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%.
4/9: Many Americans, Including Most Latinos, Consider Immigration Reform a Priority… Pathway to Citizenship Key Component for Majority of Americans, But Latinos Divide
Immigration reform is important to many Americans, especially Latino residents. Nearly two-thirds of Americans, 65%, including 81% of Latinos, think immigration legislation which provides a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants should be addressed by President Barack Obama and Congress. In fact, 41% of Americans and 59% of Latinos believe the issue should be an absolute priority for this year’s Congress.
On the question of providing a pathway to citizenship for veterans of the armed forces, Americans and Latinos have similar views. 55% of residents, overall, and 61% of Latinos say providing citizenship to veterans should be an immediate priority for President Obama and Congress this year.
Americans, overall, are more concerned about the inclusion of the pathway to citizenship in immigration reform than Latinos. Among Latinos, there is slightly greater urgency to pass immigration legislation, even if it does not contain the pathway to citizenship. While 52% of Americans assert reform should only be passed if it includes this measure, 39% say reform should occur even if the measure is not included. Latino residents divide with 49% thinking it is more important that a bill be passed only if it includes a pathway to citizenship while 44% report it is more important to pass immigration reform even if it does not provide a way for undocumented immigrants to gain citizenship.
Latinos born in the United States, 52%, emphasize the pathway to citizenship while Latino adults born in another country divide on the issue.
When it comes to President Barack Obama’s use of executive action to implement changes to immigration, opposition rests on procedure not policy. Nearly six in ten Americans, including more than three in four Latinos, approve of the president’s order. Among those who disapprove, 56% of Americans and 58% of Latinos oppose the executive action because the president did not seek congressional approval, not because they are against the content of the policy.
If Congress does not pass immigration reform by the end of its current term, Republicans will face the most blame.
- 65% of Americans say passing immigration legislation which would create a pathway to citizenship for foreigners illegally staying in this country should be addressed by President Barack Obama and Congress. This includes 41% who think the issue should be an absolute priority. Most Latinos, 81%, including 59% who want the issue addressed immediately, consider passing such legislation a priority.
- Americans, 33%, are more likely than Latinos, 16%, to report immigration reform should not be pursued at all.
- Nearly three in four Latinos who were not born in the United States, 74%, believe immediate action on immigration reform should be taken compared with 46% of Latinos who were born in the U.S.
- 55% of Americans, including 61% of Latinos, assert immigration legislation which provides a pathway to citizenship for veterans of the armed forces should be an absolute priority for this year’s Congress.
- 52% of U.S. residents think the pathway to citizenship is essential to immigration reform while 39% believe it is more important to pass immigration legislation even if it does not include a pathway to citizenship. While a plurality of Latinos, 49%, says the pathway to citizenship is key to immigration reform, more Latinos, 44%, when compared with the overall population, are willing to accept reform that does not include such a pathway.
- 52% of Latinos born in the United States believe it is more important for immigration reform to be passed with a pathway to citizenship, but Latinos who were not born in this country divide. 48% believe immigration reform should be passed even without a pathway to citizenship while 46% insist the pathway is the crux of immigration reform.
- Compared with 57% of Americans, overall, more Latinos, 78%, approve of President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.
- Among those who disapprove of the president’s executive order, 56% of Americans, including 58% of Latinos, do so more because Mr. Obama acted without congressional authorization and not because they oppose the policy. In fact, only 29% of U.S. residents who disapprove of the president’s executive order, including one in three Latinos – 33%, say they are against the substance of the policy.
- If an agreement on immigration reform is not reached before the end of Congress’ current term, a plurality of U.S. residents, 43%, including 46% of Latinos, will place the blame on the Republicans in Congress. 26% of U.S. residents and 22% of Latinos will point a finger at President Obama. 11% of Americans, including 13% of Latinos, will blame the Democrats in Congress.
Diplomatic Recognition of Cuba Supported by Majorities of Americans and Latinos
The opinions of Latinos closely reflect those of the overall population when it comes to U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba.
- A majority of Americans, 59%, including 56% of Latinos, approves of the recent decision for the United States to provide diplomatic recognition of Cuba.
- 26% of U.S. residents disapprove of the action, and 15% are unsure. Similar proportions of Latinos are against granting diplomacy to Cuba or are unsure.
