Registered voters nationally divide about their overall assessment of the job President Barack Obama is doing in office. However, the president actually receives his highest approval rating, 47%, since April of 2013. At that time, just half of the electorate, 50%, approved of how Obama was doing in office. President Obama’s negative rating has also inched down.
On the specifics, Mr. Obama’s approval ratings on the economy, foreign policy, and his handling of ISIS remain upside down. What does this all mean for President Obama’s legacy? Mr. Obama receives mixed reviews.
Turning to the job performances of the Republicans and Democrats in Congress, fewer than one in five registered voters nationally, 19%, approves of how the Republicans in Congress are doing their job. This is the lowest job approval rating the congressional GOP has received since the McClatchy-Marist Poll has been tracking this question, and it is a drop from 33% measured in the last McClatchy-Marist Poll in March. The decreased level of satisfaction is due, in large part, to Republicans. There has been a 24 point drop in the proportion of the GOP faithful who approve of how the congressional Republicans are doing their job.
While the Democrats in Congress fare better, their job approval rating is nothing to write home about. Only 28% of voters give them high marks, little changed from their previous approval rating of 30% measured in March.
Taking a closer look at the nation’s involvement in the fight against ISIS, a majority of Americans support putting boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria to combat the Islamic State. And on the question of sending ground troops to engage in the fight, 59% of residents, down from 65% in March, favor sending, at least, some ground troops.
And, do Americans want to increase the minimum wage? The consensus is that a raise is warranted?
But, Americans’ attitudes about President Obama, Congress, the fight against ISIS, and pay rates play out against a backdrop of persistent dissatisfaction with the direction of the nation.
Measuring Americans Attitudes about President Barack Obama
- President Obama’s, overall, approval rating is at 47% among registered voters, the highest score the president has received in more than two years. The same proportion, 47%, disapproves. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in March, the president’s approval rating was upside down, 46% to 50% (Trend).
- 47% of voters have a favorable impression of President Obama while 48% have an unfavorable one. Earlier this year, a majority, 52%, had a negative view of the president (Trend).
- 50% of voters nationally disapprove of how President Obama is handling the economy while 45% approve. In March, the same proportions of voters had these views (Trend).
- A majority of voters, 54%, little changed from March, disapprove of how President Obama is handling foreign policy (Trend).
- A majority of voters, 54%, are also dissatisfied with how the president is dealing with ISIS. This is little changed from March when 56% had this opinion.
- When it comes to President Obama’s legacy, many Americans do not think his legacy will be overly positive. While 32% of Americans believe Mr. Obama will be considered either one of the best presidents, 10%, or an above average one, 22%, 28% say he will be thought of as “about average.” Nearly four in ten residents, 38%, report his presidency will be either below average, 17%, or will be remembered as one of the nation’s worst, 21%.
Views of the GOP in Congress Hit Rock Bottom
The job approval rating of the Republicans in Congress is at an all-time low. In fact, nearly seven in ten registered voters nationally disapprove of how they are doing their job. The Democrats in Congress do not receive positive marks either, but they are rated higher than their Republican counterparts.
- Less than one in five voters, 19%, approves of how the Republicans in Congress are doing their job. 68% disapprove. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in March, 33% thought well of them (Trend). The congressional GOP has lost favor in the eyes of its own party. 36% of Republicans, down from 60% earlier this year, rate the job performance of the Republicans in Congress positively. There has also been a drop in their approval rating among independents from 28% in March to 19% now.
- 28% of voters, little changed from 30% previously, approve of the job performance of the Democrats in Congress (Trend).
Majority of Americans Supports Increased U.S. Involvement in the Fight against ISIS
51% of Americans favor sending more U.S. troops to Iraq and Syria to combat ISIS. Nearly six in ten support the inclusion of at least some ground troops in the fight.
- A majority of U.S. residents, 51%, either strongly favor, 15%, or favor, 36%, sending more U.S. troops to Iraq and Syria to combat ISIS.
- 59% of Americans, down from 65% in March, support sending ground forces to combat ISIS. This includes 24% who favor deploying a large number of ground forces and 35% who support a limited deployment of ground troops.
Increase the Minimum Wage?
Close to seven in ten Americans, 68%, either strongly favor, 30%, or favor, 38%, raising the minimum wage.
- Most Democrats, 92%, and nearly two-thirds of independents, 65%, favor increasing the minimum wage. Even 37% of Republicans agree.
Cloud of Pessimism Shrouds the Direction of the Country
Many Americans continue to have a downbeat attitude about the direction of the nation.
