It all came down to Buster Posey vs. Yasiel Puig, and it had nothing to do with the baseball playoffs. No, it had everything to do with whether I would win this year’s (the 64th) season of the 300 Club. The group that is made up of around 100 baseball junkies who each year pick ten players and three alternates from the entire major leagues as their roster for the season.
Having trailed miserably for much of the season, I surged in September owing in large part to batters like the Tigers Paul Goldschmidt who failed to qualify. Although I have mixed feelings about Robinson Cano, (he cost me the 300 Club championship a few years back on the final day of the season, not to mention his deserting my Yankees for the West Coast this year), he made, along with Justin Morneau, for wonderful alternates.
At approximately 3:50 pm on game 162, I took a narrow lead when Daniel Murphy of the Mets (of all teams) finally got a hit in his last AB of the season. Everyone was now accounted for with the exception of my chief competitor’s pick of Posey and my last gasp, Puig. Would my .0003 lead hold up? I could barely stand the tension. It was like watching Eli Manning lead my favorite football Giants down the field (twice) to win the Super Bowl, or waiting for the exit polls to confirm the pre-election estimates that I’m responsible for at The Marist Poll.
The 4pm games started badly for me when the Giants Posey belted a home run in his first AB… Would Puig hold the line? Would Posey ruin my season?
Posey ended up being taken out of the game after going 2 for 4, closing the gap ever so slightly. Puig went 0-3 but because of rounding only dropped 1 point for his lack of production. Final result: I won by .0001 of a point. Much closer than the Bush-Gore battle in Florida in 2000.
To what do I owe my success? Does my career as a pollster improve my estimates as a predictor of baseball averages? Or, is it vice-versa?
I’ve pondered this for the better part of the week. And, with the mid-term elections rapidly approaching, I feel my Marist Poll colleagues and our NBC News partners would like me to arrive at a definitive conclusion.
Here goes… I’m clearly a numbers person and enjoy compiling stats in both arenas. Early trends also are key in baseball and politics. I’m not required to pick the 300 Club players until roughly a month into the season and everyone knows there are plenty of pre-election polls to establish trends. Both fields are also the subject of number-crunching aggregators.
There is, however, one startling difference between baseball and election prognostications. With the 300 Club, there is no margin of error. Thankfully, winners and losers in elections don’t require .0001 poll precision.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains the early favorite in the 2016 presidential contest. Clinton leads her potential opponents for the Democratic nomination by more than four-to-one among Democrats and Democratic leaning independents nationally. Looking at her general election prospects, Clinton receives the support of, at least, a majority of registered voters in hypothetical matchups against former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
On the Republican side, a front-runner has not emerged from the list of potential candidates seeking the GOP’s nomination in 2016. Bush receives 15% among Republicans and Republican leaning independents nationally. The only other candidates to achieve double-digit support are Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, and Chris Christie.
“Right now, the 2016 election is all about Hillary,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Without a strong Democratic opponent for the nomination and a fragmented GOP field, she’s the early front-runner.”
- Clinton, 64%, outpaces Biden, 15%, among Democrats and Democratic leaning independents in the race for the 2016 Democratic nomination. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has 8%, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has 4%, and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley receives 2%. Former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia garners 1%.
- Clinton leads Jeb Bush, 53% to 42%, among registered voters nationally. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in August, Clinton was ahead of Bush, 48% to 41% (Trend).
- Against Rand Paul, Clinton has the support of 52% of registered voters to 43% for Paul. Previously, Clinton was ahead of Paul, 48% to 42% (Trend).
- 51% of registered voters support Clinton while 42% are for Chris Christie. In mid-August, Clinton received 47% to 41% for Christie (Trend).
- There continues to be no clear front-runner in the race for the 2016 Republican nomination. Bush has 15% to 13% each for Paul and Ryan. Christie garners 12% while Texas Governor Rick Perry has 7%. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, 6%, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, 4%, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, 4%, follow. Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, 3%, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, 3%, round out the list. 21% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents nationally are undecided.
In North Carolina, Democrat Kay Hagan is trying to fend off her Republican challenger and state legislator Thom Tillis in the race for U.S. Senate. Among likely voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who have voted early or by absentee ballot, Hagan receives 44% to 40% for Tillis.
