Colorado won our vote on where to poll this week. Obviously our main focus will be on the races for Senate and Governor, so let us know what match ups you'd like to see tested for those...and of course anything else you think we should ask about in Colorado. Thanks as always for the question suggestions!
PPP's newest national poll finds the overall political climate improving slightly for Democrats over the last month: Barack Obama's approval ratings have ticked up a little bit, the Obamacare rollout is getting better reviews, and the party's retaken the lead on the generic Congressional ballot.
-Barack Obama's approval rating stands at 43/51 this month, the best it's been since a 46/50 standing in October. He's improved a net 6 points after hitting a record low in PPP's polling in December at 41/55. Nevertheless Obama still has big problems with independents, coming in at 30/62 with them.
-Perceptions of the Obamacare rollout are still negative, but they're at least improving. In late January only 32% of voters said they felt the rollout had been successful, compared to 62% who rated it unsuccessful. Now 39% say they think the rollout's been a success to 56% who give it low marks. Overall 39% of voters support the Affordable Care Act to 48% who are opposed, numbers pretty much consistent with what we've found since 2009.
-Democrats have reclaimed the lead on the generic Congressional ballot, 43/40, after trailing 42/40 on it in January. Congressional Democrats have poor approval numbers, at a 35/56 spread, but that puts them far ahead of Congressional Republicans who come in at 23/67. One key difference is that Democrats are at least happy with their own party in Congress, giving it a 66/21 approval, while Republicans give their own a negative assessment at 43/48.
PPP's newest North Carolina poll finds that Thom Tillis' support has declined after a month defined by his gaffes on the campaign trail, and that he's now tied for the Republican Senate nomination with Greg Brannon. Tillis and Brannon are both at 14%, followed by Heather Grant at 11%, Ted Alexander and Mark Harris at 7%, Alex Bradshaw at 6%, Jim Snyder at 4%, and Edward Kryn at 1%. A month ago Tillis led Brannon 20/13.
Tillis drew a lot of attention last month for his comments on Obamacare and the minimum wage, and what he said about those things doesn't play well with the Republican base. On the day he filed Tillis made news by suggesting he didn't think there should be a minimum wage- but even among GOP primary voters only 27% support eliminating it to 56% that would be opposed to such a move. Even more problematic for Tillis could be his statement expressed last week that 'Obamacare is a great idea that can't be paid for.' Only 15% of primary agree with Tillis' sentiment that 'Obamacare is a great idea,' compared to 78% who say they disagree with it.
Overall it continues to look like the Republican primary contest is headed for a runoff unless someone really breaks away in the final eight weeks before the primary. With 8 candidates and almost all of them getting some level of support, it is looking like it will be hard for anyone to reach the 40% threshold to win the primary outright.
The general election for the Senate race continues to look like a toss up, with every potential match up within 2 points one way or the other. The numbers are a slight improvement for Kay Hagan compared to a month ago- she leads Thom Tillis 45/43, Edward Kryn 43/41, and Heather Grant 43/42, she is tied with Alex Bradshaw, Greg Brannon and Mark Harris at 43, and she trails Jim Snyder 43/42 and Ted Alexander 45/43. A month ago she trailed in head to heads with all of the Republicans except Kryn.
-PPP's newest Arizona poll finds that John McCain is unpopular with Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike and has now become the least popular Senator in the country. Only 30% of Arizonans approve of the job McCain is doing to 54% who disapprove. There isn't much variability in his numbers by party- he's at 35/55 with Republicans, 29/53 with Democrats, and 25/55 with independents, suggesting he could be vulnerable to challenges in both the primary and general elections the next time he's up.
McCain trails in hypothetical general election match ups with both 2012 nominee Richard Carmona (41/35) and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (42/35). He would lead though in a match up with former Governor Janet Napolitano, 44/36. This has the potential to be an interesting one in 2016.
-The Presidential race in Arizona in 2016 could be interesting as well. Hillary Clinton narrowly trails Jeb Bush (45/44), but leads Chris Christie (44/41), Rand Paul (46/43), and Mike Huckabee (47/41). Arizona could finally reach its long anticipated battleground status this cycle.
