important in their vote for Congress this year, far behind the 84 percent who said the same of the economy. The budget deficit, Obamacare, “the way Washington is working” and women’s issues also ranked higher than immigration.

GROUPS – Obama’s approval on handling the issue is highest among some of his core support groups, notably (beyond Democrats) liberals and nonwhites. Support for the emergency spending peaks among these same groups – and among young adults – but also far outstrips approval of Obama’s work on the issue among others, including Republicans, independents, moderates and conservatives.

The Republicans in Congress, for their part, get just 48 percent approval in their own party for handling the issue, and even less support, 36 percent, from conservatives. Those numbers drop sharply among independents, moderates, Democrats and liberals alike.

Views among Hispanics are not markedly different from those of all Americans on any of these three questions.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cell phone July 9-13, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,016 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.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/07/more-than-half-back-immigration-plan-ratings-weak-for-obama-gop-leaders/feed/ 0
Poll Finds Criticism of Obama on Iraq Despite Agreement on Ground Forces http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/poll-finds-criticism-of-obama-on-iraq-despite-agreement-on-ground-forces/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/poll-finds-criticism-of-obama-on-iraq-despite-agreement-on-ground-forces/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 11:00:11 +0000 Gary Langer http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=887642 More Americans disapprove than approve of Barack Obama’s response to the situation in Iraq, even while the public broadly agrees with his decision not to send U.S. combat forces there.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll marks the difficulties Obama faces in crafting a popular response to the deepening crisis. Two-thirds oppose sending ground troops to fight the Sunni insurgents in Iraq, a step the president himself ruled out last week. Regardless, just 42 percent approve of the way he’s handling the situation, while 52 percent disapprove.

The public divides evenly on another potential option, the use of air strikes.

See PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

Highlighting a disconnect between policy preferences and presidential approval, “strong” disapprovers of the way Obama is handling the situation outnumber strong approvers by a 2-1 margin, yet strong opposition to sending troops exceeds strong support by 3-1.

A variety of related views may inform these attitudes. Steadily since late 2004, majorities of Americans have said that, given its costs vs. its benefits, the war in Iraq was not worth fighting. And when Obama moved to withdraw all U.S. forces in 2011, he enjoyed 78 percent support. Clearly it’s a conflict the public is reluctant to revisit.

Another factor is the high level of partisanship in Obama’s ratings. Seventy-three percent of Democrats approve of his handling of the crisis, while 84 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of independents disapprove. Partisanship remains, but much less starkly, in terms of air strikes (more popular among Republicans), and fades further on sending ground troops. Indeed, there’s no relationship at all between views on sending troops and approval of Obama’s work on the issue.

Ideology plays a similar role to partisanship in this poll, produced for ABC by  Langer Research Associates. Conservatives are much more apt than moderates or liberals to criticize Obama’s handling of the situation, and somewhat more likely to favor air strikes, but with very little ideological difference in views on sending combat troops.

Among other groups, women and young adults are less apt than men and those 30 and up to support air strikes; those gaps essentially disappear when it comes to sending combat troops. For their part, views of Obama’s handling of the situation reflect some customary differences in his ratings, with disapproval higher among men, whites and older adults.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cell phone June 18-22, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,009 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.

Analysis by Gary Langer and Gregory Holyk.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/poll-finds-criticism-of-obama-on-iraq-despite-agreement-on-ground-forces/feed/ 0
Obama, Cheney and the War in Iraq http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/obama-cheney-and-the-war-in-iraq/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/obama-cheney-and-the-war-in-iraq/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 19:18:23 +0000 Gary Langer http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=887205 When President Obama says, as he did today, “American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again,” he’s reflecting not only his own policy preferences but also a steady theme in U.S. public opinion. And as former Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials rejoin the debate, a look back at opinions on the war seems warranted.

Three key data points stand out: Steadily from late 2004 forward, a majority of Americans in ABC News/Washington Post polls saw the war in Iraq as “not worth fighting.” That sentiment, in turn, paved the way for George W. Bush to rack up the most unpopular second term in modern polling history. And more recently, 78 percent supported Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011 – a rare level of political agreement.

The impact of an unpopular war on presidential approval is hardly news. Harry Truman’s popularity dropped during the Korean War, as did Lyndon Johnson’s during Vietnam; Bush’s merely followed suit. It’s a pattern Obama, understandably, may not wish to repeat.

Consider Bush: He averaged 37 percent approval in his second term. That compares with Bill Clinton’s second-term average of 61 percent (despite the inconvenience of his having been impeached) and Ronald Reagan’s 58 percent. Bush had the single highest disapproval score in polls dating to the mid-1930s, 73 percent in October 2008, and came within one point of the single lowest approval number on record, Truman’s 22 percent in February 1952. (Bush, as it happens, also had the highest approval on record, 92 percent, in a post-9/11 rally during his first term.)

Cheney, back in the fray this week, saw his ratings largely follow those of his boss. At the time he left office, just 30 percent of Americans in ABC/Post polling approved of Cheney’s job performance as vice president. Twice as many, 60 percent, disapproved.

