2/15: 2016 Wide Open GOP Field in Early Caucus and Primary States… Clinton Solid Front-Runner on Democratic Side

February 15, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, National, National Poll Archive, Politics

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.”

 

Complete February 15, 2015 NBC News/Marist Poll Release of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina

Complete February 15, 2015 NBC News/Marist Poll Tables of Iowa

Complete February 15, 2015 NBC News/Marist Poll Tables of New Hampshire

Complete February 15, 2015 NBC News/Marist Poll Tables of South Carolina

 

Republicans and Democrats Satisfied with Candidates

Poll points:

Clinton Ahead in Iowa and New Hampshire, Not in South Carolina

Poll Points:

  • 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.

Poll points:

 

Job Creation and Economic Growth Key Issue

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.

Poll points:

  • 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. 

Poll points:

  • 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.

Poll points:

Marist Poll Methodology for Iowa

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables for Iowa

Marist Poll Methodology for New Hampshire

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables for New Hampshire

Marist Poll Methodology for South Carolina

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables for South Carolina

 

10/26: Iowa: Ernst and Braley in Competitive Contest for U.S. Senate… Branstad with Large Lead in Governor’s Race

October 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, National, National Poll Archive, Politics

With just 3 points separating them, Republican Joni Ernst, 49%, and Democrat Bruce Braley, 46%, are in a tight race for U.S. Senate in Iowa among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early.  Four percent of likely voters are undecided, and 5% of those with a candidate preference think they might vote differently.  In a previous poll earlier this month, Ernst received the support of 46% to 44% for Braley among likely voters statewide.

Braley, 52%, has a slight edge over Ernst, 47%, among early voters.  But, Ernst offsets Braley’s lead with greater support among voters still expected to cast a ballot, 50% to 43%.

In the governor’s race in Iowa, Republican incumbent Terry Branstad, 59%, outdistances Democrat Jack Hatch, 36%, among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early.  Branstad has a more than two-to-one lead over Hatch among independents likely to vote. 

Complete October 26, 2014 NBC News/Marist Poll of Iowa

“The campaigns have taken a toll on both senate candidates who have unusually high negatives for non-incumbents,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “The GOP is chomping at the bit over the prospect of picking up a senate seat the Democrats have held for thirty years in a state President Obama carried twice.”

Poll Points U.S. Senate:

  • Among Iowa likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early, Ernst receives 49% to 46% for Braley in the race for U.S. Senate in Iowa.  Four percent are undecided, and 5% may vote differently.
  • Braley edges Ernst 52% to 47% among early voters.  But, Ernst receives the support of 50% of likely voters yet to cast a ballot compared with 43% for Braley.
  • Ernst and Braley have secured their respective party’s base.  Among independents likely to vote, Ernst, 49%, leads Braley, 41%, by 8 points.  Ernst had the same advantage among independents likely to vote, 8 points, earlier this month.
  • Although the margin separating the candidates is little changed from a month ago, the gender gap has narrowed.  Ernst’s once 18 point lead among men likely to vote has diminished to 12 points.  Braley’s lead among women has decreased from 11 points to 5 points.
  • 62% of likely voters with a candidate preference for U.S. Senate including early voters strongly support their choice of candidate.  Five percent with a candidate preference might vote differently.  64% of Ernst’s supporters report a strong commitment to her compared with 60% of Braley’s backers who express the same level of support for him.
  • 83% of likely voters with a candidate preference say they will not waver from their choice of candidate, even though there are libertarian and independent candidates on the ballot.  Braley’s supporters, 9%, are more than twice as likely than Ernst’s backers, 4%, to say they might choose a different candidate.
  • Among registered voters in Iowa including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early, the candidates are tied with 46% each.  In early October, Braley, 45%, and Ernst, 44%, were also in a statistical dead heat.
  • Likely voters divide over their impressions of Ernst. 44% are favorable, and 44% are not, unchanged from a few weeks ago.
  • Braley’s favorability score is still upside down.  39% have a positive view of him, and 46% have a negative one.
  • When it comes to the key issue in deciding their vote for Congress, 19% of likely voters mention breaking the partisan gridlock in Washington followed by job creation and economic growth, 17%.  Social Security and Medicare receives 14% followed by health care with 12% and the deficit and government spending with 11%.  Military action against ISIS and immigration each receives 6%.  Four percent cite looking out for the interests of women.

Poll Points Governor:

  • Looking at the governor’s race in Iowa, Branstad, 59%, outpaces Hatch, 36%, by 23 points among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early.  Branstad was ahead of Hatch by a similar 22 points earlier this month.
  • While Branstad, the Republican, garners 19% of Democrats likely to vote, Hatch, the Democrat, only receives 1% of Republican likely voters.  Among independent voters, Branstad, 62%, has more than double the support of Hatch, 29%
  • 63% of likely voters with a candidate preference including early voters, compared with 58% a few weeks ago, strongly support their choice of candidate for Iowa governor.  70% of Branstad’s supporters are firmly committed to him while only 52% of Hatch’s backers express a similar level of commitment.
  • Among registered voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early, Branstad receives the support of 58% to 34% for Hatch.  Branstad previously held a 23 point lead over Hatch among registered voters statewide.
  • 58% of likely voters have a favorable view of Branstad, and 35% have an unfavorable opinion of him.  When it comes to Hatch’s favorability, 32% of likely voters have a positive impression of him, but 38% view him negatively.  Hatch is also not well-known to three in ten likely voters.
  • 35% of Iowa residents, compared with 39% earlier this month, approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing in office.

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables

10/5: Iowa: Ernst and Braley Neck and Neck in Contest for U.S. Senate… Branstad with Wide Lead in Governor’s Race

Republican Joni Ernst and Democrat Bruce Braley are closely matched in the race for U.S. Senate in Iowa among likely voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who have voted early or by absentee ballot.  Intensity of support is one of the key dynamics in the race.  Ernst’s voters are more strongly committed to their candidate than are Braley’s backers.  Ernst’s supporters also describe their vote as an affirmation of her candidacy.  In contrast, Braley’s voters are more motivated by their opposition to Ernst than positive impressions of Braley.  Braley has a wide lead among the small proportion of Iowans who have already voted.

It’s a different story when it comes to the governor’s race in Iowa.  Republican incumbent Terry Branstad leads his Democratic opponent, State Senator Jack Hatch, by 22 points among Iowa likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who have voted early or by absentee ballot.  With solid job approval and favorable ratings, Branstad is held in high-esteem by many Iowans.

Complete October 5, 2014 NBC News/Marist Poll of Iowa

“National attention is focused on the Hawkeye State because it may determine party control in the U.S. Senate, and the contest is very competitive,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “The choice for voters centers more on their impressions of Ernst than Braley.  Most of Ernst’s supporters are inspired to rally for her, and many of Braley’s backers are motivated to vote against Ernst.”

