Entries in ABC News/Washington Post Poll (90)


Budget Cuts Get Personal; Those Who Are Hurt, Holler

Image Source/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The federal budget sequester may be dampening a rise in economic optimism: Nearly four in 10 Americans now say sequestration has hurt them personally, up substantially since it began in March -- and they’re far less sanguine than others about the economy’s prospects overall.

Thirty-seven percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say they’ve been negatively impacted by the budget cuts, up from 25 percent in March. As previously, about half of those affected say the harm has been “major.”

Those who are hurt, holler. Among people who report no personal impact of the sequester, 66 percent say economic recovery is under way, and six in 10 are optimistic about the economy’s prospects in the year ahead. Among those who report major harm from the cuts, by contrast, just 36 percent see recovery, and optimism drops to 40 percent.

As reported earlier this week, optimism about the economy is advancing; 56 percent of Americans now say it’s begun to recover, up by 20 percentage points in the past year and a half to the most since ABC and the Post first asked the question in late 2009. Results on the sequester suggest that could be better still had the cuts not taken effect.

More Americans continue to disapprove than approve of sequestration, now by 56-35 percent -- again, a view influenced by experience of the cuts. Eight in 10 of those who report serious harm oppose the cuts, as do about two-thirds of those slightly harmed. But the majority, which has felt no impacts, divides exactly evenly -- 46 percent favor the cuts, vs. 46 percent opposed.

Further, this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that 39 percent overall “strongly” disapprove of the cuts -- but that soars to 66 percent of those who say they’ve been harmed in a major way. (Just 16 percent overall strongly approve.)

Experience of the cuts even trumps partisanship and ideology: Among Republicans, conservatives and Tea Party supporters who’ve been harmed by the cuts, most oppose them. Support is far higher among those in these groups who haven’t felt an impact of sequestration.

Perhaps surprisingly, given the partisan nature of the debate, views of the cuts don’t divide sharply along party lines. Majorities of Democrats and Republicans alike oppose the cuts -- 59 and 54 percent, respectively -- as do a similar 58 percent of independents.

One reason: Republicans are 14 points more apt than Democrats to say they’ve been harmed by the sequester. And among Republicans who’ve been hurt by the cuts, 68 percent disapprove of them. Among those unhurt, disapproval drops to 42 percent.

Forty-seven percent of “very” conservative Americans approve of the cuts, as do 42 percent of those who call themselves “somewhat” conservative. It’s 36 percent among moderates and 24 percent among liberals. But again, impacts of the cuts are a bigger factor in views on the issue. Among conservatives hurt by the cuts, 65 percent disapprove of them; among those unhurt, just 34 percent disapprove.

Similarly, 66 percent of Tea Party supporters who’ve been damaged by the cuts disapprove, vs. 44 percent of those who report no personal impact.

While Barack Obama has been a sharp critic of sequestration, he only runs 43-38 percent against the Republicans in Congress in trust to handle the budget deficit, not a significant difference. He’s done much better on the issue, but also worse; the tables were turned as recently as two years ago, when Obama trailed the GOP in trust to handle the deficit by 8 points.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Poll: Large Racial Gap Marks Trust on Immigration

John Gurzinski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Slightly more Americans trust Barack Obama than congressional Republicans to handle immigration, but neither side garnered a majority between whites and nonwhites in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Americans overall divide by 45-39 percent between Obama and the Republicans in Congress in trust to handle the issue; the rest are undecided or trust neither side.  Whites favor the GOP over Obama on immigration by 47-36 percent, while nonwhites (blacks, Hispanics and others) prefer Obama by a broad 71-16 percent.

See a PDF with full results here.

There also are sharp partisan and ideological differences in trust on immigration in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.  Democrats and Republicans each prefer their side’s approach by an identical 66 percentage points; independents divide closely between Obama and the GOP, 41-36 percent.

Very conservative Americans favor the Republicans on immigration by 65 points and those who say they’re somewhat conservative do so by 33 points.  Moderates take Obama’s side by a 21-point margin, liberals by 61 points.

Obama has made immigration reform a second-term priority, having beaten Mitt Romney in last year’s election by 61 percentage points among the growing proportion of nonwhites overall and by 44 points among Hispanics, while losing whites by 20 points.

In step with the president’s policy direction, majorities in recent ABC/Post polls have supported a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.  His approval rating on the issue in February, while just 49 percent, was the highest of his presidency and up 11 points since the summer.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Drop in Approval Ends Obama's Post-Election Honeymoon

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The post-election party is over for Barack Obama, with the president slipping in overall approval and relinquishing his advantage over congressional Republicans in trust to handle the economy.  But it looks not so much like a gain for the GOP as a sequester-inspired pox on both houses.