In an interview with ABC’s Martha Raddatz in March 2008, Cheney dismissed public attitudes about the war, saying, “you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.” But there wasn’t much fluctuation at all: Views on whether the war was worth fighting turned negative in December 2004, grew to a sizable majority and simply stayed there. Steadily from December 2006 through the end of the Bush administration, 58 to 66 percent of Americans said that given its costs vs. benefits the Iraq war was not worth fighting. It remained 58 percent at our last check, in March 2013.

Above all else, moreover, the war’s unpopularity infected Bush’s second term. Views on whether the Iraq war was worth fighting correlated with the president’s approval rating at a remarkable .95, a whisker from a perfect match.

abc PID trend kb 140619 4x3 608 Obama, Cheney and the War in Iraq

Cheney this week announced formation of an organization intended to “advocate for the policies needed to restore American power and preeminence.” The public, for its part, saw harm to America’s image during his time in office. In ABC/Post polls from 2003 through 2006, majorities said the war had “damaged the United States’ image in the rest of the world” – peaking at 76 percent in 2004 and 2006 alike. Similarly, in July 2008, 82 percent said the country’s image had deteriorated under Bush’s presidency.

Dissatisfaction with the war, and resulting damage to the Bush administration, was not solely about costs or casualties. At times in ABC/Post polling in 2005 and 2006, majorities of Americans, peaking at 55 percent in November 2005, said they believed that in making its case for war with Iraq, the Bush administration had “intentionally misled the American public.”

The blowback was not limited to the administration; it hit the Republican Party more broadly, with impacts still being felt. A generation of advances had brought the GOP, in 2003, to parity with the Democrats in partisan allegiance – a kind of political holy grail. Starting in 2004, that long-term pattern broke; Republican allegiance tanked – and it’s yet to recover.

All worth considering as the debate over Iraq in particular – and American military engagement more generally – begins anew.

 Obama, Cheney and the War in Iraq

]]> http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/obama-cheney-and-the-war-in-iraq/feed/ 0 From the Iraq Polling Archive http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/from-the-iraq-polling-archive/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/from-the-iraq-polling-archive/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 15:57:42 +0000 Gary Langer http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=886435 Updated: 6/19/14

Much more recent public opinion data from Iraq have just come out from D3 Systems. They underscore the points we made in this post last week – sectarian divisions, deep Sunni Arab disaffection.

In polling done there just last month:

  • Seventy percent of Sunnis saw the decisions of the Iraqi government as “illegitimate,” vs. 31 percent of Shiites.
  • Eighty-three percent of Sunnis said the country was heading in the wrong direction, vs. half of Shiites.
  • Eight-six percent of Sunnis expressed negative views of the Iraqi security forces, twice the level among Shiites.
  • Sixty percent of Sunnis foresaw a civil war in the near future (or thought the country was already in one), vs. 37 percent of Shiites.

These and other results are from D3′s ongoing “Iraqi Futures” polling project, with field work by KA Research – the same groups we used for field work in our own Iraq surveys from 2007-2009. See their full report here.

Previous post:

Our last “Where Things Stand” poll in Iraq was conducted in 2009, in a rare moment of increased optimism there after the carnage of 2006-7. But still it showed the fundamental divisions between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds that have threatened to tear the country apart virtually since the end of Saddam’s rule.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had 70 percent approval from Shiites, 51 percent from Kurds, a mere 31 percent from Sunnis (even if the latter was up from 8 percent a year earlier). There were similar divisions in views of the national government overall, trust in the military and other institutions, and in personal experiences from security to health care to the provision of other services.

Eighty-five percent of Kurds and 67 percent of Shiites felt “very safe” in their neighborhoods; that fell to 33 percent of Sunnis. Separation among these groups was on the rise: In 2008, 27 percent of Iraqis lived in completely Shiite neighborhoods, 27 percent in completely Sunni neighborhoods; by 2009 it was 36 percent apiece – more than seven in 10 living apart. Six in 10 Iraqis said they only had friends of the same religious doctrine as their own. As we reported: “The meaning of that increased separation is a profound one for Iraq’s future.”

In terms of the north, just 44 percent of Iraqis rated Kurdish-Arab relations positively, dropping to 22 percent of Sunnis. Fifty-nine percent expected the Kurdish provinces to try formally to separate.

On a personal level, seven in 10 Shiites and Kurds alike said things were going well in their own lives; that dropped to 49 percent of Sunnis (albeit up from a dismal 7 percent in 2007). Sunnis were much less likely than Shiites to report having access to medical care, clean water or electricity, and were 21 points less apt than Shiites to say the national government was providing services in their area – again as we reported, “elements that could encourage resentment in the future.”

We did find Sunnis starting to re-engage in national life, e.g. stepping back from their desire for strongman rule, moving to a tentative preference for democracy (and not an Islamic state). And sizable majorities of Sunnis and Shiites alike (91 and 74 percent) preferred that Iraq remain a unified country with a central government. Kurds differed.

That was then. Our “Where Things Stand” polling in Iraq ended in 2009. Clearly the divisions in Iraqi society did not.


(One other point: Shiites often are referred to as the majority group in Iraq, based, we think, on a faulty citation in the CIA World Factbook. Our data, 2007-2009, indicate that the breakdown is 49 percent Shiite, 32 percent Sunni Arab, 16 percent Kurdish and 4 percent other.)

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/from-the-iraq-polling-archive/feed/ 0