Poll points:

  • Ernst, 46%, and Braley, 44%, are in a close contest in the race for U.S. Senate in Iowa among likely voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted early or by absentee ballot.
  • Although the sample of early voters is small, Braley leads Ernst, 61% to 38%.
  • Both candidates receive overwhelming support from their base, Braley has 91% among Democrats, and Ernst receives 88% from Republicans.  A plurality of independents likely to vote, 46%, supports Ernst compared with 38% for Braley.  15% of likely voters who identify as independents, the plurality of voters in the state, are undecided.
  • The gender gap is wide, but political party trumps gender.  Ernst holds an 18 point lead over Braley among men, 53% to 35%.  Braley leads Ernst by 11 points, 52% to 41%, among women.  Ernst is strongest among married men with a lead of 28 points over her opponent.  Braley leads by 26 points among single women.
  • Nearly six in ten likely voters with a candidate preference, 57%, strongly support their choice of candidate for U.S. Senate.  35% are somewhat committed to their pick, and 7% might vote differently.  62% of Ernst’s supporters are strongly committed to her compared with 51% of Braley’s backers who express a similar level of support.
  • 50% of Iowa likely voters with a candidate preference for Senate report they are supporting their choice of candidate because they are for that candidate.  45% say they back their selection because they are against the other person in the race.  More than six in ten Ernst backers, 61%, say they are voting for her because they believe in her.  However, 57% of Braley’s supporters plan to vote for him because they are against Ernst.
  • Among registered voters in Iowa including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted early or by absentee ballot, 45% support Braley while 44% are for Ernst.  Little has changed on this question since NBC News/Marist’s July survey when 43% supported Braley, and 43% were for Ernst.
  • 44% of Iowa likely voters have a favorable impression of Ernst, and 44% have an unfavorable one.  Among Iowa adults, Ernst’s favorable rating is upside down.  38% have a positive view of her while 43% have a negative one.  Ernst has become more well-known to Iowans but not for the better.  While there has been little movement in Ernst’s favorable rating among Iowans since July, 36% to 38%, her negative rating has gone up 11 points from 32% in July to 43% now.
  • Looking at Braley’s favorable rating, 39% of likely voters in Iowa think well of him while a plurality, 44%, has a negative view of the candidate.  Among Iowans overall, Braley, too, has made inroads with residents but not necessarily positive ones.  Since July, the proportion of Iowans with a favorable impression of him has gone from 33% to 36% while those with a negative view have increased from 31% to 40%.
  • In the governor’s race in Iowa, Branstad, 58%, leads Hatch, 36%, by 22 points among Iowa likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted early or by absentee ballot.
  • Most Republicans, 96%, support Branstad.  While most Democrats, 82%, are for Hatch, 13% say they will vote for the Republican incumbent.  62% of independent likely voters back Branstad compared with 30% for Hatch.
  • The small group of early voters divide between the candidates for governor, 51% for Branstad and 49% for Hatch.
  • Close to six in ten likely voters with a candidate preference, 58%, strongly support their choice of candidate for governor in Iowa.  35% somewhat back their pick, and 6% might vote differently.  Brandstad’s supporters, 63%, are more likely than Hatch’s backers, 52%, to say they are strongly committed to their choice of candidate.
  • 60% of likely voters in Iowa have a favorable impression of Branstad, and 33% have an unfavorable one.   Among Iowans, 57% think well of Branstad, up from 51% in July.
  • Hatch is still unknown to 30% of likely voters in Iowa.  34% of voters likely to cast a ballot have a favorable impression of Hatch, and 36% have an unfavorable one.  Among Iowa residents, Hatch has become better known, but his negative rating has increased.  In July, Hatch’s favorable rating was 27% among Iowans, and now, 30% have a positive view of him.  23% of state residents had a negative view of him last summer, and now, 33% do.
  • 63% of residents approve of the job Branstad is doing in office, up from 58% in July.

Low Marks for President Obama and Congress

Although slightly improved, Iowans are dissatisfied with how President Obama is doing in office.  They are also displeased with the performances of congressional Democrats and Republicans.  About two-thirds are pessimistic about the direction of the country.

Poll points:

Obamacare Lacks Support in Iowa

More Iowa residents think the Affordable Care Act is bad idea than a good one.

Poll points:

  • 46% of adults in Iowa, including 39% of those who strongly have this opinion, say the new health care law is a bad idea.  31% think it is a good idea including 23% who strongly maintain this view.  22% of Iowans have no opinion or are unsure.  In July, 49% reported Obamacare was a bad idea, 31% said it was a good one, and 19% had no opinion of the law or were unsure.

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables

7/17: Iowa 2016: Rand Paul and Chris Christie Tossup with Hillary Clinton

Looking ahead to 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the odds on favorite against Vice President Joe Biden among Iowa Democrats for her party’s nomination.  But, she would find a general election matchup against either Kentucky Senator Rand Paul or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie very competitive.  Clinton edges former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and has an early lead over Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  There is a wide gender gap in these matchups.  Although each of the potential Republican candidates has a more positive than negative rating with GOP voters, all but Paul and Rubio are upside down when it comes to Iowa residents’ impressions of the Republican candidates.


Click Here for Complete July 17, 2014 NBC News/Marist Poll Iowa Release and Tables

But, first things first, one in five 2016 potential Republican caucus goers are unsure who they support for their presidential nominee, and no single potential candidate has broken out of the pack.  Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, and Paul Ryan have low double-digit support among potential Republican caucus attendees in the state.

On the Democratic side, seven in ten support Clinton over Biden.  Even though Clinton is more popular, both receive positive scores from most Democrats.  Clinton is viewed favorably by a majority of Iowans.  Not so for Biden whose negatives among state residents exceed his positives, overall.

“In a state Obama carried twice, Hillary Clinton would find Rand Paul and Chris Christie formidable opponents in the battle for Iowa’s six electoral votes,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “The contest narrows in these two matchups because Paul and Christie do better with independent voters than do the other Republicans.”

Poll Points

  • Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is closely matched against potential GOP rivals Rand Paul, 45% to 45%, and Chris Christie, 44% to 43%, among Iowa’s registered voters.  Clinton has a narrow lead over Jeb Bush, 46% to 42%.
  • In these contests, Clinton and each of the potential Republican contenders, Paul, Christie, and Bush, are competitive among independents.
  • Clinton is ahead of Marco Rubio, 49% to 40%; Ted Cruz, 49% to 37%; and Scott Walker, 50% to 37%.
  • Regardless of the potential GOP opponent against Clinton, there is a wide gender gap.
  • A majority of Iowans, 52%, have a positive impression of Hillary Clinton, and 42% have a negative view of her.  In contrast, more state residents, 48%, have an unfavorable opinion of Joe Biden, and 39% have a favorable one.
  • Rand Paul has a 38% favorable and a 36% unfavorable rating, and Marco Rubio has a 30% favorable and a 28% unfavorable score.  They are the only two Republicans who are not viewed more negatively than positively by Iowans.
  • Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, and Jeb Bush have higher negative scores than positive.

