From the North Poll

North Poll?

CNN released an opinion poll today. Given the margin of error, Obama’s Approve/Disapprove numbers remain essentially unchanged since right before the election.

However, the question asking about the right/wrong direction of his policies shows improvement over the past year. In January, the respondents were evenly split at 49%; now it’s 55/42.

Republicans in Congress remain statistically as unpopular as they were this time last year, with a 44/51 right/wrong direction result. The “wrong direction” number is about where it was right before they lost their majority in Congress in 1996, though the “right direction” number has improved significantly, having risen from 36% to 44%. Compare this to the days immediately following Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America” election, when the right/wrong split was 55/27, and it’s clear that this year is not similar to 1994. In the past 15 years, the Republicans never had majority “wrong direction” numbers until early 2006. Since then, they’ve been polling majority “wrong direction” more often than not.

The story for Democrats in Congress is a little more complicated. They haven’t polled majority “wrong direction” since the early Clinton years. Currently, they’re evenly split at 48% right/wrong. Since the Democratic takeover in 2006, they’ve consistently been statistically at or above 50% “right direction.” Still, Republicans got the House starting in January; this illustrates the critical nature of voter turnout.

It’s worth mentioning here the distinctions among “polled Americans,” “registered voter,” and “likely voter” models. If the focus is on election outcome predictions, the “likely voter” model is the most appropriate. “Registered voter” is useful mostly as an election outcome predictor well in advance of elections, though its value is dubious even then (at least, that’s what Nate Silver says). But, since our elected officials are representing all Americans within their respective districts, “polled Americans” is best when discussing Presidential policy and the will of the people. Today’s release uses the “polled Americans” model.

Those polled also overwhelmingly approved of the tax compromise bill, with 75% in favor. Let’s look at the individual provisions:

  Favor Oppose
Tax cut for households earning <$250,000 89% 11%
Tax cut for households earning >$250,000 37% 62%
Unemployment extension 76% 22%
Inheritance tax cut 39% 59%
Social Security tax cut 62% 36%
Deficit increase to cover the cost of the bill 41% 57%

The overall picture suggests that people liked the provisions they favor more than they dislike the provisions they oppose. But following the will of the people would have resulted in a bill that had tax cuts for those earning under $250,000, an extension of unemployment benefits, and a cut on Social Security taxes…with no increase in the deficit. In other words, it boils down to “tax someone else, and cut someone else’s benefits.”

Yet two-thirds of those polled don’t think that the bill will make any difference in how well off their families will be. It makes me wonder why on earth so many support the bill.


About Michael Weiss

Michael is now located at http://www.logarchism.com, along with Monotreme, filistro, and dcpetterson. Please make note of the new location.
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12 Responses to From the North Poll

  1. Bart DePalma says:

    Republicans in Congress remain statistically as unpopular as they were this time last year, with a 44/51 right/wrong direction result…The story for Democrats in Congress is a little more complicated. They haven’t polled majority “wrong direction” since the early Clinton years. Currently, they’re evenly split at 48% right/wrong. Since the Democratic takeover in 2006, they’ve consistently been statistically at or above 50% “right direction.” Still, Republicans got the House starting in January; this illustrates the critical nature of voter turnout.

    Michael, this is a poll of adults, not likely or even registered voters, and is therefore a useless measure of electoral outcomes. Hell, the fact that the Dems poll well here even as the voters elected the GOP to run Congress between 1994-2004 and again in 2010 in the largest wave since 1948 should be enough to tell you this polling is nonsense.

    The Dem media issues these Lucy and Charlie Brown kicking the football polls of non-voting adults to make themselves and other Dems feel better about themselves. Given the multiple posts on this poll here, you Dems are still running up to kick dat old football.

  2. dcpetterson says:

    Bart
    Michael, this is a poll of adults, not likely or even registered voters, and is therefore a useless measure of electoral outcomes.

    That’s what Michael said. Did you read is article?