- 60% of residents nationally think the nation is moving in the wrong direction. A similar proportion, 59%, had this view in March (Trend).
Americans divide about whether or not the confederate flag should be removed from government buildings. While 49% favor such a measure, 43% oppose it.
When looking at Americans’ perceptions of the Civil War, a majority, 53%, believes slavery was the main reason for the conflict. Regional differences exist with those in the South dividing about whether or not slavery was at the center of the Civil War.
Should schools teach that slavery was the driving force of the Civil War? A majority of Americans believes that children should be taught this lesson in the classroom.
More than 150 years after the start of the Civil War, a plurality of Americans, 44%, thinks race relations in the United States are getting worse, and fewer than one in five, 18%, says they are improving.
Confederate Flag Controversy
The court of public opinion is still out on whether or not the confederate flag should be removed from government buildings. Racial and partisan differences exist.
- 49% of residents either strongly favor, 23%, or favor, 26%, taking down the confederate flag from government buildings. 43% either oppose, 27%, or strongly oppose, 16%, removing the flag.
- Democrats, 69%, and independents, 52%, are more likely than Republicans, 38%, to support removing the flag from official buildings.
The Impetus of the Civil War
Majorities of Americans think slavery was the main reason for the Civil War and assert that schoolchildren should be taught that lesson.
- 53% of residents say slavery led the nation into civil war. 41% disagree.
- While 62% of Democrats and 53% of independents cite slavery as the main reason for the Civil War, Republicans divide.
- Regional differences exist. At least half of residents in the Northeast, 50%, Midwest, 56%, and West, 67%, say slavery caused the Civil War. However, Southerners divide. 49% report it was not the main reason for the conflict. 45% say slavery was at the heart of the Civil War.
- A majority of Americans, 55%, say schools should teach children that slavery was the main reason for the Civil War.
- Democrats, 62%, and independents, 52%, are more likely than the GOP to want students to learn that the Civil War began, mainly, because of slavery. Members of the GOP divide.
- At least a majority of residents in the West, 66%, Northeast, 55%, and Midwest, 54%, believe schools’ curricula should include that slavery spurred the Civil War. Southerners divide with 49% saying it should be instructed and 45% reporting it should not.
Plurality of Americans Say Race Relations in the U.S. are Getting Worse
More than four in ten Americans, 44%, think race relations in the United States are deteriorating while only 18% believe they are getting better. 37% say race relations are status quo.
- More than six in ten Republicans, 61%, and a plurality of independents, 47%, say racial strife is on the rise. A plurality of Democrats, 41%, thinks race relations are the same as they have been. About one-third, 34%, believe racial tensions are worsening.
More than one in four Americans, 27%, reports that, when the U.S. Treasury Department unveils its redesigned ten dollar bill, Eleanor Roosevelt should be the woman featured. Harriet Tubman is the second most popular choice with 17% followed by Sacagawea with 13%. Susan B. Anthony and Amelia Earhart each receives 11%, and Sandra Day O’Connor garners 4%.
About one in three women, 33%, selects Mrs. Roosevelt. Harriet Tubman comes in a distant second among this group with 18%. By more than two-to-one, Harriet Tubman, 47%, is the leading choice of African Americans. Here, Eleanor Roosevelt receives 19%.
While a majority of Republicans and Republican leaning independents nationally, 51%, considers businessman Donald Trump to be a distraction from the presidential primary process, two key groups within the GOP maintain a different view. At least a majority of those who identify as “strong” Republicans or are Tea Party supporters say Trump is a serious presidential candidate.
These voters also differ in their impressions of Trump. Unlike some of the other well-known candidates in the GOP field, Trump’s favorable rating among Republicans and Republican leaning independents, overall, is upside down. But, half of “strong” Republicans, 50%, and more than six in ten Tea Party supporters, 62%, have a positive impression of Trump.
And, when it comes to the GOP debates, many Republicans and Republican leaning independents assert all candidates seeking their party’s nomination should be allowed to participate. Only about one in three says the candidates’ rankings in national polls should determine eligibility.
What do Republicans and Republican leaning independents want in their nominee? Many favor a candidate who stands on conservative principles, and a plurality say they would definitely vote for a candidate who supports sending U.S. combat troops to Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS. More than one in three say that, although they have reservations, they would back a candidate who supports raising the minimum wage. However, pluralities of Republicans and Republican leaning independents would definitely not vote for someone who favors a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, supports gay marriage, or backs the removal of the confederate flag from government buildings.
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is well-liked among Democrats and Democratic leaning independents while Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is unknown to half of these voters. When it comes to what Democrats consider important in their party’s nominee, they divide about whether the priority should be nominating someone who will continue the policies of President Barack Obama or who will move the nation in a different direction.