GOP:  No Leader of the Pack

  • 20% of the potential Republican electorate in Iowa are undecided about their choice for a 2016 GOP nominee.  Bush at 12%, Paul at 12%, and Ryan at 11% are the only potential candidates in double-digits.
  • The contest hardly clarifies when potential Republican caucus goers are asked their second choice.  Bush at 12%, Santorum, Ryan, and Perry each at 11%, and Paul at 10% are the only potential candidates who attract double-digit support as a second choice.
  • All the potential GOP candidates are more popular than unpopular among Iowa Republicans.  Rand Paul is liked best by Iowa Republicans.  66% of Republicans have a positive view of him, and only 18% have a negative impression of him.  A majority of state Republicans also have a favorable view of Bush, 63%, and Rubio, 57%.  50% have a positive impression of Christie.

Dems:  Clinton Strong Front-runner

  • Hillary Clinton receives the support of 70% of the potential Democratic electorate compared with 20% for Joe Biden.
  • Most Democrats in the state, 89%, have a favorable impression of Clinton.  Only 6% view her unfavorably.  Joe Biden is also popular among Iowa Democrats.  72% view him positively, and just 18% see him in a negative light.

Marist Poll Methodology
Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables

7/16: Tossup for U.S. Senate in Iowa, Governor Branstad Leads in Re-Election Bid

Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst are tied in their bid to win the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Senator Tom Harkin.  About one in seven voters are undecided in this contest.  Not surprisingly, there is a strong partisan divide.  Braley overwhelmingly carries Democrats, and Ernst distances her opponent among Republicans by a similar margin.  Independent voters split between the two candidates.  A gender gap also keeps this a close matchup.  Braley is ahead among women, and Ernst leads among men.  A notable proportion of Iowans have yet to form an opinion about each of these candidates.  Both, Braley and Ernst, have similar favorability ratings statewide.  Incumbent Governor Terry Branstad has a double-digit lead over his competitor, State Senator Jack Hatch.  A strong majority of Iowans approve of the job Governor Branstad is doing in office, and he is well liked in the state.  Half of Iowans are not familiar enough with Democratic challenger, Jack Hatch to offer an opinion of him.  A majority of Iowa residents disapprove of President Obama’s job performance.

Click Here for Complete July 16, 2014 NBC News/Marist Poll Iowa Release and Tables

“The contest to replace five-term Senator Tom Harkin is neck and neck,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “Iowa, right now, represents a chance for the GOP to pick up a Democratic seat in their quest to gain the majority in the U.S. Senate.”

Poll Points

Majority Disapprove of President Obama, Congressional GOP More Unpopular

  • 51% of Iowans disapprove of the job President Obama is doing in office.  36% approve.
  • The Congressional Republicans are not held in high esteem.  63% of adults statewide disapprove of their job performance, and only 21% approve.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Iowans, 66%, think the country is off on the wrong track compared with 26% who describe it as on the right path.  A majority of Democrats, 52%, believe the nation is on course.  But, 88% of Republicans and 69% of independents think the nation’s trajectory is misguided.

Mixed Bag on President’s Agenda

 
Marist Poll Methodology
Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables

11/1: Obama Leads Romney in Iowa

With the clock counting down to Election Day, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden receive the support of 50% of likely voters in Iowa, including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted absentee, to 44% for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.  Two percent support another candidate, and 4% are undecided.

“President Obama’s lead in Iowa is due to those who have voted early or plan to do so, including many independents,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “Obama has a 21 point lead among Independent voters who plan to cast an early ballot while Romney is up 9 points among independents who plan to vote on Election Day.”

Click Here for Complete November 1, 2012 Iowa NBC News/WSJ/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete November 1, 2012 Iowa NBC News/WSJ/Marist Poll Tables

When NBC News/WSJ/Marist reported this question earlier this month, 51% of likely voters, including those who were undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted absentee, supported Obama and Biden while 43% backed Romney and Ryan.  Two percent were for another candidate, and 4% were undecided.

Key points:

  • Party ID.  94% of Democrats who are likely to vote are behind the president while 91% of Republicans who are likely to cast a ballot are for Romney.  Among likely independent voters, 47% support Obama compared with 39% for Romney.
  • Enthusiasm.  60% of likely voters are very enthusiastic about voting.  65% of likely voters who are Romney supporters are very enthusiastic to vote compared with 61% of those who back Obama.  Since NBC News/WSJ/Marist’s previous survey, enthusiasm is up slightly.  At that time, 55% of likely voters were very enthusiastic.  While there has been little change in the enthusiasm of Romney’s backers — 64%, there has been an increase among Obama’s backers.  In that last survey, 53% of Obama’s supporters said they were very enthusiastic.
  • Intensity of support.  88% of likely voters who support a candidate strongly support their choice.  12% are somewhat behind their pick while less than 1% might vote differently.  Less than 1% is unsure.  Among likely voters who support Obama, 86% are firmly committed to him.  This compares with 89% of Romney’s backers who say they stand strong behind their candidate.
  • Gender.  56% of women who are likely to go to the polls support Obama compared with 40% for Romney.  Among men who are likely to vote, Romney — 48% — edges Obama — 44%.
  • Age.  The president — 61% — leads Romney — 30% — among likely voters under the age of 30.  48% of likely voters 30 to 44 support Obama compared with 43% for Romney.  Those 45 to 59 divide, 49% for Obama, and 47% for Romney.  Obama — 48% — is neck and neck with Romney — 47% — among likely voters 60 and older.
  • Early voters.  45% of registered voters in Iowa have already voted or plan to do so before Election Day.  Among likely voters who have cast their ballot or plan to do so early, Obama — 62% — leads Romney — 35%.  Among those who plan to vote on Election Day, Romney — 55% — has the advantage over Obama — 35%.

Looking at registered voters, including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted absentee, Obama and Biden have 49% compared with 43% for Romney and Ryan.  Two percent support another candidate, and 6% are undecided.

Table: 2012 Presidential Tossup (IA Likely Voters with Leaners and Absentee)

Table: Enthusiasm to Vote (IA Likely Voters)

Table: Intensity of Support (IA Likely Voters)

Table: 2012 Presidential Tossup (IA Registered Voters with Leaners and Absentee)

Majority Views Obama Favorably… Romney Still More Negative than Positive

52% of likely voters in Iowa have a favorable view of President Obama.  This compares with 44% who have an unfavorable one.  Five percent are unsure.

