POLITICS

HUFFPOLLSTER: Obama's Approval Rating Drops

10/31/2013 05:11 pm ET | Updated Nov 01, 2013

A new NBC/WSJ poll finds a big approval drop for President Obama and deep distaste for Washington generally. Hillary Clinton's still net-positive favorable rating declined during 2013. And pollsters do Halloween, but they don't do irony. This is HuffPollstergeist for Thursday, October 31, 2013.

OBAMA'S APPROVAL RATING CONTINUES TO DECLINE - HuffPollster: "President Barack Obama's approval rating has sunk to a record low, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday night, amid deepening concern over U.S. spying and Obamacare….'The NBC/WSJ pollsters argue that no single reason explains Obama’s lower poll standing,' writes NBC senior political editor Mark Murray. 'Rather, they attribute it to the accumulation of setbacks since the summer -- allegations of spying by the National Security Agency, the debate over Syria’s chemical weapons, the government shutdown and now intense scrutiny over the problems associated with the health care law’s federal website and its overall implementation.' Obama's approval rating now stands at 42 percent -- a low in NBC/WSJ's polling. It had hovered in the mid-to-high 40s since April and was 47 percent in early October….The mood in general is profoundly anti-incumbent. Only 22 percent now think the country is headed in the right direction, up 8 points since the first week of October, but still considerably below what it was before the shutdown. Nearly three-quarters of Americans think Congress contributes to America's problems rather than solving them, and 63 percent say they'd like to elect a new representative in their district, the highest percentage since at least 1992." [HuffPost, NBC News]

Anger at both parties - Neil King and Allison Prang: "In all, the poll of 800 Americans captured an extraordinarily deep and widespread public distaste for the two political parties, those parties' leaders and the state of politics in the nation's capital...Optimism about the U.S. system of government, at 30%, was at the lowest ebb in 40 years. Just 29% said their congressional representative deserved re-election—a new low...House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, both Republicans, hit their highest negative ratings, as did Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat. The image of the Republican Party, which hit an all-time low two weeks ago, dipped still further in the latest survey. Just 22% of Americans hold a positive view of the GOP, compared with 37% who see the Democratic Party favorably. [WSJ]

Was bigger Democratic generic ballot lead an illusion? - Nate Cohn notes the decline in the Democrats lead on the generic U.S. House ballot in the NBC/WSJ poll from 8 percentage points in the heart of the government to just 4 points on the most recent survey and wonders if the earlier "wave" was the result of Republicans being less likely to participate in the earlier survey: There’s growing evidence, in my view, that lower response rates are increasing the risk of fluctuations due to differential non-response. In 2012, it appears that response rates got so low, and started fluctuating so wildly, that Pew Research decided to weight by the average of past respondent’s self-reported vote in their final pre-election survey. After the first presidential debate, Romney led in many national surveys, but we can say in retrospect that it is highly unlikely that Romney ever held a lead at all. Meanwhile, the panel based surveys, like RAND, YouGov showed the president maintaining a lead throughout the month. The panel-based surveys could compensate for differential non-response because they were re-contacting respondents and could see whether voters were changing their mind." [New Republic]

HILLARY CLINTON'S NUMBERS ALSO DOWN Aaron Blake: "As Hillary Clinton looks toward a potential 2016 presidential campaign, her personal image is eroding. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the number of people who have a positive view of Clinton has dropped from a high of 58 percent in December to 46 percent today. The 22 percent who have a "very positive" view of Clinton is lower than any time since the 2008 presidential campaign, and the 21 percent who have a "very negative" view of her is higher than at any point since then. Clinton is still viewed more favorably than unfavorably. Just 31 percent have a negative view of her." [WaPost]

NOT JUST NBC/WSJ HuffPollster's chart shows Clinton's declining sharply in favorability since leaving her position as Secretary of State.