Hagan’s supporters are more firmly committed to her, 59%, than are Tillis’ backers, 45%, the majority of whom are motivated to vote against Hagan rather than being positive about him. Also of note, both candidates have high negative ratings among likely voters statewide.
North Carolina residents have a grim view of national politics. Nearly half are displeased with the performance of President Barack Obama. Congressional Republicans and Democrats are also viewed negatively by, at least, a majority of residents statewide. Close to seven in ten North Carolina adults have a dismal view of the direction the nation is heading.
“Gender and marital status are driving forces in this contest,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Not only are there big differences between men and women in their choice for the Senate, but Hagan has nearly a three-to-one advantage over Tillis among single women, and Tillis outdistances her by 23 points among married men.”
- Hagan, 44%, and Tillis, 40%, are locked in a tight contest for U.S. Senate in North Carolina among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who have voted early or by absentee ballot. Libertarian Sean Haugh receives 7% of the vote, and 9% are undecided.
- A partisan divide exists among likely voters with 85% of Democrats supporting Hagan and 81% of Republicans backing Tillis. Independents likely to vote divide with 40% for Tillis and 36% for Hagan. Haugh garners 12% of independents who are likely to vote, and 12% are undecided.
- The gender gap is wide. 49% of men likely to vote support Tillis compared with 36% for Hagan. Among women, Hagan has 51% to 32% for Tillis.
- 50% of likely voters with a candidate preference in North Carolina strongly support their choice of candidate for U.S. Senate. 38% somewhat back their selection, and 10% might vote differently. Looking at each candidate’s intensity of support, nearly six in ten Hagan backers, 59%, are firmly committed to her. 45% of Tillis supporters report a similar level of commitment.
- 50% of likely voters with a candidate preference say they support their pick for U.S. Senate because they are against the other candidates in the race while 45% made their selection because they feel positively about their choice. While 57% of Hagan’s voters are inspired by their support for her, 58% of Tillis backers are motivated by their dislike for his opponents.
- Among registered voters in North Carolina including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted early or by absentee ballot, 42% support Hagan to 37% for Tillis and 8% for Haugh. 12% are undecided.
- The campaign has taken its toll on voters’ impressions of both Hagan and Tillis. 48% of likely voters have a negative view of Hagan, while 42% have a favorable one. Tillis’ negative score is comparable to Hagan’s rating. 47% have an unfavorable view of Tillis while 36% have a positive one.
Obama Approval Rating at 39%… Thumbs Down for Democrats and GOP in Congress
North Carolina residents have a grim view of how elected officials in Washington are performing their jobs. Less than four in ten think President Obama is handling his jobwell, and, at least, a majority of adults statewide believe the Republicansand Democratsin Congress are falling short. Nearly seven in ten also report the nation is on the wrong track.
On the state level, a plurality of North Carolina adults views Governor Pat McCrory’s job performance positively.
- 49% of North Carolina adults disapprove of how the president is doing his job, and 39% approve.
- President Obama is also not well-liked by half of North Carolina residents. 50% have an unfavorable impression of the president while 43% have a favorable one.
- 63% disapprove of the job the Republicans in Congress are doing in office, and 23% approve.
- Looking at the job approval rating of the Democrats in Congress, 55% of North Carolina adults disapprove of their performance in office, and 32% approve.
- Close to seven in ten adults statewide, 68%, think the direction of the nation is wrong, and only 25% say the country is moving in the right direction.
- A plurality of adults, 46%, approves of the job Governor McCrory is doing in office, and 37% disapprove.
Nearly Half Down on Health Care Law
The Affordable Care Act is not being embraced by close to half of adults in North Carolina. In fact, 42% strongly believe Obamacare is a bad idea.
- 48% of adults statewide think the new health care law is a bad idea. Included here are 42% who strongly have this opinion. 31% say the health care law is a good idea including 24% who strongly maintain this position. 20% have no opinion or are unsure.
10/5: Iowa: Ernst and Braley Neck and Neck in Contest for U.S. Senate… Branstad with Wide Lead in Governor’s Race
Republican Joni Ernst and Democrat Bruce Braley are closely matched in the race for U.S. Senate in Iowa among likely voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who have voted early or by absentee ballot. Intensity of support is one of the key dynamics in the race. Ernst’s voters are more strongly committed to their candidate than are Braley’s backers. Ernst’s supporters also describe their vote as an affirmation of her candidacy. In contrast, Braley’s voters are more motivated by their opposition to Ernst than positive impressions of Braley. Braley has a wide lead among the small proportion of Iowans who have already voted.
