Welcome to Pollapalooza, our weekly polling roundup.
Poll(s) of the week
’Tis the season, apparently, for late entries into the presidential race. On Thursday, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick threw his hat into the ring after reportedly being underwhelmed by the current field. And former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg filed to run in the Alabama Democratic primary one week ago today, followed by the Arkansas primary on Tuesday (although he has still not made a final decision to enter the race).
Of course, both men’s last-minute entries mean they’ll face uphill climbs in a contest where many other contenders have struggled to break out, and they’ll have to play catch-up quickly in building relationships and campaign infrastructure, which other candidates have had almost a year to do. We’ll have to wait a few more days to get data on just how difficult this climb might be for Patrick, but a few polls released this week showed just how hard things might be for Bloomberg.
Shortly after news broke that Bloomberg might run, Morning Consult ran a quick poll that found he would pull 4 percent of the national primary vote. That’s about where he was polling before he initially said he wouldn’t run, back in March: not terrible, but hardly strong enough to pose a serious threat. And even though Bloomberg’s advisers have said he would actually skip the first four primary states if he runs — a truly unorthodox strategy — two early-state polls that also asked about him this week found that he barely registered there. Only 2 percent of likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire told Quinnipiac that they would “definitely vote” for Bloomberg, although an additional 37 percent did say they would “consider voting” for him. And in a Monmouth poll of Iowa, Bloomberg earned the support of less than 1 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers.1
And it might be especially hard for Bloomberg to increase his support considering his lackluster favorability numbers. In that Morning Consult poll, his favorable rating was 31 percent and his unfavorable rating was 25 percent. That doesn’t sound bad at first, but that’s among Democrats, who normally love other Democratic politicians. (To take just one example, Sen. Cory Booker was at 43 percent favorable, 12 percent unfavorable in the same Morning Consult poll.) And two other polls don’t even have Bloomberg in positive territory with members of his own party. A YouGov/Economist poll this week gave him a 34 percent favorable rating and a 36 percent unfavorable rating among Democratic primary voters nationwide. And that Monmouth poll found that just 17 percent of Iowa Democrats viewed him favorably, while 48 percent viewed him unfavorably!
And while maybe some Iowa Democrats have a particularly unfavorable opinion of Bloomberg because his staff has said he would ignore early states if he runs, his national numbers aren’t all that different from when I looked at 2020 contenders’ favorability numbers back in February. According to an average of favorability polls from the first five weeks of the year, Bloomberg had a net favorability (favorable rating minus unfavorable rating) of just +11, which was the worst in the Democratic field once you accounted for name recognition. And as I wrote at the time, it’s really hard to win your party’s presidential nomination if you start off the campaign as well known and poorly liked as Bloomberg was (and is). Only one candidate has done so at least since 1980, according to our research, and that’s President Trump. But even Trump had turned his image around by this point in the campaign; according to ABC News/Washington Post polling, he went from a -42 net favorability among Republicans in May 2015 to +28 in September 2015. Bloomberg, on the other hand, has arguably missed his chance to improve his own numbers by sitting out most of the year, so he is in an even more difficult position.
Other polling bites
- In that Monmouth poll of Iowa, 34 percent of respondents said they had seen at least one presidential candidate in person so far this year. The most popular draws: South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (whom 17 percent of respondents had seen), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (15 percent) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (14 percent).
- Ahead of this week’s first public hearings in the Trump impeachment investigation, CBS News found that 73 percent of those who already have an opinion on whether Trump deserves to be impeached (83 percent of respondents) say their mind is totally made up. Only 27 percent of those with an opinion say that opinion could change.
- In the latest piece of evidence that Americans are rarin’ to go to the polls in 2020, a Gallup survey found that 68 percent of registered voters are more enthusiastic than usual about voting and just 24 percent are less enthusiastic than usual. That’s comparable to the levels of enthusiasm at the end of the 2012, 2008 and 2004 cycles.
- According to the Pew Research Center, Americans are divided on immigration, but not nearly as much as you might think. For example, about the same share of Americans said it’s “very” or “somewhat” important to increase security along the U.S.-Mexico border (68 percent) as those who said it’s important to figure out a way for undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. legally (67 percent). And broken down by party, 49 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners think increasing border security is at least “somewhat” important while 48 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners think finding a way to grant legal status to undocumented immigrants is at least “somewhat” important.
- According to Gallup, 41 percent of Americans feel that the nation has made much or some progress coping with the problem of illegal drugs over the past year or two, while 30 percent said the problem has gotten worse (27 percent said it has gotten neither better nor worse). That’s a stark turnaround from 2017, when only 32 percent felt that we had made progress and 37 percent felt that things were getting worse (28 percent said it was about the same). The share who believe we have made progress is currently the highest it’s been since 2000.
- A new Wall Street Journal/Harris Poll finds that, on average, Americans are willing to subscribe to 3.6 paid streaming services and spend $44 per month on streaming entertainment. When presented with a variety of new streaming options, 47 percent of adults said they were likely to subscribe to Disney+,2 41 percent to HBO Max, 41 percent to Apple TV+ and 38 percent to Peacock. Thirty percent said they were likely to cancel their Netflix subscription to make room for new services.
- Given the choice, 67 percent of adults would prefer a four-day workweek with 10-hour days, and 21 percent would prefer the current norm of a five-day workweek with eight-hour days, according a recent YouGov poll.
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party generally leads in polls of the upcoming general election in the United Kingdom, but what about in the United States? YouGov found that 48 percent of Americans don’t have an opinion of Johnson, but those who do have a generally unfavorable opinion, 28 percent to 23 percent. He is pretty popular among Republicans (40 percent view him favorably, 9 percent unfavorably) but pretty unpopular among Democrats (12 percent view him favorably, 47 percent unfavorably).
According to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker, 41.2 percent of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 54.5 percent disapprove (a net approval rating of -13.3 points). At this time last week, 41.4 percent approved and 54.3 percent disapproved (for a net approval rating of -12.9 points). One month ago, Trump had an approval rating of 42.0 percent and a disapproval rating of 53.9 percent, for a net approval rating of -11.9 points.
In our average of polls of the generic congressional ballot, Democrats currently lead by 5.7 percentage points (46.8 percent to 41.1 percent). A week ago, Democrats led Republicans by 5.4 points (46.7 percent to 41.3 percent). At this time last month, voters preferred Democrats by 6.2 points (46.2 percent to 40.0 percent).
Check out all the polls we’ve been collecting ahead of the 2020 elections.