07/11/2013 05:34 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

POLLSTER UPDATE: Spitzer Leads In Comptroller Primary


Spitzer starts with a lead in New York City. Quinnipiac finds a decline in Obama's foreign policy job rating. And, if you read all the way to the end, we've got spells and magic incantations for you. The nerdy kind. This is the HuffPost Pollster update for Thursday, July 11, 2013.

SPITZER LEADS IN NYC COMPTROLLER PRIMARY - A new NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll: "Just days after disgraced former New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer announced he would return to politics to run for New York City comptroller, he leads his opponent, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, by nine percentage points. Among registered Democrats in New York City [n=546], including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, if the Democratic primary were held today, Spitzer receives the support of 42% compared with 33% for Stringer. One percent is behind another candidate. A notable 24% are undecided." Spitzer also leads by eight percentage points (44 to 36 percent) among a smaller subgroup [n=286] of likely Democratic voters. [Marist release, complete tables]

Spitzer's 'green light' - Marist finds that nearly half of NYC Democrats (46 percent) now rate Spitzer favorable, in increase of eight percentage points (from 36 percent) in August 2010. Spitzer's unfavorable rating has also declined to just 35 percent since hitting a high of 50 percent in May 2010. More from the Marist release: "Five years after Spitzer resigned amid revelations that he solicited prostitutes, about two-thirds of Democrats — 67% — believe Spitzer should be given a second chance in the political arena. Only 25% think Spitzer does not have the character to be the city's next comptroller. Eight percent are unsure. A plurality of New York City Democrats believe Eliot Spitzer has reformed. More than four in ten — 44% — say the former governor has changed as a person. 25% report he is the same Spitzer, and 32% are unsure."

But there's a catch - Much of Spitzer's current lead results from his name recognition advantage over Stringer. Nearly half of NYC Democrats cannot rate Stringer (43 percent) compared to just 19 percent for Spitzer. But as the Guardian's Harry Enten notes via Twitter, the correlation between Stringer's favorable rating and vote by borough is very high - Enten estimates it at 0.94 - but negative (-0.40) for Spitzer. "What this suggests," Enten writes, "is that Stringer's [percentage] of the vote is all about how unknown he is. As his favs go up with name id, he will likely catch up." [@ForecasterEnten here and here]


OBAMA'S FOREIGN POLICY APPROVAL DROPS - Quinnipiac: “American voters give President Barack Obama a negative 40 - 52 percent approval for the way he is handling foreign policy, his worst grade ever on that score. The president's overall job approval is a negative 44 - 48 percent, little changed from a 45 - 49 percent rating May 30." [Quinnipiac]

Other polls? - Other telephone polls that have tracked Obama's approval rating on foreign policy has shown a gradual decline since the election, declining roughly five percentage points on the Pollster chart since October 28 (from 49.5 to 44.6 percent), roughly the same as the decline in Obama's overall job rating (from 49.6 to 45.3 percent). We filtered out the online YouGov/Economist polls for this analysis. The complicate the comparison since they (a) consistently obtain lower job approval percentages for Obama on all job approval questions and (b) restarted tracking foreign policy approval in May for the first time since 2011. YouGov's results since June 8 have varied mostly between 32 and 35 percent approval, although it dropped to 28 percent on the most recent survey. [Pollster Obama foreign policy approval chart, overall Obama approval]

AMERICANS SPLIT ON ABORTION ISSUES - HuffPost Pollster: “Most Americans would favor sweeping new national restrictions on abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. But the poll also shows many Americans remain conflicted in their views on abortion....Results from the HuffPost/YouGov poll illustrate two of the most important conflicting attitudes. When asked about the morality of abortion, for example, roughly half say they consider abortion 'morally wrong' (49 percent), while more than one-third say it is either 'morally acceptable' (12 percent) or 'not a moral issue' (24 percent). Another 15 percent are unsure....'These kind of up-or-down [questions] on 20-week bans don't capture what happens in real life," Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg explained in a recent interview with The Huffington Post, 'because in real life, people think abortion is a very complicated issue.'" [HuffPost]

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

--63 percent of Americans want the level of immigration kept at its present level or increased, up from 46 percent in 2009. [Gallup]

-Eliot Spitzer leads his opponent in the Democratic primary for New York City comptroller, but a quarter of voters remain undecided. [Marist]

-The Bloomberg Consumer Confidence index continues to tick up. [Bloomberg]

-A poll sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign fund finds 55 percent of Virginia voters now favor same sex marriage. [Times Dispatch]

-Harry Enten argues that Democracy Corps survey of competitive races shows Democrats are not well positioned to win back the House in 2014. [Guardian]

-Dana Stuster examines whether Americans really think Snowden is a whistleblower or traitor. [Foriegn Policy via @LSimonetta]

-PPP gives Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton early leads in Iowa for the 2016 presidential race. [PPP]

-Rich Morin shares research showing boys with sisters are more likely to grow up to be Republican. [Pew Research]

-Alan Abramowitz and Ruy Teixeira expand on their argument that "doubling down on white voters" is a poor strategy for Republicans. [Crystal Ball]

-Sean Trende responds to Abramowitz and Teixeira. [RCP]

-Robert Putnam stands up for NSF funding of political science. [Politico]

-Dan Kahan reviews the problems with Mechanical Turk samples. [Cultural Cognition Project via Monkey Cage]

-Facebook is teaching all of its employees to use big data analytic tools. [Fortune via @AlexLundry]

-Thomas Levine offers "R spells...magic incantations that you might not find in introductory R books/documentation/classes." [Thomas Levine via Flowing Data]

POLLSTER UPDATE VIA EMAIL! - You can receive this daily update every weekday via email! Just enter your email address in the box on the upper right corner of this page, and click "sign up." That's all there is to it (and you can unsubscribe anytime).