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Archive: Parsing the Polls

Parsing the (Tracking) Poll: October Surprise

Although there are only two days left in October, there are still many people in the political world waiting for an "October Surprise" -- some sort of game-changing event in the final moment before the general election that could fundamentally...

By Chris Cillizza | October 30, 2008; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (55)

Parsing the (Tracking) Poll: The White Catholic Weathervane

Looking for a bellwether group to focus on in the final week of the presidential race? Look no further than white Catholics, who have gone for the winner in every single presidential election for which exit polling exists. That means...

By Chris Cillizza | October 29, 2008; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (140)

Parsing the (Tracking) Poll: Are We A Center-Right Country?

The latest Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll -- using interviews conducted Thursday through Sunday -- shows Barack Obama leading John McCain 52 percent to 45 percent. Almost every other internal measure in the survey also provides good news for Obama;...

By Chris Cillizza | October 28, 2008; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (130)

Parsing the (Tracking) Poll: Feeling Voters' Pain

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) One of the essential character traits in any successful politician is an ability -- whether real or feigned -- to connect with the hopes and fears of the average voter. Voters tend...

By Chris Cillizza | October 25, 2008; 07:07 AM ET | Comments (68)

Parsing the (Tracking) Poll: McCain=Bush?

With President Bush's approval rating as low as it is, it's critical that John McCain be able to show some distance from this administration. (Photo by Charles Dharapak -- Associated Press) When John McCain became the Republican party's presidential...

By Chris Cillizza | October 23, 2008; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (83)

Parsing the (Tracking) Poll: It's the Economy, Stupid

The latest Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll -- released daily at 5 p.m. ET on the Behind the Numbers blog -- shows Barack Obama's nine-point edge over John McCain holding steady. (Not sure what a tracking poll is? Check this...

By Chris Cillizza | October 22, 2008; 05:50 AM ET | Comments (66)

Parsing the (Tracking) Poll: The Youth Vote

Thanks to the polling gods -- and by that we mean Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta -- the Washington Post is conducting a daily tracking poll for the final two weeks (!) of the presidential race between Barack Obama and...

By Chris Cillizza | October 21, 2008; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (78)

Race, Polling and the 'Bradley Effect'

Barack Obama's clinching of the Democratic presidential nomination ensures that race will play an outsized role in the November election. Or maybe not. Understanding how large (or small) a factor race will be in the general election this fall is...

By Chris Cillizza | June 10, 2008; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Polling the Wright Stuff

Ever since Barack Obama delivered his widely publicized speech on race last week, we've been waiting for some reliable poll results to gauge the impact his words had on defusing the hubbub created by Rev. Jeremiah Wright. New numbers are...

By Chris Cillizza | March 27, 2008; 07:57 AM ET | Comments (294)

Parsing the Polls: Inside the Post/ABC Iowa Survey

If the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination is all about Iowa, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) has reason to smile this morning. The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll -- released last night -- puts Obama at 30 percent in Iowa followed by...

By Chris Cillizza | November 20, 2007; 09:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: Why It's So Hard to Poll Iowa

The Iowa caucuses will again lead off the presidential selection process and -- especially on the Democratic side -- the candidates are treating it as the whole shebang, knowing that a win or a loss there could serve to kick-start...

By Chris Cillizza | November 9, 2007; 06:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: Clinton's Female Foundation

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y) was under attack throughout Tuesday night's Democratic debate in Philadelphia, valiantly fighting off some of the hits landed by her opponents, but also getting knocked off her balance by a few. It's easy to get...

By Chris Cillizza | November 1, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (186)

Parsing the Polls: Inside the Clinton Surge

It doesn't take a polling expert to understand that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's showing in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll is a major moment in the campaign. Clinton, as the Post's Anne Kornblut and Jon Cohen write in today's...

By Chris Cillizza | October 3, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (237)

Parsing the Polls: Clinton and the Electability Factor

In handicapping her chances for the nomination, there is perhaps no stronger argument in Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-N.Y.) favor than the fact that most Democrats believe she represents their best chance of getting the White House back in 2008. With...

By Chris Cillizza | September 19, 2007; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: Is Thompson Too Late or Right on Time?

With less than 24 hours to go until Fred Thompson's formal entry into the 2008 presidential race, The Fix thought it made sense to scan the available polling data to figure out whether Thompson waited too long to get into...

By Chris Cillizza | September 5, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: First and Lasting Impressions

National polling at this stage of the presidential election tends to reveal more about voters' general impressions of the candidates rather than give any real indication as to who might actually win the party nominations. But, as the saying goes,...

By Chris Cillizza | August 1, 2007; 08:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: Who Really Supports Withdrawal?

With the war in Iraq shaping up to THE issue in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, we were intrigued by a question in the new Washington Post/ABC News poll that asked people what should be done about the...

By Chris Cillizza | July 25, 2007; 09:49 AM ET | Comments (193)

Parsing the Polls: Understanding Independents

During The Fix's much-needed vacation last week, the Post polling staff launched a fascinating project looking at self-identified independents and their impact on American politics. The project includes a major survey conducted jointly by the Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation,...

By Chris Cillizza | July 11, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (183)

Parsing the Polls: Bloomberg's Impact?

Anyone who has picked up a newspaper or watched television in the last week is well aware of the speculation surrounding a possible presidential run by New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. After announcing his departure from the Republican Party...

By Chris Cillizza | June 27, 2007; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: Do National Surveys Matter?

Watch cable television for an hour and you're likely to hear some pundit utter the following phrase: "National polls don't matter." The pundit will usually go on to note that the presidential nominating process is a state-by-state affair, not a...

By Chris Cillizza | June 20, 2007; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (52)

Parsing the Polls: Who's a Fred Voter?

A series of national polls conducted in the last few weeks show that former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.) is a force to be reckoned with in the coming fight for the 2008 Republican nomination. Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson is...

By Chris Cillizza | June 13, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: The Health Care Dilemma

All eyes were on Iowa yesterday where Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) became the latest Democratic presidential candidate to unveil a proposal to reform the healthcare system. The campaigns are already battling over the relative merits of the competitions' proposals --...

By Chris Cillizza | May 30, 2007; 10:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: Religion in Public Life

Sifting through the transcript of last week's Republican presidential debate, we came across this exchange between former Govs. Mitt Romney (Mass.) and Mike Huckabee (Ark.) about the role of religion in the public square. Romney: "We have a separation of...

By Chris Cillizza | May 10, 2007; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (130)

Parsing the Polls: No Room For Compromise on Iraq

President Bush's veto of the Iraq funding bill returns the debate over the war to square one. The question for Democratic congressional leaders and the White House is how far is each side willing to push the fight over legislating...

By Chris Cillizza | May 2, 2007; 08:15 AM ET | Comments (305)

Parsing the Polls: How Much Does Corruption Count?

Remember the "culture of corruption" mantra House Democrats used against the GOP in the runup to the 2006 election? Look for it to re-appear in 2008. In the past week, two Republican Members of Congress -- Reps. John Doolittle (Calif.)...

By Chris Cillizza | April 25, 2007; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls on Gun Control

In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, the issue of gun control is likely to reemerge in the national political debate. But will the Monday's terrible massacre fundamentally reshape American public opinion about guns and gun control? And will...

By Chris Cillizza | April 18, 2007; 09:15 AM ET | Comments (709)

Parsing the Polls: The Democrats' (Generic) Edge

Every once in a while a polling number jumps off at the page at The Fix. Such was the case with the most recent Diageo/Hotline poll in which the sample was asked whether they would support a generic Democrat or...

By Chris Cillizza | April 11, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: California Dreaming

The decision by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and the Democratic legislature to move up California's presidential primary makes the state the crown jewel of the emerging national primary on February 5, 2008. Given California's massive size and the prohibitive cost...

By Chris Cillizza | April 4, 2007; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (85)

Parsing the Polls: The "First Impressions" Problem

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The Fix -- aspiring writer that he is -- tries to avoid clichés, but sometimes they are fitting. And when it comes to judging how voters view the candidates...

By Chris Cillizza | March 28, 2007; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Putting the Horse Race Numbers in Perspective

On an almost daily basis some media outlet or another releases a national poll that tests hypothetical 2008 presidential primary match-ups. These polls invariably produce headlines like, "Clinton Slips, Obama Gains," "McCain Faltering Among Conservatives" or "Romney Fails to Gain...

By Chris Cillizza | March 14, 2007; 09:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: Seeing a President

Our readers know we love to use poll data to understand the preconceived notions voters bring to the 2008 presidential race. And Gallup continues to provide us with numbers to feed our hunger. Their latest is from a poll conducted...

By Chris Cillizza | March 7, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (128)

Parsing the Polls: How Strong Is Gore?

Following his Oscar victory earlier this week, both coasts are abuzz with the prospect of Al Gore declaring himself a presidential candidate. The Fix has long been a close observer of Gore's movements and parser of his words on this...

By Chris Cillizza | February 28, 2007; 01:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: Iraq and the GOP Frontrunners

National polling numbers that show a majority of the American public not only opposes the war in Iraq but also believes it was not worth fighting. Then why have the three leading candidates for the 2008 Republican nomination been largely...

By Chris Cillizza | February 21, 2007; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: Answering the Mormon Question

The fact that Mitt Romney is a Mormon is no secret. Scads of stories have been written about that very fact, and it's a regular topic of conversation among Washington's chattering class. John F. Kennedy confronted the issue of voters'...

By Chris Cillizza | February 14, 2007; 05:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: Likeability vs Electability

Regular Fix readers know that we're fascinated by the opinions voters hold about the 2008 presidential candidates. While head-to-head matchups and favorable/unfavorable ratings are important, the answer to questions like "Which candidate would you most like to have dinner with?"...