It’s a different story when it comes to the governor’s race in Iowa. Republican incumbent Terry Branstad leads his Democratic opponent, State Senator Jack Hatch, by 22 points among Iowa likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who have voted early or by absentee ballot. With solid job approval and favorable ratings, Branstad is held in high-esteem by many Iowans.
“National attention is focused on the Hawkeye State because it may determine party control in the U.S. Senate, and the contest is very competitive,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “The choice for voters centers more on their impressions of Ernst than Braley. Most of Ernst’s supporters are inspired to rally for her, and many of Braley’s backers are motivated to vote against Ernst.”
- Ernst, 46%, and Braley, 44%, are in a close contest in the race for U.S. Senate in Iowa among likely voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted early or by absentee ballot.
- Although the sample of early voters is small, Braley leads Ernst, 61% to 38%.
- Both candidates receive overwhelming support from their base, Braley has 91% among Democrats, and Ernst receives 88% from Republicans. A plurality of independents likely to vote, 46%, supports Ernst compared with 38% for Braley. 15% of likely voters who identify as independents, the plurality of voters in the state, are undecided.
- The gender gap is wide, but political party trumps gender. Ernst holds an 18 point lead over Braley among men, 53% to 35%. Braley leads Ernst by 11 points, 52% to 41%, among women. Ernst is strongest among married men with a lead of 28 points over her opponent. Braley leads by 26 points among single women.
- Nearly six in ten likely voters with a candidate preference, 57%, strongly support their choice of candidate for U.S. Senate. 35% are somewhat committed to their pick, and 7% might vote differently. 62% of Ernst’s supporters are strongly committed to her compared with 51% of Braley’s backers who express a similar level of support.
- 50% of Iowa likely voters with a candidate preference for Senate report they are supporting their choice of candidate because they are for that candidate. 45% say they back their selection because they are against the other person in the race. More than six in ten Ernst backers, 61%, say they are voting for her because they believe in her. However, 57% of Braley’s supporters plan to vote for him because they are against Ernst.
- Among registered voters in Iowa including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted early or by absentee ballot, 45% support Braley while 44% are for Ernst. Little has changed on this question since NBC News/Marist’s July survey when 43% supported Braley, and 43% were for Ernst.
- 44% of Iowa likely voters have a favorable impression of Ernst, and 44% have an unfavorable one. Among Iowa adults, Ernst’s favorable rating is upside down. 38% have a positive view of her while 43% have a negative one. Ernst has become more well-known to Iowans but not for the better. While there has been little movement in Ernst’s favorable rating among Iowans since July, 36% to 38%, her negative rating has gone up 11 points from 32% in July to 43% now.
- Looking at Braley’s favorable rating, 39% of likely voters in Iowa think well of him while a plurality, 44%, has a negative view of the candidate. Among Iowans overall, Braley, too, has made inroads with residents but not necessarily positive ones. Since July, the proportion of Iowans with a favorable impression of him has gone from 33% to 36% while those with a negative view have increased from 31% to 40%.
- In the governor’s race in Iowa, Branstad, 58%, leads Hatch, 36%, by 22 points among Iowa likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted early or by absentee ballot.
- Most Republicans, 96%, support Branstad. While most Democrats, 82%, are for Hatch, 13% say they will vote for the Republican incumbent. 62% of independent likely voters back Branstad compared with 30% for Hatch.
- The small group of early voters divide between the candidates for governor, 51% for Branstad and 49% for Hatch.
- Close to six in ten likely voters with a candidate preference, 58%, strongly support their choice of candidate for governor in Iowa. 35% somewhat back their pick, and 6% might vote differently. Brandstad’s supporters, 63%, are more likely than Hatch’s backers, 52%, to say they are strongly committed to their choice of candidate.
- 60% of likely voters in Iowa have a favorable impression of Branstad, and 33% have an unfavorable one. Among Iowans, 57% think well of Branstad, up from 51% in July.
- Hatch is still unknown to 30% of likely voters in Iowa. 34% of voters likely to cast a ballot have a favorable impression of Hatch, and 36% have an unfavorable one. Among Iowa residents, Hatch has become better known, but his negative rating has increased. In July, Hatch’s favorable rating was 27% among Iowans, and now, 30% have a positive view of him. 23% of state residents had a negative view of him last summer, and now, 33% do.