The automatic budget cuts now in effect are unpopular, if not overwhelmingly so -- Americans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll disapprove by 53-39 percent.  But concerns about their impact are broad, and, by a 14-point margin, more put responsibility on the Republicans in Congress than on Obama for the sequester taking place.

See a PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

That said, it’s Obama’s economic stewardship that’s taken the bigger hit.  Last December, still enjoying a post-election glow, he held an 18-point edge over the Republicans in Congress in trust to handle the economy.  Today, with the latest budget impasse in full force, that’s now shrunk to an insignificant 4 percentage points.

The president’s job approval rating overall, meanwhile, has lost 5 points, from nearly a three-year high of 55 percent in January to his more customary 50 percent.  The Democrats in Congress have moved in the same direction, down 5 points in approval since December to 34 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

Approval of the Republicans in Congress is flat, but at 24 percent, it's even lower than it is for the Democrats.  And the Congress as a whole has a dismal 16 percent job approval rating, a mere three points from the record low in nearly 40 years of polling it set slightly more than a year ago.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Some Gun Measures Broadly Backed But the Politics Show Even Split

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While Senate negotiators struggle for a deal on mandatory background checks at gun shows, the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finds vast public support for the measure, as well as for a committee-approved step to make illegal gun sales a federal crime.

A smaller majority -- 57 percent -- also continues to favor banning assault weapons, a measure said to be less likely to prevail in Congress.  Support has declined slightly for a fourth proposal: the National Rifle Association’s suggestion to place armed guards in public schools.

See a PDF with full results and charts here.

With a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled for Tuesday, the poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, also shows a sharp political divide on gun control: Americans split evenly, 42-41 percent, on whom they trust more to handle the issue, President Obama, who’s been pushing such measures, or the Republicans in Congress, many of whom have been resisting them.

That result reflects the crosscurrents in attitudes on gun control.  On one hand the public supports “stricter gun control laws in this country” in general by a fairly narrow 52 to 45 percent, essentially unchanged recently and down from its levels in most of the previous two decades.  But support is higher on some specifics; a nearly unanimous 91 percent favor mandatory background checks on gun show sales, and 82 percent support making illegal gun sales a federal crime.  Notably, even among opponents of stricter gun control in general, 85 and 73 percent, respectively, support these measures.

The Judiciary Committee last week approved a bill making gun trafficking a federal offense.  It’s also looking at background checks, limits on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and aid for more safety equipment in schools.  All come in response to the shootings that killed 26 at a schoolhouse in Newtown, Conn., in December.

Support for banning assault weapons is almost identical to its level in January, albeit, like views on gun control in general, down from support in the past, which peaked at or near 80 percent in the 1990s.  Placing an armed guard in every public school, supported by 55 percent in January, slipped to 50 percent now.  Critics have focused on the cost, among other issues; support is down most sharply among Republicans, men and people in gun-owning households.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Poll Finds a Boost for Obama on Handling Immigration

John Gurzinski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Public approval of President Obama’s handling of immigration has jumped to a career high in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, buttressed by majority support for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and, much more broadly, endorsement of stricter border control.

While the president lacks majority approval on the issue overall, slightly more Americans now approve than disapprove of his approach, by 49 vs. 43 percent.  Obama was underwater on the issue -- just 38 percent approved, while 52 percent disapproved -- as recently as last July.

See a PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

In terms of specific policies, an overwhelming 83 percent support stricter border control, including 64 percent who are “strongly” supportive; only 15 percent are opposed. Fewer, 55 percent, also favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, with 41 percent opposed.

There are vast differences among groups, underscoring the president’s advantage on the issue among nonwhites generally and Hispanics in particular, and the Republican Party’s challenges in finding support within the party for an immigration policy that can boost its support among Hispanics.

Specifically, 67 percent of Hispanics and 71 percent of nonwhites overall approve of Obama’s handling of immigration, compared with 38 percent of whites.  And a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants is supported by 82 percent of Hispanics and 71 percent of all nonwhites, as well as by nearly seven in 10 Democrats and just over half of independents.  It’s supported by fewer than half of whites, 47 percent; Republicans, 42 percent; and by just 37 percent of adults who describe themselves as very conservative politically.

Obama lost whites by 20 percentage points in the November election, but won nonwhites by 61 points, including Hispanics by 44 points, en route to re-election.

Making the president’s gains on the issue, “strong” approval and strong disapproval of his handling of immigration are essentially even -- 27 vs. 28 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.  In previous ABC/Post polls, Obama’s strongly negative ratings on immigration far outweighed his strongly positive ones.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama’s Favorability Best Since 2009; 2-1 Approve Inaugural Address

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Obama has advanced to his highest personal popularity since his first year in office, and Americans who’ve formed an opinion of his second inaugural address last week broadly approve of it, the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finds.