Economic Sanctions against Venezuela Considered Appropriate by Half of Americans
50% of Americans, including a slim majority of the Latino population, consider the economic sanctions placed on government officials in Venezuela for acts of violence and the prohibition of freedom of expression of protestors to be the right form of censure. Latinos, 19%, are slightly more likely than Americans, overall, to say the punishment is too strong.
- 50% of the U.S. adult population, including 52% of Latinos, think the economic sanctions levied against Venezuela are the appropriate punishment for acts of violence endorsed by the nation’s leaders and prohibiting freedom of expression among protesters.
- 19% of Latinos, compared with 13% of the general population, say the sanctions are too severe. 20% of U.S. residents, including 16% of Latinos, believe the sanctions are not strong enough.
Equal Treatment under the Law?
Americans, 65%, are more likely than Latinos, 54%, to believe police in their local community treat minorities the same as anyone else. Latinos, especially those under 45, are more likely to report minorities are treated more harshly.
- 35% of Latinos, compared with 27% of the overall population, report minorities are treated more harshly by their local police. Only 4% of U.S. residents, including 5% of Latinos, believe minorities are treated less harshly.
- Latinos under 45 years old, 39%, are more likely than older Latinos, 28%, to say minorities are treated more harshly than anyone else.
The Impact of Pope Francis on the Views of the Catholic Church
37% of Americans say Pope Francis has improved their opinion of the Catholic Church, and 29% report he has made little difference in their opinion. The views of Latinos are similar to those of the overall population.
- A plurality of Americans, 37%, including 32% of Latinos, reports Pope Francis has given them a more favorable view of the Catholic Church. Only 6% of Americans, including 7% of Latinos, say the Pope has lessened their view of the Church. 29% of Americans, similar to 32% of Latinos, think the Pontiff has made little difference in their views. 29% of residents, including 28% of Latinos, don’t know enough about the Pope to comment.
Football Takes Top Spot as Americans’ Favorite Sport… Shares Honors with Soccer among Latinos
Football, 42%, is Americans’ favorite pastime. Among Latinos, football, 31%, and soccer, 28%, vie for the title of top sport.
- 42% of Americans consider football their favorite sport. Baseball, 15%, is a distant second followed by basketball, 14%. 11% choose soccer while 5% like hockey. Three percent cite another sport, and 4% do not have a favorite sport.
- Football, 31%, and soccer, 28%, are cited as the top sports by Latinos. Baseball, 15%, and basketball, 14%, trail behind. Only 2% of Latinos are hockey fans, and 3% mention another sport as their favorite. Two percent do not have a favorite sport.
More than six in ten Americans, 62%, would like their member of Congress to vote for President Barack Obama’s proposal to use military force against ISIS. On the much debated issue of deploying ground troops in the fight against the Islamic State, nearly two-thirds of Americans, 65%, think at least some ground presence is necessary. This includes 24% of residents who say a large number of ground troops should be used.
But, voters’ views of the president’s handling of the situation has become increasingly negative. A majority of voters, 56%, disapproves of how President Obama is handling ISIS compared with a divided electorate last fall. A majority of voters also continue to assess the job Mr. Obama is doing on foreign policy negatively.
Yet, views of Mr. Obama’s approach to the economy, and his overall job performance have somewhat improved.
While the job approval ratings of congressional Democrats, 30%, and Republicans, 33%, remain low, attitudes toward Congress have gotten better. Although a majority still has a bleak outlook about the country’s direction, Americans are the most optimistic they have been in nearly two years.
“Voters are more dismayed over President Obama’s handling of ISIS and they want action,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Although Republicans are, overall, more hawkish on ground troops than Democrats, Tea Party Republicans are the most likely to want to send large numbers of troops to battle ISIS.”
- More than six in ten adults, 62%, want their member of Congress to vote for President Obama’s proposal to use military force against ISIS. 25% would like their representative to vote against it, and more than one in ten, 13%, is unsure.
- 70% of Republicans and 62% of Democrats are in favor of authorizing military force against ISIS. 59% of independents agree.
- 65% of Americans think ground troops should be used in the fight against ISIS. This includes 24% of residents who believe a large number of ground troops should be deployed, and 41% who support sending a limited number. More than one in four, 27%, opposes sending any ground troops, and 7% are unsure.