    It’s worth mentioning here the distinctions among “polled Americans,” “registered voter,” and “likely voter” models. If the focus is on election outcome predictions, the “likely voter” model is the most appropriate. “Registered voter” is useful mostly as an election outcome predictor well in advance of elections, though its value is dubious even then (at least, that’s what Nate Silver says). But, since our elected officials are representing all Americans within their respective districts, “polled Americans” is best when discussing Presidential policy and the will of the people.

    So, do we care about the “will of the people,” or only about partisan advantage?

    You don’t need to answer that, Bart. Clearly the arrogant elitists of the totalitarian GOteaParty care only about power and wealth. We get that.

  3. Brian says:

    I don’t see what subset of the populace would be useful this far out of an election. It’s not like anyone has a good understanding of what the “likely voter” is 23 months prior to an election. Makes sense to see what the will of the people is.

  4. shiloh says:

    Bartles couldn’t wait to jump on this (((good news for Obama))) post lol ~ (2) years out and he’s already hyperventilating!, eh ~ again Bart, pace yourself …

  5. mostlyilurk says:

    Bart appears to only care about the “will of the people” when and if it reflects his will. If it doesn’t reflect his will, it’s “not even a blip” on the tea party’s radar or it’s “nonsense” or it’s “useless in predicting electoral outcome” or it’s Lucy holding a football for Charlie Brown….or it’s whatever other terminology he can come up with to justify his rejecting or ignoring it. He’s nothing if not predictable, lol.

  6. Bart DePalma says:

    DC:

    Notwithstanding his qualifiers, Michael is comparing the polling to election results.

    mostlylurk:

    The will of the People for the operation of their government is expressed in elections. Polls are only useful in measuring that will if they are consulting voters.

  7. mostlyilurk says:

    Thanks for the lesson, Bart – but it’s really unnecessary for me. I’m not the one with the comprehension problem.

  8. dcpetterson says:

    Bart
    Notwithstanding his qualifiers, Michael is comparing the polling to election results.

    Sure. Sometimes, the subset of people who vote in an election does not accurately represent the actual Will Of The People.

    In fact, since few elections (or polls, for that matter) present a single unified and unanimous opinion, this idea of The Will Of The People is, at best, a misnomer. And perhaps it is no more than a purposely misleading bit of manipulative right wing propaganda.

    However, it clearly is true that the majority of We The People don’t like Republicans or Republican policies. And they DO like Obama and Obama’s policies far more than Republicans or Republican policies.

    But then, Bart doesn’t care about The People. He cares only about his arrogant elite totalitarian overlords.

  9. clmbusboy1 says:

    I wonder if at least part of the anti-R respondents are members of the Tea Party. I’d have to think many of them are unhappy with either party. Even if they are registered Rs, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are happy with the current crop of Republican “leaders.”

    The same might be said of the President’s approval rating. While it remained about the same, I wonder if he picked up some support from Indies but lost a little support from his Democratic base.

  10. filistro says:

    @clmbusboy… I wonder if he picked up some support from Indies but lost a little support from his Democratic base

    I think you’re right. Especially since Obama’s approval at Rasmussen hit 50% yesterday… a number it hasn’t seen in almost a year. And Obama’s disillusioned base will come back (especially when it sees the kind of progress we’ve seen this month) but the unhappy Tea Party types will never vote for a moderate Republican. They hate RINO’s,… and would rather see moderate Republicans lose even if it means giving the seat to a Dem. They still look on Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell as “victories” even though they lost crucial seats because both defeated RINO’s in the primaries.

  11. clmbusboy1 says:

    @filistro…And Obama’s disillusioned base will come back (especially when it sees the kind of progress we’ve seen this month)

    a) I agree with you about the base coming home part. I found it quite interesting reading the many comments of the posters at Nate’s blog that were absolutely livid regarding the tax deal. I suppose you’ll see a slight loss of donations, but two years from now few will remember the 12/10 tax deal, especially when a new tax deal will be the focus.

    b) I don’t suspect the President will have a month like this again during the next 22 months. The new House would likely have voted down every bill that passed this month. (Not START of course, but the 112th Senate may have voted it down.)

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