Earlier this month, 54% of likely voters thought well of the president while 43% did not.  Three percent were unsure.

Romney’s favorability is still upside down.  43% have a positive view of him while 49% have an unfavorable impression of him.  Eight percent are unsure.

In NBC News/WSJ/Marist’s previous survey, 44% of likely voters statewide had a favorable opinion of Romney while 51% had an unfavorable one.  Five percent, at that time, were unsure.

Table: President Barack Obama Favorability (IA Likely Voters)

Table: Mitt Romney Favorability (IA Likely Voters)

Obama and Romney Neck and Neck on Economy…Obama Tops on Foreign Policy

When it comes to the nation’s economy, 44% of registered voters in Iowa think Obama will do a better job handling the economy, and the same proportion — 44% — believes Romney is more capable to handle the issue.  11% are unsure.  Among likely voters in Iowa, 45% say Obama is better suited to turn around the country’s economy, and 45% think Romney is the candidate for the job.  10% are unsure.

Earlier in October, 46% of Iowa registered voters statewide reported Obama was the stronger candidate on the economy compared with 46% who had this view of Romney. At that time, 9% were unsure.

However, Obama — 50% — outperforms Romney — 38% — among registered voters on foreign policy.  11% are unsure.  Similar proportions of likely voters agree.  51% think Obama is more capable to deal with foreign policy issues while 39% say Romney is.  10% are unsure.

Earlier this month, Obama — 51% — had the advantage over Romney — 39% — among registered voters in Iowa.  At that time, 11% were unsure.

Table: Candidate Who Will Do a Better Job Handling the Economy (IA Registered Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Will Do a Better Job Handling the Economy (IA Likely Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Will Do a Better Job Handling Foreign Policy (IA Registered Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Will Do a Better Job Handling Foreign Policy (IA Likely Voters)

Nearly Half Approve of Obama’s Job Performance

Among Iowa registered voters, 48% approve of the president’s job performance while 45% disapprove.  Seven percent are unsure.

Earlier this month, 50% gave Obama high marks while 43% thought he fell short.  Six percent were unsure.

Table: President Obama Approval Rating in Iowa (IA Registered Voters)

A Nation Off Track, Says Half

50% of Iowa registered voters think the country is moving in the wrong direction while 44% say it is traveling in the right one.  Six percent are unsure.

Previously, 47% of registered voters in Iowa thought the country’s compass was broken while 47% believed the nation’s trajectory was on target.  At that time, 6% were unsure.

Table: Right or Wrong Direction of the Country (IA Registered Voters)

How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample

 

10/18: Obama Leads Romney in Iowa

In the presidential contest in Iowa, 51% of likely voters, including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted absentee, support President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.  43% are for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.  Two percent back another candidate, and 4% are undecided.

“When likely voters intend to cast their ballot tells us a lot about what is happening in Iowa,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “Those who have already voted are breaking for Obama by more than two to one.  In contrast, Romney leads by double digits with those who will vote on Election Day.”

Click Here for Complete October 18, 2012 Iowa NBC News/WSJ/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete October 18, 2012 Iowa NBC News/WSJ/Marist Poll Tables

In NBC News/WSJ/Marist’s September survey in Iowa, 50% of likely voters in Iowa, including those who were undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, were behind Obama and Biden while 42% supported Romney and Ryan.  Only 1% was behind another candidate, and 7%, at that time, were undecided.

Key points:

  • Debate difference?  The presidential debate on Tuesday night has done little to change the landscape of the presidential election in Iowa.  Only 3% of likely voters say they made up their mind after the debate.  Prior to the debate, 52% of likely voters supported the president while 43% backed Romney.  One percent was behind another candidate, and 4% were undecided.  Following the debate, on Wednesday, 51% of likely voters are behind the president while 43% support Romney.  Two percent are for another candidate, and 4% are undecided.
  • Party ID.  Most Democrats who are likely to vote — 96% — favor the president while most Republicans who are likely to cast a ballot — 92% — back Romney.  Among independent likely voters, 49% rally for the president while 38% are for Romney.
  • Enthusiasm.  55% of Iowa likely voters are very enthusiastic about voting next month.  Romney’s backers — 64% — are very enthusiastic about going to the polls compared with 53% of Obama’s supporters.  Compared with NBC News/WSJ/Marist’s September survey, there has been an increase in the proportion of  likely voters who back Romney who also express a high degree of enthusiasm.  55% felt this way in the previous poll.  There has been little change among Obama’s supporters.  In September, 55% of the president’s supporters had a similar level of enthusiasm.
  • Intensity of support.  86% of Iowa likely voters are strongly committed to their choice of candidate.  13% somewhat support their pick while 1% may vote differently.  Less than 1% is unsure.  86% of Romney’s supporters are firmly in his camp while 85% of Obama’s backers strongly support him.  In September, 80% of likely voters behind Romney and 82% of Obama’s supporters reported a high level of commitment to their candidate.
  • Gender.  A gender gap exists.  57% of likely voters who are women are behind Obama compared with 39% who back Romney.  Among men who are likely to cast a ballot, Romney edges Obama — 48% to 45%.
  • Age.  Young voters favor the president.  67% of likely voters under the age of thirty support the president.  This compares with 23% who are for Romney.  Among Iowa likely voters 30 to 44, 48% back Obama while 47% are for Romney.  Among likely voters between 45 and 59, Obama has the support of 51% compared with 43% for Romney.  Obama and Romney are in a close contest — 49% to 47% — among voters who are 60 and older and likely to cast a ballot.
  • Already voted.  34% of likely voters in Iowa indicate they have already cast their ballot. Obama leads Romney — 67% to 32% — among these voters.  Romney leads Obama — 54% to 39% — among likely voters who plan to cast their ballot on Election Day.

Looking at registered voters, including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted absentee, Obama has the support of 50% compared with 43% who favor Romney.  Two percent back another candidate, and 5% are undecided.

Table: 2012 Presidential Tossup (IA Likely Voters with Leaners and Absentee)

Table: Enthusiasm to Vote (IA Likely Voters)

Table: Intensity of Support (IA Likely Voters)

Table: 2012 Presidential Tossup (IA Registered Voters with Leaners and Absentee)

Impact of the Debate

95% of likely voters say they decided on a candidate before Tuesday night’s debate.  Three percent made their choice after the matchup.  Two percent are unsure.

94% of Obama’s supporters selected him as their candidate prior to the debate while 3% did so post-debate.  Among Romney’s backers, 96% decided prior to Tuesday night’s debate while 4% made their selection following it.

How did registered voters get their information about the debate?  59% mostly watched it.  This compares with 19% who saw its news coverage.  22% neither tuned in for the debate nor watched the news reports about it.

65% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans viewed the debate firsthand.  This compares with 52% of independent voters.  22% of independents caught the news about the debate while 26% neither watched the debate nor followed its news coverage.

Looking at age, 66% of registered voters 45 years of age or older watched the debate.  This compares with just 48% of those under the age of 45 who did the same.

Table: Candidate Selection Made Before or After Debate (IA Likely Voters)

Table: Information Source for First Presidential Debate (IA Registered Voters)

Majority Views Obama Favorably… Romney’s Image Still in Need of a Makeover

54% of likely voters in Iowa have a positive impression of President Obama while 43% do not.    Three percent are unsure.

In NBC News/WSJ/Marist’s September survey, 53% of Iowa likely voters had a favorable view of Obama while 42% had an unfavorable one.  Five percent, at that time, were unsure.

Romney’s favorability rating is still upside down.  51% of likely voters have an unfavorable opinion of him while 44% have a favorable one.  Five percent are unsure.

In September, half of likely voters — 50% — had an unfavorable view of Romney while 42% had a favorable one.  Eight percent were unsure.

Table: President Barack Obama Favorability (IA Likely Voters)

Table: Mitt Romney Favorability (IA Likely Voters)

A Look at the Vice Presidential Candidates

Likely voters in Iowa divide about Vice President Joe Biden.  47% have a favorable view of him while 46% have an unfavorable one.  Eight percent are unsure.

When NBC News/WSJ/Marist reported this question last month, 44% of Iowa likely voters thought well of Biden.  This compares with 43% who had an unfavorable impression of him.  13%, at that time, were unsure.

44% of likely voters have a favorable opinion of Paul Ryan.  However, 45% have an unfavorable view of the candidate.  11% are unsure.

In September, 40% of Iowa likely voters had a positive view of Ryan.  43% did not, and 17% had either never heard of him or were unsure how to rate him.

Table: Vice President Joe Biden Favorability (IA Likely Voters)

Table: Paul Ryan Favorability (IA Likely Voters)

Obama and Romney Battle Over Economy…Obama Bests Romney on Foreign Policy

Which candidate will do a better job handling the U.S. economy?  46% of registered voters statewide think Obama is the candidate for the job while the same proportion — 46% — has this opinion of Romney.  Nine percent are unsure.  Among Iowa likely voters, 47% perceive the president to be stronger on the issue compared with 46% who believe Romney will turn around the nation’s economy.  Seven percent are unsure.

In September, 46% of Iowa registered voters reported Obama would better handle the economy while 42% said Romney was more capable.  11%, at the time, were unsure.

When it comes to foreign policy, Obama — 51% — outperforms Romney — 39% — among registered voters.  11% are unsure.  Likely voters share these views.  51% of this group believes Obama is better prepared to handle foreign policy issues while 40% think Romney is.  Nine percent are unsure.

In NBC News/WSJ/Marist’s previous survey in the state, 53% of registered voters said Obama was the stronger candidate in the foreign policy realm.  35%, however, thought Romney had the better plan.  12% were unsure.

Table: Candidate Who Will Do a Better Job Handling the Economy (IA Registered Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Will Do a Better Job Handling the Economy (IA Likely Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Will Do a Better Job Handling Foreign Policy (IA Registered Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Will Do a Better Job Handling Foreign Policy (IA Likely Voters)

Half Give Obama’s Job Performance Stamp of Approval

Among Iowa registered voters, 50% approve of the job President Obama is doing in office.  This compares with 43% who disapprove.  Six percent are unsure.

Last month, 49% of registered voters statewide applauded the president’s performance while 43% believed he fell short.  Eight percent, then, were unsure.

Table: President Obama Approval Rating in Iowa (IA Registered Voters)

A Nation Off Course?

When it comes to the direction of the country, 47% of registered voters in Iowa say the nation is moving in the wrong direction.  The same proportion — 47% — also thinks it is moving in the right one.  Six percent are unsure.

When NBC News/WSJ/Marist last reported this question in September, 49% believed the country needed a new compass.  However, 43% said the country was on the correct path.  Eight percent, at that time, were unsure.

Table: Right or Wrong Direction of the Country (IA Registered Voters)

How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample

5/31: Obama and Romney Tied in Iowa

In Iowa, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are in a dead heat.  Among registered voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, Obama receives 44% while Romney garners the same proportion — 44%.  Two percent support another candidate, and 10% are undecided.

map of Iowa“Both Obama and Romney are far from fifty percent in Iowa and have a lot of ground to cover,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “But, Obama’s supporters are less enthusiastic and less interested than Romney’s, and this poses a special problem for the incumbent president.”

Click Here for Complete May 31, 2012 Iowa NBC News/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete May 31, 2012 Iowa NBC News/Marist Poll Tables

Key points:

  • By party, 82% of Democrats are behind Obama while 83% of Republicans back Romney.
  • Among independent voters, Obama — 42% — and Romney — 38% — are locked in a tight contest.
  • Voters who have an excellent or good chance of voting in November divide.  46% are for Romney while 45% are for the president.
  • Among those who express a high level of enthusiasm about the presidential election, a majority of voters — 51% — are behind Romney while Obama receives 43%.  However, Obama receives majority support — 53% — among those who are moderately enthusiastic.  Among these voters, Romney garners 40%.  Voters with a low degree of enthusiasm divide.  38% back Mr. Romney compared with 35% for Mr. Obama.
  • Nearly half of those with a high level of interest in the presidential contest — 48% — are for Romney compared with 42% for the president.  Among those who express a moderate degree of interest, the president — 50% — leads Romney — 37%.  45% of Iowa voters who have low interest in the election are for Obama while 40% are for Romney.
  • A majority of voters who strongly support their choice of candidate — 54% — are for Obama compared with 46% for Romney.
  • There is a gender gap.  49% of men throw their support behind Romney while 40% are for Obama.  Among women, Obama has 48% to 39% for Romney.
  • President Obama carries Iowa voters under the age of 30.  Here, he receives 50% to 40% for Romney.  The candidates are neck and neck among older voters.  Voters between 30 and 44 back Romney 44% to 42% for Obama.  Among those 45 to 59, 45% support Romney while 44% are for Obama.  Looking at those 60 and older, 44% rally for Obama while the same proportion — 44% — backs Obama.

Table: 2012 Presidential Tossup (IA Registered Voters with Leaners)

About Two-Thirds Strongly Committed to Candidate

67% of registered voters report they strongly support their choice of candidate while 25% are somewhat committed to their choice.  Seven percent might cast their ballot differently come November, and 2% are unsure.

Key points:

  • More than seven in ten Obama supporters — 71% — are firmly in the president’s camp while 62% of those behind Romney say they will not waver in their commitment to him.