- 63% of residents approve of the job Branstad is doing in office, up from 58% in July.
Low Marks for President Obama and Congress
Although slightly improved, Iowans are dissatisfied with how President Obama is doing in office. They are also displeased with the performances of congressional Democrats and Republicans. About two-thirds are pessimistic about the direction of the country.
- 39% of Iowa residents approve of how President Obama is performing in office while 50% disapprove. In July, the president’s approval rating was at 36% among Iowans. 51%, then, disapproved.
- 42% of residents have a favorable view of President Obama, and 51% have an unfavorable one.
- Only 21% of Iowa adults approve of the job the Republicans in Congress are doing, and 63% disapprove. Looking at how congressional Democrats are doing their job, 27% approve while 60% disapprove.
- When it comes to the direction of the country, more than two-thirds of Iowa residents, 67%, say it is on the wrong track. 25%, however, say it is on the right one.
Obamacare Lacks Support in Iowa
More Iowa residents think the Affordable Care Act is bad idea than a good one.
- 46% of adults in Iowa, including 39% of those who strongly have this opinion, say the new health care law is a bad idea. 31% think it is a good idea including 23% who strongly maintain this view. 22% of Iowans have no opinion or are unsure. In July, 49% reported Obamacare was a bad idea, 31% said it was a good one, and 19% had no opinion of the law or were unsure.
In the race for U.S. Senate in Kansas, independent candidate and businessman Greg Orman leads Republican incumbent Pat Roberts by 10 points among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate. Orman’s lead is bolstered by better than a two-to-one lead among independents likely to vote.
Voters’ impressions of incumbent Republican Roberts is upside down with nearly half of likely voters viewing him negatively. In contrast, Orman is more positively viewed by likely voters and has lower negatives.
Turning to the contest for governor in Kansas, the Republican incumbent, Sam Brownback, faces a tough challenge from Democratic state legislator Paul Davis. Davis, 44%, and Brownback, 43%, are neck and neck among Kansas likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate.
Both of these campaigns are taking place against a backdrop of dissatisfaction with elected officials in Washington. Many Kansans are displeased with how the Republicans and Democrats are performing in office. A majority also expresses frustration with President Barack Obama.
“Kansas voters are facing an unusual and unexpected matchup in what has become a pivotal race for control of the U.S. Senate,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Fewer than half of likely voters are firmly committed to their choice, and nearly one in ten is still undecided.”
- Among Kansas likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 48% support Orman while 38% are for Roberts in the race for U.S. Senate in Kansas. Libertarian candidate Randall Batson receives 5%, and 9% are undecided.
- Orman, 57%, leads Roberts, 27%, by 30 points among independents likely to vote. Independent Orman receives 16% of likely Republican voters while Republican Roberts garners only 8% of Democrats.
- Only 43% of likely voters statewide with a candidate preference for U.S. Senate strongly support their choice. 40% are somewhat committed to their pick, and 14% might vote differently. Among likely voters who back Orman, 48% are firmly in his corner. 40% of Roberts’ supporters are strongly committed to him. While a plurality of likely voters with a candidate preference, 44%, say they are backing their candidate because they are for him, 49% are doing so because they are against his opponents. 53% of Roberts’ voters support him because they are for him while a majority of Orman’s backers, 55%, says they support Orman because they are against his opponents.
- Among Kansas registered voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, Orman has 46% to 36% for Roberts and 5% for Batson.
- Roberts’ has high negatives. 37% of Kansas likely voters have a positive impression of him while 47% have a negative one. Looking at likely voters’ opinions of Orman, 46% like him while 26% do not.
- In the governor’s race in Kansas, Davis receives 44% to 43% for Brownback among Kansas likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate. Libertarian Keen Umbehr has 4%.
- While 78% of Republicans likely to vote support Brownback, and 85% of Democratic likely voters are for Davis, 49% of independents likely to vote back Davis compared with 34% for Brownback.
- Looking at intensity of support in the governor’s contest, 55% of Kansas likely voters with a candidate preference are strongly committed to their selection, and 31% are somewhat behind their choice. 12% might vote differently. Among Davis’ supporters, 59% strongly back him. This compares with 55% of those who are for Brownback who express a similar level of commitment.
