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Doug Schoen's Poll on American Expectations from the Obama Administration

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    Doug Schoen's Poll on American Expectations from the Obama Administration Doug Schoen's Poll on American Expectations from the Obama Administration Presentation Transcript

    • Douglas Schoen
      June 30th, 2009
      An Inside Look at the Obama Administration: Politics and Policy at the Six-Month Mark
      1
    • Overview
      I spent six years between 1994 and 2000 as one of President Bill Clinton’s senior political advisers.
      During that time, we did an extensive amount of polling and research on issues facing the country.
      Many of the decisions that were made at the very least were informed by polling information.
      2
    • Overview
      Tonight, I seek to provide a context for decisions that the Obama administration is making: why they are doing what they are doing, and how they are doing it.
      I will provide this context by examining a survey that I conducted over the weekend with 800 likely voters representing a national sample of the American population.
      3
    • Overview
      This is a critical time for President Obama. Personally, Obama remains popular. His policies are somewhat less popular, and there is a substantial degree of skepticism as to whether these policies will actually create jobs, and large numbers of voters fear that they will increase the deficit.
      Americans are convinced that the Republicans caused the economic problems we currently face. However, there is a sense that Republican policies now are at least as constructive, if not more constructive, than Democratic policies.
      4
    • Overview
      The electorate is supportive of Obama’s health care and cap-and-trade initiatives, but has doubts about the efficiency and impact of both.
      Voters also have a fear that new taxes will be created from Obama’s initiatives, and that another government bureaucracy will be created because of Obama’s health care plan.
      There is no appetite among the electorate for another stimulus package.
      5
    • The Context
      6
    • Party Identification of the American Electorate
      A May 21, 2009 report by the Pew Research Center shows that 35% of voters identify themselves as Democrats, 23% identify as Republicans and 36% identify as Independents.
      7
    • Party Identification of the American Electorate
      8
    • Party Identification of the American Electorate
      This represents a significant and steady decline in the Republican Party. Thirty percent identified as Republicans in 2004, and one-quarter indentified as Republicans in 2008.
      Republican losses however, have not translated into gains for the Democrats. Democrats have dropped one point since 2008 (36%), and have only gained two points since 2004 (33%).
      9
    • Party Identification of the American Electorate
      The number of Americans who self-identify as Independents has reached record highs. Independents have increased four points since 2008 (32%), and six points since 2004 (30%).
      Thus, it’s not that the Democratic Party has grown, but that the Republican Party has fallen precipitously and more Americans identify as Independents.
      10
    • Party Identification 2004-2009
      11
    • Ideological Identification of the American Electorate
      Additionally, the percentage of Americans who identify as liberals has remained relatively constant over the past five years, ranging from 19% to 21%. 19% currently call themselves liberal.
      Those who identify as moderates and as conservatives remain stagnant as well. 38% describe themselves as moderate and 37% describe themselves as conservative.
      12
    • Ideological Identification 2004-2009
      13
    • Identification of the American Electorate
      Thus, we are in a country that is non-Republican, moderate and looking for change.
      How is the Obama administration framing policy and politics in the light of this environment?
      14
    • Direction of the Country
      First and foremost, people are still angry and frustrated.
      55% believe that things in the country are on the wrong track.
      37% believe that things are headed in the right direction.
      15
    • Direction of the Country
      16
    • What’s the most serious problem facing our country?
      38% believe that the most serious problem facing our country is the economy
      15% say health care
      15% say government ethics and corruption
      12% say immigration
      17
    • What is the most serious problem facing our country today?
      18
    • Perceptions of the Economy
      51% think the U.S. economy is currently in the midst of the beginnings of a recovery. 43% disagree.
      76% think that the U.S. is facing a serious risk of inflation in the future. 17% disagree.
      71% say that the U.S. is facing a risk for a period of long term higher unemployment with the unemployment rate hovering around 10%. 19% disagree.