Table: Intensity of Support (IA Registered Voters)

About Four in Ten Very Enthusiastic About Voting in November

Only 38% of registered voters in Iowa are very enthusiastic about voting in November.  37% are somewhat enthusiastic while 17% are not too enthusiastic.  Eight percent are not enthusiastic at all.

Key points:

  • 46% of Romney’s supporters are very enthusiastic about going to the polls in November.  This compares with 38% of Obama’s backers who have a similar degree of enthusiasm.

Table: Enthusiasm to Vote (IA Registered Voters)

Iowa Voters Divide About Obama’s Job Performance

Looking at the president’s job rating among Iowa voters, 46% approve of how Obama is doing in office while 45% disapprove.  10% are unsure.

When NBC News/Marist last reported this question in December, 45% of voters in the state gave the president good marks while 43% thought his performance fell short.  12%, at that time, were unsure.

Table: President Obama Approval Rating in Iowa (IA Registered Voters)

Voters Divide Over Candidates’ Favorability

Nearly half of Iowa’s registered voters — 48% — have a favorable view of the president while 45% have an unfavorable view of him.  Seven percent are unsure.

Voters also divide about what they think about Romney.  43% perceive him positively while 43% have a lesser impression of Romney.  15% are unsure.

Table: President Barack Obama Favorability (IA Registered Voters)

Table: Mitt Romney Favorability (IA Registered Voters)

Plurality Says Candidate’s Stance on Same-Sex Marriage Has Little Impact on Vote

34% of Iowa’s electorate report they are more likely to vote for Romney because he opposes same-sex marriage while 22% say they are more likely to cast their ballot for Obama because he supports same-sex marriage.  However, 42% state a candidate’s position on same-sex marriage does not make much difference to their vote.  Three percent are undecided.

Table: Impact of Candidate’s Stance on Same-Sex Marriage (IA Registered Voters)

Economy Tops Social Issues on Many Voters’ Priority List

When it comes to deciding their vote, 71% of voters in Iowa say the economy carries more weight than social issues.  This compares with 22% who report social issues trump the economy.  Seven percent are unsure.

When it comes to the candidate who will do a better job handling the economy, 46% think Romney is the candidate who is better skilled to do so while 41% believe Obama is.  13% are unsure.

Looking at the candidate who comes closer to voters’ views on social issues, there is a divide.  45% say Obama better reflects their position while 43% report Romney shares their stance.  12% are unsure.

On other issues:

  • 50% of Iowa voters think Obama will do a better job handling foreign policy.  This compares with 36% who have this opinion of Romney.  14% are unsure.
  • Half of voters — 50% — believe Obama is the candidate who best understands voters’ problems.  This compares with 38% for Romney.  13% are unsure.
  • A majority of the electorate — 52% — reports Romney will do a better job reducing the national debt while 34% think Obama is better equipped to do so.  14% are unsure.

Table: Which is More Important When Deciding Your Vote, the Economy or Social Issues (IA Registered Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Will Do a Better Job Handling the Economy (IA Registered Voters)

Table: Candidate Who More Closely Reflects Views on Social Issues (IA Registered Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Will Do a Better Job Handling Foreign Policy (IA Registered Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Best Understands Voters’ Problems (IA Registered Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Will Do a Better Job Reducing the National Debt (IA Registered Voters)

Economy Inherited, Says Nearly Six in Ten

57% of registered voters in Iowa think President Obama mostly inherited the nation’s current economic conditions.  34%, though, report the state of the economy is mostly a result of the president’s own policies.  Nine percent are unsure.

What does the future hold for the U.S. economy?  A majority of voters are optimistic.  55% believe the worst is over while 36% think there is more bad news ahead.  Nine percent are unsure.

In the next year, nearly half of voters — 49% — say the economy will be about the same as it is now.  This compares with 31% who think the economy will get better and 16% who believe it will get worse.  Four percent are unsure.

When it comes to the personal finances of Iowa voters, more than six in ten — 61% — say they will be status quo in the coming year.  27% state their family’s money matters will improve while 12% think they will get worse.

Table: Current Economic Conditions Inherited (IA Registered Voters)

Table: U.S. Economy — Will It Get Worse? (IA Registered Voters)

Table: The U.S. Economy in the Next Year (IA Registered Voters)

Table: Family Finances in the Coming Year (IA Registered Voters)

Gotta’ Get Back on Track, Says Majority

54% of Iowa voters believe things in the nation are off on the wrong track.  39% disagree and say they are headed in the right direction.  Six percent are unsure.

Table: Right or Wrong Direction of the Country (IA Registered Voters)

How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample

1/3: Pollster Spin for Wednesday Morning

January 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Election Blogs, Featured, Lee Miringoff

Dear Pollsters, Pols, and Press,

caricature of Lee Miringoff

As you head to New Hampshire, I thought I’d save you time by providing a little pre-caucus, post-caucus pollster spin.

Case #1: Why our Iowa polls were actually very, very accurate really.

1.       We interviewed over 3,000 people to eventually distill the number down to a reasonable sample of likely Iowa caucus-goers.  The model of likely participants turned out so well we plan to issue a patent.  On second thought, we will maintain our policy of transparency and disclosure.  I’m also wondering if the combined number of likely participants identified by all of the Iowa pre-caucus polls exceeded the actual number of caucus-goers.

2.       Although it is expensive and time-consuming, we interviewed a large number of cell phone only households.   Not calling cell phones is another element of risk in what is already a very difficult polling environment.  Is it true that every Ron Paul supporter only owns a cell phone?

3.       Quality interviewers and repeated callbacks are best practices.  Iowans are getting bombarded by robo-calls.  Many would simply prefer to celebrate the holidays without having to answer our or anyone else’s survey.

4.       The golden rule in presidential caucus/primary polling is “knowledge rules.”  As the campaign goes from state to state, who can vote varies.  In Iowa, independents and Democrats may declare their GOP partisan intentions and participate.  Not so, everywhere.

5.       Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure.  Everyone can see how our poll was conducted.  Visit Maristpoll.marist.edu

Unfortunately,   despite doing all of the above and a lot more methodological gymnastics to measure Iowa GOPers intentions…

Case #2: Why our Iowa polls were ever so slightly a tiny bit off

1.       We can’t help it if the candidates and campaigns continued to seek voter support for five days after we finished our interviews.  (This is a slightly resentful restatement of the “snapshot theory,” namely that a poll is accurate only at the time it is taken.)

2.       Those who told us they “might vote differently” in our final poll clearly did.  (Again, this is a slightly hostile restatement of the “intensity theory,” namely, that a poll needs to consider the intensity of voter support for a candidate.)  If you’re not firmly committed, then, you might reconsider your preference or decide not to caucus.  And, there is, after all, the Sugar Bowl on caucus night that might prove to be an attractive alternative for college football fans.