- 52% of likely voters with a candidate preference for governor say they are supporting their candidate because they are for him. This compares with 43% who report they plan to vote for their selection because they are against the other candidates in the race. 72% of Brownback’s supporters are for him while 60% of Davis’ backers say they are voting for him because they oppose the others.
- Among Kansas registered voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 43% are for Davis, and 41% are for Brownback. Five percent of registered voters support Umbehr.
- 50% of likely voters statewide have an unfavorable opinion of Brownback while 41% have a positive one. Only 30% of likely voters have a negative view of Davis, and 43% have a positive one. A notable 27% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.
- Brownback’s approval rating is also lopsided. 38% of Kansas residents approve of the job Brownback is doing as governor, and 49% disapprove.
High Level of Dissatisfaction with Elected Officials in Washington
At least a majority of Kansas residents are unhappy with the job President Obama and the Republicans and Democrats in Congress are doing. Nearly seven in ten residents think the country is heading in the wrong direction.
- Only 35% of Kansas residents approve of the job President Obama is doing in office. A majority, 54%, disapproves.
- When it comes to the president’s favorable rating, 39% have a positive opinion of him while 53% have a negative one.
- Looking at residents’ assessments of the job the Republicans and Democrats in Congress are doing, 64% disapprove of the GOP, and 58% of disapprove of the Democrats.
- Close to seven in ten Kansans are pessimistic about the direction of the nation. 68% say the country is on the wrong course while 23% report it is on the right track.
Half Have Negative View of Obamacare
When it comes to residents’ views of Obamacare, more Kansans think it is a bad idea than a good one.
- 50% of Kansas residents consider Obamacare a bad idea. This includes 43% who strongly have this opinion. In contrast, 31% of adults statewide, including 21% who strongly have this view, believe the new health care law is a good idea. 20% have no opinion on the subject or are unsure.
Is Hillary Clinton still the front-runner in the 2016 presidential contest? Has a Republican emerged from the pack of potential GOP candidates to pose a formidable challenge?
Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll. To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
10/3: Voters Remain Dissatisfied with Congress, Uneasy About Their Finances and the Country’s Direction
Candidates running for Congress this year do so amid Americans’ sustained dissatisfaction with elected officials in Washington, concern their financial picture is not improving, and pessimism about the course the country is taking.
Approval ratings for both the Republicans and Democrats in Congress remain low. The president’s overall job approval rating, although somewhat improved from August, remains upside down as does voters’ assessments of his handling of the economy. But, a majority of voters say their impression of President Obama will not be a factor in deciding their vote for Congress in November.
Americans, generally, expect their family’s finances to remain about the same in the coming year. However, there has been a decline in the proportion of those who think their financial picture will improve, and an increase in those who think it will get worse. About six in ten Americans still think the country is off course which has barely improved since August.
Registered voters divide over whether a Democrat or a Republican would better serve their district in Congress. Yet, a plurality of voters believes the Republicans would do a better job handling the threat of terrorism.
“The mid-term elections are occurring at a time when voters have few good words to say about political leadership in Washington,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Americans are anxious about their own finances and lack confidence in the direction of the nation.”
- Only 24% of registered voters approve of how the Republicans in Congress are doing their job while 71% disapprove. These ratings are similar to those in August’s McClatchy-Marist Poll when 22% reported they approved of the congressional GOP’s performance, and 68% disapproved (Trend).
- With a 33% job approval rating, Democrats in Congress fare slightly better. 61% think they have fallen short on the job. In August, a comparable 32% of voters approved of how congressional Democrats were performing, and 59% disapproved (Trend).
- 46% of voters approve of the job President Obama is doing in office. Although this has increased from 40% in August, a majority of voters, 51%, disapprove of how he is handling his job (Trend).
- 41% of voters, little changed from 39% in August, approve of how the president is handling the economy. A majority, 57%, disapproves (Trend).
- Voters divide about their overall impressions of President Obama. 48% say they like the president while 49% have a negative opinion of him. More voters view the president positively than in August when 43% thought well of him, and a majority, 51%, had an unfavorable view of him (Trend).
- 52% of voters say their impression of President Obama will not be a factor in deciding their vote for Congress in November. 28% report it will be a major factor, and 19% think it will be a minor factor. These proportions are almost identical to those reported two months ago.