      19
    • The Economy – Economic Recovery
      20
    • The Economy – Inflation
      21
    • The Economy – Unemployment
      22
    • The Economy –Depression
      54% think that it is likely that we could face another depression in the near future.
      45% think that it is not likely.
      23
    • The Economy – Depression
      76% think that we are probably facing the most serious economic downturn since the Great Depression.
      22% think that we are probably not.
      24
    • Economic Recovery Predictions
      40% say it will take more than one year, and 28% say it will take more than a few years for the U.S. economy to recover.
      25
    • Barack Obama’s Economic Policies
      Voters are split on whether Obama’s policies have helped the economy.
      30% say they have helped the economy.
      One-third say they have hurt the economy .
      30% say they have not yet had an impact.
      26
    • Barack Obama’s Economic Policies
      27
    • Impact of Democratic and Republican Economic Policies
      Voters are split on the impact of the Democrats’ economic policies. 38% believe that their economic policies have hurt the economy, while 38% believe that they have helped the economy.
      Half of the electorate believes that the economic policies of the Republican Party have hurt the economy. 31% think they have helped.
      Thus, George Bush remains a potent target for rhetorical attacks.
      28
    • Impact of Democratic and Republican Economic Policies
      29
    • Bipartisanship in Washington
      Voters still want more bipartisanship in Washington.
      59% think we need an increase in bipartisanship in Washington to solve our problems.
      34% think we need strong leadership from President Obama.
      41% say bipartisanship has gotten worse in Washington since Obama was elected president.
      20% say it has gotten better, 31% say it has stayed the same.
      30
    • Bipartisanship in Washington
      31
    • Bipartisanship in Washington
      32
    • Republican and Democratic Policies in Congress
      While voters say that Republicans caused our country’s problems, their policies are seen as marginally more constructive than the Democrats’ policies.
      47% think Republicans in Congress offer constructive policies, while 44% think Democrats in Congress offer constructive policies.
      33
    • Republicans in Congress
      34
    • Democrats in Congress
      35
    • Republican and Democratic Policies in Congress
      To be sure, if the Democratic policies produce real results, the voters will continue to vote Democratic. But the concerns over inflation, spending, the deficit, and the lack of preservation of jobs lead a narrow plurality to actually view Republican policies as more constructive than Democratic ones.
      36
    • Barack Obama’s Job Approval
      56% of voters approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his job as President.
      43% disapprove.
      This indicates that there has been significant slippage in Obama’s approval, as many of the other polls have shown in the past month.
      37
    • Barack Obama’s Job Approval
      The strongest reason that people approve of President Obama is because he has brought fresh leadership and new ideas to this country (41%).
      Voters also approve because he has changed the ineffective government by working in a bipartisan manner to create real solutions (19%).
      Obama’s fresh ideas and leadership trump bipartisan among voters by a two-to-one ratio.
      38
    • Barack Obama’s Job Approval
      Obama’s economic stimulus and health care plans trail at 15%.
      13% approve because they think Obama has the wisdom, intelligence and judgment to lead or country.
      Thus, job approval based much less on policy and more on personality are the prospects for a change in direction.
      39
    • Why do you approve of President Obama?
      40
    • Why do you disapprove of President Obama?
      Almost half of voters who disapprove of Obama disapprove because they think his policies promote too much government involvement and ownership in the private sector.
      Over one-quarter disapprove because they think his budget proposal will increase the budget deficit and leave the country in debt for generations to come.
      41
    • Why do you disapprove of President Obama?
      42
    • President Obama’s Political Ideology
      There is a strong sense that Obama is on the liberal end of the political ideological spectrum.
      57% of the electorate think Obama’s views are liberal, 35% think his views are moderate, and 6% think they are conservative.
      18% of the electorate describes themselves as liberal, 42% considers themselves moderate, and 35% considers themselves conservative.