By Chris Cillizza | February 8, 2007; 05:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: Inside the '08 numbers

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll pegged New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) as the leaders in the coming presidential nomination fights. While polls this far out -- especially of...

By Chris Cillizza | January 24, 2007; 10:19 AM ET | Comments (91)

Parsing the Polls: Is Bush's "Surge" Idea DOA?

President Bush will address the nation tonight and outline his plan to move forward in Iraq, a blueprint likely to include an influx of 20,000 American troops. Will the American public accept such a proposal? Two new polls released Monday...

By Chris Cillizza | January 10, 2007; 04:36 PM ET | Comments (78)

Parsing the Polls: The First Four '08 States

Pollster Dick Bennett has released scads of interesting 2008 presidential race survey data from the four early voting states -- Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina and New Hampshire. From Dec. 19-23, Bennett's American Research Group asked 600 likely primary voters a...

By Chris Cillizza | January 3, 2007; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (113)

Parsing the Polls: Politics Among Least Respected Professions

It's no secret that politicians crave public approval. In fact it is an essential part the job -- lose the affection of the voters and you won't spend much time in office. But aside from the job requirement, the need...

By Chris Cillizza | December 14, 2006; 09:32 AM ET | Comments (33)

Parsing the Polls: Choosing the Right (or Left) Words

Words -- and the images they provoke -- matter in politics. Whether it's the back and forth between two candidates in a particular race or a long-term linguistic struggle between the two national parties, choosing the right words to describe...

By Chris Cillizza | December 6, 2006; 02:30 PM ET | Comments (38)

Voters Are Hot on Giuliani, Cold on Kerry

When it comes to presidential elections, personality matters. More so than in any other sort of political campaign, whether or not voters like the parties' chosen candidates plays a major role in picking a president. Need evidence? Look back at...

By Chris Cillizza | November 29, 2006; 09:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: Surveying the Senate Battlegrounds

Over the last few weeks, The Fix's weekly Parsing the Polls feature focused on national polls -- all of which, unsurprisingly, show a dismal atmosphere for Republicans in the coming midterm elections. A Key Race Scorecard -- Oct. 25, 2006...

By Chris Cillizza | October 25, 2006; 08:55 AM ET | Comments (73)

Parsing the Polls: The Democrats' Anger Advantage

By now most political junkies know where the battle for control of the House and Senate is being fought. What no one -- The Fix included -- knows is the answer to this question: Which party will more effectively turn...

By Chris Cillizza | October 18, 2006; 08:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: The Voters' Party Impressions

There's so much polling being done these days that The Fix could parse a different survey every day. On Tuesday alone four major news partnerships released surveys -- Washington Post/ABC News, CBS/New York Times, USA Today/Gallup and CNN/Opinion Research. Anyone...

By Chris Cillizza | October 11, 2006; 09:33 AM ET | Comments (138)

Parsing the Polls: How Low Can Congress Go?

The fallout from Rep. Mark Foley's resignation and the House Republican leadership's subsequent struggles to explain what they knew and when they knew it remains difficult to fully gauge at this point. But it's a safe bet that Congress's job-approval...

By Chris Cillizza | October 4, 2006; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: Voters Mad as Hell

Turnout will be the most important factor of the upcoming election. Midterms are typically low turnout affairs with only the most dedicated partisans casting their ballots. To date, intensity among Democrats has far outweighed that of their GOP counterparts. Republicans...

By Chris Cillizza | September 6, 2006; 04:15 PM ET | Comments (180)

Parsing the Polls: Hurricane Katrina

"It's like the Wizard of Oz. It showed the man behind the screen." That was New York Sen. Chuck Schumer's (D) answer when asked, Tuesday, about the political repercussions of Hurricane Katrina on the Bush Administration. Schumer's comments came on...

By Chris Cillizza | August 30, 2006; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (100)

Parsing the Polls: Terrorism and the Midterms

You can imagine White House senior strategist Karl Rove smiling when he saw the front page of USA Today on Tuesday. The headline read "Poll: GOP Up After Terror Arrests" and detailed a rise in President Bush's job approval numbers...

By Chris Cillizza | August 23, 2006; 01:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Parsing the Polls: Is a Democratic Wave Building?

In a March Parsing the Polls we looked at the edge Democrats held over Republicans on a generic ballot question, which, in essence, asks: "If the congressional election were held today, would you vote for the Democratic candidate in your...

By Chris Cillizza | August 16, 2006; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (123)

Parsing the Polls on Bill and Hillary Clinton

What would we do without the Clintons? No two figures have so captivated the public's interest over the past decade than the former president and first lady, a.k.a. the junior senator from New York. The former first couple have had...

By Chris Cillizza | July 26, 2006; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

 

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