- Republicans, 40%, are more than twice as likely as Democrats, 17%, to support the use of a large number of ground troops in the war against the Islamic State. 23% of independents also say a large number of boots on the ground is needed.
- Only 35% of registered voters though approve of how President Barack Obama is handling ISIS, and a majority, 56%, disapproves. Nine percent are unsure.
- The president has lost support on the issue of ISIS. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in October, voters divided. 48% approved of how Mr. Obama was handling ISIS, and 46% disapproved. Republicans and independents account for this change. Among Republicans, 10% approve of the president’s approach to ISIS now compared with 27% in the fall. 28% of independents, compared with 45% previously, have this view.
- When looking at President Obama’s overall handling of foreign policy, a majority of voters are not satisfied. Only 38% approve of how the president is doing in the realm of foreign policy while 56% disapprove. In December, 38% approved and 52% disapproved (Trend).
Obama’s Rating on Economy Best in Three Years… Uptick in Overall Approval Score
- While 50% of voters disapprove of how President Obama is handling the economy, there has been an improvement in the proportion of those who approve, 45%. Three months ago, 41% gave the president high marks on the economy, and 55% thought he fell short in this policy area. In fact, Obama has reached his highest rating on his economic management since March 2012 when 46% approved of how he approached the economy. 51%, at that time, disapproved (Trend).
- President Obama’s overall job approval rating is at 46% among registered voters. 50% disapprove. The president’s approval rating has improved from December. At that time 43% had a positive view of the president’s performance, and 52% thought it was lacking (Trend).
- While views of the president’s job performance have gotten slightly better, Mr. Obama’s favorable rating is still upside down. 52% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of the president while 45% have a favorable one. Similar proportions of voters had these views three months ago when 54% had a negative impression of the president, and 44% had a positive one (Trend).
- Although still low, the approval rating of congressional Republicans has gotten better. One in three voters, 33%, approves of the job they are doing, up from 28% in December. 61% currently disapprove of their performance, down from 66% three months ago (Trend). Attitudes toward Republicans in Congress have improved most among members of their own party. 60% of Republicans think well of how members of the congressional GOP are doing in office, up from 51% previously.
- 30% of voters approve of how congressional Democrats are doing their job, and 64% disapprove. In McClatchy-Marist’s December survey, 27% approved of the performance of the Democrats in Congress, and 65% disapproved (Trend).
- Looking at the direction of the nation, 59% of Americans think the country is moving in the wrong direction while 36% believe it is moving in the right one. Americans are slightly more optimistic about the course of the nation than at the end of 2014. At that time, 31% had a positive view of the nation’s direction while 64% had a more pessimistic one (Trend). Democrats are more upbeat in their opinion. 60% of Democrats think the country is on the right track while 50% felt that way in December.
What do voters nationally think of how President Barack Obama is handling ISIS? What do they think of the president’s approach to foreign policy, overall, and do Americans want Congress to allow military action against ISIS? Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll.
To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
3/9: Bush and Walker Emerge as Republican Top Tier… Clinton Maintains Large Lead over Democratic Rivals
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker lead the pack of potential Republicans vying for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is the only other possible contender with double-digit support. Among Republicans and Republican leaning independents including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, Bush, 19%, and Walker, 18%, are virtually tied. But, while Bush receives just slightly more support than he garnered in McClatchy-Marist’s December survey, Walker’s support has grown from only 3% last time.
When looking at what Republicans want in their nominee, there has been a slight, but interesting, shift. While nearly six in ten Republicans and Republican leaning independents say they value a candidate who stands on conservative principles over someone who can win, the proportion who stresses electability has increased.
Turning to the contest for the Democratic nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is still the odds-on favorite, leading her potential rivals by more than four-to-one. Like their Republican counterparts, some Democrats have reconsidered what is more important in their party’s nominee. In December, while nearly six in ten Democrats and Democratic leaning independents preferred a candidate who would re-direct the nation from President Obama’s policies over a candidate who continued them, Democrats now divide.
How do several of the Republican candidates fare against Clinton in potential general election contests? With only four points separating them, Walker and Clinton are most competitive. But, Clinton also fails to reach 50% against Walker, Bush, and Senator Marco Rubio from Florida.
