Articles Posted in Public Opinion


Just cause you lean don’t make you a pushover: Party Identification Measurement in Polling

Party identification, i.e. self-identification as a Republican, Democrat, Independent or something else, is one of the most valuable pieces of information modern electoral pollsters collect about their respondents. Armed with party ID information, we can make pretty accurate guesses about how people feel about issues, what stories will appeal to them and, ultimately, how they will vote. It is an essential poll metric for undertaking any type of socio-political analysis of a population. Some research organizations even use it as a weighting variable. However there are two challenges inherent to measuring party ID: 1) there is no industry-standard, foolproof way of identifying party ID, and 2) there are no “true population” statistics for party ID against which we can benchmark our measurements.

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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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Examining Shifts in Public Opinion: Global Warming Policy Trends 2010-2012

Jon Krosnick is a frequent collaborator with Ipsos Public Affairs on methodological and public opinion issues. Prof. Krosnick is University Fellow at Resources for the Future and a professor of communications, political science and psychology at Stanford University. This post is as a guest contributor discussing the implications of the recently released research found here

Our research team at Stanford has been tracking American public opinion on global warming since the mid-1990s, and Americans’ views on this issue have changed much like people’s views on other political issues change over time: slowly.  The civil rights movement led to a change in public attitudes about race, but the change happened gradually.  Likewise, the public health community convinced Americans that smoking cigarettes is dangerous to human health, but again, the proportion of people endorsing this view grew slowly over decades.  Despite tremendous amounts of public discussion and debate about whether global warming is real and a threat during the last decade and a half, the proportions of Americans who have expressed various opinions on the issue have remained remarkably consistent.

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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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Obama and the Youth Vote: Losing His Grip?

Obama may have reason to be nervous about declining among young voters this year.

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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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Obama Not Losing Ground among Women

Have Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney, and the resulting debate about the role of women in and out of the workplace in general, hurt Obama’s chances among women? Fortunately for the president that doesn’t seem to be the case.

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Obama’s economy

On some of the most crucial attributes, including jobs and the economy, healthcare and representing change, Barack Obama was seen by the majority of Americans as the most credible candidate. Unfortunately for the President, this path looks like it probably will not work twice.

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Consumer Confidence and the Election

As Cliff pointed out in his earlier post Barack Obama’s chances for reelection are more reliant on the sentiment of the American Public (desire for change vs desire for continuity) than the tactics of the campaign. In upcoming posts, Cliff will further detail how he calculates the desire for change typology. Today I wanted to share some quick data on a single component, the economy and consumer confidence.

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