“Donald Trump has been the political story for the summer and don’t expect him to disappear from the campaign stage anytime soon,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “While many see him as a distraction, party activists including strong Republicans and Tea Party identifiers view his candidacy seriously.”
Trump Commands Respect among Strong GOPers
- 51% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents say Trump is a distraction from the presidential primary process. 44% describe him as a serious presidential candidate.
- But, a majority of those who consider themselves to be “strong” Republicans, 52%, and 61% of Tea Party identifiers think Trump is a serious presidential contender.
Impressions of the GOP Candidates
Among the better-known Republican candidates, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee are well-liked among Republicans and Republican leaning independents. However, Trump, along with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have upside down ratings.
More than Six in Ten want Inclusive GOP Debates
62% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents want all the candidates seeking the GOP nomination to be allowed to participate in the Republican debates. About one in three, 34%, says participation should be determined by a candidate’s ranking in national polls.
GOP Favors Nominee who Stands on Republican Principles
More than six in ten Republicans and Republican leaning independents, 62%, believe it is more important for their party’s nominee to be someone who stands for conservative values. 35% say the priority is a candidate who can win the presidency.
Looking at some of the issues which impact the Republican vote, a plurality of Republicans and Republican leaning independents, 45%, say they would definitely vote for a candidate who supports sending U.S. combat troops to Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS. However, pluralities of GOP voters report they definitely would not vote for a candidate who supports new immigration policies, including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, 37%, is in favor of gay marriage, 37%, or supports the removal of the confederate flag from government buildings, 35%. When it comes to raising the minimum wage, a plurality, 36%, says they would have reservations but would vote for a candidate who favors such legislation.
More than Seven in Ten View Clinton Positively
On the Democratic side, with a favorable rating of 72%, Hillary Clinton is well-liked among Democrats and Democratic leaning independents. These voters also have a more positive than negative view of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, 34% to 16%. However, half of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents, 50%, have either never heard of Senator Sanders or are unsure how to rate him.
When it comes to their party’s nominee, Democrats and Democratic leaning independents divide about whether they think it is more important to have a candidate who will continue President Barack Obama’s policies, 45%, or nominate someone who will move the nation in a new direction, 46%.
If businessman Donald Trump runs for President as an independent, not a Republican, Trump’s candidacy would benefit former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, widen her lead against former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and yield Clinton almost the exact same share of the vote that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, received in his 1992 win against, then, Republican President George H.W. Bush and independent Ross Perot.
While Clinton, 49%, edges Bush, 43%, by 6 points in a two-way, general election contest, a three-way race with Trump cuts into Bush’s support and gives Clinton, 44%, a 15 point lead over him, 29%. Trump garners 20% in such a contest. When Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush in 1992, he received 43% of the popular vote.
While Clinton retains her support among her Democratic base in a three-way race, Bush’s support among Republicans freefalls from 92% to 63%, a 29 point difference. Trump garners 28% of the GOP vote. Among independents nationally, Clinton’s 6 point edge over Bush, 48% to 42%, more than doubles to 13 points with Trump in the race.
“The 2016 election cycle has already had its share of ups and downs,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, what a rollercoaster ride it would be if Donald Trump runs for president as an independent.”
Clinton Leads GOP Opponents… Paul, Rubio, Bush Closest Competitors
When matched against potential Republican rivals, Clinton is out in front although not over 50 percent against her closest opponents. Her greatest competition comes from Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Clinton edges Rubio and Paul by 5 points among registered voters nationally and is ahead of Bush by 6 points. Her widest margin is 21 points.
Clinton receives her highest support, 54%, against Trump.
- Against Rubio (trend), Perry (trend), Bush (trend), or Christie (trend), Clinton maintains a comparable advantage to the one she received in the March McClatchy-Marist Poll. Clinton’s lead has inched up against Walker since that time.
Clinton’s lead over Paul has declined from 11 points in March to 5 points now (trend). Her 14 point advantage over Cruz has narrowed to 9 points (trend). Against Huckabee, Clinton has a 9 point lead, down from 13 points in April 2014 (trend).
Voters Want Domestic Issues to Dominate National Campaign
Many registered voters nationally, 66%, want the focus of the 2016 presidential election to be domestic issues such as the economy, health care, and roads and bridges. Foreign policy issues such as ISIS and terrorism are the priority for 21% of the national electorate while only 9% think social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage should be the central themes of the campaign.
