5/28: Top 10 Reasons Why Polls Should Not be Used to Determine Eligibility for Debates

May 28, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, Lee Miringoff

Herding is for horses.  Not for pollsters doing horserace polls. Neither should the media herd the field in a political horserace via debates.  Why?  Here is my take on the…

caricature of Lee MiringoffTOP 10 REASONS WHY POLLS SHOULD NOT BE USED TO DETERMINE ELIGIBILITY FOR DEBATES (OR WHERE’S DAVID LETTERMAN WHEN YOU NEED HIM?)

10.  Many candidates will fall within the error margin.  Rankings become statistically meaningless.

9.1 Using decimal points makes statistically meaningless rankings even more meaningless.

7.9 – 8.1   Poll strew doesn’t necessarily taste very good.  Some polls probe undecided voters to include “leaners,” others don’t.   Some polls will be based on “likely” voters, others on registered voters. Poll results also vary when it comes to live or automated modes of data collection, proportion of cell phones vs. landlines, and weighting and analyzing data.

7.  More problems.  Some national polls take out “undecided” voters and recalculate based upon 100%.  This wreaks havoc on averages.

5.  Ok.  I know I skipped number 6, but, then again, there’s no guarantee all polls will ask all candidates either.

5.1 (Couldn’t figure out where to place this item because it is not actually higher or lower than 5, statistically speaking).  Some polls use push-button phones to record preferences.  It’s tough to include 18 names when only numbers 1 thru 9 are usable.

4.  “HELLLLOO” house effects.

3.  Given that early caucus and primary states punch a candidate’s ticket to continue, why use a national average to determine debate participation?

2.  Name recognition unduly influences results of early primary horserace polls.  Lesser known candidates will now frontload their efforts to try to make the cutoff.  Public polls altering campaign strategies?  BAD!

1.  And, finally, do you really want public polls this involved in a picking presidential nominee?

Try this on for size.  How about a random drawing of half the field of announced candidates for the first hour of a debate and the second group for the second hour.  More manageable.  More equitable. And, doesn’t require a top 10 list!

5/12: Cuomo Approval Rating at Lowest Point… Albany Perceived as Dripping with Corruption

While New York Governor Andrew Cuomo remains well-liked statewide, his job performance rating, 37%, has declined to its lowest point since he became governor in 2011.  Cuomo’s approval rating is down seven points since The Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll last reported it in October and is in stark contrast to his highest score, 59%, in October of 2012.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (courtesy of N.Y. State)

Cuomo has lost ground with his base.  Only 43% of Democratic voters, down from 56% last fall, give the governor high marks.  Cuomo’s approval rating has suffered statewide.  Regardless of the region where voters live, fewer approve of how he is doing his job.  The sharpest decline has occurred among voters in New York City where 44% say he is doing, at least, a good job as governor.  This is a decrease from 53% in October.  Governor Cuomo’s approval rating in the city is identical to that of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who faces growing pessimism and racial polarization within the Big Apple.  And, while Cuomo’s favorable rating is respectable at 52%, it is also at its lowest point since the governor has been in office.

The decline in Governor Cuomo’s approval rating is due, at least in part, to the widespread opinion that Albany is corrupt.  In fact, three in four voters statewide, 75%, think the level of corruption in state government has increased over the past few years, 43%, or has remained the same which, in their view, is a bad thing, 32%.  Among New York State voters who say corruption has gotten worse in Albany, Cuomo’s approval rating stands at 26%.

The governor is also no longer thought to be changing the way things work in Albany for the better.  50% do not think Cuomo is having a positive impact on state government, and only 40% do.  Among those who do not think the governor is improving the way Albany functions, his job performance rating is 12% compared with 65% among those who think he has had a positive role.

Turning to the New York State Assembly and Senate, voters’ attitudes toward these legislative bodies are dismal.  Only 20% of voters approve of the job the Assembly is doing, and 23% approve of the job of the state senate.  Ratings for both have dipped since September from 25% and 26%, respectively.

Overall, voters are pessimistic about the direction of the state.  A majority, 51%, believes New York State is moving in the wrong direction, and 43% say things are going in the right one.  Voters’ attitudes have not been this bleak about the state’s trajectory since May of 2011 when 54% of voters believed the Empire State was off course.

However, opinions about the condition of New York’s economy have improved.  While 52% of voters still consider the state to be in a recession, this is the smallest proportion who have this view since January of 2006 when voters divided.  47%, at that time, believed New York to be in a recession while 46% disagreed with that characterization.

While voters’ views toward statewide officials are gloomy, elected officials on the national stage fare better.  President Barack Obama’s approval rating among New York State voters has rebounded from its lowest point, 39%, in September to 46% now.  Senator Charles Schumer’s approval rating, 54%, is rock solid.  Schumer received the identical score in September.  45% of New York voters think well of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s performance compared with 48% last fall.

“Elected officials with an Albany, New York working address are struggling,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “For Governor Andrew Cuomo, how low is low?  His predecessors’ low points included 17% for David Paterson, 30% for Eliot Spitzer, 34% for George Pataki, and 32% for Mario Cuomo.” 