“The most notable change in this poll from December is the emergence of Scott Walker as a contender for 2016,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “On the Democratic side, Clinton is still way out in front. But, it will be interesting to see if the email issue impacts her support among Democrats moving forward or if it taps into concerns some voters have about her for the general election.”
- In the race for the 2016 Republican nomination, 19% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate support former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. A similar 18% favor Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker while former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee receives 10%. Nine percent back retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson whereas Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has 7%. Six percent support New Jersey Governor Chris Christie while Senator Marco Rubio of Florida has 5% of the vote. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas receives 4%, and former Texas Governor Rick Perry has 3%. Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former business executive Carly Fiorina each garners 2%. One percent supports Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. More than one in ten, 13%, is undecided.
- Bush and Walker emerge from a very crowded Republican field. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in December, Bush’s support was 16%. Walker has gained the most ground. His support has grown by 15 percentage points, from 3% three months ago to 18% now. Huckabee, the only other candidate with double-digit support, is little changed from December when he received 12%. Christie’s support has dropped from 10% to 6%.
- Walker is bolstered by very conservative Republicans, 24%, and Tea Party supporters, 25%.
- Looking at Bush’s support, he leads the field among moderate Republicans with 26%.
- 58% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents say it is more important to have a candidate who stands on conservative principles while 39% report it is better to nominate someone who can win the White House. In December, 64% thought maintaining the party’s core principles trumped nominating a candidate who could win, 33% (Trend). This is the first time since this question has been asked that the proportion of Republicans and Republican leaning independents who favor a candidate who stands on conservative principles has dropped below 60%.
- On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton leads her potential rivals by more than four to one. 60% of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate favor Clinton. Vice President Joe Biden follows with 13%, and Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts garners 12%. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont receives 5%. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia each has 1%. Nine percent are undecided.
- Democrats and Democratic leaning independents divide about whether it is more important to have a nominee who continues the policies of President Barack Obama, 45%, or who moves the nation in a new direction, 47% (Trend). In December, nearly six in ten Democrats, 58%, favored a nominee with a new vision for the nation while 38% wanted a continuation of Obama’s agenda.
Hypothetical General Election Contests: Walker Competitive Against Clinton
- Clinton, 48%, and Walker, 44%, are in a close contest among registered voters.
- Clinton, 49%, is also ahead of Bush, 42%, by 7 points. The race has tightened between Clinton and Bush. In McClatchy-Marist’s December survey, 53% supported Clinton, and 40% were for Bush (Trend).
- Clinton, 49%, leads Rubio, 42%, by 7 points.
- When matched against Perry, Clinton receives a majority, 51%, to 42% for Perry (Trend).
- Against Paul, Clinton has an 11 point advantage. 51% of voters support Clinton compared with 40% for Paul. Previously, Clinton, 54%, had a 14 point lead over Paul, 40% (Trend).
- Clinton, 53%, does the best against, Cruz, 39%. Clinton has maintained her lead over Cruz (Trend).
Looking to the 2016 presidential race, a Republican top tier has emerged. Which GOP hopefuls lead the pack? Do they pose a significant threat to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who leads the potential Democratic field?
Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll. To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
2/15: 2016 Wide Open GOP Field in Early Caucus and Primary States… Clinton Solid Front-Runner on Democratic Side
Taking an early look at the key presidential caucus and primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, a Republican front-runner fails to emerge. In Iowa, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker vie for the top spot among the state’s potential Republican electorate.
In New Hampshire, Bush, Walker, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie each receives double-digit support. Turning to South Carolina, the state’s favorite son, Senator Lindsey Graham, battles Bush, Walker, Huckabee, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson for the lead.
The picture is much clearer on the Democratic side. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the odds-on favorite for her party’s nomination. Clinton outpaces her closest Democratic competitors by very wide margins in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
However, in hypothetical general election matchups, despite edging her GOP rivals in Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton falls short of 50% in each of the three states polled. In South Carolina, when paired against Bush or Walker, Clinton garners about what President Obama received in 2012 against Mitt Romney.
“Top tier? The morning line for these critical states points to a rough and tumble Republican nomination battle. Seven of the 11 potential GOP candidates has double-digit support in, at least, one of the states, but no one breaks 20% anywhere,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Not so for the Democrats where Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead.”