To watch Dr. Lee M. Miringoff’s in-depth analysis of the poll or to read the full McClatchy article, click here.
What impact would Donald Trump have on the 2016 Presidential Election if he were to run as an independent candidate? Would 1992 repeat itself? Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.
In the all-important first-in-the-nation caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, three Republican hopefuls have moved away from the very crowded GOP field. In Iowa, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker receives the support of nearly one in five members of the potential Republican electorate, 19%. Businessman Donald Trump follows closely behind with 17%, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the only other candidate with double-digit support, is competitive with 12%.
In New Hampshire, Trump garners the support of more than one in five potential Republican primary voters, 21%, and bypasses Bush, 14%, and Walker, 12%. As in Iowa, no other Republican candidate receives double-digit support.
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains the front-runner for her party’s nomination, but Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has cut into Clinton’s lead in both states. In Iowa, Clinton is ahead of Sanders, 55% to 26%, among the potential Democratic electorate. Although Clinton is solidly ahead of Sanders, she previously had a 61 point lead over him in last February’s NBC News/Marist Poll.
A similar pattern is seen in New Hampshire where Clinton is currently ahead of Sanders by 13 points, 47% to 34%, among the state’s potential Democratic electorate. Earlier this year, Clinton held a 56 point lead over Sanders.
“With a vivid imagination, you can detect early signs of order to the GOP contest. Walker, Trump, and Bush occupy one of the top three positions in both Iowa and New Hampshire,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “On the Democratic side, Clinton may be well advised to remember that objects in your mirror may be closer than they appear. Sanders has narrowed her lead in both early states.”
- Among potential Republican voters, Walker leads the GOP field among Tea Party identifiers in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Walker also leads among Iowa’s conservative and very conservative Republican voters.
- Trump leads among New Hampshire’s conservative and very conservative voters. But, his support among the potential Republican electorate dipped in New Hampshire from 26% to 14% following his comments about Senator John McCain.
- Among potential Democratic voters, there is a wide gender gap. Clinton leads Sanders by 47 points among women in Iowa and 25 points in New Hampshire. She leads Sanders by only 8 points among men in Iowa and trails him by 6 points in New Hampshire.
- Among liberal and very liberal Democratic voters, Clinton’s lead narrows to 10 points in Iowa compared with a 46 point lead among moderate Democrats. There is little difference in Clinton’s lead by voters’ ideology in New Hampshire.
- Sanders edges Clinton in Iowa among potential Democratic voters who are under 45 years of age.
Complete July 26, 2015 NBC News/Marist Poll Release of Iowa and New Hampshire
Complete July 26, 2015 NBC News/Marist Poll Tables of Iowa
Complete July 26, 2015 NBC News/Marist Poll Tables of New Hampshire
Many of the Republicans vying for their party’s nomination are, generally, viewed favorably by the potential GOP electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire. However, there is one notable outlier. Trump is the best known but is also the least liked among these voters.
On the Democratic side, Clinton and Sanders are well-liked by their party’s potential voters in both states.
- In Iowa, at least, a majority of the potential GOP electorate has a favorable impression of Walker, Rubio, and Bush, with Walker receiving the highest positive score, 56%.
- Iowa’s potential Republican electorate divides over Trump who receives the highest negative score. 45% view him favorably while 44% perceive him unfavorably.
- In New Hampshire, Bush, 56%, receives the highest favorable rating among the potential Republican electorate. Walker, 51%, and Rubio, 49%, are also well-liked. Trump, however, garners a 53% negative score.
- Trump’s unfavorable rating among the potential Republican electorate in New Hampshire increased from 46% to 62% following his comments about Senator John McCain. There was little change in Iowa.
- Among the potential Democratic electorate in Iowa, Clinton enjoys a high favorable rating, 74%. A majority, 54%, also thinks highly of Sanders, but more than three in ten Democrats in the state either do not know him or are unsure how to rate him.
- In New Hampshire, many potential Democratic primary voters have positive opinions of, both, Clinton, 71%, and Sanders, 65%.
Presidents, Past and Present, Held in High Esteem by Their Party’s Faithful
Could former President Bill Clinton help or hurt his wife on the campaign trail? 83% of potential Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa have a favorable view of former President Bill Clinton. A similar 84% of the potential Democratic electorate in New Hampshire share this view. President Barack Obama’s favorable ratings among the potential Democratic electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire are 84% and 81%, respectively.
On the Republican side, 75% of the potential Republican electorate in Iowa has a positive opinion of former President George W. Bush. A similar proportion of potential voters in New Hampshire, 74%, thinks well of Bush 43.