      43
    • President Obama’s Political Ideology
      44
    • Obama’s Ideology Compared to the American Electorate’s
      45
    • President Obama’s Agenda
      • That being said, the electorate likes that Obama is trying to take on a large agenda.
      • 58% believe that Obama needs to tackle the large agenda cause of our nation’s problems, while 37% believe that Obama is trying to do too much, too quickly.
      46
    • Democrats and Republicans in Congress
      Moreover, the Democrats in Congress have a higher favorability than the Republicans in Congress.
      52% have a favorable impression of Democrats, while 42% have a favorable impression of Republicans.
      48% have an unfavorable impression of the Democrats, while 49% have an unfavorable impression of Republicans.
      47
    • Favorability – Congressional Democrats
      48
    • Favorability – Congressional Republicans
      49
    • However, concerns about Obama translate into an election for Congress that currently is very close.
      In a generic vote for the 2010 midterm Congressional elections, 45% of voters say they would vote for a Democrat, while 40% say they would vote for a Republican.
      2010 Midterm Election
      50
    • President Obama Approval - Economy
      This administration is on the cusp, as there is narrow approval for Obama’s policies.
      52% approve of the way President Obama is handling the economy, while 48% disapprove.
      52% approve of President Obama’s $787 stimulus package, while 45% disapprove.
      51
    • President Obama Approval - Economy
      52
    • President Obama Approval - Economy
      53
    • President Obama’s Economic Policy Initiatives
      By 54% to 35%, voters say that Obama’s economic policy initiatives have not been effective in saving or creating jobs.
      54
    • President Obama’s Budget
      Two-thirds say that Obama’s budget will increase the budget deficit, while only 18% say it will reduce the budget deficit. 13% say it will have no effect on the budget deficit.
      Thus, while voters are decidedly skeptical, they still give Obama the benefit of the doubt.
      55
    • Stimulating the Economy or Reducing the Deficit?
      A majority of voters are against spending more money to stimulate the economy, as they do not want to increase the deficit.
      56
    • Government Bailouts of Banks and Financial Institutions
      Only one-quarter of voters approve of the government bailouts of banks and other financial institutions.
      72% disapprove.
      57
    • Greater concern: executive pay or government involvement in the private sector
      Voters are divided on limiting executive pay (43%) or limiting government involvement in the private sector (43%).
      58
    • Greater concern: executive pay or government involvement in the private sector
      Democrats are more concerned about limiting executive pay and bonuses (62%), while Republicans are more concerned about too much government involvement in the private sector (65%).
      59
    • Government Takeover of the U.S. Auto Industry
      35% approve of the government takeover of the U.S. auto industry.
      62% disapprove.
      60
    • Obama’s Proposal to Reform the Health Care System
      57% favor Obama’s proposal to reform the health care system.
      41% oppose it.
      61
    • Why do you favor Obama’s health care plan?
      Almost half of those who favor his health care plan favor it because it will expand health care coverage for all Americans.
      22% favor it because it will make health care more affordable.
      12% say it will increase competition in the health care market.
      62
    • Why do you favor Obama’s health care plan?
      63
    • Why do you oppose Obama’s health care plan?
      40% of those who oppose Obama’s health care plan oppose it because it will limit access to health care by placing government bureaucrats between individuals and their doctors.
      19% say it will create a new federal bureaucracy.
      17% say it will drive out private competition.
      64
    • Why do you oppose Obama’s health care plan?
      65
    • Health Insurance for all Americans
      45% want the government to guarantee health insurance for all Americans, while 48% do not.
      66
    • Health Insurance for All Americans
      Among Democrats, 88% think that the government should guarantee health insurance for all Americans, while 6% do not.
      82% of Republicans do not think that the government should guarantee health insurance for all Americans, while 10% do.
      Two-thirds of Independents do not think that the government should guarantee health insurance for all Americans, while 27% do.
      67
    • Health Insurance for All Americans
      68
    • Obama’s Health Care Proposal
      Two-thirds are concerned that Obama’s health care proposal may require new taxes to pay for it.