- When it comes to whether voters’ views of president Obama will make them more or less likely to support a particular party’s candidate, 41% say it makes them more likely to vote for a Republican. 38% report it makes them more inclined to back a Democrat, and 18% think it will not make any difference to their vote.
Looking to the Future
- While a majority of adults nationally, 54%, think their family’s finances in the coming year will stay about the same, 30% think their financial picture will improve, and 17% believe it will get worse. Americans are slightly more pessimistic about the future of their family’s finances. In February, 54% thought their money matters would be status quo. 35% said they would get better, and 11% reported they would decline (Trend).
- Overall, 61% of U.S. adults think the country is moving in the wrong direction, similar to the 64% reported two months ago. There has been a slight increase in the proportion of Americans who say the nation is moving in the right direction. 35% currently have this view compared with 28% in August (Trend).
- Registered voters divide about whether they believe a Democrat, 45%, or Republican, 44%, would better serve their district.
- On the issue of terrorism, a plurality of voters, 46%, thinks the Republicans would do a better job handling the threat of terrorism. 37% believe the Democrats would better deal with such a crisis, and 6% say neither party would deal with it well.
10/2: Most Americans Approve of Air Strikes in Syria… Obama Approval Up Overall and in Foreign Policy
76% of Americans approve of U.S. air strikes in Syria against ISIS. But, if those air strikes fail, Americans divide about whether or not to put U.S. boots on the ground. Although Republicans are more likely to support military action, including air strikes and sending ground troops to the region, Democrats are more likely to trust the president to work well with allies, avoid a terror attack in the United States, make the right decisions, act quickly, and develop a sound strategy. Republicans are more inclined to describe ISIS as a major threat to the U.S. Majorities of Democrats and independents, though, share this view.
46% of registered voters nationally approve of the job President Obama is doing in office, up from 40% who held this view in August. Voters’ impressions of his handling of foreign policy have also improved from 33% in August to 46% now.
Overall, a majority of voters rate the president positively on his handling of the threat of terrorism. They are divided about his handling of ISIS and Ukraine.
Concern among Americans about a terror attack in the U.S. is at its highest. But, so is confidence in the government’s ability to prepare and protect communities throughout the nation. By nearly two to one, Americans believe the country is safer now than it was before the attacks on September 11th, 2001.
“President Obama’s standing among voters has improved, especially in foreign policy,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, he is walking a fine line between Republicans who support air strikes and want more military action and Democrats who support the president but are fearful of an escalation of U.S. involvement in the region.”
- 76% of Americans approve of U.S. air strikes against ISIS in Syria, and 19% disapprove. The action has broad support including 92% of Republicans, 75% of Democrats, and 73% of independents.
- 47% of adults nationally favor sending U.S. ground troops to Syria to fight ISIS if air strikes are unsuccessful. 48%, though, oppose putting boots on the ground. Partisan differences exist. 67% of Republicans support establishing a ground force in the region while only 34% of Democrats share this view.
- 60% of Americans have, at least, a good amount of trust in Mr. Obama to work well with U.S. allies to combat ISIS. Majorities also trust the president to prevent a future terror attack in the U.S., 54%, make the right decisions in the war against ISIS, 53%, and to act quickly to fight ISIS, 51%. Half of Americans, 50%, have, at least, a good amount of confidence in Obama to come up with a sound strategy. There is a wide partisan divide on these questions. Democrats overwhelmingly have confidence in the president. About half of independents share this view, but most Republicans are wary.
- Nearly all Americans, 94%, consider ISIS a threat to U.S. security. Included are 58% who report ISIS is a major threat to the nation’s safety. Republicans, 72%, and independents, 60%, are more likely than Democrats, 52%, to say ISIS is a major threat.
- 79% of U.S. residents have heard, at least a good amount, about ISIS. This includes 56% of Americans who have heard a great deal about the terror group.
Obama’s Performance Rating Improves
- 46% of registered voters approve of the job President Obama is doing in office although 51% still disapprove. In August, 40% assessed the president’s job performance positively, and 52% thought he fell short (Trend).
- 46% of registered voters also approve of how President Obama is handling foreign policy while 52% disapprove. Obama’s rating in this area has also improved since August when 33% of registered voters thought well of his handling of foreign policy, and 61% disapproved (Trend).
- 52% of the nation’s voters approve of how President Obama is handling terrorism. 44% disapprove.
