Tag Archives: President Obama

President Obama’s job approval ratings in North Carolina drops slightly

For President Obama, the North Carolina poll results are a good news, bad news story.

The bad news is that his approval rating is 37% among registered voters in North Carolina, according to the latest Elon University Poll.

The good news is that it has only dropped 1 percentage point since September. (It’s dropped 10 percentage points since February, but who’s counting? Oh, yeah. We are.)

Digging into the numbers:

Politics — The split is stark: 71% of Democrats approve of how he’s handling his job vs. 31% of Independents and only 4% of Republicans. The percentages are consistent with polls in September and February, although he has lost some Democratic support.

Gender — His approval rating among men is 35%; among women, 39%. These figures, too, are consistent with September.

Race — He has lost support among African Americans since September. His approval rating among blacks is 75%; whites, 24%. Last September, 83% of African Americans approved of his work.

Age — His approval rating is highest among 31-40 year-olds at 41%; lowest among 51-65 year-olds at 33%.

Explanation: Nationally, President Obama’s poll numbers are sinking, primarily credited to — or blamed on — the stumbling Affordable Health Care rollout. His approval numbers among North Carolina registered voters are in line with the national numbers.

While the president doesn’t have to worry about re-election, he does want to keep his party strong in this state in particular. The loss of Democratic support and African American support put to lie the idea that those groups will follow him anywhere. They are beset by the same economic and health care problems as everyone else. That should alarm him. And Democratic candidates across the state.

— John Robinson

Congress remains unloved

By now, Congress should have a “Rodney Dangerfield complex.”

In North Carolina, its approval rating is 14 percent. And that’s the nice way of saying it as opposed to “75 percent of North Carolinians polled said they disapproved of the job Congress is doing.”

But there is good news in the latest Elon University Poll results. In our February poll, 82 percent of the people polled disapproved of Congress.

In this poll, Republicans like Congress a little better than Democrats, but not by much (19 percent to 14 percent). People 40 and younger like Congress more than people 41 and older.

The rising fortunes of Congress, however moderate, could well be tied to the falling approval rating for President Obama. Otherwise, it’s unclear exactly why Congress has gained in favor. Gridlock is still the way of Washington, and sequestration is becoming more of a problem for Americans outside of D.C.

— John Robinson

Wednesday’s trending topics

The young adult vote — Harvard University surveyed 18-29 year-olds and 43% said they plan to vote for President Obama and 26% said they will vote for Mitt Romney. This is not the same but in February, the Elon University Poll showed that in the 18-34 age group, 48 percent of North Carolinians approve of how Obama is handling the presidency and 38 percent disapprove.

Past, present and possibly future first ladiesMichelle Obama and Ann Romney outscore their husbands in personal popularity in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, while Hillary Clinton, for her part, has hit a new high in favorability data stretching back to her entry on the national stage 20 years ago.

Marriage Amendment — Opinions of likely voters are shifting on the same-sex marriage ban amendment to the N.C. Constitution. PPP reports that 54% of likely voters say they support the amendment, which is down from its earlier polls. The Elon Poll earlier this month showed that 61% of North Carolinians say they oppose an amendment. The Elon poll surveys North Carolina residents, not just likely voters.

— 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

Monday’s trending topics

Race — A Newsweek/Daily Beast poll found that 72% of whites and 89% of African Americans believe the country is divided by race, but only 19% of whites say that racism is a big problem vs. 60 % of blacks.

Presidential politicsIndependents like President Barack Obama better but feel ideologically closer to Mitt Romney, according to a new poll of a dozen battleground states released Monday. (North Carolina is included in the poll.)

More presidential politicsPresident Barack Obama’s job approval rating averaged 46% in March, up from 45% in January and February, and significantly improved over his term-low 41% monthly averages recorded last summer and fall.

Economy and presidential politics — Voters overwhelmingly trust their own judgment on economic matters more than the judgment of either President Obama or Mitt Romney.

North Carolina: Keeping its options open

Two and a half weeks ago, the Elon University Poll asked North Carolinians, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?”

Forty-eight disapproved and 45% approved.

Last week, PPP asked North Carolinians,”Do you approve or disapprove of President Barack Obama’s job performance?”

Forty-nine percent disapproved and 49% approved.

Not much change. With the margins of error, it’s pretty much deadlocked.

Here is a comparison of the Elon Poll and PPP on the people’s evaluation of the Republican presidential contenders

Romney is viewed favorably by 34% in Elon’s poll, 31% in PPP’s.

Santorum is viewed favorably by 32% in Elon’s poll, 36% in PPP’s.

Paul is viewed favorably by 33% in Elon’s poll, 27% in PPP’s.

Gingrich is viewed favorably by 23% in Elon’s poll, 28% in PPP’s.

It’s fair to say that it remains anyone’s race on the GOP’s side in North Carolina.

— John Robinson

How Americans see President Obama this week

Last week’s Washington Post-ABC News poll asked the exact same questions about President Obama that the Elon University Poll asked North Carolina residents at the end of February.

The Post: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president? 50% disapprove; 46% approve.

 Elon: Same question.  48% disapprove; 45% approve.

The Post: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy? 59% disapprove; 38% approve.