At the same time, Obama’s favorability rating is lower than that of two of the last three re-elected presidents as they started their second terms, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.  He’s in better shape compared with the third, George W. Bush.

See a PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

Sixty percent of Americans now express a favorable opinion of Obama overall, up 10 points since last summer, in the heat of the presidential race.  His popularity peaked at 79 percent days before he took office four years ago, and last saw the 60s in November 2009.

Obama’s approval rating for his inaugural address last week is lower -- 51 percent approve in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, but just 24 percent disapprove, a 2-1 ratio in favor of the speech.  A quarter of Americans have no opinion of it either way.

Favorability -- which differs from job approval -- is the most basic rating of a public figure’s personal popularity.  Obama’s exceeds Bush’s at the start of his second term by 5 percentage points, but trails Clinton’s by 5 and Reagan’s by 12.

Intensity of sentiment is a plus for Obama: More have a “strongly” favorable opinion of him than a strongly unfavorable one, 39 vs. 26 percent, and twice as many strongly approve of his inaugural speech as disapprove.  It’s the first time he’s been significantly more strongly popular than unpopular since early 2010.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Poll: Public Lukewarm on Cliff Deal, But Obama Bests Boehner 

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Americans give a lukewarm response to last week’s agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff, albeit with higher marks for the deal to President Obama than to House Speaker John Boehner.
More people in this ABC News/Washington Post poll approve than disapprove of the agreement, but just by a 7-point margin, 45 to 38 percent, with a substantial 17 percent undecided. Moreover, intensity is on the negative side: “Strong” critics of the deal outnumber its strong proponents by 2-1.

See a PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

At the same time, Obama gets majority approval for his handling of the negotiations, 52-37 percent, while Boehner’s score is reversed -- just 31 percent approve of his performance on the cliff talks, while 51 percent disapprove. Boehner’s positive score is up six percentage points from a month ago, but remains a broad 21 points behind the president’s.
Among those who favor the agreement, twice as many approve of Obama’s handling of the negotiations than Boehner’s, 86 vs. 43 percent. Indeed, this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that Boehner lacks majority approval for his work on the fiscal cliff talks from any group. And while Obama breaks even on intensity of sentiment, strong approval of Boehner’s performance falls to the single digits.
Tellingly, among Democrats, 81 percent approve of Obama’s handling of the talks, including 44 percent who approve “strongly.” But among Republicans, Boehner gets just 38 percent approval overall, and a mere 10 percent strong approval.
The inclusion of tax increases for high-income Americans is likely a factor. People who describe themselves as “very” conservative are negative across the board -- 67, 66 and 57 percent, respectively, disapprove of the deal, Obama’s work on it and Boehner’s role as well. Boehner gets roughly the same level of disapproval from very conservatives as he does from liberals.
Political independents, for their part, split about evenly on the deal itself and on Obama’s handling of negotiations, but most disapprove of Boehner’s performance.
Approval of the deal itself surpasses disapproval among groups including women, nonwhites and lower- to middle-income adults. Men, whites, seniors, college grads and those with $50,000-plus incomes are more evenly divided.
Still, as noted, strong criticism of the deal surpasses strong support, 25 percent vs. 12 percent. That’s largely because strong disapproval jumps to 50 percent among very conservatives, 45 percent among Republicans and 40 percent among people in the $100,000-plus income bracket.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Despite Hints of Economic Recovery, Optimism’s Scarce for 2013

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With three-quarters of Americans saying the economy’s still in a recession, optimism both about personal and global prospects in the year ahead are at their lowest in 11 years. Nonetheless, unlike the past three years, a majority at least says an economic recovery’s begun.  

Optimism continues to trump pessimism in personal outlook: Fifty-three percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll are more hopeful than fearful about what 2013 holds in store for them personally.  Fewer -- 40 percent -- are more hopeful than fearful about the world’s prospects.

Both are down sharply, by 32 and 29 percentage points, respectively, from their highs in December 2003, to their lowest level in more than a decade.  The 56 percent who express fearfulness about the global outlook ties the high right before 2003, with war in Iraq imminent.

PARTISANSHIP: Political allegiances factor heavily into these views. Seventy-five percent of Democrats express personal optimism, matching its level after the 2008 elections, and their global optimism is just 6 points lower, now 61 percent. 

Among Republicans, a second consecutive loss is a lot to bear: Their personal and global optimism are nearly half their level vs. four years ago (25 vs. 44 percent, and 18 vs. 39 percent, respectively).

