Category Archives: Pollapalooza

Does Trying To Repeal Obamacare Actually Increase Its Appeal?

Welcome to Pollapalooza, our weekly polling roundup.
Poll(s) of the week
On Monday, the Trump administration once again took aim at the Affordable Care Act, this time saying it wants to entirely scrap the health law. This marked a major turning point, as the administration had previously argued that portions of the law should remain intact, including protections for people with preexisting medical conditions. But now President Trump and Justice Department lawyers are asking the courts to uphold a federal judge’s decision from December that found the entire law unconstitutional.
If the law is struck down without a plan to replace it, this means millions of people could lose coverage, which would be a political disaster for Trump — especially as more than half of Americans hold a “very” or “somewhat” favorable view of the health law.
This is according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has tracked the law’s favorability every month since it was first signed into law nearly a decade ago in 2010. As you can see in the chart below4, while the health care law has struggled in popularity over the years, late 2016 marked an inflection point, in which the law inched upward in popularity among the American public (although it has remained largely unpopular among Republicans).

“It wasn’t until the repeal-and-replace debate that some of the real benefits of the law became clear to people,” said Mollyann Brodie, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, referring to congressional Republicans’ efforts in 2017 to repeal and replace the law. “Given our experience of what we observed during repeal and replace, I think that it’s certainly the case that when people feel like there is a real threat to this law, there is a real rallying-around-the-law effect.” The March numbers were just released this week, showing an overall net favorability of about +10, but Brodie said they expect to see a bump in favorability if the Trump administration renews its efforts to dismantle the ACA.
In fact, since 2016, support for the law has increased significantly across every demographic group KFF tracks with one notable exception — people that identify as Republicans.5 Trump campaigned on repealing Obamacare, so renewed efforts to repeal the law could be a play to his base.

Republicans continue to hold out against Obamacare
Change in average net favorability rating of the Affordable Care Act from 2016 to 2019

Avg. Net Favorability





Less than $40,000


$90,000 or more












Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

Democrats have promised to fight back against the Trump administration’s latest efforts to dismantle Obamacare, and many in the party have begun to set their sights beyond the ACA, working to bring a number of ambitious health care policy proposals into the 2020 arena. And some of these proposals have polled well. For example, KFF found in its March monthly poll that 56 percent of Americans either “strongly” or “somewhat” favor having a national health plan, which the poll described both as “Medicare-for-all” and as a “single government plan,” in which all Americans would get their insurance from the government.
But Brodie cautioned that gauging support for Medicare-for-all style health care reforms is tricky. Support tends to be highly partisan and often varies based on how the question is asked and whether respondents are presented with arguments for and against the policies. For example, in a January poll on Medicare-for-all, KFF found a majority of Americans supported the idea, but the net favorability dropped by a whopping 44 percentage points when voters were told the plan could lead to delays for people seeking care. But support increased by 45 percentage points when voters were told it would guarantee health insurance as a right. And some pollsters like Quinnipiac have even found a decline in support for the idea of a single payer health care system. That said, the pollster also asked respondents if they supported keeping the current health care system with an option that gives Americans the ability to buy into Medicare, and they found that 51 percent, including a plurality of Republicans, supported this less radical overhaul. So there is some early evidence that Democrats might be able to woo a general electorate with health care reform in 2020 if they scale back some of their more sweeping health care reform proposals.
And if Trump wants Republicans be “the party of healthcare” as he suggested in a tweet this week, he will need to think of a replacement that can compete with whatever Democrats decide to offer — especially as repealing Obamacare could be unpopular.
From ABC News:

Other polling nuggets

A Morning Consult/Politico poll conducted after special counsel Robert Mueller ended his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election found that 47 percent of registered voters still think that Trump tried to “impede or obstruct the investigation,” even though Barr’s summary of Mueller’s report did not make a determination on whether the president obstructed justice.
74 percent of registered voters, including 56 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of Democrats, told YouGov in a poll this week that they think the full contents of Mueller’s report should be made public.
A Quinnipiac poll of Democratic primary candidates found Pete Buttigieg tied with Elizabeth Warren in fifth place, both polling at 4 percent. This could signal a big bump for Buttigieg, as he had previously polled at 1 or 2 percent in most national polls, but we’ll have to wait and see how big the Buttigieg bump gets.
A poll conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Levada Center asked Americans and Russians whether they thought their governments should cooperate with each other or limit the other country’s influence. In both countries, over half of respondents preferred policies that limited the influence of the other country. This is similar to what the poll found in 2017, but marks a reversal from 2016 when 56 percent of Americans preferred to cooperate with Russia.
Half of registered voters say that presidential elections should be determined by the national popular vote, while 34 percent say they should be determined by the Electoral College, according to another Morning Consult poll. Seventy-two percent of Democrats thought the national popular vote should decide elections compared to just 30 percent of Republicans, whereas 57 percent of Republicans preferred the Electoral College compared to 16 percent of Democrats.
Almost half of Americans think the college admissions process is rigged, according to a Fox News poll, while only a quarter think it is fair.
36 percent of voters, including 63 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of Democrats, said in a Huffpost/YouGov poll that there is a lot of discrimination against white people.
National elections are coming up in April and May in India, and a Pew Research Center survey found that 54 percent of Indians are satisfied with the way their democracy is working, while a third are dissatisfied. However, the poll also found that Indians don’t think elections move the dial much, with 58 percent saying that no matter who wins, “things do not change very much.”

Trump approval

According to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker, 41.9 percent of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 52.8 percent disapprove (a net approval rating of -10.9 points). At this time last week, 41.6 percent approved and 53.1 percent disapproved (for a net approval rating of -11.5 points). One month ago, Trump had an approval rating of 42.3 percent and a disapproval rating of 53.3 percent, for a net approval rating of -11 points.
Check out all the polls we’ve been collecting ahead of the 2020 elections.

Americans Increasingly Blame Trump For The Government Shutdown

Welcome to Pollapalooza, our weekly polling roundup.
Poll(s) of the week
The longest government shutdown in U.S. history has passed the one-month mark, and the latest polls show that the share of Americans who blame President Trump for it has grown during that time — although congressional Democrats aren’t escaping unscathed either. Meanwhile, an end to the dispute over whether to fund Trump’s proposed border wall seems nowhere in sight.
Since the partial shutdown began on Dec. 22, several pollsters — specifically, Fox News, Ipsos, Marist, Morning Consult and YouGov — have been asking Americans who is most to blame for the current stalemate: Trump, Democrats in Congress, or Republicans in Congress.8 And, on average, more Americans are blaming Trump. There has been an increase of about 5 points in the percentage of respondents who say the president is responsible since the first polls were taken in December just after the start of the shutdown.
But there is some evidence that congressional Democrats are also shouldering more of the blame. There was an average increase of about 2 percentage points in the share of the electorate that blames congressional Democrats for the shutdown. Meanwhile, the percentage who blame congressional Republicans has decreased by about 3 points.

People who say they are politically independent in particular are turning against Trump. On average, there was a 7-point increase in the share of independents who blame Trump. YouGov, for example, found in its most recent poll that 50 percent of independents blame Trump the most for the shutdown. That’s up 12 points from the first time the pollster asked about the shutdown and blame, in a survey conducted Dec. 23-25. For comparison, between those two surveys, the share of Republicans who blame Trump increased only 2 points, while the share of Democrats who do rose 3 points.

Since the start of the shutdown, Trump has seen his approval rating decline by about 3 points and dip below 40 percent. While some polls indicate that the president might be losing support among parts of his base, Trump remains popular in his own party, pulling in approval numbers between 80 percent and 90 percent among Republicans.
But the political fallout from a government shutdown might be minimal in the long run — especially considering that we’re nearly two years out from the 2020 election. So there probably isn’t a huge political incentive for either side to budge just yet. Still, we have never had a shutdown last this long, so it’s unclear whether there will be lasting electoral consequences. In the short run, it seems likely that the president and House Democrats will continue to try to win the public’s support as they pressure one another to cave on funding the border wall and re-opening the government.
Other polling nuggets

60 percent of Americans say there are “plenty of jobs available in their community,” according to a Pew Research Center poll. That is the highest share of respondents with a positive view of job availability since Pew first asked the question nearly 20 years ago.
A Fox News poll found that 41 percent of Americans think House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is better at “Washington gamesmanship” than President Trump, while 35 percent think Trump is better at it. Meanwhile, a poll by CBS News found that 47 percent of Americans think Pelosi is better at handling shutdown negotiations than Trump, while 35 percent think Trump is.
46 percent of women in the U.S. say they are either “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with the way that women are treated in society, according to a Gallup poll. That’s the lowest number Gallup has recorded since they started asking the question in 2001.
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that more than half of Americans said they either “strongly” or “somewhat” favor the idea of a single government health insurance plan for all Americans, often referred to as “Medicare-for-all.” Support for the proposal, however, hinged on how it was presented: 71 percent of respondents said they favored it when they were told that it would “guarantee health insurance as a right for all Americans,” but support dropped to 37 percent when respondents were told that it would “require most Americans to pay more in taxes.”
A Winthrop University survey of Americans in 11 Southern states9 found that 29 percent of respondents said they either “agree” or “strongly agree” with the statement that “America must protect and preserve its white European heritage.” Fifty-four percent said they “disagree” or “strongly disagree.”
78 percent of Americans support encouraging highly skilled people to immigrate and work in the U.S., according to the Pew Research Center. Even among those who said the country should allow fewer — or no — immigrants, 63 percent said they support encouraging highly skilled people to immigrate.
The people of El Salvador go to the polls on Feb. 3 to elect a new president. Opinion polls conducted in December show Nayib Bukele, the former mayor of San Salvador, with a lead of more than 20 points over his two biggest opponents: conservative businessman Carlos Calleja and former Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez of the left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front party. Bukele has run as a political outsider under the banner of the Grand Alliance for National Unity party after being kicked out of the FMLN in 2017. The December polls indicate that Bukele might have a chance at breaking the 50 percent threshold he needs to win the election outright in the first round of voting.

Trump approval

According to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker, 39.5 percent of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 55.8 percent disapprove (for a net approval rating of -16.3 points). That’s a decline from a week ago, when 40.2 percent of Americans approved of the president and 55.0 percent disapproved (a net approval rating of -14.8 points). Trump’s net approval rating has dropped significantly from a month ago, when it was -11.0 (approval rating of 41.9 percent, disapproval rating of 52.9 percent).


Trump Put Immigration Back In The Headlines. Will It Boost GOP Turnout?