Republicans and Democrats Satisfied with Candidates
- 65% of the Iowa potential Republican electorate are satisfied with the choice of candidates they have for the nomination. 25% are dissatisfied. On the Democratic side, 60% of the Iowa potential Democratic electorate are pleased with their party’s candidates for the nomination, and 27% are dissatisfied.
- 59% of the New Hampshire potential Republican electorate are satisfied with their candidate options while 28% would prefer to see someone else emerge. Looking at the Democratic side, 61% of the New Hampshire potential Democratic electorate are happy with their choices for the nomination. 27% are not.
- 64% of the South Carolina potential Republican electorate are pleased with their primary options while 25% are displeased. 72% of the South Carolina potential Democratic electorate are satisfied with their party’s primary candidates. 18% are not.
- 55% of South Carolina residents do not think Senator Lindsey Graham should run for president in 2016. 36% think he should toss his hat into the ring. The potential Republican electorate in the state mirrors the opinions of residents.
Clinton Ahead in Iowa and New Hampshire, Not in South Carolina
- Among registered voters in Iowa, Clinton, 48%, is ahead of Bush, 40%. Clinton, 49%, also outpaces Walker, 38%, statewide.
- In New Hampshire, Clinton, 48%, edges Bush, 42%. Against Walker, Clinton has 49% to 42% for Walker.
- Bush, receives 48%, and Clinton, 45%, in South Carolina. Clinton garners 46%, and Walker receives 46% when matched in the state.
Voters on the Issues
In Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, more than six in ten voters in each state find a candidate who favors raising taxes on the wealthy to be acceptable. This is especially true in Iowa, where 73% of voters have this view. Majorities of voters in all three states also find a candidate who supports repealing the federal health care law, who backs immigration reform, or who promotes action to combat climate change to be preferable. A candidate who supports Common Core education or favors increased military action against ISIS is also deemed satisfactory to majorities of voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
However, registered voters are less likely to find a candidate who opposes same-sex marriage to be acceptable.
On many of these questions, there is a notable divide between the potential Republican and Democratic electorates.
Residents in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina consider job creation to be the most important issue in the 2016 election. Jobs and the economy is also the most pressing concern for the potential Democratic and Republican electorates with the exception of Iowa where the deficit and government spending is the top priority for the potential Republican electorate for 2016.
- 30% of adults in Iowa consider job creation and economic growth to be the most important issue in the 2016 presidential election. Deficit and government spending, 21%, military action against ISIS, 17%, and health care, 15%, follow. 11% cite income equality while looking out for the interests of women is the priority for 3% of Iowa residents.
- Among Iowa’s potential Republican electorate, the deficit and government spending, 32%, tops the list followed by military action against ISIS, 25%, and jobs, 23%. The potential Democratic electorate prioritizes jobs, 32%, followed by health care, 20%, and income equality, 19%.
- There is little consensus about Iowans’ second most pressing issue. Similar proportions of adults mention job creation, 24%, health care, 22%, and the deficit and government spending, 20%. 15% put military action against ISIS at the top of their list while 12% cite income equality. Six percent select looking out for the interests of women.
- Job creation and economic growth, 33%, is the most important issue to New Hampshire adults. The deficit and government spending, 19%, health care, 18%, and military action against ISIS, 14% follow. 11% place income equality at the top of their priority list while only 2% think looking out for the interests of women to be the most important issue in the upcoming election.
- When looking at New Hampshire’s potential Republican electorate, jobs, 33%, rank number one. The deficit and government spending with 28% and military action against ISIS at 20% follow. Among the potential Democratic electorate, jobs, 34%, is tops followed by health care and income equality, each at 21%.
- When it comes to the second choice issue for New Hampshire adults, job creation and economic growth, 22%, and health care, 22%, top the list. Military action against ISIS, 20%, and the deficit and government spending, 18%, are close behind. Income equality, 9%, and looking out for the interests of women, 7%, round out the list.
- 32% of South Carolina adults think the key issue in the 2016 election is job creation and economic growth. Health care, 20%, military action against ISIS, 18%, and the deficit and government spending, 15%, also rate highly. Eight percent believe income equality is the most crucial topic of discussion while women’s interests receive 3%.
- South Carolina’s potential Republican electorate points to jobs, 29%, as the top priority for 2016. The issues of military action against ISIS with 28% and the deficit and government spending at 24% are also seen as important. For South Carolina’s potential Democratic electorate, jobs, 35%, is crucial followed by health care, 28%, and income equality, 15%.