Complete May 12, 2015 Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll

Poll points:

  • 37% of New York registered voters rate Cuomo’s job performance as either excellent, 4%, or good, 33% (Trend).  Cuomo’s approval rating has dropped seven points since October when 44% gave the governor high marks.
  • Among Democrats, 43% approve of Cuomo’s job performance, down from 56% in October.  Cuomo’s approval rating stands at 25% among Republicans and 38% among independents.
  • Regardless of region, Governor Cuomo has experienced a decline in his approval rating.  In New York City, Cuomo’s score has dropped nine points to 44% from 53% last fall.  41% of voters in the suburbs of New York City approve of the governor’s performance, down from 48%.  Upstate, 31% say Cuomo is performing well.  36% had this view previously.
  • Among voters who perceive an increase in corruption in state government, only 26% rate the governor’s job performance highly.
  • 75% of voters consider the state government in Albany to be more corrupt, 43%, or to be about the same as it has been which, they say, is bad, 32%.  Only 8% report Albany is less corrupt, and 10% think it is status quo which is a good thing.  Two percent believe corruption in Albany is at the same level it has been and did not specify whether that is good or bad.
  • Half of New York voters, 50%, say Governor Cuomo is not changing the way things work in state government in Albany for the better while 40% say he is (Trend).  One in ten, 10%, is unsure.  This is the first time since Cuomo became governor that voters’ opinions on this question are upside down.  When last reported in September, the electorate divided with 47% reporting Cuomo was having a positive impact on Albany and 47% saying he was not improving state government.
  • Among voters who believe he is not improving how state government functions, only 12% rate the governor’s job performance highly.
  • A majority of registered voters, 52%, have a favorable impression of Cuomo, little changed from 54% in October (Trend).  While a majority still perceives the governor positively, this is Cuomo’s lowest favorable rating since taking office.
  • 49% of voters say Cuomo’s political ideology is about right.  29% think he is too liberal, and 13% consider him too conservative.  One in ten, 10%, is unsure.
  • One in five voters statewide, 20%, compared with 25% in September, thinks the New York State Assembly is doing either an excellent, 3%, or good, 17%, job in office.  41% rate the legislative body as fair while 32% believe it is performing poorly (Trend).
  • 23% of voters, compared with 26% last fall, say the New York State Senate is doing either an excellent, 3%, or good, 20%, job in office (Trend).
  • 51% of voters say things in New York are moving in the wrong direction while 43% say they are heading in the right one (Trend).  The proportion of voters who think the state is off track is the largest since May of 2011 when 54% thought things in New York were going in the wrong direction.  When this question was last reported in October, the electorate divided.  46%, at that time, said the state was on the wrong path, and 45% believed it was on the right course.
  • Regionally, 43% of New York City voters, up from 35% in the fall, say the state is traveling in the wrong direction.  48% of suburban voters, up from 37% in October, also have this view.  There has been virtually no change among voters Upstate where nearly six in ten, 58%, think the state is off track.
  • 52% of voters, down from 57% in September, say New York State is in a recession (Trend).  This is the smallest proportion of voters since January of 2006 to report New York is in a recession.  At that time, 47% believed the state was under the recession’s cloud while 46% said it was not.
  • 46% of voters in New York think President Barack Obama is doing either an excellent, 14%, or good, 32%, job in office (Trend).  President Obama’s approval rating has improved from its lowest point in New York, 39%, in September.
  • A majority of voters, 54%, approves of the job Senator Chuck Schumer is doing in office, unchanged from September (Trend).
  • 45% of voters rate Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s job performance highly (Trend).  38% give Gillibrand lower ratings, and a notable 18% have either never heard of her or are unsure how to rate her.

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables

 

5/6: Optimism Wanes amid Racial Divide in New York City… Mayor de Blasio’s Approval Rating Inches Up, but Voters Not Enthralled with His Performance

May 6, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, NYC, NYC Poll Archive, Politics

New York City voters are increasingly pessimistic about life in the Big Apple.  When asked about the overall direction of the city, the electorate divides.  49% report things are going in the wrong direction, and 45% say they are moving in the right one.  This is the first time since November of 2013, just before Mayor Bill de Blasio was elected, that the proportion of voters who think the city is on the right track has dipped below 50%.  Although a stark racial divide exists on this question, there has been a decrease in the proportions of both white and African American voters who think the city is moving in the right direction.

To compound New Yorkers’ downbeat attitude about the city, fewer than one in five residents, 17%, believes the overall quality of life in the city has improved over the last year.  A majority, 56%, reports it has either gotten worse, 33%, or has remained the same which, in their view, is a bad thing, 23%.

On the specifics of life in New York City, only 9% of adults citywide believe the number of homeless, panhandlers, or mentally ill has decreased in the past year while more than four in ten, 42%, think this situation in New York City has gotten worse.  43% say the number of homeless, panhandlers, or mentally ill on city streets has remained the same.  One bright spot does exist.  Six in ten residents, 60%, have either a great deal of confidence, 25%, or a fair amount of confidence, 35%, in the police officers in their community to protect them from violent crime.

Opinions differ based on race on these questions.  This polarization is also prominent in attitudes toward New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.  Views also differ based on the socioeconomic status of city dwellers.

