More than seven in ten voters nationally, 71%, think electing a president who is 65 years of age or older is a benefit because such a candidate brings wisdom and experience to the position. Less than one in four voters, 24%, believe electing an older president is a risk because after several years in office they may not be up to the demands of the job. Six percent are unsure.
Regardless of party affiliation, ideology, Tea Party support, age, race, gender, level of education, income, or region of residence, voters acknowledge the benefits of electing an older presidential candidate.
Although registered voters nationally divide about how President Barack Obama is doing his job, the president’s approval rating, 48%, has steadily inched up over the last several months and is at its highest point since April 2013. At that time, 50% rated Obama highly. The president is well-liked by 50% of voters nationally, up slightly from 47% in August. This is President Obama’s highest favorable score since April 2013 when 53% thought well of him.
On his handling of the economy, President Obama’s rating is upside down, 47% to 50%. When it comes to whether or not voters think Mr. Obama inherited the nation’s current economic conditions, half of voters, 50%, still think the economy is something his predecessor handed over to Mr. Obama. However, the proportion of the electorate who thinks the current economic conditions are a result of the president’s own policies, 45%, is the highest since McClatchy-Marist began reporting this question in April 2009.
Looking at the other areas of the president’s job performance, voters nationally also divide, 49% to 47%, about Mr. Obama’s handling of race relations in the United States. However, the president’s scores are in negative territory when it comes to his dealing with foreign policy and his handling of ISIS. Nearly six in ten voters, 57% disapprove of how Mr. Obama is dealing with foreign policy issues, and 58% disapprove of how he is handling the terrorist group ISIS.
Interestingly, independent voters express greater dissatisfaction with President Obama’s job performance than in the past. Among independents, 51% currently disapprove of how Mr. Obama is doing his job, overall. In August, independents divided, 45% who disapproved to 44% who approved. Majorities of independents also express disapproval with how the president is handling foreign policy, 64%, his dealing with ISIS, 59%, and his handling of the economy, 55%.
Although the job approval ratings of congressional Democrats, 38% up from 28%, and congressional Republicans, 23% slightly up from 19%, are still low, there has been an improvement in voters’ perceptions.
Americans remain cautiously optimistic about their family’s finances. 52% expect their personal finances to stay about the same in the coming year. 33% think their money matters will get better while 15% say they will get worse. However, a notable proportion of residents, 59%, report they worry, at least sometimes, that their family’s income will not be able to meet their expenses.
What does all this mean for the direction of the nation? Americans remain pessimistic. 59% of residents, little changed from 60% in August, believe the United States is moving in the wrong direction.
- 48% of registered voters nationally approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing in office, and 48% disapprove. In August, voters also divided, 47% to 47%.
- While Democrats, 85%, rate Mr. Obama highly, Republicans, 89%, disapprove of the president’s job performance. Among independents, President Obama’s approval rating is upside down, 45% to 51%. Independents previously divided, 44% who approved to 45% who disapproved.
- Half of voters, 50%, have a favorable opinion of President Obama, and 47% have an unfavorable view of him. In August, 47% thought well of Mr. Obama, and 48% expressed an unfavorable attitude toward the president.
- 47% of voters approve of President Obama’s handling of the economy, the highest score he has received on this issue since October 2009 when 48% agreed with his approach. 50% currently disapprove.
- 51% of adults, including 50% of registered voters, say the nation’s economic conditions are something President Obama inherited from President George W. Bush. 43% of residents, including 45% of voters, think they are a result of his own policies.
- 49% of voters approve of how President Obama is handling race relations. 47% disapprove.
- A racial divide exists. 55% of non-white voters approve of how the president is taking on race relations while 51% of white voters disapprove.
- 38% of voters approve of President Obama’s handling of foreign policy, and 57% disapprove. These proportions are little changed from 39% and 54%, respectively, in August.
- While 72% of Democrats approve of the president’s approach toward foreign policy, 91% of Republicans disapprove. 64% of independents, an increase from 51%, disapprove.
- 34% of voters approve of how President Obama is handling ISIS, but a majority, 58%, disapproves. In August, 54% of voters disapproved of how the president was dealing with ISIS.
- 63% of Americans, a slight increase from 59%, support sending U.S. ground forces to combat ISIS. This includes 25% who think a large number of ground forces should be deployed and 38% who think at least a limited number should be. Fewer than three in ten adults nationally, 29%, oppose sending any ground troops.
Congressional Democrats and Republicans No Longer Rock Bottom
- 38% of voters approve of how the Democrats in Congress are doing their job. This is up from 28% in August. Still, a majority of voters, 55%, disapprove of how they are doing their job.