- Looking at the second most important issue for South Carolina adults, 25% choose job creation and economic growth. 23% select health care and 22% pick the deficit and government spending. 14% mention military action against ISIS, and 8% cite income equality. Seven percent think looking out for the interests of women should be the priority.
U.S. Senate Race in New Hampshire Competitive
Looking at the 2016 election for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan and incumbent Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte are closely matched.
- 48% of New Hampshire registered voters support Hassan in the race for U.S. Senate while Ayotte garners 44%. Seven percent are undecided.
Approval Rating Roundup
In Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, President Barack Obama’s job performance rating is upside down. The governors in each state are rated highly.
- 49% of Iowans disapprove of how President Obama is doing his job while 43% approve.
- 50% of New Hampshire residents disapprove of President Obama’s job performance. 43% approve.
- 51% of South Carolinians disapprove of how Mr. Obama is performing in office. 44% approve.
- More than six in ten Iowa residents, 64%, approve of the job Governor Terry Branstad is doing in office. 28% disapprove.
- In New Hampshire, 68% of residents approve of how Governor Maggie Hassan is doing her job. 23% disapprove.
- In South Carolina, 61% of residents approve of the job performance of Governor Nikki Haley. 32% disapprove.
2/12: Obama’s Request for Military Action against ISIS Receives Majority Support…Many Americans Say Boots on the Ground are Needed
In a poll conducted just hours after President Barack Obama made the case for congressional authorization to use military force against ISIS, a majority of Americans tells the NBC News/Marist Poll they support their congressperson voting for the use of U.S. military action against the Islamic militants. However, residents divide about whether or not President Obama’s proposal will receive bipartisan support. With nearly seven in ten residents saying they are aware of the president’s request, the news of possible military action against ISIS has permeated Americans’ consciousness.
While the president is requesting limited use of U.S. ground troops, where do Americans stand? About two-thirds say at least some presence of ground forces are needed. In fact, about one in four Americans thinks a large number of boots on the ground is necessary. Not surprisingly, partisan differences exist.
Despite many Americans’ belief that the U.S and its allies will be victorious in defeating ISIS, confidence in President Obama’s strategy to combat ISIS is mixed.
When it comes to President Obama’s legacy, Americans divide about whether the president will be remembered more for ending a war or for starting a new one.
“This challenge will bear on the president’s legacy,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “By nearly two to one, Democrats think President Obama will still be remembered for ending a war, but by more than three to one, Republicans see the president’s legacy as having started a new one.”
- 54% of Americans want their member of Congress to vote to authorize U.S. military action against ISIS. 32% are against such approval, and more than one in ten, 13%, is unsure. A majority of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents think their congressional representative should support the president’s request.
- Residents divide about whether President Obama’s proposal will have bipartisan support in Congress. 44% think it will not, and 40% believe it will. 16% are unsure. A majority of Democrats, 56%, and a plurality of Republicans, 44%, say the president’s plan will not receive bipartisan support. A notable 20% of Republicans are unsure. Independents divide. 44% think partisanship will be put aside while 43% believe it will be front and center in the debate.
- About two-thirds of Americans, 66%, think U.S. boots on the ground are necessary, to some degree, to combat ISIS. This includes 26% who support sending a large number of U.S. ground forces and 40% who back deploying a limited number of troops on the ground. 26% do not want any ground forces involved, and 7% are unsure.
- Views about the use of ground troops differ based on party. 38% of Republicans, compared with 16% of Democrats and 25% of independents, support sending a large number of ground forces.
- Many Americans, 66%, are optimistic that the U.S. and its allies will defeat ISIS. There is little partisan difference of opinion on this question.
- Looking at Americans’ level of confidence in President Obama’s strategy to combat ISIS, there is a divide. 48% do not have very much faith in the president’s approach. 45% express confidence in the president’s proposal. Not surprisingly, 82% of Republicans have little or no confidence in the president’s military strategy. Most Democrats, 71%, are confident in the president’s approach. Independents are more divided: 44% express confidence and 49% do not.
- When it comes to President Obama’s legacy, 44% of Americans say President Obama will be remembered more for starting a new war than ending one. 40% think the opposite will be true. A notable, 16%, are unsure. More than six in ten Republicans, 62%, and a majority of independents, 51%, believe President Obama’s legacy will be defined by beginning a new war. 59% of Democrats think he will be remembered for ending a war.