Opinions about New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are incongruous.  The mayor’s overall job approval rating has inched up to 44% from 39% in March 2014, and nearly six in ten voters, 59%, have a favorable impression of him.  However, only 40% of voters consider de Blasio to be changing New York City for the better, and a majority of voters, 53%, do not think his policies are historic and transforming the city.

On the specifics of Mayor de Blasio’s job performance, attitudes are lukewarm.  While pluralities of residents citywide approve of how he is handling the city’s schools, 47%, and economic development, 47%, they divide about de Blasio’s performance on crime.  Regarding the New York City budget, 42% disapprove and 40% approve, but a notable 18% are unsure how to rate Mr. de Blasio on this issue.  Mayor de Blasio’s score on his handling of the relationship between police and the community is in negative territory.  Not surprisingly, there is a substantial difference in opinion along racial lines.

Mayor de Blasio, as mentioned above, is well-liked by a majority of New York City voters.  The mayor is viewed by, at least, a majority of voters as someone who cares about the average person, a good leader, and a unifier who can get things done.  However, on each of these questions, there has been a dip in the proportions of voters who perceive de Blasio positively.  The mayor is also viewed as a man of action.

A majority of voters, though, considers de Blasio to be irresponsible when he arrives late for public events, and they divide about whether or not the mayor is spending too much time discussing policy on the national level and not focusing enough on what he can be doing for New York City.

What does all of this mean for de Blasio in 2017?  A plurality, 47%, reports he deserves to be re-elected.

On policy questions, more than three in four residents, 77%, support increasing the minimum wage.  But, more than six in ten, 63%, oppose charging for plastic grocery bags and hiring more police if it means cutting other city programs, 62%.

“Depending upon one’s perspective of Mayor de Blasio, the glass is either half full or half empty,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, “Many New Yorkers are troubled by the direction and conditions of the city although they generally like the mayor.”

Click Here for Complete May 6, 2015 NBC 4 New York/The Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll NYC Release and Tables

Poll points:

  • Voters in New York City divide about the way things are going in the city.  49% believe the city is moving in the wrong direction while 45% say it is moving in the right one.  There has been a shift on this question since it was last reported in March 2014.  At that time, a majority, 53% considered New York City to be on track while 42% thought it was off course.  This is the first time since November 2013 that fewer than half of voters think the city is moving in the right direction (Trend).
  • Racial differences exist.  African American voters, 53%, are more likely than whites, 35%, to say the city is moving in the right direction.  Still, there has been a decline in the proportions of both African American and white voters who say the city is on course since the spring of 2014.  At that time, 60% of African Americans and 45% of whites thought the city was on track.
  • Voters in Manhattan, 50%, are more likely than those in the other boroughs to say the city is on the right course.  A majority in Queens and Staten Island, 52%, and nearly half, 48%, of those in the Bronx, say the Big Apple is on the wrong path.  Brooklyn voters divide with 48% reporting it is moving in the wrong direction.  44% say it is going in the right direction.
  • 17% of residents say the quality of life in New York City has gotten better over the past year while one in three, 33%, says it has gotten worse.  47% report it has remained the same.  Of those, 23% describe the status quo as a bad thing, and 20% say the lack of change is a good thing.  Four percent who say the quality of life has remained the same do not specify whether the lack of change is good or bad.
  • Only 9% of New York City residents say the number of homeless, panhandlers, and mentally ill on the city’s streets has declined in the past year.  42% report it has increased, and 43% think it has stayed the same.
  • 60% of adults citywide have a great deal, 25%, or fair amount, 35%, of confidence in police in their community to protect them from violent crime.  18% have some faith in the New York City Police Department, and 20% have very little confidence.
  • White residents, 76%, are more likely than Latinos, 54%, and African Americans, 49%, to trust their local police, at least a fair amount, to keep them safe from violent crime.
  • Looking at the City Council’s move to decriminalize certain offenses, 66% support decriminalizing being in a park after dark, and 63% support downgrading bicycling on sidewalks to a civil violation.  A majority, 55%, thinks public consumption of alcohol should be decriminalized, and nearly half, 49%, say the same about jumping a turnstile.  Residents divide about whether public urination should be reclassified to a civil violation.  50% believe it should while 47% say it should not.