That mirrors trends after the 2004 election, when George W. Bush won his second term.  Personal optimism for the next year among Democrats dropped by 29 points from the previous year, and global optimism by 20 points, while optimism among Republicans was virtually unchanged.

Compared to 2008, hopefulness among independents has dropped by 12 and 10 points, respectively.  But party’s at play there also; Democratic-leaning independents are nearly identical in hopefulness to Democrats, while Republican-leaning independents look much like Republicans.

ECONOMY and THE CLIFF: Despite easing unemployment, Americans continue to feel the effects of the longest, deepest downturn since the Great Depression.  Seventy-six percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, think that the country still is in a recession, unchanged since April.

But the economy’s trajectory also matters.  On that, more than half -- 53 percent -- say that in their personal experience the nation’s economy has started to recover.  While that’s not significantly different than its level this March, it’s up by 17 points in the last year.

The increase is broadly based, occurring in nearly every group, albeit only up 10 points to 35 percent among Republicans (compared with a 25-point increase to 72 percent among Democrats) and by a slight seven points among conservatives, to 34 percent.

Yet even among those who say the recovery is underway, three-quarters say it’s a weak one.

While heavily influenced by partisanship, these perceptions still factor into expectations for the year ahead.  Personal and global optimism are 26 to 47 points higher among those who say the recession is over or the recovery has begun, compared with those who disagree.

The potential impacts of not reaching an agreement on the fiscal cliff weigh heavily on Americans as well: Three-quarters or more are concerned about its effects on the national economy, their personal finances, the government’s operations and the U.S. military.  And those who are very worried about these consequences are 17 to 22 points less optimistic about their personal outlook compared with those who are less worried.

See a PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fixing the GOP: Party Like It’s 1949

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Americans by a 15-point margin in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say the Republican Party needs less conservative policies that are more focused on middle- and lower-income Americans, rather than better leaders to sell its existing positions.  And 63 years ago, Americans by an 11-point margin said precisely the same thing.

Mark it up to the swinging pendulum of American politics: Six decades after Republican presidential nominee Thomas Dewey’s unexpected loss to incumbent Democrat Harry S. Truman, the GOP is back in the same doghouse.

The question was last asked in 1949, months after Truman’s victory in what’s widely considered to be the greatest upset in presidential election history.  The GOP, at that point, had lost five presidential races in a row, leading Gallup to ask:
“One group holds that the Republican Party is too conservative -- that it needs a program concerned more directly with the welfare of the people, particularly those in the lower- and middle-income levels.  The other group says that the policies of the Republican party are good -- but the party needs a better leader to explain and win support for these policies.”

In 1949, respondents, asked which view best fit their own, took the first option by 41-30 percent, with an additional 12 percent volunteering that both applied equally.

Fast forward to 2012.  Defeated last month by an incumbent Democrat, the Republican Party has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections.  After hitting a 20-year high in 2003, allegiance to the GOP has dropped and shows no sign of recovery.

This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, repeated the 1949 Gallup question.  The result: Fifty-three percent of Americans say the Republicans need to work on their policies.  Thirty-eight percent see it, instead, as a leadership problem.

See a PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Poll: Obama Holds Most Cards in Cliff Talks, But with No Mandate

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- President Obama holds most of the cards in fiscal cliff negotiations with the Republican leaders of Congress, with more Americans approving of his handling of the talks and more prepared to blame the GOP if the brinksmanship fails.  But another factor constrains the president: His lack of a mandate in the public’s mind.

Overall, the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows the impact of Obama’s successful re-election campaign.  His job approval rating -- at 54 percent -- is his highest (excepting a brief Osama bin Laden bounce) in nearly two years.  And even while weakly rated on the economy, he leads the Republicans in trust to handle it by 18 percentage points, his widest margin since July 2009.

But for all his advantages, Americans by a wide 22-point margin -- 56-34 percent -- say Obama does not have “a mandate to carry out the agenda he presented during the presidential campaign,” but rather should “compromise on things the Republicans strongly oppose” -- a sign of risk for the president if the talks should collapse.

See a PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

The sense Obama has a mandate, notably, is 16 points lower than it was after the 2008 election, suggesting a more restricted range of political possibilities in his second term.  The decrease is broadly based, occurring across groups save Democrats and nonwhites.

Reflecting the GOP’s challenges in opposing tax cuts on the wealthy, Obama leads especially widely -- by 26 points, 58-32 percent -- in trust to protect the middle class -- a perception he wielded to great effect against Mitt Romney in the 2012 campaign.  Obama’s lead on the economy is double what it was at the start of the year, higher notably among moderates and independents.

More generally, this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, shows a 12-point advantage for Obama in trust to handle the main problems the nation faces over the next few years.  That includes a 9-point edge among political independents.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio