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Among active conservative voters, Rick Perry is still looking strong one week after his widely-panned debate performance. Mitt Romney has seen a significant boost, while Michele Bachmann’s attacks on Perry in the debate didn’t do much to slow her downward slide.
In the latest Daily Caller-ConservativeHome poll, which was fielded September 13-16, 2011, Perry’s numbers on electability held fairly constant from August and kept him atop the field, but it was Romney who arguably had the best month.
Perry’s percentage held steady at 46%, while Romney rose from 19.8% to 34.4% since August. We excluded Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan from the poll this month since the latter has said he’s not running, and Palin has not signaled her intentions clearly enough to warrant keeping her in the mix.
Gingrich’s numbers are interesting. Lots of commentators thought he did well on the debate stage. Apparently, a fair number of voters did, too. One thing is clear: leaving Palin and Ryan out of the poll did nothing for Bachmann, who comes off as the biggest loser while her peers all fared much better.
We also asked who voters thought would do the best job on economy.
Romney is clearly the winner here. He has come off well in the past few debates when talking about the economy. Voters noticed. Cain's numbers also suggest his 9-9-9 plan and its rollout have gotten through to voters. Last month, Paul Ryan was 3rd on this question, so it appears that Romney and Cain have scooped up his supporters the most.
The poll was conducted among 671 conservative Republican voters, who are part of the Republican Panel, assembled for ConservativeHome by YouGov.
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Sixty-five percent of all respondents support such a reform package. The figure is only slightly different among homeowners: 64% of respondents who own a home say the same.
The question specifically asked:
If tax rates were lowered to three brackets – 8%, 14%, and 23% - would you support eliminating the mortgage interest deduction as part of a larger tax reform effort that got rid of most deductions?
The brackets were taken from the economic growth plan that Jon Huntsman introduced and which was praised by the Wall Street Journal editors. The rates are roughly consistent with, but lower than, the President’s fiscal commission’s recommendations.
This is an important finding for a few reasons:
First, Obama talks a lot about getting rid of the loopholes on the rich, while mainstream voters, most of whom are not rich, are willing to lead by example. Perhaps the best approach is to call on all Americans to embrace reform rather than demonize wealthier Americans, which foments resentment and does little to aid growth.
Second, all voters – including conservatives – have been reluctant to embrace specific entitlement reforms that put them at an apparent disadvantage, such as raising the retirement age or changing the inflation formula for benefits. But on the mortgage interest deduction, which is the single biggest benefit in the tax code enjoyed by middle class homeowners, they are resoundingly supportive of reform that takes an advantage away from them so they can capitalize on a greater advantage: keeping more of their income. There are lessons in this for how to communicate the reality of entitlement reform. Voters don’t yet see that the trade-off is a better long-term gain for them on that front.
Third, note that the question didn’t propose capping the deduction, but eliminating it. Most realistic reform proposals would likely end up capping the deduction. A full elimination is a much bigger hit on families, and yet they still support it.
The poll was conducted between September 13-15, 2011 among 648 self-identified Republican voters, assembled for ConservativeHome by YouGov.
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More than anything else, conservative voters regard deficit spending in Washington as the main source of America’s economic woes, according to our latest poll. Voters are also concerned about the quality of jobs in America and the role family breakdown is playing as an economic issue. There are lessons in the poll for 2012 candidates and members of Congress.
As a whole, Americans’ confidence in the economy is considerably lower than it was last year, according to Gallup. In fact, economic confidence is down to early 2009 levels, back when we were wrangling with the effects of the 2008 meltdown.
But which economic issues specifically do voters worry about?
In our latest poll of grassroots conservatives, we asked:
When you look at the economy, what are the biggest challenges facing American families and workers?
Respondents were asked to choose three challenges from a list. Here are the results:
Despite voters’ dissatisfaction with Republicans’ jobs agenda, candidates still benefit by focusing on the deficit. Grassroots conservatives have consistently said they think Republicans in Washington are not doing enough on jobs. And yet voters overwhelmingly see the deficit as the biggest threat to the economy. This issue undoubtedly grew more pronounced during the debt ceiling debates, but it’s likely to be an enduring theme in voters’ minds up through next year’s election.
Tax reform will remain a winning issue. Voters see taxes as too high, period. Bringing rates down significantly, as the GOP budget and the deficit commission have suggested, will appeal to voters, even with lots of loophole closing.
Jobs and small business still remain vital issues. Even though voters are more concerned about the deficit these days, they are also clearly worried that the quality of jobs and the conditions for small businesses are bad.
Don’t forget to talk about families. Note that more respondents listed family breakdown than health care costs. For some time, social scientists have drawn a clear connection between family breakdown (divorce, out-of-wedlock childbearing, absent fathers) and dim economic prospects for those in broken homes, but mainstream voters also seem to be making the same connection.