Ratings for de Blasio a Mixed Bag

  • 44% of New York City voters think Bill de Blasio is doing either an excellent, 8%, or a good job, 36%, as mayor.  This is up slightly from 39% in March 2014.  A majority, 52%, currently rates his performance as fair, 34%, or poor, 18%.
  • White voters, 32%, are less likely than African Americans, 59%, and Latinos, 49%, to approve of how Mayor de Blasio is doing in office.  The biggest increase in the mayor’s standing has been among African Americans.  In March 2014, 50% of African American voters approved of de Blasio’s performance.  45% of Latino and 30% of white voters, at that time, said the same.
  • By borough, a majority of Manhattan voters, 53%, rates de Blasio highly.  49% of those in Brooklyn and 47% in the Bronx do the same.  Voters in Queens and Staten Island, 33%, are the least likely to approve of how Mayor de Blasio is performing in office.
  • 59% of voters citywide have a favorable impression Mayor de Blasio, unchanged from March 2014.  34% have an unfavorable view of him.  Again, racial differences are present.  74% of Latino and 73% of African American voters, compared with just 40% of whites, have a positive opinion of the mayor.
  • Four in ten voters, 40%, think Mayor de Blasio is changing New York City for the better while 20% say he is having a negative impact on the city.  About one in three, 34%, believes he is not affecting the city at all.  Six percent, down from 12%, are unsure.  While the proportion of voters who say de Blasio is improving the city has changed little from 43% last year, there has been an increase in those who say he is not having any impact.  Last year, 25% had this view.
  • African Americans, 58%, and Latinos, 53%, are more than twice as likely as whites, 21%, to say Mayor de Blasio is changing the city for the better.
  • A majority of voters, 53%, does not think the mayor’s policies are historic and transformative as he describes.  39% believe they are.
  • 47% of New York City residents approve of how Mayor de Blasio is handling the city’s public schools while 40% disapprove.  A notable 12% are unsure.
  • 47% approve of the mayor’s approach to economic development.  42% disapprove.  11% are unsure.
  • Adults in New York City divide about how Mayor de Blasio is handling crime in the city.  47% approve while 46% disapprove.
  • Residents also divide about the mayor’s handling of the city’s budget, but a notable proportion are unsure.  40% approve of de Blasio’s approach while 42% disapprove.  18% are unsure.
  • 57% of residents disapprove of how Mayor de Blasio approaches relations between the police and the community.  37% approve.

The Specifics of Mayor de Blasio’s Image

 

City Dwellers Favor Raising the Minimum Wage; Oppose Plastic Bag Surcharge and Hiring of Additional Police

  • Nearly eight in ten adults, 77%, support raising the minimum wage to at least $13 even if some businesses say it will reduce hiring.  One in five residents, 20%, opposes the proposal.  Regardless of race, borough of residence, or class status, there is overwhelming support to increase the minimum wage.
  • More than six in ten New York City residents, 63%, oppose a bill which would require grocery stores to charge 10 cents for each plastic bag.  36% support this proposal.  Regardless of race or class status, at least a majority opposes charging for plastic bags in grocery stores.
  • 62% of adults citywide are against hiring an additional 1,000 police officers if it means cutting back other city programs.  32% support this initiative.  Here, too, opposition crosses racial lines.  Latinos, 73%, and African Americans, 64%, are more likely to oppose hiring new police officers than whites, 52%.

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables

5/4: Newfound Money: What Would You Do? Latino Americans Emphasize Home Ownership

If given $100,000 to spend or invest, with no strings attached, saving for long-term expenses such as retirement or college, 25%, buying a home or paying off a mortgage, 24%, and paying down their debt, 22%, top the list of ways Americans would spend or invest their newfound funds.  Among Latinos, buying a home or paying a mortgage, 32%, is the top way they would invest their newly acquired cash.  Saving for long-term expenses, paying off debt, and starting a business, follow.

When it comes to cell phone usage, American and Latino cell phone owners, alike,  use a smartphone.  Among Americans, the iPhone, 35%, edges android phones, 31%.  Latinos, however, are slightly more likely to use androids, 34%, than the iPhone, 29%.

Only 30% of American smartphone owners, including 26% of Latinos, use their phone mostly to talk.  Most employ their smartphone for other purposes.  20% of smartphone owners, overall, report they use their phone primarily to text.  14% use it mostly to connect via social media, 12% send email, and 11% surf the Internet.

While smartphone use among Latinos reflects Americans’ habits, overall, Latinos are more likely than Americans to use their smartphone mostly to listen to music, 14%, and are less likely to use it primarily to send email, 7%.

Complete May 4, 2015 MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist Poll of the United States

Poll points:

  • If given $100,000 to spend or invest,  Americans would save for long-term expenses like retirement or college, 25%, buy a home or pay off their mortgage, 24%, or pay off their debt, 22%.  11% of residents would invest in the stock market while 10% would start a business.  Five percent would use the money toward non-necessities like vacations, entertainment, and gifts.
  • A plurality of Latinos, 32%, cites buying a home or paying down a mortgage.  21% would save for long-term expenses while 19% would pay off debt.  16% of Latinos would start a business including 26% of Latino men.  Eight percent would invest in the stock market, and 3% would use the funds on non-necessities.
  • 74% of American cell phone owners, including 76% Latinos, use a smartphone.
  • Among Americans, the iPhone, 35%, and android phones, 31%, are the leading smartphones.  The Blackberry, 1%, and a Windows phone, 1%, are little used.  Six percent have a smartphone but are unsure which kind, and 25% of U.S. cell phone owners say they do not have a smartphone.
  • 34% ofLatino cell phone users have an android phone while 29% own an iPhone.  Only 1% owns a Blackberry, and the same proportion, 1%, has a Windows phone.  11% have a smartphone but are unsure what type it is, and 24% of Latino cell phone owners do not have a smartphone.
  • Just three in ten American smartphone owners, including 26% of Latinos, say the primary use of their phone is to talk.  20% of smartphone owners, overall, say they mostly text with their phone, and 14% turn to social media on their smartphones. Email is the key function for 12% while 11% surf the Internet.  Other activities include listening to music, 6%, playing games, 3%, taking and sending pictures, 1%, and watching videos, 1%.

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables

5/1: Middle-Aged Wishes and Birthday Cake Dreams

Blow out the candles and make a wish!  It’s time for Dr. Lee M. Miringoff’s annual birthday poll.

Every year, Dr. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, yearns to know whether Americans consider his soon-to-be age young, middle-aged, or old.  This year, Dr. Miringoff’s wish may come true one more time. 

Click Here for Complete May 1, 2015 USA Marist Poll Release and Tables

Nearly six in ten Americans, 57%, say 64 is middle-aged.  31% consider it old, and 12% think it is young.  Miringoff’s age hangs on to the description of “middle-aged.”  Last year, when he turned 63 years old, 60% said he was a middle-ager, 27% thought he was old, and 13% described him as young.

“Phew,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “I would be less than honest if I didn’t notice the increase among Americans who think my age is old.  But, overall, I survived another year!”

Younger Americans, not surprisingly, are more likely than their older counterparts to consider 64 to be old.  Among Americans under 30, six in ten, 60%, think 64 years of age is old, up from 48% last year who thought 63 was old.

Gender differences exist.  While similar proportions of women, 13%, and men, 10%, say 64 is young, women, 61%, are more likely than men, 52%, to think it is middle-aged.  Nearly four in ten men, 38%, compared with 25% of women, believe 64 is old.

Marist Poll Methodology

Marist Poll Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables

4/21: More Than One-Third Believes Decline in African American Baseball Players is a Concern… Race Factors into Perceptions of Baseball

More than one in three Americans considers the decline in African American players in Major League Baseball to be a problem.  This includes about one in eight who thinks the decline to be a major issue.

African Americans, 49%, are more likely than whites, 34%, to consider the composition of MLB players to be troublesome.

Looking at Americans’ perceptions of baseball, only about one in seven thinks of it as the most popular sport for children to play.  Football, 35%, and soccer, 28%, exceed baseball.  Racial differences exist.  White Americans, 15%, are more than twice as likely as African Americans, 6%, to say baseball is the leading sport in which children participate.  Still, baseball places third among whites, in terms of popularity, and fourth among African Americans.

Why aren’t children playing baseball?  Finances are a factor.  More than six in ten Americans, 63%, say the cost of playing in top travel leagues is, at least, part of the reason.  Additionally, 47% say the equipment is too expensive, and that is, at least, a partial explanation.

Americans wax nostalgic about the sport.  Nearly two-thirds of Americans, including a majority of African Americans played baseball as a child.  And, baseball, 33%, also ranks first as the sport Americans would like to play with their son.  However, while the sport tops the list for white Americans, it comes in fourth among African Americans.

Americans view baseball positively.  Most, 83%, consider it a sport which is rich in tradition and not too old-fashioned.  Nearly three in four Americans, 74%, call baseball “cool” as opposed to “not cool.”  And, nearly six in ten, 59%, say the sport is changing with the times and is not stuck in the past.  However, residents divide about baseball’s level of excitement.

Despite Americans’ mostly favorable impressions of the sport, baseball isn’t a major topic around the watercooler.  Only 31% say people talk about or follow the sport a lot during baseball season.  African Americans are the least likely to keep up with the sport.

This HBO Real Sports/Marist Poll has been conducted in conjunction with the Marist College Center for Sports Communication

Click Here for Complete April 21, 2015 USA HBO Real Sports/Marist Poll Release and Tables

“These results help explain what we all suspect — that baseball lags behind other sporting pastimes for American youth, particularly for African-Americans,” says Keith Strudler, Director of the Marist College Center for Sports Communication. “What could be most problematic for baseball officials is that changing the nature of the game may not alter this trend, since the larger impediment is cost, something that will be more difficult to drastically change.”

Poll points:

  • 35% of Americans, including 12% who say it is a major problem, think the decline in the number of African American and black, non-Latino Major League Baseball players is troublesome.  65% believe it is not a problem at all.
  • Age matters.  Americans under 45, 41%, think the proportion of African American and black baseball players is a problem.  31% of those who are older agree.
  • 49% of African Americans compared with 34% of whites report the decline is a problem.

