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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gallup's Top 11 of 2011

It's our goal at Gallup to shed light on the events in the news, as well as to make news of our own based on the surveys we conduct. This year we've monitored and reported back to you on Americans' views of their leadership, the roller-coaster Republican nomination race, the starts and stops of the global economy, the challenges facing countries worldwide, the progress of the world's citizens toward improving their well-being, and much more.  

You can read about some of the biggest findings of the year in chronological fashion in our 2011 year in review. But for those who want the top must-read findings of the year, here we present our top 11 of 2011:
The findings, of course, will keep coming in 2012, along with exciting new advancements to both our website and our continuous global research. To stay up to date, be sure to sign up for news alerts or to get Gallup news on Facebook, Twitter, through our mobile apps, RSS feeds, or simply by visiting us often.

We wish all of our readers a happy new year and look forward to making more discoveries with you in 2012.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Frank Newport and Susan Page Reveal Their Top 10 Most Interesting Election Findings of 2011

Posted by Elizabeth Mendes, Deputy Managing Editor

The hosts of Election Matters, Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport and USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page, give you their picks for the 10 most interesting findings of 2011 in polls and politics in this week's webcast.

Newport and Page -- who each Tuesday bring together their unique blend of public opinion analysis and on-the-ground reporting -- compiled their top 10 list to provide you with everything you need to know, and may have missed, about the race for the presidency in 2011.

They dissect Herman Cain's candidacy, detail Americans' growing libertarianism, and discuss President Barack Obama's position heading into election year.

Aching to know their No. 1 finding? Watch here to find out.

Catch new episodes of Election Matters in 2012 every Tuesday on or subscribe on iTunes.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stay With Us Through the Holidays

2011 may be coming to a close, but will keep publishing great stories through the end of the year.  Here are some of the stories you can expect from us between now and Dec. 31.

  • Global approval ratings for EU leadership
  • Americans' most admired man and woman of 2011
  • A report on Christmas spending based on our daily tracking of Americans' self-reported spending
  • "Election Matters"' top 10 political stories of the year
  • Our Year in Review, a chronological review of some of the most memorable findings of the year
To get these stories and more as soon as they are published, wherever you are, make sure to sign up for Gallup news email alerts.

We'll also have continuing daily updates on Republicans' nomination preferences, except on Dec. 24-25, Dec. 31, Jan. 1, and one other day to be determined to give our tireless interviewers a few days off.

All of our stories and daily data updates are also available on the go via our iPhone and Android apps.

We thank our readers for their readership throughout 2011 and look forward to sharing even more findings with you throughout 2012.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

For the Political Reporter in Each of You

Gallup Wednesday morning hosted an invite-only briefing for political journalists to review the metrics -- survey and non-survey based -- that matter most to predicting presidential elections.

The discussion was moderated by Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport, with analysis from Gallup Senior Editor Lydia Saad, Temple University Professor of Political Science Chris Wlezien, Gallup Managing Editor Jeffrey M. Jones, and Yahoo! Research Economist David Rothschild.

Their presentations included a review of the predictive power of each of the following, in terms of how they have related to the outcomes of past presidential elections. Here are some of the key learnings:

  • The Trial Heat ballot becomes more predictive of the election outcome as the campaign progresses, especially in the last 60 days before Election Day, with the predictive validity increasing as actual voting nears. This is the key metric to watch in the home stretch of the general election campaign.
  • Presidential Job Approval is very predictive of an incumbent's re-election chances, especially in the months before the party nominating conventions.  Approval ratings of 50% or higher seem to assure re-election, with George W. Bush’s final Gallup approval rating of 48% providing one exception. (Ford lost with 45% approval.) Presidential approval ratings, historically, can change during the course of an election campaign and are more likely to decline than increase during the presidential election year.
  • Positive Intensity Scores are a good measure of a candidate's potential before they are well-known, and is an excellent indicator of a candidate’s ability to generate strong enthusiasm from voters. 
  • Satisfaction With the Way Things Are Going in The Country is a broad measure that captures the climate of the election.  The percentage “satisfied” to ensure incumbent re-election may be somewhere between 22% (level at which George H.W. Bush lost) and 39% (level at which Bill Clinton won).
  • Economic Confidence summarizes how voters feel about the economy, with the Gallup Economic Index ranging from -100 to +100. A president can win with a less than robust economy, but a Gallup Economic Index score near zero or better may be necessary to win.
  • Most Important Problem is Gallup's longest-term indicator of public attitudes toward the economy, measured in terms of Americans’ open-ended responses. Successful incumbents generally have had 35% or fewer Americans mentioning either the economy, jobs, inflation, or the federal budget in the final months prior to the election, with Reagan, at 51%, the sole exception.
  • Economic Indicators, such as the unemployment rate, inflation, GDP growth, etc., help to explain why a  president's approval ratings are high or low. Regardless of the absolute values, strong positive movement on these metrics in the election year can help an incumbent's re-election chances.
  • Expectations of Who Will Win -- that is, answers to the question, "Who do you think will win the upcoming election?" have had a good degree of success predicting election outcomes.  Research shows that expectations can be more accurate than the trial heat in certain situations.
  • Prediction Markets -- where wagers are placed based on who those betting think will win or lose -- have tracked closely to political election outcomes from late-19th and early-20th century elections (prior to Gallup’s first representative polls) through the 2008 election. Prediction markets' predictive advantage over traditional trial heat polling decreases as Election Day approaches.
  • Social Media sentiments are a new phenomenon and it is too soon to place value of their ability to augment traditional election measures. Social media posts are not representative of the population as a whole, and are difficult to categorize. The results should be considered more descriptive than scientifically indicative.  
Read about how some of these numbers play out in this election in this post by Matt Negrin at ABC News.
    Gallup is reporting on all of the survey-based metrics consistently from now until Election Day.  To learn more about the key metrics and where to find them on our site, click here. To stay up to date on all of our election news, sign up for news alerts and select "Politics" or "Election 2012." 

    And keep an eye out for great balanced reporting on all of the above from top tier news organizations, most of which were represented at our briefing.

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Introducing Gallup’s “Attitude Check” on Marketplace Radio

    Gallup is very excited to debut a new regular segment this week on the popular Marketplace and Marketplace Morning Report programs broadcast by American Public Media on hundreds of public radio stations around the country.  

    Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport will join Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal and Marketplace Morning Report hosts Steve Chiotakis and Jeremy Hobson each Thursday to discuss U.S. economic attitudes as measured by Gallup.

    Visit our new Gallup on Marketplace audio blog to learn more and listen.

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Your Guide to Election 2012 Data on

    Posted by Elizabeth Mendes, Deputy Managing Editor

    Gallup's launch of its daily "GOP Ballot Support" tracking is an exciting addition to its already robust coverage of the 2012 election.

    We know our readers love data -- just like us! So, we have added even more data and interactive features to our Election 2012 news page and want to take a moment to walk you through everything that is available.

    Daily "GOP Ballot Support"
    Gallup will be tracking the GOP nomination race daily until there is a nominee in order to provide an up-to-date measure of how Republicans view each of the candidates.

    • You can review the full trend for every candidate and export data on the Election 2012 news page. (GOP ballot support data collected prior to November is available here.)

    GOP Positive Intensity Tracking
    Gallup initiated its new positive intensity metric this year to gauge Republicans' levels of enthusiasm toward each of the GOP contenders. Gallup tracked Positive Intensity Scores weekly from February through the end of November. All of this data will remain available via our GOP contenders interactive.

    • You can review how each contenders' recognition and Positive Intensity Scores changed over time and save the chart.

    • You can also still download all of the positive intensity and recognition data.

    Presidential Trial Heats
    Gallup will continue to periodically update its trial heat matchups of President Obama against the leading Republican candidates.

    • You can find this data at the top of the Election 2012 news page.

    • Click through to get an interactive trend chart and export the data.
    Historical Election Trends
    Gallup has been monitoring presidential elections since the 1936 Roosevelt vs. Landon race. You can review the data for that race and every presidential election since then here.

    We will be adding a lot more data and interactive election features to in 2012. We always welcome your feedback and ideas. Please email me directly if you have thoughts on our current interactive features or if you have requests for what you would like to see us do in the future at

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Gallup *Daily* Election Tracking Begins This Week

    Expect a daily update on the GOP race from beginning this week. Starting Tuesday, we'll post new numbers daily on registered Republican voters' preferences for the GOP nomination. 

    Just look for "GOP Ballot Support" at the top of the homepage every day, seven days per week.  We'll update the numbers every day at 1 p.m. ET, based on a five-day rolling average of at least 1,000 registered Republican voters, collected as part of our Gallup Daily tracking survey.  We'll track the GOP race daily until there is a nominee and, then, the general election daily until Election Day.

    You can also always get these numbers on the go, via our iPhone and Android applications, alongside our daily numbers of President Obama's job approval rating, U.S. underemployment and unemployment, U.S. economic confidence, U.S. wellbeing, and more.

    Tuesday, we're also updating our Election 2012 page with even more data to help you track every angle of the presidential race. In addition to daily updates on GOP Ballot Support, you'll find our periodic tracking of general election trial heats between President Obama and the two leading Republican candidates. Additionally, you'll find a new interactive feature that allows you to track support for each of the remaining GOP candidates over time and to export the complete trends.  We're slowing down our "Positive Intensity" tracking but will continue to report on this on a periodic basis.

    Gallup's election experts, Frank Newport, Jeffrey M. Jones and Lydia Saad, will be constantly analyzing and reporting on all of our election data, including the president's job approval rating, attitudes about the economy and other key indicators Gallup has found to be relevant to presidential election outcomes. 

    This week, we'll have a new election analysis every day, including how "acceptable" Republicans consider each candidate, Republicans' expectations for who will win the nomination, an update on how Obama is doing among demographic subgroups, and views on whether "most members of Congress" deserve re-election.

    To make sure you sure you get each of these -- and every Gallup report on the election from now until next November -- sign up for Gallup news alerts and select "All Gallup Headlines," "Politics," or "Election 2012."

    You can also get more insights in our Video Reports and from our Editor in Chief Frank Newport in his blog, "Polling Matters."

    We promise you complete, objective, empirical coverage of every angle of the presidential election.  As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome on this blog and at

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