Category Archives: President Obama

Some gaps between President Obama and Gov. Romney

The polls say the two presidential candidates are running neck and neck. But there are gaps. The GOP convention opens in Tampa today, come Isaac or high water. Here are some polling results the Republicans will be dealing with.

* Empathy gap? — A CBS News poll shows that only 41% of Americans think Mitt Romney understands their problems, compared with 54% who think President Obama does. Romney can address that when he makes his acceptance speech on national television Thursday.

*Likability gap? — A Reuters/Ipsos online poll reports that Obama gets higher likability numbers, with 54% to 26% finding him more likeable. (Bear in mind that it is an online survey.) Michael Oreskes of the AP discusses the likability factor of the two candidates further.

* Money gap?— A Pew Research Center survey shows mixed feelings about people with money. “Nearly six-in-ten survey respondents (58%) also say the rich pay too little in taxes, while 26% say they pay their fair share, and just 8% say they pay too much. Even among those who describe themselves as upper or upper-middle class1, 52% say upper-income Americans don’t pay enough in taxes. In spite of these views, overwhelming majorities of self-described middle- and lower-class Americans say they admire people who get rich by working hard (92% and 84%, respectively).”

Stressed? At least it’s not caused by the political campaigns

As Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast, the presidential race is deadlocked. Still projections continue.

Gallup looked at the results of the 15 presidential elections since 1952 and determined that, “All else being equal, the leader of the Gallup poll prior to the convention has an 80% probability of winning the election, according to past data.

“Of course, all else is not equal. When pre-convention polls show a tight race, as is the case this year, conventions have been more likely to create new leaders or galvanize support for a heretofore weak leader. Thus, both President Obama and Romney have the potential this year to gain an upper hand as a result of the convention process.”

So who is ahead? Gallup won’t post that information until later today.

Meanwhile, a CNN/ORC International poll gives President Barack Obama the nod on social issues, and Mitt Romney has the edge on the economy, which is what Americans say is their No. 1 concern. But the poll also makes clear that “there are a lot of issues where neither candidate has an appreciable edge, and many of them – including welfare, taxes, health care, and Medicare – have been fodder recently for both presidential campaigns.”

So, to put it all into perspective, Harris Interactive reports that 73% of us are stressed at work. But it’s not the political campaign that is causing it. Instead, “The top source of stress, felt by 11 percent of survey respondents, is low wages. For women, that rises to 14 percent.”

Friday’s trending topics

Presidential prospects — Mark Blumenthal at Huffington Post examines polls in battleground states and determines that “the results show Obama running slightly better now than at a comparable points in the 2008 election.” (North Carolina isn’t mentioned.) And he notes that it’s a looooong time until November.

Digital teens — Do you know how to Skype, iChat or Googletalk? According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, 37% of Internet users age 12-17 do.


President Obama’s disapproval ratings

North Carolina residents continue to disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the economy (54%). Given that the economy is by far the most important issue facing the state, the Elon University Poll shows that 49% of North Carolinians disapprove of Obama’s job performance.

The poll was in the field when the president was speaking at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which means that his face was on the front pages of many of the state’s newspapers and leading the news broadcasts. Yet, that exposure, though, didn’t seem to help his approval rating. The number of North Carolina residents who disapproved of his job performance last November was 47%. In February, it was 48%. Given the polling margin of error, his numbers are statistically flat.

Nationally, Fox News polling shows that 51% disapprove of Obama’s job performance; Gallup, 44%; Rasmussen, 53%; and NBC/Wall Street Journal, 46%. Make of that swing what you will. Me, I’d say that the daily horse race polls will go back and forth more than a swing at a crowded playground for several more months.

But in North Carolina, it means that the president shows signs of vulnerability. It’s not happenstance that he gave a major speech on student loans at UNC. He needs to win the youth vote, which he captured in 2008 and which is his to lose in 2012.

Meanwhile, the state’s unemployment rate among the highest in the nation. Obama will have a hard time getting traction that he’s helped North Carolinians’ pocketbooks, which Mitt Romney clearly knows. The former governor was in Charlotte last week and his message was clear: Obama has failed the state when it comes to the economy. According to ABC News, Romney referred to the Democratic National Convention coming up in September.

Now, what you won’t hear at that convention is that for the last 38 months, unemployment has been above 8 percent, that we’ve had 24 million Americans that are out of work, stopped looking for work, or underemployed,” said Romney. “You won’t hear that since he gave that speech and became president that there have been 50,000 more job losses here in North Carolina, more than twice as many as would fit in that stadium.”

“You will not hear that 400,000 North Carolinians are out of work. You will not hear that 93 percent of the people who lost their jobs during the Obama years have been women,” he continued. “Those are things you will not hear, but as I’m the nominee for our party, I hope, I’m going make sure the people of America hear those things loud and clear.”

For Obama, it is about energizing the base. For Romney, “it’s the economy, stupid.”

— John Robinson

Who’s on first in N.C.?