Few Americans Think Baseball is Popular Sport among Children

  • 15% of Americans consider baseball to be the most popular team sport for children to play followed closely by basketball, 14%.  Football, 35%, and soccer, 28%, surpass baseball on the list.
  • Racial differences exist.  Among whites, 37%, and Latinos, 34%, football is the sport most children play.  Soccer comes in second among whites, 32%, and Latinos, 31%.  Among African Americans, 41% say children in their community play basketball, and 33% cite football.
  • A plurality of men, 39%, considers football to be the most popular sport played by children.  Among women, 32% choose football, and a similar proportion, 30%, select soccer.
  • Cost factors into perceptions of why some children do not play baseball.  More than six in ten residents, 63%, think, at least, part of the reason is because it costs too much to play in top travel leagues.  Close to one in five, 18%, say it is the main reason.  37% report it is not a reason at all.
  • While a majority of Americans, 53%, reports the cost of equipment is not a factor at all, 47% think children are not stepping up to the plate, partially, because of the expenseA majority of non-white parents, 55%, reports the cost of baseball equipment has, at least, something to do with why some children don’t play the sport, while a majority of white parents, 45%, says it’s not a reason at all.
  • There is a perception by 40% of residents that, at least in part, children are not taking up America’s pastime because too many children are needed to play the game.  60% say it is no reason at all.
  • 40% believe the length of the game has something to do with why children don’t gravitate toward the game of baseball.   Nearly half of African Americans, 47%, say the same.
  • About one-third of residents, 33%, thinks baseball takes too much skill, and that factors into why some children do not play the game.    
  • 32% of Americans believe lack of a nearby ball field is, at least, part of the reason children are not playing baseball.  68% report it is no reason at all.  African Americans, 47%, are more likely than Latinos, 36%, and whites, 28%, to think not having a place nearby to play is a reason children don’t play baseball.  In fact, close to one in five African American residents, 18%, thinks this is the main reason.
  • 31% say not knowing the rules is, at least, part of the reason why some children do not play baseball.  69% report this is not a reason at all.  41% of African Americans, including one in ten who report it is the main reason, attribute not understanding the game as a factor in why some children do not play the sport.
  • 31% of adults nationally believe, at least, part of the reason some children don’t play baseball is because the sport is not fun.

Baseball Considered Top Father-Son Sport

  • 33% of Americans report baseball is the sport they would like to most play with their son.  Basketball is a distant second, 21%.  19% choose soccer, and 18% pick football.
  • Again, race enters into the equation.  39% of white Americans would like to take their son to the baseball field while a plurality of African Americans, 34%, would visit a football field with their son.  Among Latinos, baseball, 26%, basketball, 25%, and soccer, 25%, receive comparable interest.
  • Americans 45 and older, 40%, are more likely than younger residents, 25%, to pick baseball as the sport they would share with their child.  Among those under 45, there is little consensus.
  • Close to two-thirds of adults nationally, 64%, say they played baseball as a child.  This includes 68% of white Americans, 60% of Latinos, and 57% of African Americans.
  • Nearly six in ten Americans, 57%, say they are baseball fans.

Baseball Mostly Conjures Positive Associations, But…

  • Most Americans, 83%, consider baseball a sport rich in tradition, and only 14% say it is too old-fashioned.
  • African Americans, 30%, non-white parents, 28%, and those under 30 years old, 22%, are most likely to refer to baseball as too old-fashioned.
  • Baseball is also considered “cool” by 74% of Americans.  22% think it is not.
  • Nearly six in ten residents, 59%, think baseball is changing with the times while 33% believe it is stuck in the past.
  • 59% report baseball is a sport children play in the city.  35% disagree.  African Americans divide.  49% think it is not a game played in the city.  47% say it is.
  • Americans are torn about baseball’s excitement level.  50% consider baseball “exciting.”  47% say it is “boring.”
  • Only 31% of residents say baseball is a large part of what people talk about or follow during Major League Baseball’s season.  An additional 42% report the subject is sometimes part of the conversation.  Close to one in four, 23%, says baseball is not part of the watercooler discussion.
  • African Americans, 35%, and non-white parents, 32%, are most likely to say baseball is not followed or discussed during the season.

Marist Poll Methodology

Marist Poll Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables

 

4/14: Removing the Label of Inevitability?

April 14, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, Lee Miringoff

The Hillary Clinton 1.0 “Listening Tour” and the 2.0 “Listening Tour” may be the same remedy from a campaign strategy point of view, but the circumstances are very different.

caricature of Lee MiringoffWhen seeking the U.S. Senate from New York, although well-known, she had never sought elective office and had to prove herself as a candidate in her own right.  Also, there was the so-called “carpetbagger” issue which required her to learn about New York and demonstrate her ability to represent the state.  The task before Clinton now, having been a senator, candidate for president, and Secretary of State, is to re-invent herself as someone who can connect and relate to Americans.  Success will be measured in whether she can earn the public trust, rather than seem that she is once again inevitable and entitled.  Lacking stiff competition for her party’s nomination, Clinton also needs to find a way to stay relevant over the next year to avoid being defined by the GOP.  She also needs to stave off the Republicans characterizing the political agenda.  The trip to Iowa seems like a good place to begin and the drive there an interesting attention grabber.

Right now, Clinton has a clear path to the nomination.  But, Democrats do want to have a dialogue.  She hopes the listening tour provides that interaction.  The general election is more of a 50-50 proposition.  Demographic changes are in her favor.  When Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, 87% of the electorate was white, and only 13% were people of color.  Fast forward to 2012, white voters represented only 72% of the electorate and people of color had more than doubled to 28%.  Will the Obama coalition turn out and be solid for Clinton?  Will the GOP make any inroads with Latino voters?

Offsetting this “Demography is Destiny” thesis is the so-called “curse of the third term.”  In 1988, Bush 41 was elected following President Reagan’s election and re-election.  The previous time a president served a full eight years and then someone of the same party was elected was Rutherford B. Hayes following President Grant.  History may repeat itself, but it doesn’t often.

4/13: Fewer Americans Expect Tax Refund

With the deadline looming for Americans to file their tax returns, fewer residents who file taxes think they will get a refund compared with 2014.  More than six in ten of those who wait until April 15th to file do not expect a refund.

