car with electric cord

A Perfect Storm for EVs

Gas prices are on the rise and so are electric vehicle (EV) sales. Has the price at the pump given the EV industry a way to appeal to the average consumer? On June 11th, the ... Read Now >


7/23: Same Old, Same Old?

By Dr. Lee M. Miringoff

The latest McClatchy-Marist national poll has nothing but bad news for President Obama and Congress.  Surprising? Not really.  It’s more of the same….only more so.  Six months into his second term, President Obama’s approval rating is at a two-year low at 41%.  His GOP counterparts in Congress are scraping bottom at their lowest point with a 22% approval rating.  Congressional Democrats are only slightly better at 33%.  That’s certainly nothing to write home about to their constituents either.

caricature of Lee MiringoffIt doesn’t get any prettier drilling down into the numbers.  For President Obama, his decline from a previous poll at the end of March is across-the-board.  It is most pronounced among moderate and independent voters, but he is also taking a major hit from young voters and the Latino community.   Also, by two to one, voters nationwide wide think we are headed in the wrong direction.

President Obama’s second term began with the promise of gun control, immigration reform, and climate change.  Instead, voters have been offered the Benghazi controversy, Snowden and privacy invasion, an unsettled Middle East, and a lingering discussion over health care.

As for Congress, the nation is fed up with gridlock.  Nearly two-thirds want compromise, not a dig your feet in the sand “stand on principle.”  Even Republican voters by 50% to 41% want the legislative process to move forward.

What’s a president to do?  He cannot change the political realities of a divided Congress and a divided nation, but he always fares better when he gets outside the Beltway battles and talks about the economy.  So, off he goes starting Wednesday to Knox College where he gave his maiden speech on this national concern in 2005.

The theme is likely to be a familiar one, focusing on the middle class and opportunity.  It’s a message he carried successsfully throughout the  2008 campaign and his re-election effort last year.  He’s banking that a return to this theme and a series of campaign mode events will restart his stalled second term.

7/11: Forgive and Fuhgeddaboudit?

By Dr. Lee M. Miringoff

In case you need to be reminded from time to time, New York news is national news. But, New York City pols may be overdoing it this election cycle. With Michael Bloomberg exiting City Hall after three terms, a crowded race for mayor was a given. But, the return of Anthony Weiner from political exile following his sexting scandal created an enormous shock wave even by New York standards.

caricature of Lee MiringoffHaven’t had enough? This week disgraced former Governor Eliot Spitzer launched his own frantic campaign for city comptroller. But, if New York Democrats are experiencing candidate redemption overload, they’re hiding it well.

In the latest NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist Polls, both Weiner and Spitzer have demonstrated significant voter appeal. Democrats seem willing to grant these two a second chance to make a first impression. Presumably, it won’t resemble the impressions that chased each from elected office and extinguished what were expected to be long and successful political careers.

There are similarities and differences in how Weiner and Spitzer arrived at this place. But, for each, the foundation anchoring their return to politics may be that some voters discount these scandals as the basis for deciding their vote. Instead, they are of the opinion that most politicians have skeletons in their closet. Does that make Weiner and Spitzer sex scandal proof? Does this now mark the end of the political sex scandal in electoral politics?

Don’t be too hasty in jumping to these conclusions. Weiner at 25% may make the runoff in a crowded primary field, but he’ll have to double his current level of support to secure his party’s nomination. Spitzer at 42% needs to reach 50% in the primary against his sole opponent. In other words, they both have a significant amount of convincing to do.

Voters who are not really focusing on these contests will sharpen their gaze in the weeks ahead. And, for Weiner and Spitzer that will represent the true test of whether they can survive their scandals and avoid a political meltdown under the hot lights of Broadway.

6/26: Will the New York City Mayor’s Race Come Down to the Buzzer?

By Dr. Lee M. Miringoff

For those watching the Bruins/Blackhawks Stanley Cup final the other night or game six of the NBA championship, the lesson learned is to stay in your seat until the very end.  That may also be the case with the NYC Democratic Primary for Mayor.   Nonetheless, the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC New York/Marist Poll shows some interesting dynamics that deserve attention.

caricature of Lee MiringoffAnthony Weiner has weathered the first phase of his return to electoral politics, and is now in front with 25% of Democrats’ support.  His 34% positive rating from last February has now become 52%.  Would Democrats consider voting for Weiner?  In April, his numbers were upside down with 46% saying “yes” but 50% saying “no.”  Now, his numbers are right side up with 53% of Democrats telling us they’d consider voting for Weiner to only 41% who won’t.