A QUARTER OF AMERICANS SAY THEY'D BUY LEGAL POT - Emily Swanson: "Legalizing marijuana would more than double the potential market for the drug, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. Results show that 26 percent of Americans say they would buy marijuana at least on rare occasions if it was legal in their state, compared to 9 percent who said they buy it at least on rare occasions now. The percentage who said they would buy marijuana often, jumped from 1 percent who do so now to 4 percent who would buy if it was legal." [HuffPost]

SUBMITTED WITHOUT FURTHER COMMENT, PART I - A Twitter exchange between HuffPost's Sam Stein and pollster Stan Greenberg (D) following news that the Federal Aviation Administration will now allow airline passengers to use electronic devices during takeoff and landing:

@SamSteinHP: "now, you can try and fail to log on to http://healthcare.gov while taking off on a flight."

@StanGreenberg: "Not funny."

@SamSteinHP: "oh, come on. you chuckled a bit stan!"

@StanGreenberg: "Pollsters don't do irony." [Twitter]

SUBMITTED WITHOUT FURTHER COMMENT, PART II - Pollster Steve Koczela: "If you don't answer poll phone calls, I can't buy your kids Halloween candy. Answer the polls. It's for the children." [@SKoczela]

AND FINALLY… Earlier this week, in a moment of early Halloween spirit, we tweeted, "Scary pollster names: Boo [rhymes with Pew] Research, Wraithmussen, Ghoullup, Pumpkinnipiac"

Our esteemed followers offered some additional suggestions:

  • @LoganDobson: R.I.P. Polls. Reuters/Impsos, Were-ist, Battlehound, Hocus-Pocus Groups
  • @RyanDack: PumpkinPiePolling
  • @NateCohn: HeHeHe trolls
  • @MattMFM: Lakeeeek Research
  • @DavidKanevsky: American BOOpoint
  • @LizKantor: Washington Ghost-ABC Boos Poll (from Gary Jack o' Langer)

All results have a margin of terror of +/- 3 points.

CORRECTION: Yesterday's HuffPollster reported Pew Research Center is conducting an experimental survey in Virginia. Scott Keeter, Director of Survey Research for the Pew Research Center, emailed us with a correction: "Although we had hoped to be able do some Virginia polling this fall to provide additional evidence for our project to validate our likely voter models," he writes, "we ultimately decided not to pursue it." Apologies for the error.

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THURSDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to more news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Only a fifth of Pennsylvania voters want to see Gov. Tom Corbett reelected. [Franklin and Marshall]

-PPP (D) finds Sen. Al Franken and Gov. Mark Dayton in good shape for 2014. [PPP]

-American's perception of crime remains steady despite an upturn in violent crime. [Gallup]

-Victoria Research (D) finds high negatives for John Boehner in 18 Republican House seats likely to be competitive in 2014. [Victoria Research]

-CMAG finds negative tweets about Obamacare outnumbered positive tweets on Wednesday by 10:1. [@CMAGAdFacts]

-Bill McInturff (R) weighs in on yesterday's NBC/WSJ survey. [POS]

-Anna Greenberg (D) and Whit Ayres (R) talk about the message battle over the Obamacare rollout. [NPR]

-Sean Trende plots a possible path to victory for Ken Cuccinelli, but concludes he is "simply more conservative than the Virginia electorate will bear. [RCP]

-Harry Enten expects an unusually boring election night next Tuesday. [Guardian]

-Obama's campaign Chief Technology Officer says Big Data is "bullshit." [Chronicle of Higher Ed]

-43 percent of Americans think blackface is acceptable. [HuffPost]

-More Americans believe they've seen a ghost than approve of Congress. WaPost]

-The nation is divided over which Halloween candy is the worst, an unscientific poll finds. [Fox]

-Six years ago, the AP poll found 63 percent of adults saying they planned to give out candy to trick-or-treaters. [@JennAgiesta]

-The Census Bureau offers up some Halloween-appropriate factoids. [Census]

-Dylan Matthews compiles a (candy) bar chart of Americans' favorite chocolates. [WashPost]

-George Takei shares another handy Halloween chart. [@GeorgeTakei]

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