“Late filers are less motivated,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Most Americans who wait until the last minute to file their taxes are not expecting good news.”

Complete April 13, 2015 Marist Poll of the United States

Poll points:

  • 54% of Americans who are filing taxes this year expect a refund, down from 61% who anticipated one last time.
  • 63% of those who wait until April 15th to submit their taxes do not expect a refund.  32% do.  The opposite is true among those who have already filed.  60% of Americans who have filed expect to get money back.  34% do not.
  • Among Americans who expect a tax refund, 47% say they will use their refund to pay bills, and 38% report they will put the money into their savings.  Only 15% plan to spend it.
  • Men, 18%, are more likely than women, 13%, to spend their tax refund.  Women, 52%, are more likely than men, 42%, to say they will pay their bills.
  • Age differences exist.  Residents 60 and older, 28%, are more likely to spend their refund than their younger counterparts.
  • While 22% of Americans who file taxes wait until April 15th to do so, 78% file earlier.  This is little changed from last year.

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables

 

4/9: Many Americans, Including Most Latinos, Consider Immigration Reform a Priority… Pathway to Citizenship Key Component for Majority of Americans, But Latinos Divide

Immigration reform is important to many Americans, especially Latino residents.  Nearly two-thirds of Americans, 65%, including 81% of Latinos, think immigration legislation which provides a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants should be addressed by President Barack Obama and Congress.  In fact, 41% of Americans and 59% of Latinos believe the issue should be an absolute priority for this year’s Congress.

Of note, Latino residents who are U.S. immigrants, 74%, are more likely than those born in the United States, 46%, to consider immigration reform to be an immediate concern.

On the question of providing a pathway to citizenship for veterans of the armed forces, Americans and Latinos have similar views.  55% of residents, overall, and 61% of Latinos say providing citizenship to veterans should be an immediate priority for President Obama and Congress this year.

Americans, overall, are more concerned about the inclusion of the pathway to citizenship in immigration reform than Latinos.  Among Latinos, there is slightly greater urgency to pass immigration legislation, even if it does not contain the pathway to citizenship.  While 52% of Americans assert reform should only be passed if it includes this measure, 39% say reform should occur even if the measure is not included.  Latino residents divide with 49% thinking it is more important that a bill be passed only if it includes a pathway to citizenship while 44% report it is more important to pass immigration reform even if it does not provide a way for undocumented immigrants to gain citizenship.

Latinos born in the United States, 52%, emphasize the pathway to citizenship while Latino adults born in another country divide on the issue.

When it comes to President Barack Obama’s use of executive action to implement changes to immigration, opposition rests on procedure not policy.  Nearly six in ten Americans, including more than three in four Latinos, approve of the president’s order.  Among those who disapprove, 56% of Americans and 58% of Latinos oppose the executive action because the president did not seek congressional approval, not because they are against the content of the policy.

If Congress does not pass immigration reform by the end of its current term, Republicans will face the most blame.

Complete April 9, 2015 MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist Poll of the United States

Poll points:

Diplomatic Recognition of Cuba Supported by Majorities of Americans and Latinos

The opinions of Latinos closely reflect those of the overall population when it comes to U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba.

Poll points:

Economic Sanctions against Venezuela Considered Appropriate by Half of Americans

50% of Americans, including a slim majority of the Latino population, consider the economic sanctions placed on government officials in Venezuela for acts of violence and the prohibition of freedom of expression of protestors to be the right form of censure.  Latinos, 19%, are slightly more likely than Americans, overall, to say the punishment is too strong.

Poll points:

  • 50% of the U.S. adult population, including 52% of Latinos, think the economic sanctions levied against Venezuela are the appropriate punishment for acts of violence endorsed by the nation’s leaders and prohibiting freedom of expression among protesters.
  • 19% of Latinos, compared with 13% of the general population, say the sanctions are too severe.  20% of U.S. residents, including 16% of Latinos, believe the sanctions are not strong enough.

Equal Treatment under the Law?

Americans, 65%, are more likely than Latinos, 54%, to believe police in their local community treat minorities the same as anyone else.  Latinos, especially those under 45, are more likely to report minorities are treated more harshly.

  • 35% of Latinos, compared with 27% of the overall population, report minorities are treated more harshly by their local police.  Only 4% of U.S. residents, including 5% of Latinos, believe minorities are treated less harshly.
  • Latinos under 45 years old, 39%, are more likely than older Latinos, 28%, to say minorities are treated more harshly than anyone else. 

The Impact of Pope Francis on the Views of the Catholic Church

37% of Americans say Pope Francis has improved their opinion of the Catholic Church, and 29% report he has made little difference in their opinion.  The views of Latinos are similar to those of the overall population. 

  • A plurality of Americans, 37%, including 32% of Latinos, reports Pope Francis has given them a more favorable view of the Catholic Church.  Only 6% of Americans, including 7% of Latinos, say the Pope has lessened their view of the Church.  29% of Americans, similar to 32% of Latinos, think the Pontiff has made little difference in their views.  29% of residents, including 28% of Latinos, don’t know enough about the Pope to comment.

