Celinda Lake, Lake Research Partners Washington, DC | Berkeley, CA | New York, NY| Phoenix, AZ www.lakeresearch.com 202.776.9066 The 2010 Political Landscape and the Influence of Indian American on Politics A presentation for the Indian American Leadership Initiative July 24, 2010
The Lay of the Land As voters continue to see little progress on jobs and the economy, they are increasingly likely to say the country is headed in the wrong direction and are also more critical of both the President’s and Congress’ job performance.
More than half of Americans are pessimistic about the direction of the country—fewer than during the Bush years, but negativity persists as the economic crisis drags on. *Zogby . N=8,487 Likely 2010 Voters nationwide – July 16-19, 2010. Wrong direction*: 56% Right track: 35%
Americans are divided on how they express their emotions about the way things are going in the country. A plurality say they feel hopeful. One-fifth express anger. 46% Positive 51% Negative Emotions About Way Things Are Going in Country LRP/Tarrance Battleground, April 2010
Nationally, voters are mixed on the job President Obama is doing, but they are starting to trend negative. Disapprove*: 44% Approve: 44% *CBS News: National survey of 966 adults – July 9-12, 2010
Voters are unified in their contempt for Congress—two thirds of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing. Disapprove*: 65% Approve: 12% *YouGov/Polimetrix. 7/10-13/10. N=1,000 adults nationwide.
Perceptions of the parties’ strength are as polarized as the political environment. Voters trust the Democrats over the Republicans on health care, creating jobs, turning the economy around, and reforming Wall Street. Republican advantages include controlling spending, holding down taxes, and promoting a strong national defense. Source: LRP/Tarrance Group Battleground Survey. April 5-8, 2010. N=1,000 Registered likely voters nationwide. Who do you trust to handle . . . -29 -28 -21 -24 -22 -12 -14 -9 +20 +9 +4 +9 -6 +5 +3 +8 +5 +6 +16 +14 +39 +17 Net Among Inds Net Among All
Americans have equally unfavorable attitudes toward the two major parties – intensity is key. Americans are divided about the Tea Party Movement, but one-quarter are unsure how they feel about it. Source: The Economist /YouGov Poll. N=1000 adults nationwide – July 3-6, 2010. Not Sure 10 10 25
After voting for change in 2006 and then again in 2008, voters doubt the capability of their elected leaders to make progress on the most important problems facing the nation. Voters are reporting that they rarely trust that the government will do what is right – a more critical element to maintaining a progressive majority than it is to creating a conservative one. Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, National Journal, Society for Human Resource Management. June 24-27, 2010. N=1001 adults nationwide. *Darker colors indicate intensity
Contours of the 2010 Electorate Democrats and Republicans currently tie in the generic vote, but Republicans have an advantage in enthusiasm. Women are still voting Democratic, but at lower rates than at this point in the last election cycle.
The Cook Political Report identifies 11 Senate races that are toss-ups heading into the 2010 midterms. Six are held by Democrats and five are held by Republicans. Only three of those races have an elected incumbent on the November ballot. WA: Patty Murray (D)* NV: Harry Reid (D) * CO: Michael Bennet (D) FL: George LeMieux (R) IL: Roland Burris (D) NH: Judd Gregg (R) PA: Arlen Spector (D) KY: Jim Bunning (R) AR: Blanche Lincoln (D)* MO: Kirk Bond (R) OH: George Voinovich (R) Cook Political Report Cook Political Report Toss-Up Senate Races *= Elected Incumbent
On the House side, Cook identifies 60 Democratic seats that are considered competitive with 28 of them considered toss-ups. There are six competitive Republican seats with three considered toss-ups. Republicans need 40 seats to regain control of the House. However, the good news is that House Democrats have won their special elections this year showing they know how to turn out the right voters and speak to issues that can persuade them. House Democratic Toss-Ups House Republican Toss-Ups Cook Political Report Harry Teague NM-3 Open NH-2 Carol Shea-Porter NH-1 Dina Titus NV-3 Travis Childers MS-1 Mark Schauer MI-7 Open MI-1 Frank Kratovil MD-1 Baron Hill IN-9 Bill Foster IL-14 Suzanne Kosmas FL-24 Alan Grayson FL-8 Betsy Markey CO-4 Open AR-1 Representative District Joseph Cao LA-2 Open IL-20 Charles Djou HI-1 Rep. District Representative District Open WI-7 Open WV-1 Open WA-3 Tom Perriello VA-5 Glenn Nye VA-2 Chet Edwards TX-17 Open TN-8 Paul Kanjorski PA-11 Open PA-7 Mary Jo Kilroy OH-15 Steve Driehaus OH-1 Earl Pomeroy ND-AL Larry Kissell NC-8 Michael Arcuri NY-24
Cook identifies 18 toss-up gubernatorial races. Republicans will be defending 10 competitive governor’s seats while Democrats will be defending seven. Again, only two seats have incumbents on the November ballot. Cook Political Report Toss-Up Gubernatorial Races R R R R R R R R R D D D D D D D D I Cook Political Report
Nationally, Democrats and Republicans are tied in the 2010 generic Congressional ballot. Historical trends show this may lead to sizeable seat gains for Republicans in Congress. *Zogby . N=8,487 Likely 2010 Voters nationwide – July 16-19, 2010.
