clifford.young
About Clifford Young President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs
clifford.young@ipsos.com

Cliff Young is President of Ipsos Public Affairs in the United States, and also leads Ipsos global election and political polling risk practice. His research specialties include social and public opinion trends, crisis management, corporate and institution reputation, and election polling. He works with a wide variety of corporate, government, media, and political clients.

Cliff is considered an expert on polling in emerging markets, as well as polling in adverse and hostile conditions. Before coming to Ipsos Public Affairs North America, he was Managing Director of Ipsos Public Affairs Brazil where he started the practice for Ipsos. Cliff has polled on over 100 elections around the world.

He is a frequent writer, analyst, and commentator on elections, communication, and public opinion.

Cliff earned his BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and did his graduate work at the University of Chicago (MA and PhD). He trained in survey sampling at the University of Michigan and in political psychology at Stanford. Cliff is also an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS and an instructor at both Columbia University SIPA and University of São Paulo where he teaches courses on public opinion and election forecasting.

Articles by Clifford Young


Wisconsin is all noise: Obama will still win in November

The sitting Republican Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker beat the Democratic challenger Tom Barrett 53% to 46% yesterday in a recall election. Many pundits had touted Wisconsin as a political bellweather— “as goes Wisconsin, so goes the nation in November and beyond”. A Walker victory signals a resurgent Republican party with its revamped small government, collective-bargaining-busting mantra. In contrast, a Walker loss would be a strong ‘proof point’ that the Obama agenda is here to stay.

Well, Walker won in Wisconsin.

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Is President Obama up or down?: The effect of question wording on levels of presidential support

Presidential approval ratings are the most ubiquitous polling data out there. Given their importance, approval ratings receive special scrutiny from political actors and poll watchers alike. Ipsos has tracked approval ratings in the US since 2001, and during this time, our polls have shown a consistent 2 to 4 point difference when compared to the market average (the average of all polls at the time).

Why is this? We hypothesize two possibilities: (1) first, we have a problem with our sample composition, or (2) second, that we measure presidential approval differently than other polling firms.

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A tale of two bases: the 2012 Republican primaries in perspective

The Republican primary season is all but over.  Romney is on his way to being the nominee and will hawk his wares against Obama in the general elections in November.  In the end, Republicans went with the frontrunner; they always do.  Still, the Republican primary had its fairy tale moments and carnivalesque personalities.

In my view, there are two key inter-related aspects of the primaries that deserve attention: (1) Romney’s relative weakness and (2) the continued supply of conservative pretenders.  Indeed, we should not forget that Bachman, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, and Santorum all led Romney at varying points in time (see graph at RCP).

The natural question, then, is:  Why did Romney have such a tough time resonating with the broader Republican base?

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Reflection on the French Presidential Election: “Change” the graveyard of incumbents

I have been meaning to comment on the French presidential elections for some time.

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Healthcare Reform Revisited: the Devil is in the Details

Several weeks ago the Supreme Court reviewed part of President Obama’s 2010 healthcare reform (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). Specifically, they examined the “individual mandate” that requires (almost) all Americans to have some sort of insurance coverage. The Supreme Court review has put “Obamacare” back in the crosshairs of public debate and the debate has not been kind.

In particular, many professional pundits and Republican politicians have been quite negative about the law’s prospects. They maintain that Obama’s signature healthcare initiative is not long for this world and presents a serious electoral weakness for the President. They point out that Obamacare finds very little support among public opinion in both past and present public opinion polls (RealClearPolitics.com).  And many experts attribute the large Republican gains during the 2010 mid-terms to the use of “Obamacare” as an effective wedge issue (as in here or counterpoint here).  The healthcare reform’s lack of popular support, together with a Supreme Court somewhat predisposed against the Democrats on economic issues, is bad news for Obama’s agenda and record, or so the argument goes.

Is this a fair assessment of healthcare reform?

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Spring Cleaning: Ipsos Polling in the Ohio and Florida Republican Primaries

I wanted to share note on some polling which predates this blog.  Ipsos, together with its media partner Thomson Reuters, conducted online polls in both the Florida and Ohio Republican primaries.  In these states, we conducted multi-wave rolling samples that went up to the day before the election.

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What is Obama’s Headache in 2013? A Republican Controlled Congress

As I discussed in my previous post (Much Ado About Nothing), excluding some random event or intervention from a higher power, Obama will be the president in 2013.  This, of course, begs the next question: Will Obama be able to govern, or should he expect four years of political gridlock?

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Much ado about nothing: Obama will be president, again, in 2013

Many of us have watched transfixed as the Republican Party participates in a ‘no holds barred’ fratricide primary season. The heir apparent—Mitt Romney—is a weak front runner, at best, but has taken shots from all the conservative pretenders that have tried to supplant him—first Bachmann, then Perry, Cain, Gingrich, and finally Santorum. However, the smart money remains on Romney to take the nomination because he leads in all the important leading indicators: money, delegates, electability, perceived leadership ability, etc. Intrade, that handy barometer of conventional wisdom, has Romney’s chances of winning at 93%.

Ultimately though, does any of this drama really matter? Will it really affect the outcome of the election in November?

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