Voters still separate entitlements from the larger deficit issue. The “deficit” as a general issue has people worried, but the role of Social Security and Medicare as drivers of the deficit is less than it should be. So long as this is the case, candidates and elected leaders in Washington will be tempted to avoid talking about them. However, we’ll never get ahead of our need to reform entitlements if candidates don’t have the courage to talk about them and help bring voters along.
These are the views of middle class conservative voters. We asked respondents whether they consider themselves middle class. More than 87% responded affirmatively. Only 9% said no. Regardless of whether respondents technically fall within income ranges generally accepted as middle class, the fact that they so strongly self-identify as such is a message to candidates that upward mobility and growing a strong middle class will resonate.
Oh, and all of you in Washington: Voters still don't like you. In other polls Members of Congress consistently have the lowest approval ratings in the nation. Our poll is no different. Note that nearly as many respondents think politicians' breaking promises is as big a problem for the economy as the poor conditions for small businesses.
The poll was conducted August 18-21, 2011 among 734 members of the Republican Panel, a survey of active conservative Republican voters, assembled for ConservativeHome by YouGov.
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And Paul Ryan, who said on Monday that he’s not running, has clearly gotten into voters’ heads when it comes to spending and the economy. Just as he removed himself from contention, he was clearly making positive gains among conservative voters (we fielded the poll before Ryan's announcement that he wasn't running).
We should note at the outset that we oversample active Republicans in our polls. That is, nearly 70% of respondents in our poll give either time or money to candidates. So, unlike “likely voter” polls, ours measures more committed Republicans.
First, when asked who voters think is the most electable, here are how the top five fared:
Second, when asked who voters plan to vote for, the top five look like this:
Ryan really kicks into gear when we ask voters about spending and the economy.
When asked, “Which of the following candidates do you think would do the best job on keeping Washington spending under control?” here’s how the top five look:
When asked, “Which of the following candidates would do the best job on the economy if elected President in 2012?” here’s how the top five look:
When you combine the results for spending and the economy, Paul Ryan finishes in a strong second place behind Rick Perry.
These are fascinating results. Voters clearly think the Perrys and Romneys of the world are far more electable than Paul Ryan, but when it comes to who they think would execute two of the three most important duties of the office of the President (promoting a strong economy and controlling spending, the third being foreign policy), Paul Ryan is second only to Perry.
The poll was conducted August 18-21 with 726 members of the Republican Panel, assembled for ConservativeHome by YouGov.
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If Rick Perry gets into the 2012 race, our polling shows that Romney will take the biggest hit. The latest Daily Caller-ConservativeHome poll of 667 conservative Republicans* across the country strengthens the case for a Rick Perry candidacy.
The Texas governor’s economic record is evidently well-known. He tops the list of 2012 hopefuls on the economy. When asked who among the 2012 contenders would do the best job on the economy, Perry leads by a long shot: 24% of respondents named him compared to the 19% who selected Bachmann and, more importantly, the 17% who selected Romney. Perry’s Texas record trumps Romney’s private sector record.
Romney still tops the list when it comes to the candidate grassroots conservatives think is most electable, but Perry trails closely in second place. And when respondents say who their preferred first choice is, Romney’s numbers tumble, Perry holds strong, and Bachmann spikes upward.
Take a look at the following two charts.
Romney, Bachmann, and Perry leave the remaining candidates in the dust.
When it comes to saying who they think is most electable, 34 % choose Romney, 29% choose Perry, and 21% choose Bachmann.
When it comes to the candidate respondents plan to vote for themselves, 26% choose Bachmann, 25% choose Perry, and only 12% choose Romney. Bachmann and Perry are statistically even.
We also asked about the economy and about government spending.
When asked who they think would do the best job on the economy, here’s how voters responded:
When asked who would do the best job controlling spending in Washington, here’s how voters responded:
Some quick conclusions:
*Respondents were taken from the Republican Panel, assembled for ConservativeHome by YouGov. Respondents are conservative Republicans, 70% of whom contribute time or money to candidates. The poll was conducted between July 8-13, 2011.
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Grassroots conservatives are exercised about the nation’s finances and the bleak employment outlook. And rightly so. To think $14 trillion isn’t a high enough ceiling for our debt, and to live with a stubborn 9 percent unemployment floor – people are just plain upset.
So what do conservatives think are the best solutions for each?
This week’s ConservativeHome poll asked 644 conservative Republicans what they would support as part of the deal to raise the debt ceiling, and what they think lawmakers in Washington need to do to help the economy.
So what would conservatives support as part of a debt deal?
Well, for starters, let’s be clear about one thing: a majority don’t support raising the debt ceiling at all. This should help everyone understand why the Republican leadership is under the pressure it is during the debt discussions with Obama.
And what about jump-starting the economy?
This part's interesting. Conservatives want to see regulations done away with, and they'd rather see a simplified tax code and lower corporate rates than lower rates for themselves as individuals.
Here is what grassroots conservatives support – or not – as part of the debt deal (respondents were allowed multiple responses):
When asked to name their top three choices about what lawmakers can do to create jobs, here is how respondents replied:
We allowed respondents to enter their own thoughts beyond the list we provided, and a common response was to institute a fair tax.