3.       Undecided voters must have mostly opted for the eventual winner.  This is a traditionally useful ruse for pollster spinners.  The undecided, decided!

4.       There is strength in numbers (not a pollster pun), and misery definitely loves company.  The polls have mostly been reporting similar findings throughout the Iowa campaign.  In fact, during the final week, the polls conducted by NBC News/Marist, CNN/Time, and the Des Moines Register were all on the same page.  (We all did separate interviews, honest.)

5.       A word of caution before jumping onto the why the polls were wrong bandwagon.  In a contest where the top tier was barely distinguishable from the second tier, small changes in voter preferences could upset the applecart.  A lot of emphasis on the order of finish, for example, was based on “differences” that fell well within a poll’s margin of error.

A couple of closing thoughts as you land in Manchester.  Given that the final pre-caucus polls were alike, there was a needless poll-liferation of surveys in Iowa, or so the argument goes.  But, methods used by different polling organizations do vary even if their results sometimes do not.  Good polls contribute to the narrative of the campaign and the Iowa polls did just that, chronicling a memorable roller coaster ride with as many as five different candidates occupying the lead car at one point.

It has often been said that predictions are difficult especially about the future.  (By the way, this is often mistakenly attributed to Casey Stengel or Yogi Berra when, in fact, the Danish physicist Niels Borh is its earlier author, and you can look it up!)  So, there’s no need for my fellow psephologists (look that one up, too) to wipe away any tears. There’s no crying in polling, either.  We perform admirably and often exceed what meteorologists and seismologists do!  If the methods are fully disclosed, then the public and the media are “let in on the secret” of what the private campaign pollsters are using to shape their campaign strategies.  In that way, public polls contribute to an informed electorate.

Safe Travels,

Lee  M. Miringoff, director of the Marist Poll or,

Lee M. Mirin-goof, depending upon how things went

 

12/30: Romney, Paul Battle for Lead in Iowa…Santorum Surges, Perry in Mix, Gingrich Stumbles

December 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Election 2012, Featured, NBC News/Marist Poll

With just days until the Iowa caucus, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are in a virtual dead heat.  Romney receives the support of 23% to Paul’s 21%, well within this NBC News/Marist Poll’s margin of error, among likely Republican caucus-goers including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate.  Rick Santorum who was in single digits earlier this month has bounced into the pack along with Rick Perry.  Newt Gingrich, ahead in NBC News/Marist’s early December survey, has seen his support cut by just more than half.

Iowa flag

©istockphoto.com/FreeTransform

Click Here for Complete December 30, 2011 Iowa NBC News/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete December 30, 2011 Iowa NBC News/Marist Poll Tables

Here is how the contest stands among likely Republican caucus-goers including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and the difference from earlier this month:

  • 23% for Mitt Romney (+4)
  • 21% for Ron Paul (+2)
  • 15% for Rick Santorum (+9)
  • 14% for Rick Perry (+4)
  • 13% for Newt Gingrich (-15)
  • 6% for Michele Bachmann (-1)
  • 2% for Jon Huntsman (No change)
  • 7% are undecided (-2)

“There has been a lot of movement in the past month,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “This is a contest that is very unsettled.”

In NBC News/Marist’s survey in early December, 28% of likely Republican caucus-goers including leaners supported Gingrich followed by Paul and Romney who each received 19%.  Perry garnered 10% of participants’ support while 7% favored Bachmann.  Santorum received 6%, and 2% were for Huntsman.  Nine percent, at the time, were undecided.

Among the larger pool of potential Republican caucus-goers including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 23% back Romney compared with 20% for Paul.  Perry receives the support of 14% as does Gingrich.  12% are behind Santorum while 5% rally for Bachmann and 2% support Huntsman.  10% are undecided.

Key points:

  • Among likely Republican caucus-goers who are conservative or very conservative including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 21% are for Romney  compared with 18% for Santorum and the same proportion — 18% — for Paul.
  • Paul — 28% — and Romney — 27% — vie for the lead among those who are liberal or moderate.
  • Looking at Tea Party supporters overall, Santorum receives 20% compared with 17% for Romney and the same proportion — 17% — for Paul.  Gingrich garners 16% of these participants.  However, among those who are strong supporters of the Tea Party, Gingrich and Santorum each receive 22%.
  • Among likely Republican caucus-goers who do not support the Tea Party, Romney — 27% — edges Paul — 24%.
  • Nearly one in four likely Republican caucus-goers who are Evangelical Christians – 24% – back Santorum.  This compares with 21% for Perry.
  • Looking at age, 38% of likely Republican caucus-goers under 30 years old and 22% of those 30 to 44 years old back Paul.  Among those 45 to 59 years old, it’s Romney with 23% and Santorum and Paul who each receive 19%.  Romney — 29% — does the best among those who are 60 and older.

Table: 2012 Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus (IA Likely Caucus-Goers Including Leaners)

Table: 2012 Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus (IA Potential Republican Electorate Including Leaners)

Majority Firmly Committed to Candidate, but Many Remain Uncertain

With the clock ticking down to the caucus, only 53% of likely Republican caucus-goers report they strongly support their choice of candidate.  33% say they are somewhat committed to their pick, and 13% think they might vote differently on Tuesday.  Only 2% are unsure.

There has been an increase in the proportion of voters who say they will not waver in their support.  When NBC News/Marist last reported this question in early December, 40% said they were firmly behind their choice.  The same proportion — 40% — was somewhat committed to their candidate while 19% said they could change their mind.  Only 1%, at that time, was unsure.

Key points:

  • Nearly six in ten likely Republican caucus-goers who support Santorum – 59% — are firmly committed to him.  This compares with 54% of Paul’s backers, 52% of those who rally for Perry, and 51% of those who are behind Romney.  46% of Gingrich’s supporters express a similar level of support.

Table: Intensity of Support (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Romney, Perry Top List as Second Choice

When it comes to the second choice of likely Republican caucus-goers who have a candidate preference, 21% pick Romney while Perry is the second selection of 20%.  Santorum receives 15% followed by Gingrich with 13%.  Bachmann is next with 11% followed closely by Paul with 9%.  Huntsman is the second pick of 3%, and 8% are undecided.

Key points:

  • Romney is the second choice of 38% of Gingrich’s backers, 34% of Paul’s supporters, and 25% of those behind Perry.
  • Perry — 35% — is the second choice of those who support Santorum.
  • Among those who back Romney, there is little consensus.  20% pick Gingrich as their second choice, 19% select Santorum, and 18% choose Perry.