Impact of Candidates’ Positions on the Vote
There is a consensus of opinion on issues in both Iowa and New Hampshire among the party faithful, but Democrats and Republicans are miles apart from each other.
- Nearly seven in ten members of the potential Republican electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. They would be less inclined to support a candidate who favors Common Core, a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants, or a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
- At least a majority of the potential Democratic electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire would be more likely to support a candidate who favors a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants, or the Common Core curriculum. They would be less likely to support a candidate who would do away with the Affordable Care Act.
- Regardless of state or party, there is little consensus about how a candidate’s support of a trade agreement with select Asian and Pacific Rim countries would affect the vote.
Jobs and Economic Growth Key Campaign Issue
- In Iowa, national security and terrorism, 45%, and the deficit and government spending, 42%, top the list of campaign issues for potential Republican caucus-goers. Among potential Democratic caucus-goers in the state, a majority, 53%, emphasizes job creation and economic growth.
- The New Hampshire potential Republican electorate considers national security and terrorism, 47%, and job creation and economic growth, 44%, to be of the utmost importance. Half of potential Democratic voters in New Hampshire, 50%, mention job creation and economic growth. Health care follows closely with 45%.
Voters Emphasize Positions on the Issues over Electability
The potential Republican and Democratic electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire believe it is more important that their respective party’s nominee is someone who shares their positions on the issues rather than someone who has the best chance of winning the White House.
Bush and Clinton Fatigue Present in Iowa and New Hampshire
More than six in ten Iowans, 61%, report it is time for someone with a last name other than “Bush” or “Clinton” to occupy the White House. A majority of New Hampshire residents, 56%, agree.
In each state, members of the potential Republican electorate are more likely than the potential Democratic electorate to think there should be an end to the Clinton and Bush political dynasties.
- 67% of Iowa’s potential Republican electorate, compared with 50% of the state’s potential Democratic electorate, say someone other than a Bush or Clinton should have a chance at winning the White House.
- In New Hampshire, 63% of potential Republicans voters would like to see an end to the Bush and Clinton dynasties. Members of the state’s potential Democratic electorate divide. 45% do not want another President Clinton or Bush while 46% are not opposed to the idea.
Ayotte Leads Hassan in U.S. Senate Race
The tides have turned in the U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire. Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte is ahead of Democrat Maggie Hassan by 8 percentage points among registered voters statewide.
- 50% of New Hampshire registered voters support Ayotte while 42% favor Hassan. When NBC News/Marist last reported this question in February, Hassan, 48%, and Ayotte, 44%, were more competitive.
Approval Rating Roundup
President Obama’s job approval rating continues to be upside down in Iowa and New Hampshire. The governors in each state have experienced declines in their job approval ratings.
- 49% of Iowans disapprove of the job performance of President Obama while 43% approve. The president received identical scores when the NBC News/Marist Poll last reported this question in February.
- In New Hampshire, 52% of residents disapprove of how President Obama is doing his job. 41% approve. Earlier this year, 50% disapproved of the president’s job performance, and 43% approved.
- Among Iowans, Governor Terry Branstad’s job approval rating is at 50%, down from 64% in February.
- 56% of New Hampshire residents approve of the job Governor Maggie Hassan is doing in office. However, her rating is down from 68% previously.
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…
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!
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.
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.”
- 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.
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
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.”
- 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
- 59% of voters, compared with 65% last year, view Mr. de Blasio as someone who cares about the average person.
- 53% of the city’s electorate report the mayor is a good leader for New York City. This is also down from 58% in March 2014.
- 51% of voters, down from 59% last year, say Mayor de Blasio can unify New York City and get it working again. 43% disagree.
- Nearly six in ten, 59%, do not think that the mayor is all talk and no action. 34%, though, say he is all talk.
- 55% of voters consider Mayor de Blasio to be irresponsible when he arrives late for public events. 37% disagree. 63% of whites and 53% of Latinos think de Blasio’s tardiness is not a favorable trait. African American voters divide. 46% think the mayor is being irresponsible when he does not show up on time while the same proportion, 46%, disagrees.
- Voters divide about whether or not Mayor de Blasio is spending too much time discussing his policy positions nationally and not enough time doing what he can for New York City. 44% believe this to be the case while 46% do not think he is focusing on the national stage.
- 47% of voters think Mayor de Blasio deserves to be re-elected. 42% do not think he should receive another term in office. 11% are unsure.
- Many voters, 69%, report de Blasio’s decision to not immediately endorse Hillary Clinton makes sense. 24% say he is being disloyal to the Democratic Party.
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%.