Welcome to Pollapalooza, our weekly polling roundup.
Poll(s) of the week
President Trump has fixated on immigration in the days leading up to next week’s midterm elections, perhaps in the hopes that it will drive Republicans to the polls. Since mid-October, he has made the thousands of Central American migrants who have said they are traveling to the U.S. to seek asylum a focal point of his tweets and public statements, most recently in a press conference Thursday. And earlier this week, he intensified his hardline immigration agenda, telling Axios that he wants to use an executive order to ban birthright citizenship. It’s difficult to know whether, or how much, stoking fears about illegal immigration will help Republicans turn out the vote, but a new poll from The Economist and YouGov gives us some clues as to why Trump might think it will.
For starters, there’s evidence that Trump’s rhetoric on the migrant caravan has resonated with his base. Republicans — especially Trump voters — were more likely than Democrats to have heard “a lot” about the caravan, and a majority of Republicans said the U.S. should “reject all of the immigrants in the caravan” (as opposed to accepting all of them or accepting only those who have a valid claim for asylum). Also, Trump’s dubious claim that the caravan contained “unknown Middle Easterners” (there have been no reports from intelligence agencies to suggest that this is true, and Trump later said he has no proof to support it) appears to have been widely believed by Republicans. Forty-seven percent said they thought that “some” of the people in the caravan were “Middle Eastern terrorists.” And 72 percent of Republicans said they “strongly approve” of Trump’s order to deploy thousands of troops to the border ahead of the caravan’s arrival.
Also in the YouGov poll, immigration was the most frequent response among Republicans when they were asked what the most important issue to them was; 20 percent chose it from a list of 15 issues (the economy ranked second, with 17 percent). Among independents, immigration came in second (13 percent said it was the most important issue to them) — which could be good news for Republicans looking to win among independents. (Among Democrats, immigration was tied for sixth place — their top answer was health care.)
So maybe Trump really is tapping into an issue that will motivate Republicans to vote. But much of his success will boil down to whether he is able to turn out voters in key swing states with close races. That said, a recent CBS News/YouGov poll of voters in Arizona, Florida and Indiana found that a vast majority of Republicans said immigration was “very important” to their vote for Congress this year. All three states have a competitive Senate race on the ballot. Several House races in Arizona and Florida are especially close, and Florida has a tight gubernatorial race as well.
What voters see as an important issue and what motivates them to vote can depend on the current news cycle, although the effects can fade. For instance, Republican enthusiasm about the midterm elections surged in October polls after Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s heated confirmation hearing. But there are some signs that the excitement has died down. In the most recent Economist/YouGov poll, Republicans’ enthusiasm to vote in the midterms dropped 3 points, compared with the previous week.
It’s still too soon to know what will happen in the polls in the wake of the pipe bombs that were mailed to prominent Democratic critics of Trump or in response to the anti-Semitic shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh that left 11 dead. So while it’s possible that immigration could drive Republicans to vote on Election Day and maybe even make a difference in some key races, it’s also entirely possible that enthusiasm around immigration issues could weaken in the coming days.
Other polling nuggets

A CNN poll conducted by SSRS of Arizona’s Senate race found that Democrat Kyrsten Sinema had lost ground to Republican Martha McSally but was still ahead by 4 percentage points. An NBC News/Marist College poll, meanwhile, found that Sinema had a 6-point lead. As of Thursday afternoon, FiveThirtyEight’s Classic forecast rated the race as a “toss-up” and gave Sinema a 3 in 5 chance of winning.
A poll of North Dakota voters by Trafalgar Group found Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp 9 points behind her Republican opponent, Kevin Cramer (including leaners). Heitkamp has lagged behind Kramer in the polls for a while, and Cramer’s odds of winning in our forecast have improved recently. As of Thursday afternoon, he had a 3 in 4 chance of winning.
The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Tennessee, Marsha Blackburn, scored a 5-point lead against Democrat Phil Bredesen in an NBC News/Marist poll.
In the Texas Senate race, Republican Ted Cruz maintains a strong streak with a 5-point lead over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke in a Quinnipiac University poll.
A Marquette University Law School poll found Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, tied with Democrat Tony Evers — both received 47 percent in support. As of Thursday afternoon, our forecast rated the seat as a “toss-up.”
43 percent of Americans said the #MeToo movement had gone too far, according to an NPR-Ipsos poll. Americans were more divided along party lines than by gender: The gap between Democrats and Republicans was 54 points (75 percent of Republicans said the movement had gone too far, compared with 21 percent of Democrats), while the gap between men and women was 15 points (51 percent of men vs. 36 percent of women).
60 percent of Massachusetts voters said Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s claim of Native American ancestry is “not at all important” to their vote in a WBUR poll conducted by MassINC polling.
Last week, NBC canceled Megyn Kelly’s talk show after she asked on the air why it was inappropriate for white people to dress up in blackface for Halloween. In a poll that was conducted before and after the cancellation, Morning Consult found that 45 percent of Americans thought that punishment would be “too harsh.” Only a quarter of respondents thought canceling her show would be appropriate. However, 42 percent of black Americans said cancellation would be appropriate.
A majority of Americans expressed a lack of confidence in U.S. election security, according to a Pew Research Center poll. Republicans were more likely than Democrats to say they’re confident that U.S. election systems are secure and less likely than Democrats to believe that Russia or other foreign governments will try to influence the midterm elections.