And then, there’s the decline in support for Christine Quinn.  She remains popular with  most Democrats.  In fact, her favorable/unfavorable rating is roughly two-to-one positive.  But, it has dropped.  In February, 65% of Democrats rated her favorably to only 17% who had a negative view of her.  Now, her positive rating has fallen to 57%, and her negatives have climbed to 29%.  Not too shabby but she now occupies second place among Democrats.  She’s no longer the frontrunner.

Bill Thompson, who narrowly lost to Bloomberg last time, is in third place currently with 13% of the Democratic vote.  But, he’s a factor to be watched as the field hopes to advance to the runoff.  His positive score has jumped from 52% last month to 60% currently.  In a runoff against either Quinn or Weiner, Thompson is neck-and-neck.

Movement, yes.  But, the race remains wide open with 18% of Democrats saying they are undecided, and only 36% firmly committed to a candidate.  If, as expected, this ends up a low turnout primary, then the ability of a candidate to turn out his or her base will be crucial.  That mobilization is not likely to be evident until the closing weeks of the campaign when voters are paying more attention.  Until then, these political playoffs remain very much an active contest.

4/11: The Misconceptions about Aging

What are the top five myths about getting older?  A new survey undertaken by Home Instead Senior Care and The Marist Poll highlights some surprising realities of aging.

For the results, click here.


Photo of students working in the Marist Poll phone room

In Their Own Words: MIPO’s Student Workers

Do you want to know what it’s like to be part of a winning team?  The Marist Poll’s student pollsters reflect on their experiences below.

Click on the videos to learn more.

3/27: A Profile of Eric Nadel

By John Sparks
So what happens when a young Jewish boy from Brooklyn decides not to follow his father’s footsteps into dentistry?  The dental profession’s loss is baseball’s gain.  For more than three decades Eric Nadel has been the radio voice of the Texas Rangers.  For the last two years, Nadel has been a finalist for the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford Frick Award presented to a broadcaster for major contributions to baseball.

Marist Poll Senior Editor John Sparks caught up with Nadel at the Rangers Spring Training site in Surprise, Arizona.  Watch the video below.

3/13: The Latest from Spring Training

By John Sparks

What does Major League Baseball’s American League West look like this year?  What are the chances of the Los Angeles Angels, and what are the odds they will face-off against the Dodgers in the World Series?

The Marist Poll’s John Sparks is in Peoria, Arizona with the latest.  View his discussion with Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion:

3/11: The Marist Poll Goes to Spring Training

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is still a few weeks away, journalists and sports fans alike flock to Spring Training games. Among them is Senior Editor for the Marist Poll website, John Sparks!

What’s the latest from the field in Surprise, Arizona?  MIPO’s Director Lee M. Miringoff spoke with Sparks via Skype about today’s sights and sounds. Check out the video:

2/20: A “Fair” Assessment

By Dr. Lee M. Miringoff

It might be said that in polling you get what you ask for.  That’s the case in the word choice of questions that measure the approval rating of an elected official.  Different polling organizations use different approaches.  For more than three decades, The Marist Poll, has relied upon a four-point question asking respondents to pick from “excellent, good, fair, or poor.”  “Excellent” and “good” in this measure are combined as a positive score.

caricature of Lee Miringoff

In the interest of transparency, all of our poll results are released publicly sometimes creating a poll-watchers give-and-take.  This is the case in the minor dust-up in our latest NYC measure of Mayor Bloomberg.  Some have argued that our measure undercounts how well the mayor is doing because some voters who say “fair” have a positive view of his job performance.

Several points need to be made.  First, we recognize that many voters who believe that Mayor Bloomberg is doing a “fair” job would tell us, if asked, they “approve” of his job performance.  Therefore, on a two-point approve-disapprove question, his job performance would be scored somewhat higher than it is on our four-point measure. But, a two-point measure, which includes some “fair” responses as positive, represents exceedingly tepid support for the mayor and nothing you would want to build a campaign around if you are seeking to replace him next year.  It inflates his standing for 2013 beyond his campaign value.

