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Monday, July 25, 2011

Amid the Debt Decision Delay

It was June 1 when I summarized these fast facts on Americans' views on the debt ceiling debate.

Now, here we are approaching Aug. 1, and the stalemate continues. Here are some of the key findings we've added to the debate over the past eight weeks:

  • A debt ceiling increase remains largely unpopular, with 22% of Americans in favor and 42% opposed.  As of July 7-10, 35% of Americans still didn't know enough to say, underscoring the complexity of the issues involved.
  • Their verbatim open-ended responses to this question show that those who oppose raising the debt ceiling most often say it is because that the U.S. cannot afford more debt and that the government needs to control its spending, while those in favor most often say it is necessary to avoid an economic catastrophe or not to default.
  • Asked how they would reduce the federal budget deficit, 50% of Americans say only or mostly with spending cuts, while 11% say only or mostly with tax increases.
  • Two-thirds of Americans ultimately want lawmakers to agree to a compromise plan, even if it is a plan they disagree with, rather than hold out and miss the Aug. 2 deadline.
A week ago, we reported that the approval ratings for President Obama and Republicans and Democrats in Congress were holding largely steady -- in their low positions --  during the negotiations.

However, Obama earned a 43% in the latest weekly average, spanning July 18-24, tying the lowest weekly average of his administration. Our daily tracking of Obama's job approval rating will monitor how this week goes as the negotiating continues.  Visit our politics page to stay up to date on all of our politics news, as we track the measurable impact of the negotiations -- and the outcome -- from all angles.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Listen Up: "Election Matters" Debuts

Election intelligence from Gallup polling, the campaign trail, and Washington, D.C., is coming your way each Tuesday in our new show, "Election Matters."

Debuting today on and, the quick segment brings together analysis from Gallup Editor in Chief Frank Newport and USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page.  Their partnership combines nationally representative findings from the electorate with top-notch analysis from Washington and the field.

Each week, they'll examine the top issues relating to the 2012 presidential election from the perspective of the voters -- that is, the people who will actually determine the outcome. They'll also often break new USA Today and Gallup poll findings before they are released anywhere else.  All in all, you'll get timely, objective, grounded election insights that you won't find anywhere else. 

Here's a picture of Susan and and Frank taping the inaugural show. Have a listen and let us know what you think!  

We'll post new shows each Tuesday afternoon, as we do our latest election 2012 tracking data.

To make sure you get each new show, subscribe via your service of choice: Election 2012 alerts and RSS feeds, iTunes, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook.

Also, be sure to bookmark and frequently check Gallup's Election 2012 page, Frank Newport's blog "Polling Matters" and Susan Page's Twitter feed for more unique election insights from Gallup and USA Today.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Metric to Watch in July: Obama Approval

Here's an important little nugget that Gallup's Jeffrey M. Jones reported in April that too few people picked up on:

"Whether Obama's approval goes up or down in the 10th quarter could be a telling sign for his re-election chances. Most presidents' approval ratings went down or were flat between their 9th and 10th quarters in office. Reagan and Clinton, both of whom had ninth-quarter averages similar to or lower than Obama's, showed significant improvement in their 10th quarter and were re-elected the following year. Carter, meanwhile, saw a sharp drop of roughly 10 points in his average approval rating during the 1979 energy crisis, and was defeated for a second term in 1980."

Obama's ninth quarter job approval average of 46.7% was up slightly from his seventh- and eighth-quarter averages but still the third lowest of his presidency. Since then, Gallup weekly averages have fluctuated quite a bit from 51% approval the week after the death of Osama bin Laden to 43% during the week of June 20-26. Whether Obama's 10th quarter shakes out to be better or worse than his 9th quarter when it ends on July 19 could be an important indicator of his re-election position.

You can read more about the relationship between presidential job approval and re-election chances from our editor-in-chief Frank Newport in his blog, "Polling Matters."

You can explore Obama's job approval trend in-depth and compare it to that of other presidents in our Presidential Job Approval Center. You can also monitor the dynamics of the field of potential GOP presidential contenders on our Election 2012 page.  Additionally, you can stay up to date on on all of our political findings, by signing up to get our Politics News via e-mail alert or RSS.

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