Elon: Same question. 51% disapprove; 43% approve.

The differences in the two polls: The Post’s was conducted nationally and done 10 days later than Elon’s. The margin of error is basically the same, 4%. And nationally, his trendlines are going the wrong way — if you’re an Obama supporter.

The Post: Gas prices are a main culprit: Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation at the pump, where rising prices have already hit hard.

What North Carolinians think of gas prices.

The GOP: It’s anyone’s race in North Carolina

I think it is fair to say that North Carolinians think about Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum in about the same way. That is, about a third of them think favorably of the three. Even though Romney is viewed favorably by 34 %, Paul by 33% and Santorum by 32%, the 3.9% margin of error puts them all on equal footing.

It is worth noting, too, that like President Obama, they are all upside down, meaning that more people said they had an unfavorable opinion of each man than a favorable one. (Wondering about Newt Gingrich? His unfavorables more than doubled his favorables, 59% to 23%.) The high unfavorable ratings aren’t surprising given that the candidates have spent the past several months criticizing each other.

It is also worth noting that none of that reflects how North Carolina Republicans will vote on May 8. Here is why: this was a survey of state residents, not Republicans likely to vote in the primary. In addition, the GOP campaigns have scarcely visited North Carolina. The candidates have had their hands full with the primaries and caucuses in other states. That likely explains why, despite 20 debates on national television, about 1 in 5 respondents said they didn’t know what they thought of Paul. (Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is in the state often enough that they it could designate it the home of the Southern White House while they’re in Charlotte for the Democratic Convention.)

How do the Republicans stack up nationally and in other states? An aggregation of poll results is here.

— John Robinson

Gas prices worry North Carolinians

Is there a more worrisome issue to North Carolinians than the price of gas?

The answer, according to the Elon University Poll, is no. When asked what issue concerns them the most, North Carolinians rank gas prices higher than every other issue, including the national debt and the cost of health care.

It makes sense, as people are reminded of the per gallon price each time they drive past a gas station.

North Carolinians aren’t different from their neighbors in other states. A recent Gallup Poll found that 85% of consumers want President Obama and Congress to address the price of gas. And to get it done yesterday.

It is a fertile political issue, and Mitt Romney is tuned into that. On Thursday, he said Obama has tried to shirk his responsibility for increases in the price of gas“He says `it’s not my fault,'” Romney said during a campaign stop on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. “This is in part his fault. This is a guy who has slowed down … the licensing and permitting of offshore rigs, of onshore drilling.”

Despite Romney’s assertions, economists say there’s not much a president of either party could do about gasoline prices. The current increases at the pump have been driven by fears of a war with oil-rich Iran and by higher demand in the U.S. as well as in China, India and other quickly growing nations.

Consumers aren’t buying that explanation, according to Gallup. Only 31% of them said gas prices are beyond the control of Obama and Congress. The GOP is pinning the blame on the president.

For his part, Obama ordered his Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group back to work to get to the bottom of soaring gasoline and oil prices  “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that consumers aren’t hurt by [gas prices],” Obama said at a press conference on Tuesday. He scoffed at the idea that any president running for reelection would want gas prices to go up.

— John Robinson

“It’s the economy, stupid”

If people vote their pocketbooks, the Elon University Poll could be a ray of light for President Obama. North Carolinians say the most important issue in the state is the economy, and 69% of them think it is going to stay the same or get better. That is basically the same percentage as those who think the national economy is going to stay the same or get better (68%).

On the other hand:

If people vote their pocketbooks, the Elon University Poll could be a ray of light for the GOP. North Carolinians say the most important issue in the state is the economy, and 71% of them think it is going to stay the same or get worse. That is greater than those who think the national economy is going to stay the same or get worse (63%).

Here’s where you have to dig into the numbers:

The percentage of North Carolinians who think the state economy will get better by the end of the year rose from 11% in March 2011 to 26% last month. When asked the same question about the national economy, the percentage who answered “will get better” bounced from 16% in September 2011 to 34% last month. (In February 2009, a month after Obama took office, 32% of respondents said they thought the economy would get better.)

The optimism could be explained by a stock market hovering around 13,000 and an unemployment rate that, while high, is ever-so-slowly inching down.

The government announced today: U.S. employers added 227,000 jobs in January to complete three of the best months of hiring since the recession began. The unemployment rate was unchanged, largely because more people streamed into the work force. The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent last month, the lowest in three years.

The President didn’t waste time capitalizing, either.  President Barack Obama applauded another burst of job growth Friday as proof the economy is rebounding on his watch from a disastrous recession. Bidding for re-election, Obama warned factory workers and campaign donors that Republicans would offer only the policies “that got us into this mess.”

Optimism isn’t felt everywhere, at least among Republican voters. From the Associated Press  in exit polls on Super Tuesday: In addition, practically every Ohio GOP voter said he or she is nervous about  where the nation’s economy seems headed over the next few years, including about  three-quarters who said they are very worried.

For now people are more optimistic about the economy than they have been for months. Still, I’ll say the obvious: the economy is delicate. A Greece default. A stock market tank. An Iranian threat. Continued rising gas prices. Any of those things could flip the numbers. And with them, flip President Obama’s numbers.

— John Robinson