- 23% of voters approve of how the Republicans in Congress are performing. In August, 19% had this view. Seven in ten, 70%, are dissatisfied with how the Republicans are doing their job.
Majority Says Personal Finances Status Quo, but Many Still Worry about Making Ends Meet
- 52% of adults think their family finances will remain the same in the coming year. 33% think they will get better, and 15% believe they will get worse. This is little changed from when McClatchy-Marist last asked this question.
- 59% of Americans worry that their family income will not be enough to meet their family’s expenses and bills. This includes about one in four adults, 24%, who reports they always worry they will not be able to meet their family’s needs and 35% who sometimes have this view. In October 2011, 64% expressed concern about making ends meet. 21% now say they seldom have this concern, and 20% never have this worry.
Americans Remain Pessimistic about the Direction of the Country
- Nearly six in ten residents nationally, 59%, think the nation is moving in the wrong direction while 36% believe it is moving in the right one. Six percent are unsure. In August, 60% said the country was off track, and 34% reported it was on the right course.
Does a candidate’s age matter when it comes to electing the next president? Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.
To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
Do voters approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance? What kind of an effect could the president have on the electoral chances of the Democratic presidential hopefuls? Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll?
To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
In the race for the Democratic nomination for president, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, 57% to 35%, among Democrats and Democratic leaning independents nationally. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley receives just 4% from the Democratic electorate.
Democrats and Democratic leaning independents are not suffering fatigue from hearing about Clinton or Sanders. More than six in ten, 63%, say the more they hear about Clinton the more they like her. A similar 62% report the more information they receive about Sanders, the more they like him.
What do Democrats value in their party’s nominee? Half of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents, up slightly from 46% in August, think it is more important that the nominee move the nation in a new direction rather than continuing the policies of President Barack Obama, 46%.
“On the eve of the next Democratic debate, both Clinton and Sanders have plenty to accomplish,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Clinton wants to build upon the momentum she’s had over the last several weeks. Sanders is looking to broaden his support beyond the people he is popular with currently.”
- Looking at the Democratic primary, Clinton, 57%, leads Sanders, 35%, among Democrats and Democratic leaning independents nationally. O’Malley has 4%.
- While Clinton is ahead of Sanders among Democrats, 65% to 28%, Sanders leads Clinton, 50% to 38%, among Democratic leaning independents.
- 81% of African American Democrats are for Clinton compared with only 13% for Sanders. Clinton also has the backing of a majority of Latino voters, 54%, to 36% for Sanders. Among whites, 50% are for Hillary while 41% support Sanders.
- Sanders, 58%, leads Clinton, 35%, among Democrats and Democratic leaning independents under 30 years old. Clinton is competitive against Sanders, 50% to 45%, among those 30 to 44 years old. However, Clinton leads Sanders among older Democrats. She receives 64% to 26% for Sanders among Democrats 45 to 59. And, among those 60 and older, Clinton, 69%, leads Sanders, 21%, by more than three to one.
- Among both men and women, Clinton is out in front. But, women, 62%, are more likely than men, 50%, to support her.
- 63% of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents report the more they hear about Clinton, the more they like her. 31% say they like her less after learning more about her.
- 62% like Sanders more after receiving additional information about him. 25% say they like him less.
- Half of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents, 50%, report it is more important that the Democratic nominee move the nation in a different direction. 46% want the nominee to continue Obama’s policies. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in August, Democrats divided. 46% wanted their party’s nominee to change course while 45% wanted the nominee to further Obama’s initiatives.
- 62% of Democratic leaning independents, up from 56% during the summer, want the nominee to move the nation in a new direction. 46% of those who identify as liberal or very liberal, up from 37%, also have this view.
American voters do not give presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a pass when it comes to her use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State. However, they do not necessarily think she did something illegal. A plurality of voters, 40%, think Clinton did something unethical but not illegal. The rest divide. 28% believe her actions were illegal, and 27% report she did nothing wrong.
The proportion of voters who think the use of the server was illegal is driven by Republicans, 56%, and those who support the Tea Party, 57%. Clinton also does not come out unscathed among Democrats. Although nearly half of Democratic voters, 49%, think the former Secretary of State did nothing wrong, four in ten, 40%, believe Clinton did something unethical but not illegal. A plurality of independents, 46%, question the ethics of using a private email server, not its legality.
When it comes to whether voters think it’s time to close the book on the Republicans’ investigation into the attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, the American electorate divides. 49% report Clinton has sufficiently answered questions about the incident which occurred during her time as Secretary of State while 45% say the Republicans in Congress should continue their investigation.