- 69% of Americans have heard about the president’s request to use U.S. military force against ISIS, and 31% have not.
Many registered voters nationally think the GOP will have more influence in directing the nation in 2015 than President Barack Obama. However, only 35% think this will bring about change for the better.
Congressional Republicans take control of the legislature amid continued dissatisfaction with elected officials in Washington and pessimism about the overall direction of the country. In fact, the job approval rating of the Democrats in Congress is at its lowest point, 27%, and the approval rating of congressional Republicans stands at 28%. President Obama doesn’t fare much better. His approval rating is at 43% among registered voters, and his favorable rating is upside down. On the specifics of Mr. Obama’s job performance, fewer voters think well of how he is handling foreign policy than previously, and he receives a lukewarm rating on his approach to the economy.
More than six in ten voters say the new Republican-controlled Congress should amend, if not repeal, the 2010 health care law. About one-third think the GOP should focus on other items on the national agenda.
Americans are not overly optimistic about the future of their family’s finances.
“The balance in power has changed in Washington,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, voters need to see results to reverse their sense of dysfunction in government.”
- Regardless of party, more than six in ten voters, 61%, think the Republicans in Congress will have more influence over the direction of the nation in 2015. 29% believe President Obama will be the driving force, and 2% report neither will be in command.
- When it comes to who voters want to have more influence, 48% prefer the GOP to take the lead while 42% want Obama in charge. Looking at party, while 93% of Republicans want the GOP to have the most impact, 82% of Democrats look to President Obama to take the lead. 47% of independents turn to the GOP for leadership, and 40% put their stock in President Obama.
- While 35% of voters think the Republican-controlled Congress will effect change for the better, a plurality, 40%, doesn’t expect to see any impact at all. One in five, 20%, reports GOP control will be change for the worse.
- Seven in ten voters, 70%, think it is better for government officials to compromise to find solutions than stand on principle. Democrats, 82%, are more likely than Republicans, 59%, to choose to compromise. More than one-third of Republicans, 36%, value principle over compromise compared with 15% of Democrats who have this view.
- Close to two-thirds of Americans, 64%, are pessimistic about the direction of the country. 31% say the nation is on track, and 6% are unsure. Earlier this fall, 61% of residents said the country was going in the wrong direction, and 35% reported it was moving in the right one (Trend).
- The job approval rating of congressional Democrats is at its lowest point, 27%, since McClatchy-Marist began reporting this question. The previous low for Democrats was 28% and occurred in November of 2011 (Trend). In October, 33% of voters approved of how the Democrats were doing their job.
- The job approval rating of the Republicans in Congress, 28%, also falls short in voters’ eyes. In October, 24% of registered voters approved of how the congressional GOP was doing its job (Trend).
- 43% of registered voters nationally approve of the job President Obama is doing in office while 52% disapprove. Obama’s approval rating stood at 46% in October (Trend). Mr. Obama’s favorable rating is also upside down. 44% have a favorable impression of him while a majority, 54%, does not. Voters divided on the president’s image, 48% to 49%, respectively, earlier this fall (Trend).
- 38% of the national electorate, down from 46% in October, approve of how the president is handling foreign policy. 52% disapprove, and 10% are unsure (Trend).
- On his handling of the economy, 41% of voters approve of how the president is tackling the issue. This is unchanged from 41% in McClatchy-Marist’s previous survey. 55% currently disapprove of how President Obama is dealing with the economy (Trend).
- More than six in ten registered voters nationally, 61%, want the Republicans in Congress to make changes to the 2010 health care law. This includes 23% who want the law repealed and 38% who favor modifications to the legislation. 34%, though, say the GOP should focus their efforts on other issues. While 53% of Democrats want the GOP to focus on other issues, and 48% of Republicans want to eliminate the law, 38% of Democrats and 35% of Republicans want changes to be made to the law. A plurality of independents, 43%, would like the health care law modified.
- 51% of Americans expect their personal family finances to stay about the same in the coming year. 32% think they will see an improvement, and 17% believe their family’s financial situation will get worse. In October, 54% reported their money matters would be status quo, 30% thought they would get better, and 17% believed they would get worse (Trend).