Historical data shows the President’s party loses, on average, 28 seats in the midterm. Bill Clinton lost 54 seats in 1994 – a political environment with some striking similarities to today. The impeachment in 1998 and 9/11 in 2001 changed the dynamics from a typical off-year election
Conservative leaning demographic groups — such as white voters, seniors, Republicans, and men—are much more energized at this point in the cycle. Progressive groups are less enthused. Source: GWU Battleground. April, 2010
Notably, half of voters are ready to start over and replace all members of Congress. The reality is this is the third consecutive change-oriented electorate. Either you bring change or you get caught with the wave. Source: NBC News, Wall Street Journal. June 17-21, 2010. 1000 adults nationwide.
Immigration Americans want federal action on immigration and they want it now. Americans can hold contradictory attitudes when it comes to immigration: they can express support for Arizona’s immigration law but at the same time can say they support comprehensive immigration reform. Americans’ focus on immigration is solely on the southern border and does not extend to other populations.
Even when given the explicit choice of sending all illegal immigrants home, allowing them to stay only temporarily, or enacting comprehensive immigration reform, voters clearly and decisively choose comprehensive reform. +42 They should be required to register to become legal, undergo background checks, pay taxes, learn English and go to the back of the line for U.S. citizenship. They must leave the country. Don’t Know Most government officials believe that to deal with the problem of illegal immigration, we need to tighten border security, crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants, and deport illegal immigrants who commit crimes. In addition to these steps, what should be done about the 12 million illegal immigrants here in the United States? They should be legally allowed to stay on a temporary basis but not allowed to become U.S. citizens Lake Research Partners/American Viewpoint: National survey of 800 registered voters with an oversample of 300 Latino registered voters – May 2010
A majority of voters supports the new Arizona law. However, Latinos oppose the law in large numbers. Supporters of the Arizona law are more likely to be white, male, Republican, and supporters of the Tea Party movement. All Voters Latinos 20 Points Net Oppose 37 Points Net Favor Darker colors represent intensity. Now I’d like to read you a description of Arizona’s new immigration law. <…> Do you favor or oppose Arizona’s new immigration law, or aren’t you sure? IF FAVOR/OPPOSE, ASK: Do you feel strongly or not so strongly about that choice? Lake Research Partners/American Viewpoint: National survey of 800 registered voters with an oversample of 300 Latino registered voters – May 2010
Voters hold two competing ideas in mind. They oppose the federal lawsuit but also believe the federal government rather than individual states should set and enforce immigration law. +34 Do you think immigration is a national problem that should be dealt with at the federal level, or should it be left up to individual states? Lake Research Partners/American Viewpoint: National survey of 800 registered voters with an oversample of 300 Latino registered voters – May 2010
A clear majority of voters supports Congress passing comprehensive immigration reform. Support is even stronger among Latino voters. All Voters Latinos Darker colors represent intensity. +39 +43 Do you support or oppose Congress passing comprehensive immigration reform? [IF SUPPORT/OPPOSE, ASK:] Do you feel strongly or not so strongly about that choice? Lake Research Partners/American Viewpoint: National survey of 800 registered voters with an oversample of 300 Latino registered voters – May 2010
The Economy The economy weighs heavily on voters’ minds and has largely shaped this cycle’s political landscape and dialogue. However, this discussion is about jobs and unemployment. Americans are not linking the problems with immigration to outsourcing U.S. jobs or immigration.