- Registered voters divide about how President Obama is handling ISIS. 48% approve, and 46% disapprove.
- When it comes to how the president is dealing with the conflict in Ukraine, 46% of voters approve of his approach. 44% disapprove. There has been a bump in the proportion of voters who approve of the president’s handling of the situation in Ukraine since August. At that time, 32% approved of how he addressed the conflict, and 51% disapproved.
Concern About Terror Attack at Highest Point But So is Confidence in Preparedness
- 84% of Americans are concerned about the potential for another terror attack in the U.S. including 41% who are very concerned and 43% who are concerned. In 2003, 22% of Americans were very concerned, and 54% expressed concern (Trend).
- 69% of Americans believe the U.S. is prepared for future aggression by terrorists on U.S. soil (Trend). 67% say they are confident the government will be able to protect their local area from a terror attack. 58% of Americans held this view in 2002 (Trend).
- 64% of Americans think the U.S. is safer now than it was on September 11, 2001.
In the fight against ISIS, do Americans approve of the use of air strikes in Syria? Do they support putting U.S. boots on the ground if those air strikes fail, and do registered voters approve of how President Barack Obama is handling ISIS and how he is performing overall?
Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll. To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
In the race for New York State governor, Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo leads his Republican challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, by 25 percentage points among likely voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate. Cuomo is bolstered by his Democratic base. However, even 27% of Republicans favor the incumbent. The governor’s support is also buoyed by likely voters in New York City where seven in ten say they will support Mr. Cuomo. Governor Cuomo bests Astorino by more than two to one in the suburbs which surround New York City. The race is more competitive Upstate.
Governor Cuomo continues to be viewed favorably by a majority of New York voters despite a job approval rating which matches the governor’s lowest since taking office. Currently, 55% of registered voters have a positive impression of the governor, but only 42% approve of how Cuomo is doing his job.
“The race for governor is all about Cuomo. Cuomo’s supporters are voting for him, and Astorino’s backers are voting against the governor,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “The bottom line is Cuomo has a strong lead, and Astorino is still struggling to get traction.”
- In the contest for New York governor, a majority of New York likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 54%, supports Democrat Andrew Cuomo. 29% are for Republican Rob Astorino while Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins has 9%.
- Three in four Democrats, 75%, support Cuomo. And, while 63% of Republicans back Astorino, a notable 27% are for Cuomo. Among independents likely to vote, a plurality, 43%, backs Cuomo. 31% are for Astorino, and 13% support Hawkins.
- Cuomo has overwhelming support among likely voters in New York City, 70%. He also has a majority of support in the city’s suburbs, 56%. However, Cuomo, 42%, and Astorino, 39%, are competitive Upstate.
- A majority of likely voters with a candidate preference, 53%, reports they strongly support their choice of candidate for governor. 32% somewhat support their pick, and 14% might vote differently. 56% of Astorino backers and 53% of Cuomo supporters are strongly committed to their choice.
- While 59% of likely voters with a candidate preference say they plan to vote for their choice of candidate because they are for him, 35% support their selection because they are against the other candidates. Astorino is viewed by a majority of his backers, 57%, as the anti-Cuomo candidate. In contrast, 74% of Cuomo’s support is an affirmative vote for him.
- Governor Cuomo, 47%, has a double-digit lead over Astorino, 35%, among likely voters who know about the Moreland Commission controversy. Voters who have heard of the Moreland Commission controversy comprise 41% of the state’s electorate compared with 45% who said they knew about it last month.
- Among registered voters, including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, Cuomo leads Astorino, 54% to 26%. Eight percent back Hawkins. In August, Cuomo outdistanced Astorino, 54% to 23%. Seven percent supported Hawkins.
- Governor Cuomo achieves this sizeable lead despite a 42% job approval rating among registered voters in the state. This matches Cuomo’s lowest score since he took office (Trend).
- 55% of likely voters have a favorable view of Governor Cuomo, and 39% have an unfavorable one. Among registered voters, Cuomo’s favorable rating is identical, 55%. This is little changed from 53% in August (Trend).
- 33% of likely voters have a positive view of Astorino, and 37% have a negative one. A notable 31% do not offer an opinion of him.
- Astorino is better known by state voters. 31% now have a positive impression of the candidate compared with 22% last month. But, negative impressions of him have also grown. 37% have a negative view of Astorino now while 25% shared this opinion in August.
