Obama’s numbers falling

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

Saturday, January 23 2010

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 24% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-three percent (43%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -19 (see trends).

These figures come from nightly telephone surveys and are reported on a three-day rolling average basis. Today’s update is the first based entirely upon interviews following Tuesday’s election in Massachusetts and the Approval Index has fallen eight points since Tuesday morning.

The number of Democrats who Strongly Approve has fallen from 55% on Tuesday morning to 48% today. The number of unaffiliated voters who Strongly Disapprove has increased from 43% on Tuesday to 51% today. It remains to be seen whether those changes are a temporary reaction in the wake of a stunning election upset or the beginning of a more lasting change.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of voters nationwide now say Congress should drop health care and focus on the economy. Seventy percent (70%) believe that the health care issue was at least somewhat important in Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts. Rasmussen Reports issued our final tracking poll for the proposed health care reform and found that 58% of voters remain opposed to the plan Congress was considering. That figure includes 50% who are Strongly Opposed.

Check out our review of last week’s key polls to see “What They Told Us.”

The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the number who Strongly Disapprove from the number who Strongly Approve. It is updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update). Updates are also available on Twitter and Facebook.

Overall, 44% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance. That’s down four points since Tuesday morning and matches the lowest level of overall approval yet recorded for this President. Fifty-five percent (55%) of voters now disapprove. The number of Democrats who approve has fallen from 84% on Tuesday morning to 78% today (see other recent demographic highlights).

New polling released yesterday shows that the Governor’s race in California could be competitive. In Arizona’s Republican Primary, John McCain has opened a big lead over potential challenger J.D. Hayworth.

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Forty-five percent (45%) of voters believe General Motors will need more government bailouts.

Rasmussen Reports has released Election 2010 Senate polls for Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. A commentary by Larry Sabato, suggests that if the election were held today, “the Democratic majority in the Senate would be reduced to just 52 seats.”

Rasmussen Reports has also released polls on the 2010 governor’s races in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

Scott Rasmussen has recently had several columns published in the Wall Street Journal addressing how President Obama is losing independent voters , health care reform, the President’s approval ratings, and how Obama won the White House by campaigning like Ronald Reagan. If you’d like Scott Rasmussen to speak at your meeting, retreat, or conference, contact Premiere Speakers Bureau. You can also learn about Scott’s favorite place on earth or his time working with hockey legend Gordie Howe.

It is important to remember that the Rasmussen Reports job approval ratings are based upon a sample of likely voters. Some other firms base their approval ratings on samples of all adults. President Obama’s numbers are always several points higher in a poll of adults rather than likely voters. That’s because some of the President’s most enthusiastic supporters, such as young adults, are less likely to turn out to vote. It is also important to check the details of question wording when comparing approval ratings from different firms.

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Rasmussen Reports has been a pioneer in the use of automated telephone polling techniques, but many other firms still utilize their own operator-assisted technology (see methodology). Pollsters for Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have cited our “unchallenged record for both integrity and accuracy.”

In the 2009 New Jersey Governor’s race, automated polls tended to be more accurate than operator-assisted polling techniques. On reviewing the state polling results from 2009, Mickey Kaus offered this assessment, “If you have a choice between Rasmussen and, say, the prestigious N.Y. Times, go with Rasmussen!” During Election 2008, liberal blogger Nate Silver said that the Rasmussen tracking poll “would probably be the one I’d want with me on a desert island.”

In 2008, Obama won 53%-46% and our final poll showed Obama winning 52% to 46%. While we were pleased with the final result, Rasmussen Reports was especially pleased with the stability of our results. On every single day for the last six weeks of the campaign, our daily tracking showed Obama with a stable and solid lead attracting more than 50% of the vote.

An analysis by Pollster.com partner Charles Franklin “found that despite identically sized three-day samples, the Rasmussen daily tracking poll is less variable than Gallup.” During Election 2008, the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll was the least volatile of all those tracking the race.

We also have provided a summary of our 2008 state-by-state Presidential results for your review.

In 2004 George W. Bush received 50.7% of the vote while John Kerry earned 48.3%. Rasmussen Reports was the only firm to project both candidates’ totals within half a percentage point by projecting that Bush would win 50.2% to 48.5%. (see our 2004 results).

See also our 2008 state results for Senate and governor. See 2006 results for Senate and governor.

Pollster.com founder Mark Blumenthal noted that “independent analyses from the National Council on Public Polls, the American Association for Public Opinion Research, the Pew Research Center, the Wall Street Journal and FiveThirtyEight.com have all shown that the horse-race numbers produced by automated telephone surveys did at least as well as those from conventional live-interviewer surveys in predicting election outcomes.”

Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. The margin of sampling error—for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters–is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Results are also compiled on a full-week basis and crosstabs for full-week results are available for Premium Members.

Like all polling firms, Rasmussen Reports weights its data to reflect the population at large (see methodology). Among other targets, Rasmussen Reports weights data by political party affiliation using a dynamic weighting process. While partisan affiliation is generally quite stable over time, there are a fair number of people who waver between allegiance to a particular party or independent status. Over the past five years, the number of Democrats in the country has increased while the number of Republicans has decreased.

Our baseline targets are established based upon separate survey interviews with a sample of adults nationwide completed during the preceding three months (a total of 45,000 interviews) and targets are updated monthly. Currently, the baseline targets for the adult population are 37.1% Democrats, 32.4% Republicans, and 30.5% unaffiliated. Likely voter samples typically show a slightly smaller advantage for the Democrats.

A review of last week’s key polls is posted each Saturday morning. Other stats on Obama are updated daily on the Rasmussen Reports Obama By the Numbers page. We also invite you to review other recent demographic highlights from the tracking polls. To get a sense of longer-term trends, check out our month-by-month review of the President’s numbers.

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