Second, an approval rating with a four-point measure offers a look at the intensity of voters’ views… the “excellents” and the “poors.”  And, because of our long history of polling New York public officials, we can provide trend data on this question.  Third, the combined “excellent” and “good” responses can serve as a barometer of an office holder’s re-election prospects.

In the case of Mayor Bloomberg this election year, it’s a useful way to assess the potential impact of his endorsement or whether a candidate is helped or harmed by being too closely identified with him.  The results from this Marist Poll of Mayor Blomberg’s approval rating is 50%.  In fact, when New Yorkers are asked specifically whether his endorsement would make them more likely to vote for a candidate, 36% say “yes” and 44% say “no.”

The Mayor need not apologize for a decent approval rating as he approaches a dozen years in office.  But, these numbers suggest that candidates this year will not be running on the mantle of anything that resembles making their election Bloomberg’s fourth term.  Among the Democrats, City Council Speaker Quinn will need to deftly pick and choose from the city’s accomplishments.  For the other Democratic candidates, it requires them to both try to tie Quinn to the mayor while separating themselves from the pack of alternatives. The mayor’s influence is not much different for candidates vying for the Republican nomination.  It’s Rudy Giuliani’s endorsement that matters for the GOP nod.

2/20: From Undergrad to Grad: A Different Perspective from The Marist Poll

Mike Conte has a unique insight into The Marist Poll.  As an undergraduate, the now 23-year-old Conte had a successful tenure at The Marist Poll.  And, while he received his bachelor’s degree in business marketing from Marist College last spring, Conte is back at the Institute, working as a graduate assistant while he pursues his MBA.

Michael Conte

As a high school student, the Connecticut native always envisioned himself sitting in a corner office in a large skyscraper someday.  But, he never thought he would become a political enthusiast.  While Conte acknowledges a mild interest in politics before attending Marist College, he attributes the spark to his time at the Institute.

“I was broke.  Every night I volunteered to work…and a lot was the Obama-McCain [race],” he recalls.

So, why then pursue a job at The Marist Poll?  For Conte, the initial appeal was that near universal factor that unites many college students – money.  But, beyond the financial component, Conte saw an added benefit to The Marist Poll.  It was a way to expand his circle of friends.

“It’s a great place.  There are so many kids who work here from different majors, also, not just one.  So, you really just meet a diversity of different students,” he states.

Additionally, Conte recognized the possibility for advancement at the poll.  Once inside the door, he quickly rose through the ranks at the Institute.  He volunteered for extra shifts, got to know The Marist Poll staff, and soon applied for position of supervisor.  And when he was offered the higher position of Poll Assist instead, a pleasantly surprised Conte, jumped at the chance.  The position, which requires working in the Marist Poll office, allowed him the opportunity to gain knowledge of the inner workings of The Marist Poll.  At the time, the, then, undergrad was working a second on-campus job, but left in order to devote more time to The Marist Poll.  It was a position Conte would hold from sophomore year until he graduated.

But, why return to the Marist Poll after graduation?  For Conte, it was a realization he had before his senior year.  In the summer of 2011, Conte interned at a large retail corporation.  Despite the lucrative financial opportunities such a position would provide, it lacked one very important thing.

“I just realized it was a good life.  It was good money, but it wasn’t what I was personally interested in,” Conte reveals.  “I realized I actually work at a place at school that I’m truly interested in the subject material.”

As for Conte’s professional aspirations after he receives his degree, Conte hopes to find employment in marketing or survey research at a large firm.  Not one to sit by the sidelines, the 23-year-old pictures himself at a company with lots of room for advancement.  And, he believes his time at The Marist Poll has prepared him well for those future endeavors.

“I think just the amount of background that I now have in research itself will definitely help me to be more of an attractive candidate so I won’t just be a resume in a stack,” Conte asserts.  “I will be a resume with real, true life experience in the field I am applying for, and all that experience came from The Marist Poll.”

In the meantime, this graduate assistant is content drawing upon his undergraduate experiences to help advance the goals of the Institute.  Conte says he often acts as an intermediary between the current undergraduate students and the full-time Marist Poll staff.  And, he offers one important piece of advice to those incoming freshman who are just learning about The Marist Poll.

“Just have a good attitude about it and know that you will get out of it what you [put] into it.”