- 43% of New York likely voters consider Cuomo to be a moderate. 39% describe him as liberal, and 11% view Cuomo as a conservative. Similar proportions of registered voters describe Cuomo in these terms. Voters’ impressions of Cuomo’s ideology are little changed from July (Trend).
- 45% of likely voters view Astorino as a conservative. 23% call him a moderate, and only 7% describe him as a liberal. 25% are unsure. The proportion of registered voters who view Astorino as a conservative has grown. 40% now share this view, up from 27% in July. At that time, a plurality, 46%, was unsure.
Most Voters Want Debates… Include all Candidates, Say Nearly Eight in Ten
- 86% of registered voters in New York want the gubernatorial candidates to participate in, at least, one debate. This includes 19% who want one debate, 42% who would like to see two debates, and 25% who want more than two debates.
- 78% of registered voters think all of the candidates on the ballot should be included in the debates, if any occur. 19% say only Cuomo and Astorino should participate.
- While 50% of registered voters have already decided on a candidate for governor, 45% think a debate would help them make up their minds. This includes a majority of independent voters, 58%, who reports a debate would help inform their decision.
On the Specifics of Cuomo’s Image
- 56% of registered voters, compared with 60% in August, think Cuomo is a good leader for the state (Trend).
- 55% of voters say Governor Cuomo cares about the average person, little changed from August.
- Cuomo is also viewed by a majority, 52%, as someone who represents all regions of the state. A similar 53% thought Cuomo identified with all parts of the state when this question was last reported in March 2013 (Trend). 53% of voters Upstate disagree.
- Registered voters in New York divide about whether Cuomo is changing the way things work in Albany for the better. 47% believe he is improving Albany while 47% say he is not. In August, 49% thought he was making positive inroads in Albany, and 41% said he was not having a positive impact on state government (Trend).
Major Change Needed in State Government
- 52% of registered voters in New York think state government in Albany needs major changes. 38% say minor changes are required, and 7% report state government is broken and cannot be fixed. Only 3% believe no changes are needed. Almost identical proportions of voters held these views in August (Trend).
- The New York State Senate and Assembly continue to receive poor marks. Only 26% of registered voters approve of how the State Senate is doing its job (Trend). A similar 25% approve of how the New York State Assembly is performing (Trend).
- 50% of voters say, when it comes to the direction of New York, the state is moving in the wrong direction. 43%, though, report it is moving in the right one. In August, voters divided with 48% saying New York was on the right track and 45% reporting it was on the wrong one (Trend).
Jobs Top Priority for Nearly One in Four Voters
- 23% of voters consider jobs to be the top priority for New York. Education follows with 17%. 16% think economic development is the most important issue facing the state while 15% cite taxes. Close to three in ten, 29%, choose another issue. There has been little change on this question since it was last reported in July.
Majority Believes New York is in Recession… Half Think State Has Turned the Corner
- A majority of registered voters, 57%, reports New York is currently in a recession while 40% say it is not. In July, similar proportions of registered voters had these views. 60% thought the state was under the recession’s cloud while 36% believed the fog had lifted (Trend).
- 50% of voters think the worst of the state’s economic problems are over. 44%, though, say the worst is still to come. New York voters are slightly more pessimistic about the state of the economy. In July, a majority, 56%, thought better economic days were ahead (Trend).
Obama Approval Rating in NYS Lowest Since Taking Office
- Just 39% of registered voters in New York think President Barack Obama is doing either an excellent, 12%, or good job, 27%, in office. This is the lowest job approval rating President Obama has received in New York State since he first took the Oath of Office in 2009. The president’s approval rating has slipped 6 points since July when 45% approved of his job performance (Trend).
- A solid 54% of voters approve of Senator Charles Schumer’s job performance, the same score he received in July (Trend). When it comes to how Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is doing in office, 48% rate her job performance highly. This is little changed from the 49% who held this view two months ago (Trend).
State Voters’ Impressions of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio
- 35% of registered voters in New York State have a positive view of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. 36% have a negative impression, and 28% don’t know him well enough to say. Not surprisingly, opinions of the New York City mayor vary greatly by region. He is well-known and well-liked in New York City. He is largely well-known but not as well-liked in the suburbs surrounding the city. Nearly half of Upstate voters, 46%, do not have an opinion of him.