Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Independents and the Economy

One finding on our last national poll may summarize more than anything else why 2010 is likely to be a very tough year for Democrats: only 24% of independents think the economy's better than it was a year ago. 49% think it's worse and 27% think it's about the same, and about the same isn't too good given where it was a year ago. They don't have much optimism for the future either. 24% think the economy will be better by November, 37% think it will be worse, and 39% think it will be in about the same poor position they perceive it to be in right now.

The way independents feel about the economy has serious implications for how they're planning to vote this year. The ones who think the economy's gotten worse in the least year are planning to vote for the GOP by a 53-6 margin. The ones who think it's about the same say they'll vote Republican 34-24. The ones who think it's gotten better say they'll vote Democratic 51-5 but of course that's the smallest group in the pot.

Democrats are losing with independents in pretty much every race in the country right now. That may abate in some races where Democrats have superior candidates by the fall, but the overall national trend is not likely to change until those independents start feeling more positive about the economy. Right now that doesn't seem very likely to happen.

Full results from this poll here


NRH said...

Tom - can you please post the crosstabs for optimism among independents broken down by who they voted for in 2008? I'd like to see the 'Better/same/worse' numbers for independents who voted for Obama, independents who did not vote for either of them or who refuse to say, and independents who voted for McCain. If the results show that, say, 80% of independents who think the economy is getting worse were McCain voters in the first place, and only twenty percent of neutral or Obama-voting independents are pessimistic, then it has very different implications than if pessimism is rampant across all groups. If people who didn't vote for Democrats before are mad at Democrats, that's not news. If people who did vote for Democrats (or were open to voting for or against Demcrats) are mad, that's the danger sign.

herbs814 said...

"Americans are more pessimistic about the state of the country and less confident in President Barack Obama's leadership than at any point since Mr. Obama entered the White House, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll...

Sixty-two percent of adults in the survey feel the country is on the wrong track, the highest level since before the 2008 election. Just one-third think the economy will get better over the next year, a 7-point drop from a month ago and the low point of Mr. Obama's tenure.

Amid anxiety over the nation's course, support for Mr. Obama and other incumbents is eroding. For the first time, more people disapprove of Mr. Obama's job performance than approve. And 57% of voters would prefer to elect a new person to Congress than re-elect their local representatives, the highest share in 18 years."

herbs814 said...

"If people who did vote for Democrats (or were open to voting for or against Demcrats) are mad, that's the danger sign."

Indeed, Obama and the Democrats are losing Democrats and independents, women and seniors.

"Support for Mr. Obama and his party is declining among centrist, independent voters. But, more ominous for the president, some in his base also are souring, with 17% of Democrats disapproving of Mr. Obama's job performance, the highest level of his presidency.

Approval for Mr. Obama has dropped among Hispanics, too, along with small-town residents, white women and seniors....

Some 30% in the poll said they "do not really relate'' to Mr. Obama. Only 8% said that at the beginning of his presidency. Fewer than half give him positive marks when asked if he is "honest and straightforward.'' And 49% rate him positively when asked if he has "strong leadership qualities,'' down from 70% when Mr. Obama took office and a drop of 8 points since January.

Just 40% rate him positively on his "ability to handle a crisis," an 11-point drop since January. Half disapprove of Mr. Obama's handling of the oil spill, including one in four Democrats."

NRH said...

Herbie, are you deliberately obtuse, or does it come naturally? The WSJ poll did not include the crosstabs I specified as being relevant - to whit, people refusing to explicitly identify their partisan orientation who were or were not Obama voters in 2008, which gives a sense of whether this is a further expression of "people who don't like Obama are being more vocal about it" or "actually losing support."

It is hardly a surprise when national Democratic figures register higher disapproval numbers among their own party than national Republicans; large areas of strongly conservative regions like Oklahoma and Kentucky are still nominally Democratic but vote Republican at the federal level. Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal has surrendered its previous honest-conservative identity and joined the propaganda mill, sadly; their poll numbers are not outliers, true, but their analysis is deliberately slanted, as so often happens with News Corporation outlets. For all the doom-n-gloom the WSJ is touting, they manage to avoid mentioning that President Obama is still far more trusted on virtually any issue than the Republican party. People are unhappy in general, but nobody liked Republicans in the first place.

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