Trump approval

President Trump’s approval rating is 42.0 percent, according to our tracker. His disapproval rating is 53.2 percent. That makes for a net approval rating of -11.2 points — nearly 2 percentage points worse than last week’s rating of -9.4 points. One month ago, Trump’s net approval rating was -10.9 points (41.8 percent approved and 52.7 percent disapproved).
Generic ballot

Democrats have an 8.5-point lead over Republicans on the generic congressional ballot (50.3 percent to 41.8 percent), according to our tracker. Support hasn’t shifted much from a week ago, when Democrats were at 50.0 percent and Republicans were at 42.0 percent. One month ago, Democrats held about the same advantage, 49.4 percent to 41.0 percent.
Check out our 2018 House, Senate and governor forecasts and all the polls we’ve been collecting ahead of the midterms.

Can Heitkamp Pull Off A Second Upset In North Dakota?

Welcome to Pollapalooza, our weekly polling roundup.
Poll(s) of the week
Democrats’ chances of holding on to the North Dakota Senate seat — which is critical if they stand any chance of winning the upper chamber — look quite bleak according to a recent Fox News poll. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp has long faced a tough uphill battle to win re-election in a state that President Trump carried by 36 percentage points in 2016. As you can see from the seven polls we’ve collected on the race so far, Heitkamp has trailed Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer for months. And two recent polls suggest that Heitkamp lost even more ground in the last couple of weeks, falling 10 to 12 points behind her opponent (before poll adjustments); in early September, she was only 4 points behind.

FiveThirtyEight’s Classic forecast currently gives Heitkamp just a 1 in 3 chance of winning re-election. Those odds aren’t great, but Heitkamp surprised everyone in her first bid for the seat in 2012 — more on that in a moment.
There is some speculation that Heitkamp’s vote against Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination — a decision that was both politically and personally difficult for her — may have eroded the senator’s support among voters.6 But it’s difficult to say what impact, if any, her vote against Kavanaugh has had, as there hasn’t yet been any polling since the vote. That said, since the North Dakota contest is one of the most competitive Senate races this year, there will probably be at least a few more polls in the final weeks before the election.

Make no mistake, the polling so far is not great for Heitkamp, but this is a political candidate well acquainted with being an underdog. Heitkamp trailed her opponent in several polls in 2012, only to go on to win by less than 1 percentage point. It was one of the biggest election upsets that year. What’s more, her victory came even as Barack Obama lost the state to Mitt Romney by 20 points.
Although Heitkamp was able to pull off an improbable victory in 2012, there are already some signs that she might not be able to do the same this time around. Our polls database shows that eight polls conducted in October 2012 had her losing the race by as much as 10 points or winning it by as much as 6 points. But polls this year tell a different story. Only one poll has found her ahead, and it was conducted in February. The most recent poll suggests she’s trailing by as much as 12 points.
The political environment is more favorable for Democrats this year than it was in 2012, which could give Heitkamp a boost, but unfortunately for her, North Dakota has likely moved more to the right since she was elected, making it tougher for Democrats to compete there. To give you a sense of just how hard it is for Democrats to win in the state right now, consider North Dakota’s 2016 Senate race, where Democrat Eliot Glassheim lost to incumbent Republican John Hoeven by a whopping 62 points. And in this year’s congressional race,7 the Democratic candidate has less than a 1 in 100 chance of winning.
It could also be that Rep. Cramer is a stronger candidate than Heitkamp’s 2012 opponent was. That year, Rep. Rick Berg was a one-term congressman and one of the wealthiest members of Congress, who drew criticism for his ties to a controversial property-management company. But Cramer, a three-term Congressman, seems to be just as well liked as Heitkamp. What’s more, President Trump has a 64 percent approval rating in the state and has endorsed Cramer and even held a rally for him earlier this summer.
In 2012, Heitkamp’s strategy was to focus on local issues, like farming and energy, and avoid partisan politics. But that same strategy might not work as well this time around as she faces an increasingly nationalized landscape where more voters opt for the same party in every race. Furthermore, Heitkamp did not have a voting record to criticize in her first run. Now she does. Heitkamp has voted in line with Trump just 54 percent of the time, far less than we’d expect based on Trump’s margin of victory in her state. She voted against the Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and against the GOP’s tax plan, opening her up to attacks from conservatives. But voting alongside Republicans may not have helped her re-election bid either. Her vote for the Keystone XL pipeline for example, could hurt her with Native American voters, who helped put her in office in 2012. And even if most Native American voters still support her, new voter ID requirements in the state are expected to depress turnout among tribe members in this election.
In the end, voting against Kavanaugh may be the least of Heitkamp’s worries. Heitkamp has less than a month to improve her poll numbers (or outperform them), and if she doesn’t, Democrats’ longshot odds of taking back the Senate become much longer.
Other polling nuggets