Football Takes Top Spot as Americans’ Favorite Sport… Shares Honors with Soccer among Latinos

Football, 42%, is Americans’ favorite pastime.  Among Latinos, football, 31%, and soccer, 28%, vie for the title of top sport.

  • 42% of Americans consider football their favorite sport.  Baseball, 15%, is a distant second followed by basketball, 14%.  11% choose soccer while 5% like hockey.  Three percent cite another sport, and 4% do not have a favorite sport.
  • Football, 31%, and soccer, 28%, are cited as the top sports by Latinos.  Baseball, 15%, and basketball, 14%, trail behind.  Only 2% of Latinos are hockey fans, and 3% mention another sport as their favorite.  Two percent do not have a favorite sport.

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables

3/24: Injured Top College Athletes Should Not Carry the Costs, Says Majority… Americans Divide over College Degrees in Sports

March 24, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, Special Events, Sports, Sports Bench

Americans favor change on a major issue relating to NCAA student-athletes.

Providing health insurance to injured, top college athletes after they graduate receives the support of majorities of Americans, 56%, and college sports fans, 55%, alike.

Currently, as detailed in Bernie Goldberg’s report in this month’s Real Sports one-hour NCAA special, the NCAA does not require colleges to provide such insurance for their athletes, except in the most extreme circumstances.

Americans’ opinions divide over whether or not college athletes should be permitted to major in and receive degrees in their sport.

Another much debated question is whether or not top college basketball and football players should be paid.  Nearly two-thirds of Americans, 65%, do not think they should receive monetary compensation for their time and efforts.  However, about one-third of Americans think they should be on the payroll, a slight increase from 29% just last year.  Americans under thirty and African Americans are much more supportive of this idea.

Sexual assault on college campuses has been a topic which has drawn recent national attention by, both, politicians and the media.  But, when college athletes are involved in such incidents do Americans think they are judged by a different standard?  Nearly six in ten residents, 58%, think they are treated differently, including 36% who believe they are given greater slack and 22% who say they are held to a tougher standard.

A plurality of Americans, 46%, though, do not think college athletes are more likely to either commit or be accused of sexual assault than non-athletes.  In fact, only 15% believe they are more likely than their college age counterparts to be involved in such incidents.

Again, on many of these questions, opinion differs by age and race.

This HBO Real Sports/Marist Poll has been conducted in conjunction with the Marist College Center for Sports Communication 

Click Here for Complete March 24, 2015 USA HBO Real Sports/Marist Poll Release and Tables

“The public’s view on post-collegiate health insurance and the ability to even major in sports recognizes that top college athletes are making real sacrifices of time and even physical wellness,” says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication. “It also suggests the public largely sees value in college sports as an academic enterprise. That’s a contrast to the common stereotype of the privileged college athlete.” 

Poll points:

  • 56% of Americans, including 21% who strongly have this view, support providing health insurance to college athletes after they graduate for long-term medical problems that are a result of injuries they received while playing college sports.  40%, including 12% who firmly have this position, oppose such benefits.  Similar proportions of college sports fans have these views.
  • Younger Americans are more likely than older residents to support health insurance for college athletes after graduation.  75% of Americans under 30, compared with 47% of those 60 and older share this view.
  • Race also comes into play.  Nearly half of African Americans, 49%, strongly support such a proposal compared with 27% of Latinos and just 15% of white residents.
  • Americans, and college sports fans alike, divide about whether or not college athletes should be allowed to major in and receive a degree in the sport they play.  49% of Americans favor such a program while 45% oppose it.
  • Demographic differences exist.  African Americans, 69%, residents under 30 years old, 60%, Midwesterners, 57%, and residents without college degrees, 55%, are among those who offer the most support for majors in college sports.
  • 65% of Americans do not think student athletes in top men’s football and basketball programs should be paid.  33% believe they should be.  There has been a slight increase in the proportion of those who say these athletes should be paid.  When HBO Real Sports/Marist reported this question last March, 29% of residents supported such compensation.
  • While majorities of those in all generations oppose paying college athletes, residents under 30, 41%, are the most likely to favor it.  This is an increase from 34% in March 2014.
  • 59% of African Americans favor paying college athletes.  42% of Latinos and 26% of whites share this view.  There has been a shift among Latinos.  Last year, 27% supported monetary compensation for top college athletes.
  • Nearly six in ten Americans, 58%, think college athletes who commit sexual assault are not treated the same as non-college athletes.  This includes 22% who say they are treated more harshly and 36% who report they are treated less harshly.  Only 33% think they receive the same treatment.  Of note, 42% of Americans age 45 to 59 think college athletes accused of sexual assault face less severe penalties than those who do not play a sport.
  • While pluralities of African Americans, 43%, and Latinos, 39%, assert that college athletes and non-athletes who commit sexual assault are on level ground, 40% of whites say athletes are dealt with less harshly.  A notable 32% of African Americans say they are treated more harshly.
  • 46% of Americans say top college athletes are no more likely to commit or be accused of sexual assault than non-athletes.  A notable 32%, however, report that sports players are more likely to be accused of sexual crimes, and 15% think they are more likely to commit them.

Marist Poll Methodology

Marist Poll Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables

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