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In our latest survey we asked 706 conservative Republican voters* to rate Republicans in Congress on a scale of 1 to 10 on three questions: how they’re doing on Medicare, jobs, and the debt ceiling.
Overall, the results don’t look good for congressional Republicans. Respondents don’t think their representatives are doing a very good job explaining the GOP’s Medicare and jobs plans. On the Medicare front, the result is especially interesting because elsewhere in our survey, when asked if they support the GOP’s Medicare plan, more than 70% said yes.
So the takeaway from this is that grassroots conservatives are bullish on the reforms but think Republicans are doing a lousy job defending them.
On the three questions at issue, here is how respondents replied (“badly” signifies a response between 1 and 5, “well” signifies a response between 6 and 10):
How Republicans have done explaining their Medicare reform plan:
How Republicans have done explaining their plan to create jobs:
How Republicans are doing holding Democrats’ feet to the fire on the debt ceiling:
Perhaps most interesting is what we might call the “intensity score” for congressional Republicans. If we average the “very badly” (ranks of 1 and 2) and “very well” (ranks of 9 and 10) scores for all three questions, the results are:
This means that, on average, conservative voters are more intensely dissatisfied than satisfied with the job Republicans in Washington are doing on these three big issues.
* Respondents are a part of the Republican Panel, which consists of conservative Republican voters who are on average likely to donate time or money to Republican candidates. The Republican Panel has been assembled by YouGov for ConservativeHome.
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In the most recent ConHomeUSA survey of committed Republicans we asked people to identify the strengths and weaknesses of Tim Pawlenty. Most of the 746 votes that were cast were registered before this week's debate. Listed below are the biggest strengths and the biggest weaknesses, as seen by the people that the former Governor of Minnesota needs to win over...
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This week’s Daily Caller – ConservativeHome presidential poll confirmed what just about every poll has shown lately: Mitt Romney has jumped out ahead of the others. But it also shows that Romney isn't exactly the heartfelt favorite. The poll, conducted on the eve of last night’s New Hampshire debate, shows that when Chris Christie is added to the mix as a potential candidate, support for Romney drops.
When asked who they find to be most electable, respondents overwhelmingly selected Romney. The top results look like this:
30% - Mitt Romney
15% - Chris Christie
12% - Herman Cain
10% - Sarah Palin
8% - Michele Bachmann
8% - Tim Pawlenty
Of the people on the list, who do you think is most electable in 2012?
We continue to leave Chris Christie on our list as an important gauge on voter sentiment, since Christie has continued to poll well despite his claims that he is not running. Romney’s electability numbers would likely be higher were Christie left off.
Bachmann, who came across as poised and well-informed in the NH debate, will likely see a bounce in coming weeks, especially since she has now formally announced. As the numbers show, Cain came into the debate with high marks in voters’ minds. Those may dip after last night’s performance.
What becomes especially interesting is to turn from the question about electability to voters’ first choice for President. Leaving Christie on the list has a profound effect on Romney. Here is how respondents in our poll choose their first pick:
16% - Herman Cain
14% - Chris Christie
14% - Sarah Palin
13% - Mitt Romney
9% - Michele Bachmann
Of the people in the following list, who would be your top pick for President in 2012 (assuming he/she is running)?
We have also included Paul Ryan on the list, despite his denials of interest in running, and he turns in a respectable 7%. Without Christie and Ryan on the list, Romney’s numbers would likely jump. What is also clear is that Newt Gingrich’s disastrous start to his campaign has knocked him down from previous strong showings. And Tim Pawlenty continues to poll far below the level one might expect given his strong rollout, outbid by Rick Perry, whom we included given the recent interest in him.
We also asked respondents: Of the following people who have said they are NOT running for President in 2012, who do most wish WAS running?
While nearly 48% said they didn’t care that any of the following had dropped out, the rest responded this way:
25% - Mike Huckabee
12% - Mitch Daniels
7% - Mike Pence
6% - Haley Barbour
3% - John Thune
The poll included 751 members of the Republican Panel, assembled for ConservativeHome by YouGov, and was conducted between June 9-12, 2011.
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Here’s an interesting message the grassroots are sending through our latest Republican Panel poll to Republicans in Washington: “Yes, we support your Medicare plan, now go focus on jobs!”
In a poll of 736 conservative Republicans between June 8-11, 2011, we asked the following 2 questions:
The results of our poll should do two things:
On the Medicare question:
Republicans in the House have proposed to change Medicare into a program that gives seniors a fixed amount of money each year so they can purchase insurance from a list of providers. These changes would apply to people 55 and under. Do you support the plan?
On the jobs question:
Do you think Republicans in Congress are doing enough to promote a jobs agenda?
The 736 respondents in the poll are members of the Republican Panel, which has been assembled for ConservativeHome by YouGov. The panel consists of self-identified conservative Republicans across the country, 70% of whom give either time or money to candidates.