Ted Cruz leads the Republican primary field in the state with 16% to 14% for Rand Paul, 12% for Chris Christie, 11% each for Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush, 8% each for Paul Ryan and Scott Walker, 4% for Marco Rubio, and 2% for Bobby Jindal. This is the best poll showing we've found for Cruz in a long time- he leads based on his strength with 'very conservative' voters, among whom he gets 22%.
-Almost four years after it passed, we're finding declining support for Senate Bill 1070 in Arizona. In October of 2010 we found voters favored it by a 25 point margin, 60/35. They still support it now, but it's only by an 8 point spread at 44/36. The bill's popularity has declined with Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike.
We're due for our monthly North Carolina poll. We'll do all our standard stuff on the Senate race and the legislature, and we're certainly open to any other question suggestions as well.
We're also going to do a national poll. We'll do our normal political stuff and would appreciate question suggestions on that front. We're also going to ask some questions about what people think about aliens, so if you have any question ideas along those lines we'd appreciate them as well! Thanks as always for the good ideas.
-Charles Grassley continues to be Iowa's most popular politician. 51% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 32% who disapprove. Grassley would lead former Governor Tom Vilsack 48/41 in a hypothetical 2016 reelection contest, and it's hard to imagine any other Democrat would fare much better than that against him at this point. Tom Harkin's approval is on positive ground as well at 45/36.
-Almost 5 years after gay marriage became legal in Iowa, 78% of voters in the state say it's either had a positive impact or no impact at all on their lives. Even among Republicans, 61% grant that its being legal hasn't had a negative effect on them. Iowans remain closely divided on the issue- 46% think it should be legal to 45% who believe it should be illegal- but that represents a net 8 point increase in support from October of 2011 when only 41% of voter supported it to 48% who thought it should be illegal.
-Iowa voters support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by a 52/36 margin. It has near total support from Democrats (80/12) and also from 26% of Republicans. Voters in the state also feel by a 60/35 spread that Congress should continue extended unemployment benefits rather than cutting them off. On that issue 44% of GOP voters side with Democrats' majority position.
PPP's new Arizona poll finds not only that voters in the state agree with Jan Brewer's veto of Senate Bill 1062, but that they also for the first time support legalizing gay marriage in the state.
Only 22% of Arizonans say they support Senate Bill 1062, compared to 66% who opposed it. Opposition to the bill is bipartisan with majorities of Democrats (11/86), independents (18/64), and Republicans (34/51) alike against it. 72% say they agree with Jan Brewer's veto of it, compared to only 18% who disagree with her action.
Brewer's approval rating stands at 44/42 and that +2 spread is almost identical to the +1 she had at 47/46 the last time PPP polled on her in October of 2012. She's down slightly with Republicans from the last poll (72/18 then, 66/22 now), but up slightly with Democrats (14/82 then, 20/62 now).
For the first time in our polling we find that a plurality of Arizonans support gay marriage. 49% are in favor of it to 41% who are opposed, a net 9 movement in favor of gay marriage in the state since November of 2011 when there was 44/45 opposition to it. Voters under the age of 45 support it 55/36 with seniors the only age group against it at this point. 77% of Arizonans support at least civil union for same sex couples, including 69% of Republicans, with only 19% opposed to any form of legal recognition at all.
Moving on to the Governor's race for this year, it looks pretty wide open for both the Republican primary and the general election. The leader for the GOP nomination is 'undecided' at 34%. 5 candidates have measurable amounts of support at this point- Ken Bennett at 20%, Christine Jones at 16%, Scott Smith at 12%, Andrew Thomas at 9%, and Doug Ducey at 6%. Al Melvin, John Molina, and Frank Riggs all register at 1% in the poll.
PPP's newest Iowa poll finds the same 2 things as every other recent 2016 poll: an overwhelming lead for Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, and a pretty wide open race on the Republican side.