The economy still dominates the issue agenda and has for some time. Some demographic groups, which fare less well in this or any economy, have been worried about the economy even longer than most other Americans. Source: The Economist /YouGov Poll. N=1000 adults nationwide – July 3-6, 2010. Most Important Issue for You
Americans are worried about several economic issues, including rising health care costs and lack of jobs that pay a sustainable wage. Women are more likely than men to say they worry about health care costs and everyday expenses like food and gas. Men worry more about debt and taxes. Lake Research Partners: National survey of 1,004 adults with oversamples of 100 African American women, 100 Latinas, 100 single mothers, 200 low income women – January-February 3, 2010. % First and Second Choice Total Men Women Rising health care costs 31% 25% 37% Lack of jobs that pay a wage that allows you to support your family 24% 25% 23% Everyday expenses like food and gas 23% 20% 25% Federal budget deficit and national debt 20% 25% 15% Higher taxes 19% 23% 16% Losing your job 18% 18% 18% A secure retirement 14% 12% 16% Housing and mortgage costs 9% 9% 8% Expenses like child care or college tuition 8% 7% 8% CEO’s bonuses and abuses on Wall Street 7% 8% 6% Credit card debt or other expenses 7% 7% 7% Decline of stock market and the financial crisis 5% 6% 5%
A majority of Americans see the economy as either staying the same or getting worse. And, “staying the same” is not a compliment. Remember, to most Americans, it’s been in a spiral for some time. The Same or Worse Better Source: http://americanresearchgroup.com/economy/
Since 2005, more Americans see foreign trade as a threat to the U.S. economy rather than an opportunity for growth. Gallup: National survey of 1,022 national adults – February 9-12, 2009
A plurality of Americans believes the stimulus is not working, although nearly as many say it is either already helping the economy or will help the economy in the future. Source: NBC News, Wall Street Journal. May 6-10, 2010. 1000 adults nationwide. 38%
The stimulus has been inextricably conflated with TARP; most voters think the government’s economic policies have helped large banks and Wall Street a lot, and 7 in 10 voters think those policies have helped them personally very little if at all. Source: Hart Research for EPI. September 21-23, 2009. 802 registered votes nationwide. How much has ... been helped by the government's economic policies?
Voters overwhelmingly support the current Wall Street reform bill. They are adamant that Congress pass legislation that cracks down on big bank abuses. Do you favor or oppose the Wall Street reform bill cracking down on big bank abuses currently being considered by Congress? IF FAVOR/OPPOSE, ASK: Is that strongly (favor/oppose), or somewhat (favor/oppose)? +40 Lake Research Partners: National survey of 1040 adults (942 who are registered voters) – June 21-22, 2010
The Indian American Community and American Politics As the Indian American population grows, so does its influence on American politics. Indian Americans have a record of being solidly Democratic and there is record numbers of Indian Americans running for office.
According to 2000 U.S. Census information, California, New York, New Jersey, Texas and Illinois have the highest population of Indian Americans. There are also large numbers in Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, and Ohio.
Asian Americans can start to become a strong voting bloc, especially in areas with contested political races. Between 1990 and 2000, the Asian American population has more than doubled in 19 states. The population is growing fastest in 2010 Senate and gubernatorial battleground states Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire. National Asian American Survey
Asian Indians overwhelming identify more as Democratic than Republican. However, more than half say they are independents or non-partisan. National Asian American Survey
Asian Americans showed their Democratic preference in 2008 when they supported Obama by 27-points. 2008 CNN Exit Polls
As more Indian Americans become involved in the political process, more are starting to run for office. A record number of Indian Americans are candidates this year. With the exception of Haley, these candidates are all Democrats. Manan Trivedi (PA-6) Reshma Saujani (NY-14) Kamala Harris (CA AG) Ami Bera(CA-3) Ravi Sangisetty (LA-3) Bobby Jindal (current LA Governor) Nikki Haley (SC-Gov) Surya Yamanchili (OH-2) Notable Indian American 2010 Candidates Raj Goyle (KS-4)
Americans do make distinctions between India and Pakistan. Two-thirds of Americans have a favorable view of India while more than three-fourths have an unfavorable opinion of Pakistan. The terrain in a political campaign may still be rough, however, as some candidates may seek to draw unscrupulous contrasts. CNN/Opinion Research Corporation: National survey of 534 adults – June 16, 2010.
When it comes to international threats facing the U.S., Americans find the conflict between India and Pakistan to be the second least critical threat among those tested. Still, the conflict has a wide reach but with much less intensity than other conflicts. Gallup: National survey of 1,025 adults – February 1-3, 2010 I’m going to read you a list of possible threats to the vital interest of the United States in the next ten years. For each one, please tell me if you this as a critical threat, an important but not critical threat, or not an important threat at all? Ranked by % critical
Celinda Lake, Lake Research Partners [email_address] www.lakeresearch.com 202.776.9066