Not surprisingly, Barack Obama's approval has not changed since the State of the Union address, but it may have rebounded slightly in January. Another poll shows Chris Christie's national numbers eroding. And [fake] respondents call for more bullet points? We've got 'em. This is HuffPollster for Monday, February 3, 2014.
OBAMA APPROVAL FLAT SINCE SOTU... - Steven Dennis notes the lack of any appreciable movement in daily tracking polls following last week's State of the Union Address: "In the two national polls released since the speech — daily tracking polls from Gallup and Rasmussen Reports — the president’s approval ratings barely budged after three full nights of post-speech polling*. Gallup had the president at 41 percent approval and 50 percent disapproval before the speech. Post-speech polling released Saturday found Obama at 42 percent approval and 51 percent disapproval — essentially unchanged. In Rasmussen’s polling, the president went from 48 percent approving and 51 percent disapproving before the speech to 48 percent/50 percent Saturday. The firm said the speech 'had no immediate impact.'" The absence of a "bump" would not be surprising, as State of the Union addresses have typically had little impact on presidential approval ratings. [Roll Call, HuffPost]
...But up slightly since October? - Setting aside last week's address, however, the data collected so far in 2014 suggests a slight uptick for Obama in January following a decline in October and November (in the aftermath of the government shutdown and the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act website). Simple averages compiled by HuffPollster shows jumps between November and January/February of 2.6 percentage points on the Rasmussen daily tracking and 4.8 percentage points on the weekly YouGov/Economist online tracking. The Gallup Daily tracking poll has been the exception, showing Obama's approval to be essentially flat since November.
In one chart - The cumulative uptick is so far smoothed out by the standard trend line plotted by the Pollster chart of Obama's job approval rating. However the trend is more evident when we reduce the statistical smoothing applied to the trend line (which can sometimes capture meaningless statistical noise). The more sensitive trend line (shown below) shows Obama's approval rebounding from 41.4 to 44.3 percent since mid November. [Pollster chart: standard trend, trend with less smoothing]
CHRIS CHRISTIE SLIPS AGAINST CLINTON, GOP RIVALS - Paul Steinhauser: "What a difference two months makes. In late November and early December, in the wake of Chris Christie's landslide re-election victory, the Republican governor from New Jersey was riding high in the polls….Now, after month of intense media scrutiny over a couple of controversies in his state, Christie's numbers have faded, according to a new CNN/ORC International survey. In a possible 2016 matchup with Clinton, the poll indicates Christie trails the former secretary of state by 16 percentage points, with Clinton at 55% and the Governor at 39% among registered voters nationwide. That's a dramatic switch from December, when Christie held a 48%-46% edge over Clinton….The hunt for the GOP nomination is back to where it was before Christie's rise in the polls late last year: a pack of potential White House contenders with no obvious frontrunner. But according to the poll, there is a new name on top of the list in hunt for the GOP nomination: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2008 Republican presidential candidate." [CNN]
Early polls as self-fulfilling prophecy - Political scientist Jonathan Bernstein, who frequently counsels readers to ignore early trial heat polling results, explains how these surveys can have meaning for the "invisible primary" already underway: "I do think these polls are important. But they’re important because of how they affect the contest now, not for what they predict about the future in Iowa, New Hampshire or the other primaries and caucuses. I’m skeptical that they have much predictive value about rank-and-file voters' behavior two years down the road...Clinton’s lead makes it easier for uncommitted party actors to sign on to her campaign, and a whole lot harder for them to sign up with someone else. It makes it easier for her to wait before formally announcing her campaign (or even admitting that she’s running), and harder for other candidates to access party resources, including money, staff and endorsements. After all, no one wants to back a loser -- and few want to be on the wrong side of a candidate who appears headed for the Oval Office. All of which means that Clinton's strong polling numbers may become a self-fulfilling prophesy." [Bloomberg]
SHAHEEN HAS 10-POINT LEAD OVER BROWN - UNH: "The 2014 senate election is less than a year away, but very few voters have decided who they will vote support. Only 10% of likely voters say they have definitely decided who to support, 9% are leaning towards someone, and 81% are still trying to decide. Despite greater name recognition, Brown fares no better than Smith in matchups with Shaheen. In a matchup between Shaheen and Brown, 47% of likely voters say they would vote for Shaheen if the election were held today, 37% would vote for Brown, 3% support someone else, and 14% are undecided." [UNH]
Different from a poll last week Purple Strategies: "Today, sitting Senator Jeanne Shaheen is tied with potential candidate (and former Senator) Scott Brown, with both candidates holding 44% of the vote. This indicates substantial vulnerability for the Democratic incumbent." [Purple Strategies]
AMERICANS EXCITED ABOUT DNA RESEARCH, BUT... - Emily Swanson: "Most Americans are excited about the possibility of scientific breakthroughs brought by DNA research, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds. But the poll also shows that many people worry that the research could go too far -- and lead to scientists 'playing God.' In the new poll, 71 percent of Americans said that they're excited about the possibility that DNA research could bring major scientific and medical breakthroughs. But 44 percent said they worry that DNA research involves unforeseen dangers. Thirty-three percent of Americans said they were both excited and worried." [HuffPost]
Rasmussen Reports – Help Wanted. Rasmussen has a new position open for a senior data scientist/statistician to help lead us into the future of public opinion polling in a way that relies less on land lines and more on a combination of the various media channels available today. If your background is in statistics, mathematics and programming and you have a vision for the next wave in public opinion, please apply. Love of politics and policy a plus. Job listing and more details here.
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MONDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data that we missed during our holiday break (starting with a few
new items from today:
-58 percent of Americans are looking forward to the Olympics. [Pew Research]
-A new poll finds Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mitch McConnell tied. [Rasmussen]
-Congressman James Lankford starts with an early advantage for the Republican nomination for the soon-to-be open Senate seat in Oklahoma. [Harper Polling (R)]
-A post State-of-the-Union dial test finds positive reactions to pro-Obamacare messaging. [Buzzfeed]
-Mississippi's residents are the most likely to describe themselves as very religious, Vermont's are the least likely. [Gallup]
-Clay Aiken faces long odds should he challenge Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.). [HuffPost]
-Alex Bratty (R) examines the divisions in Americans' views on government involvement in reducing income inequality. [POS]
-Matt Levendusky explains how proliferating news options help Fox and MSNBC reinforce America's political polarization. [WaPost's Monkey Cage]
-CQ charts the continuation of partisanship in Congress. [CQ]
-Oversharing tops the list of things Facebook users say they don't like about it. [Pew Research]
-"Poll respondents reported that when it comes to content, you gotta start thinking more bullet points, more lists, more visuals, more short-form, more microcontent." [The Onion]