      One-third are not concerned.
      69
    • Obama’s Cap and Trade Plan
      58% favor Obama’s cap and trade plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stimulate job creation, promote development in renewable energy, and provide tax credits for Americans who need it most.
      39% oppose this plan.
      70
    • Larger or Smaller Government
      More voters would prefer a smaller government that provides fewer services than a larger government that provides more services.
      71
    • Obama’s Economic Policies and Our Free Market System
      There is a fear that Obama’s economic policies threaten the free market system.
      Half say that Obama’s policies, such as the bank and auto industry bailouts and the stimulus package, threaten the stability of our free market system.
      39% say these policies are necessary to jump start the national economy.
      72
    • Bigger Threat: Big Government or Big Business
      58% think big government is a bigger threat, while 31% think big business is the bigger threat.
      73
    • More Important for the Economy: Government or Business
      69% believe business is more important to get the economy moving again, while 23% believe the government is more important.
      74
    • Government Involvement in the Economy
      Voters are divided on whether it is necessary to have government involved in jumpstarting the economy, or if Obama’s policies promote too much government involvement.
      75
    • 61% of Americans generally approve of the way that President Obama is handling foreign policy initiatives, while 39% disapprove.
      President Obama and Foreign Policy
      76
    • Over half (55%) of Americans approve of Barack Obama’s handling of the war on terror, while 42% disapprove.
      President Obama and Foreign Policy – War on Terror
      77
    • President Obama and Foreign Policy - Terrorism
      38% of the American electorate thinks Obama’s policies are making the United States safer from terrorism.
      One-third think they are making them less safe from terrorism.
      22% think they are not making a difference.
      78
    • President Obama and Foreign Policy - Terrorism
      79
    • 46% of Americans approve of Barack Obama’s decision to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay early next year.
      Over half (53%) disapprove.
      President Obama and Foreign Policy – Guantanamo Bay
      80
    • President Obama and Foreign Policy - Torture
      42% say that the U.S. should never use torture against suspected terrorists.
      51% say that there are certain circumstances in which it is necessary to use torture.
      81
    • 54% of Americans are satisfied with Barack Obama’s handling of the crisis over North Korea developing nuclear weapons.
      42% are not satisfied.
      President Obama and Foreign Policy – North Korea
      82
    • President Obama and Foreign Policy - Iran
      59% are satisfied with Obama’s handling of the crisis over Iran developing nuclear weapons, while 36% are not satisfied.
      66% approve of the way Obama is handling the crisis over the recent presidential election in Iran, while 30% disapprove.
      83
    • President Obama and Foreign Policy - Iran
      84
    • President Obama and Foreign Policy - Iran
      85
    • President Obama and Foreign Policy - Iran
      Almost half say Obama is doing the right thing by not getting too involved in the Iranian elections. 36% say he should have been more involved in supporting the opposition in Iran.
      86
    • President Obama and Foreign Policy - Iraq
      Over two-thirds of Americans believe that American efforts to bring stability and order to Iraq are going well, while one-third believe that things are going badly.
      87
    • President Obama and Foreign Policy - Iraq
      This marks a 50-point increase in those who think that things in Iraq are going well from 18% in 2007.
      This also marks a 48-point decrease in those who think that things in Iraq are going badly from 80% in 2007.
      88
    • President Obama and Foreign Policy - Iraq
      89
    • President Obama and Foreign Policy - Afghanistan
      Afghanistan is the most contentious foreign policy issue among voters.
      48% say things are going well for the United States right now in the war in Afghanistan, while 48% say that things are going badly for the United States.
      90
    • Obama Administration and Foreign Policy –the Middle East
      • One-third of Americans think that the Obama administration has been able to make progress in moving along the peace process in the Middle East.
      • Over half do not think that the Obama administration has made progress.
      • 17% are not sure.
      91