In Tennessee, a Siena College/New York Times live poll, which updates in real-time as respondents are called, has Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn leading her Democratic opponent, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, by double digits. FiveThirtyEight’s classic forecast, which considers both polling and fundamentals, now gives Blackburn a 4 in 5 chance of keeping her seat. But our Lite forecast, which only uses polling data and listed the race as a toss-up last week, now gives Blackburn a 3 in 4 chance of keeping her seat.
In Virginia’s 10th District, a Washington Post-Schar School poll found Democrat Jennifer Wexton with a double-digit lead over Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock. The FiveThirtyEight Classic model gives Wexton a 5 in 6 chance of unseating Comstock.
CNN found a 35-point gender gap in its most recent generic ballot poll; that’s up from a 29-point gap last month. Sixty-three percent of women and 45 percent of men said they were more likely to support a Democrat in their congressional district. Only 33 percent of women said they were more likely to support a Republican candidate, compared to 50 percent of men who said the same.
80 percent of adults in sub-Saharan Africa own a mobile phone according to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center.8 While that percentage has held steady since 2014, rates of internet usage and smartphone ownership have increased.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, 38 percent of Canadians and 31 percent of Mexicans believe that the U.S. government respects the personal freedoms of its people. That’s down significantly from 2013, when 75 percent of Canadians and 55 percent of Mexicans said the same. What’s more, in 21 out of the 22 countries surveyed, negative perceptions of the U.S. government were more common than they had been in 2013.
42 percent of adults in the U.S. say that they “strongly disagree” with the notion that they are interested in the political and social opinions of celebrities whose work they enjoy, according to a Morning Consult poll conducted with The Hollywood Reporter.
A poll of young people aged 18-24 conducted by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement and GfK found that 34 percent say they are “extremely likely” to vote this November. If that comes to pass, it would be an unusually high turnout rate for young adults in a midterm election.
A study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that two different sampling methods for national political polls, random digit dialing (RDD) and registration-based sampling (RBS), yielded similar results. RDD involves finding a selection of potential voters that is representative of the national electorate by dialing random numbers, while RBS involves conducting polls using a list of registered voters. Many national polls use RDD, but this research suggests RBS may also produce good results.
Brazil’s presidential election has gone to a runoff after no candidate gained at least 50 percent of the vote during the first-round elections on Sunday. Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro won 46 percent of the vote, while his best-performing opponent, leftist Fernando Haddad, won just 29 percent. Although polling prior to the first round suggested that a Bolsonaro-Haddad runoff could be close, a Datafolha poll published after the first round of voting found Bolsonaro leading Haddad 58 percent to 42 percent. The runoff election will be held on Oct. 28.

Trump approval

The president’s net approval rating currently sits at -10.7 points , according to our tracker. That’s about the same as it was one week ago. But Trump is doing better with voters than he was one month ago, when he had a -13.5 net approval rating (40.0 percent approved and 53.5 percent disapproved).
Generic ballot

Democrats haven’t improved their position by much over the last week. According to our generic congressional ballot polls, Democrats lead Republicans by an 8.3-point margin (49.7 percent to 41.4 percent). Last week, Democrats had a 7.7-point advantage over Republicans. One month ago, they were doing slightly better with an 8.6-point margin against Republicans.
Check out our 2018 House and Senate forecasts and all the polls we’ve been collecting ahead of the midterms.
CORRECTION (Oct. 12, 2018, 9:15 a.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Rep. Marsha Blackburn as an incumbent senator in Tennessee. Republican Bob Corker currently holds the seat.