Not surprisingly, a partisan divide exists. Most Democrats, 79%, think Clinton has thoroughly addressed the incident while most Republicans, 80%, believe there is more to be uncovered. Independents divide. 46% say it is time to turn the page, and 48% think the investigation should continue. Men and women also have different viewpoints. While a majority of women, 52%, thinks Clinton has adequately divulged information about the incident, 49% of men believe Clinton has more to tell about Benghazi.
Where does the contest for the Democratic nomination for president stand? Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.
To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
What do American voters want in a presidential candidate? Nearly seven in ten registered voters nationally, 68%, report they would definitely vote for a woman, and nearly two-thirds, 64%, say they would definitely support a Latino or Hispanic presidential candidate. Majorities of voters also say they would not hesitate to cast their ballot for someone who is 65 years of age or older, 54%, or a candidate with many years of government experience, 51%.
In contrast, half of the American electorate, 50%, report they would definitely not vote for a candidate who is a socialist, and a plurality, 44%, would not support a candidate who has no experience in government. There is less of a consensus about whether voters would back a CEO who has run a large corporation or is a Seventh Day Adventist.
Do voters think former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton do something wrong by using a private email server during her time at the State Department? Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.
To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
Domestic issues such as the economy, health care, and roads and bridges, are voters’ priority for the 2016 presidential campaign. While about one in five voters nationally, 21%, wants 2016 to be more about foreign policy issues such as ISIS and terrorism, 69% say domestic issues should be the focus of the election. In fact, nearly two-thirds of Americans, including 63% of registered voters, are more worried they will be a victim of gun violence than a victim of a terror attack.
Zeroing in on the economy, more than one in four voters, 27%, cites economic growth as the most important economic issue on the minds of voters for the 2016 election. Jobs, 22%, and income inequality, 21%, follow. Attitudes differ based on voters’ partisanship, ideology, and race.
48% of adults, including half of registered voters, think immigration policy should be an immediate priority for President Obama and Congress, and another 36% say it should be a priority over the next couple of years. An additional 16% do not think the issue should be a priority at all.
What one word do voters use to best describe the 2016 presidential campaign, so far? “Crazy” tops the list with 40%.
“If you’re searching for common ground between Democrats and Republicans on the issues for 2016, you will need to look far and wide,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Polarization rules, and there is little consensus except when it comes to characterizing the campaign as ‘crazy.’”
- 69% of registered voters nationally think 2016 should be about domestic issues while 21% say the focus should be on foreign policy. Only 7% believe the campaign should center on social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.
- 64% of adults, including 63% of registered voters, are more concerned they or someone they know will be a victim of gun violence than a terror attack. 28% of Americans are more concerned about being a victim of a terror attack. 29% of voters have this view.
- 77% of Democrats and 64% of independents have a greater concern about being victimized by gun violence than an act of terror. In contrast, half of Republicans, 50%, are more concerned about a terror attack, and 51% of Tea Party supporters also have this view. 45% of the GOP and 41% of Tea Party backers have a greater concern about being a victim of a shooting.
- 27% of registered voters say economic growth is the most important economic issue for 2016. Jobs, 22%, and income inequality, 21%, follow. 18% of voters cite the federal deficit, and 11% mention taxes.
- More than one-third of Democrats, 34%, say income inequality is the top priority. The federal deficit, 30%, and economic growth, 28%, are the leading economic issues for the GOP. Only 4% of Republicans mention income inequality as the most important economic issue of the campaign. Nearly three in ten independents, 29%, report economic growth is their top economic concern.
- 43% of voters who identify as either liberal or very liberal believe income inequality is the top economic issue for campaign 2016. 29% of those who are conservative or very conservative put the federal deficit at the top of their economic concerns. 33% of moderates assert economic growth is the cornerstone economic issue for 2016.
- African Americans, 33%, cite jobs as the key economic issue while whites, 27%, mention economic growth. Among Latinos, 26% assert jobs is the crucial issue of the campaign, and 25% have this view of income inequality.
- 48%, including 50% of voters, think immigration should be an immediate priority while 36% believe it should be a priority over the next couple of years. 16% do not believe the issue should be a priority. In July 2013, 53% of Americans thought immigration should be an urgent issue.
- Republicans, 59%, including 68% of the GOP who support the Tea Party, are more likely than Democrats, 47%, and independents, 49%, to want immigration policy addressed immediately.
- 40% of registered voters describe the 2016 presidential campaign as “crazy.” 14% call it “mean-spirited,” followed by “passionate,” 13%, and “traditional,” 13%. The descriptors “informative” and “principled” each has 9%.