Table: Second Choice for the Republican Presidential Caucus (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Santorum, Paul Considered to be True Conservatives, but Gingrich Perceived to Be Best Debate Match for Obama

When it comes to the candidate who is the true conservative in the race, 23% of likely Republican caucus-goers believe Santorum deserves that title followed closely by Paul with 21%.  16% say Bachmann is the true conservative while 11% have this view of Perry.  Seven percent believe Romney is the real conservative, and 6% say the same about Gingrich.  Only 2% categorize Huntsman in this way.  Four percent say none of the candidates deserve this title, and 9% are undecided.

However, when it comes to the best debater against President Barack Obama, 37% believe Gingrich is the best opponent.  Here, Romney follows with 26%.  13% think Paul can best debate the president compared with 7% for Perry.  Four percent think Bachmann is the best debate match against the president compared with 3% who have this view of Santorum.  Just 1% gives Huntsman top debate honors while 2% believe none of the candidates can adequately take on the president in a debate.  Seven percent are undecided.

Which is more important to likely Republican caucus-goers?  A majority — 54% — want a Republican nominee who is a true conservative while 39% prefer one who can best battle it out with Obama in the debates.  Seven percent are unsure.

Table: Candidate Considered True Conservative (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Candidate who Can Best Debate President Barack Obama (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Which is More Important, a Candidate who is a True Conservative or One Who Can Best Debate President Obama? (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Romney, Santorum Considered Acceptable Candidates…Loss of Confidence in Gingrich

Half of likely Republican caucus-goers — 50% — think Romney is an acceptable candidate for the GOP nomination.  27% share this view but have reservations while 21% say he is an unacceptable choice.  Three percent are unsure.  In NBC News/Marist’s previous survey in Iowa, fewer than half — 46% — thought Romney fit the bill.

When looking at Santorum’s acceptability, 49% believe he is a good fit for the role while 22% report he will do, but they have some concerns.  The same proportion — 22% — says Santorum is an unacceptable pick, and 7% are unsure.

When it comes to Perry, there has been a slight increase in the proportion of likely Republican caucus-goers who believe he is an acceptable choice for the nomination.  44% have this view while 29% say the same but with concerns.  24% think Perry is not a good match for the role, and 4% are unsure.  Perry was perceived to be an acceptable choice by 38% in NBC News/Marist’s previous survey in Iowa.

Likely Republican caucus-goers are more uncertain about Bachmann’s acceptability.  Here, 37% say Bachmann is a good fit for the nomination while 25% agree but have hesitations.  34%, however, think Bachmann is an unacceptable choice, and 3% are unsure.

Looking at Paul, 35% believe he is a good fit for the role while 21% agree but with reservations.  41% say he is an unacceptable pick, and 3% are unsure.  Earlier this month, 38% of likely Republican caucus-goers thought Paul was a good match for the GOP nomination.

Gingrich has slipped from grace in the eyes of likely Republican caucus-goers.  35% think Gingrich is a good fit for the nomination.  28% report he is acceptable for the role, but they have some reservations.  35%, however, say he is an unacceptable choice, and 3% are unsure.  Earlier this month, Gingrich was the only candidate in the GOP field perceived by a majority of likely Republican caucus-goers — 54% — to be a good fit for the nomination with only 16% describing him as not acceptable.

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Romney (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Santorum (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Perry (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Bachmann (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Paul (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Gingrich (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Shared Values Tops List of Participants’ Priorities

What matters most to likely Republican caucus-goers?  Three in ten — 30% — want a candidate who shares their values while 28% think electability is the most important factor.  23% prefer a candidate who is closest to them on the issues while 15% want someone with the experience to govern.  Four percent are unsure.

There has been a change on this question.  In NBC News/Marist’s early December survey, more than three in ten likely Republican caucus-goers — 31% — wanted a candidate who was closest to them on the issues while 29% desired someone who shared their values.  Electability was key for 21% of likely Republican caucus-goers, and 16% preferred a candidate with experience.  Two percent, at that time, were unsure.

Key points:

  • Santorum — 25% — has surged among those who want a candidate who shares their values.  Paul receives 21% from this group of participants.
  • Romney — 34% — has the advantage among those who value electability in a candidate.  Gingrich trails behind with 18% of these likely Republican caucus-goers followed by Perry with 16%.
  • Romney also does well among those who want a candidate who has the experience to govern.  Here, 29% back Romney compared with 22% for Paul and 19% for Gingrich.
  • Among those who prefer a candidate who is closest to them on the issues, Paul leads with 34% to 23% for Romney.

Table: Most Important Quality in a Republican Presidential Candidate (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Getting to Know the Candidates

The candidates are making their final pitch to caucus-goers in Iowa.  In the last month, 86% of likely Republican caucus-goers report being contacted by at least one of the campaigns.

The proportions of likely Republican caucus-goers who have been contacted by each of the following:

  • 72% Paul campaign
  • 69% Perry campaign
  • 68% Romney campaign
  • 68% Gingrich campaign
  • 62% Bachmann campaign
  • 44% Santorum campaign

Table: Contacted by a Campaign during the Last Month (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Contacted by Paul Campaign during the Last Month (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Contacted by Perry Campaign during the Last Month (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Contacted by Romney Campaign during the Last Month (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Contacted by Gingrich Campaign during the Last Month (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Contacted by Bachmann Campaign during the Last Month (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Contacted by Santorum Campaign during the Last Month (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Most in Iowa Do Not Want Palin or Bush to Run

Sarah Palin recently said there is still time for a Republican candidate to enter the race for the GOP nomination.  Do likely Republican caucus-goers want Palin to jump in?  81% do not while 14% do.  Six percent are unsure.

A run by Jeb Bush is only slightly more acceptable.  70% do not want Bush to enter the contest while 17% do.  13% are unsure.

Table: Sarah Palin 2012 Presidential Run (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Jeb Bush 2012 Presidential Run (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Majority Believes Mormons are Christians

55% of likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa believe a Mormon is a Christian while 45% think a Mormon is not a Christian, or they are unsure.

Earlier this month, the same proportions shared these views.  A majority of likely Republican caucus-goers — 55% — reported a Mormon was a Christian while 45% thought the opposite or were unsure.

Key points:

  • While Romney — 30% — is ahead among those who think a Mormon is a Christian, Paul — 20% — edges Santorum — 18% — and Perry — 16% — among those who believe a Mormon is not a Christian or are unsure.  Gingrich receives 14% of these participants compared with 13% for Romney.

Table: Are Mormons Christians? (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Obama’s Job Approval Rating at 45%

Voters divide about President Obama’s job approval rating.  45% of registered voters in Iowa approve of the job the president is doing in office while 43% disapprove, and 12% are unsure.

Views of the president’s performance in office have flipped.  In NBC News/Marist’s previous survey in Iowa, 43% approved while 46% disapproved.  12%, at the time, were unsure.

Table: President Obama Approval Rating in Iowa (IA Registered Voters)

NBC News/Marist Poll Methodology

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