Rasmussen polled North Carolina likely voters on Tuesday. Mitt Romney edged President Obama, 46% to 44%. The margin of error is 4.5% so it is a statistical dead heat.

PPP polled North Carolina likely voters last week. It’s got Obama on top with 49% to 44%. The margin of error is 3.1%.

Pretty close. Stay tuned. We’ll have Elon University Poll results of North Carolina residents closer to the May 8 primary.

— John Robinson

Thursday’s trending topics

Romney — Gallup reports that Mitt Romney’s support is solid among Republicans 55 years and older and strong among liberal and moderate Republicans. But he needs to shore up the support of Midwestern, young, highly religious, and conservative Republicans.

Obama — Gallup also reports that President Obama’s job approval rating in Latin America is at a new low (47%) ahead of the Sixth Summit of the Americas taking place in Cartagena, Colombia, this week.

Politics — Americans don’t know nearly as much as the political positions of the two parties as you might think. For instance, While 67% correctly identify the Democratic Party as more supportive of raising taxes on higher-income people to reduce the budget deficit, far fewer (53%) identify the Republican Party as more in favor of reducing the size and scope of government.

Faith — Grey Matter Research asked Americans if the Christian faith had a positive, negative, or no real impact on 16 different areas of society. Strong majorities (72%) said Christianity is good for helping the poor and for raising children with good morals. Around half (52%) said Christianity helps keep the U.S. as a “strong nation,” and nearly as many (49) said the faith had a positive impact on the role of women in society.

— John Robinson

Washington Post/ABC News poll reflects the sentiments of North Carolinians

The Washington Post/ABC News poll released today shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney on women’s issues, international affairs, middle class protection and health care. Obama also is seen as more likable, and he has a huge advantage with female voters.

The national poll results reflect trends the Elon University Poll saw in its two most recent surveys.


Female voters.

Foreign affairs.

And, the Washington Post/ABC News poll results suggest that on the most important issue to Americans — the economy — the GOP has some opportunities because Obama’s support there is weak. Our poll of North Carolina residents indicated the same thing.

Bear in mind, the general election is seven months away — an eternity in politics.

— John Robinson

Support for the voter photo ID law

Last year, the General Assembly passed a bill requiring voters show a photo ID before casting a ballot. Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed the legislation, saying it would unfairly disenfranchise voters.

What do North Carolinians think? It’s not even close. Seventy-four percent  support the idea of a photo ID requirement before voting, according to the Elon University Poll. 

There’s a good chance it will come up again next month when the state legislature convenes for its short session. Some Republicans say they have the votes to overturn the governor’s veto.

Requiring a photo ID to vote is a major GOP initiative that has gathered steam across the country. So far this year, nine states have passed voter photo ID laws. Republicans assert that it ensures against voter fraud. Critics say it could hurt voter turnout, particularly among students, African-Americans and elderly people.

The Justice Department has challenged the laws in Texas and South Carolina using its powers under the 1965 Voting Rights Act to review changes to voting laws in states with a history of racial discrimination. Both states are suing the department.

From the Charlotte Observer: In North Carolina, more than 800,000 people statewide don’t have photo identification from the Department of Motor Vehicles, according to a State Board of Elections and DMV analysis. More than a half-million North Carolinians – 556,513 – have no identification at all.

— John Robinson

Obama has support among women

A USA Today-Gallup survey released today confirms what the Elon University Poll showed last month: More women in North Carolina support the job President Obama is doing…and more men don’t.

The USA Today-Gallup poll is of likely voters in 12 swing states, including North Carolina, but it doesn’t break out state-by-state results. The Elon Poll surveys citizens and does not break out likely voters.

The Elon Poll showed that women (51) expressed stronger approval of Obama’s job performance than men (38 percent). Likewise, men (57 percent) disapprove of his job performance compared to women (40 percent).

Which state has the most religious residents?

Gallup reports that Mississippi is the most religious state in the union with 59% of its residents classified as “very religious.”

Gallup classifies 40% of Americans nationwide as very religious — based on their statement that religion is an important part of their daily life and that they attend religious services every week or almost every week. Another 32% of Americans are nonreligious, based on their statement that religion is not an important part of their daily life and that they seldom or never attend religious services. The remaining 28% of Americans are moderately religious, because they say religion is important but that they do not attend services regularly or because they say religion is not important but still attend services.

Fifty percent of North Carolinians are classified as very religious, making it the eighth most religious state. Twenty-one percent are said to be nonreligious.

What does it mean? Gallup suggests that the most religious states are also the most Republican. And the polling firm says that states with more “moderately religious” residents will be presidential battlegrounds. That doesn’t apply particularly well to North Carolina, which voted for President Obama in 2008 and is shaping up to be a key swing state. 

The 50% “very religious” figure may help explain the intense feelings residents have on the same-sex marriage ban amendment. (Religious people interpret the Biblical references to marriage and homosexuality in different ways.)

By the way, the state with the most nonreligious residents? Vermont.

— John Robinson