Mike Huckabee leads the GOP race with 17% to 14% for Rand Paul, 13% for Jeb Bush, 10% for Chris Christie and Ted Cruz, 9% for Paul Ryan, 7% for Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker, and 3% for Marco Rubio. He leads based on his strength with 'very conservative' voters, among whom he gets 28% to 18% for Cruz and 12% for Paul.
Huckabee is one of three Republicans we tested with a favorability rating over 60% with GOP voters in the state. He is at 63/19 and is joined in a high level of popularity by Paul Ryan (63/13) and Sarah Palin (61/21). Rand Paul (59/15) and Jeb Bush (50/17) are the other two candidates who are seen positively by a majority of Republicans in the state.
There are a few GOP hopefuls who are clearly on the decline with Iowa Republicans. Chris Christie's favorability has dropped a net 15 points from July and is now only a narrowly positive 38/35 spread after having been 45/27 before. His support for the nomination has dropped from 16% to 10%. Marco Rubio's seen a big drop as well. Last summer he had a 54/14 rating, but that's now only 42/14. His support for the nomination has dipped from 11% to 3%.
A few other quick notes on the Republicans:
-Ted Cruz is the only whose favorability has notably improved since the summer. He was at 27/12 then, and that's now up to 40/14.
-Donald Trump may once again float a trial balloon in 2016, but he's not even popular with Republican voters at this point. Only 23% in Iowa see him favorably to 44% with a negative view.
-Rick Perry now has a better net favorability (+28 at 45/17) with Iowa Republicans than he did on our final pre-caucus poll in 2012 when it was +13 at 52/39. Rick Santorum's gone in the other direction- he was at +30 (60/30) then and now he's down to +23 (44/21).
On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton continues to be completely dominant. 67% want her to be the nominee, compared to 12% for Joe Biden, 5% for Elizabeth Warren, 3% for Mark Warner, 2% for Andrew Cuomo, and 1% for Cory Booker. Clinton's dominance is near total- she has an 82/9 favorability rating and polls over 60% with liberals, moderates, men, women, young voters, and older voters alike.
Arizona won our vote on where to poll this week. Obviously we'll look at the Governor's race, the religious discrimination bill, how voters in the state feel about their key politicians, etc. What else should we ask about in Arizona? Thanks as always for your great suggestions!
PPP's newest Iowa poll finds that the US Senate race has narrowed since the summer, but that Democrat Bruce Braley continues to hold a clear lead over all of his Republican opponents. In July Braley led the GOP field by an average of 11 points. Now it's an average of 7 points: he leads Matt Whitaker 40/34, Joni Ernst and Mark Jacobs 41/35, and Sam Clovis 42/34. At least part of Braley's leads at this point is a product of name recognition- 56% of voters know enough about him to have formed an opinion, where none of the Republican hopefuls have more than 25% familiarity.
The Republican primary for Senate is still pretty wide open, with 42% of voters undecided. Mark Jacobs has opened up a small lead at 20% to 13% for Joni Ernst, 11% for Matt Whitaker, 8% for Sam Clovis, and 3% each for Paul Lunde and Scott Schaben. Even with Republican primary voters the highest name id any of the candidates has is 32% for Jacobs.
There's a pretty clear reason why the Senate race has tightened over the last seven months. Barack Obama's approval rating in the state has dropped a net 10 points compared to the summer, from a -4 spread at 46/50 to now a -14 one at 40/54. That decline in the overall political climate for Democrats is having an effect in races like Iowa and Michigan where the actual candidates aren't particularly well known.
In the Iowa Governor's race Terry Branstad continues to have approval numbers that aren't terribly impressive, but still leads by double digits for reelection against a Democratic opponent who isn't particularly well known. Branstad has a 45/40 approval spread and leads Jack Hatch 48/36, the same 12 point lead he held in July. Hatch only has 31% name recognition and the undecideds in the race skew Democratic so just like the Senate race could get better for the Republicans as the candidates get better known, this one could get better for the Democrats.
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