CBS/New York Times

A Love-Hate Relationship With Obama's Jobs Plan
September 23, 2011

If you haven’t noticed already, the polling about President Obama’s jobs proposal is very confusing. Ask people whether they like the plan as a whole, or how they rate Obama’s handling of the economy, and you’re likely to get a negative, or at best middling, response. In last week’s CBS/New York Times poll, for example, only 34 percent of respondents said they approved of Obama’s management of the economy while 47 percent said they were confident the jobs bill would help.

Not by Popular Demand
May 19, 2011

From the Ryan plan, to the Obama plan, to the Gang of Six (now five), deficit mania has officially taken over Washington. Both Republicans and Democrats, while they have different preferred approaches, are single-mindedly focused on cutting budget deficits and relieving the long-term debt situation of the country. Yet unemployment remains at 9 percent and the modest economic recovery that’s underway has shown signs of sputtering.

Full Disclosure
May 07, 2011

When a divided Supreme Court issued its highly controversial Citizens United decision allowing corporations free rein to use their dollars to intervene in elections, there was one seemingly shining light, an area where broad consensus existed and that was endorsed by eight of the nine justices: the value of disclosure. The Court stated in the decision, “With the advent of the Internet, prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters.

Why John Boehner’s Life Is About To Become a Living Hell
October 29, 2010

Three surveys released in the past week—Pew, Bloomberg, and CBS/New York Times—illuminate what the American people want from the new Congress that convenes next January.

Parsing the Polls on Health Reform
September 16, 2010

The last few polls on health care reform have been discouraging. Public support for the Affordable Care Act does not seem to be rising. If anything, it seems to be falling, as a quick glance at will confirm.  The decline is relatively modest and you could plausibly explain it away as a reflection of views on other issues. (I.e., if people weren't so down on the economy, they wouldn't be so down on health care reform.) But you certainly can't argue that people are enthusiastic about reform these days, since the numbers were tepid even before the decline.

Can the Republicans Win Back the Senate? I Do the Math.
August 10, 2010

Last month I published a piece suggesting that while the odds of a Republican takeover of the Senate were not high, the possibility could no longer be ignored. My article was not well received. Critics argued that (among my many sins), I had cherry-picked surveys, given credence to the (allegedly) fatally flawed Rasmussen results, and worst of all, ignored Nate Silver’s superior methodology. In the ensuing four weeks, a number of articles arguing roughly what I did have appeared.

BP And The Vox Populi. This Is News?
June 22, 2010

Tacked on to a New York Times this-and-that article about the ongoing legal detritus of the ongoing gusher in the Gulf of Mexico are two paragraphs on the oil spill cataclysm itself. Well, not exactly. Actually, the two paragraphs are about public confidence in BP’s ability to still the leak and the region’s ability to recover from it: A new CBS/New York Times poll found that public confidence in BP’s ability to stop the leak within the next month is fairly low, while confidence is higher that the region’s industry and wildlife will eventually recover from the spill.

Is the Public Ready for Bold Action?
October 29, 2009

It’s a mistake to put too much weight on the results of any single public opinion survey. That said, Peter Hart and Bill McInturff are an unusually experienced and fair-minded bipartisan team, and I’m inclined to take their work for NBC and the Wall Street Journal seriously. Their latest results offer little encouragement for the president, either political party, or the political system as a whole. Let’s begin with the political system. Trust in government now stands at 23 percent—the lowest level in at least twelve years.

Political Murder-Suicide?
October 02, 2009

In the ongoing debate over what's likely to happen in the 2010 elections, a point that I've tried to make repeatedly is that the Republican Party is exceptionally weak, and thus not in a great position to harvest discontent with Congress, the Obama administration, or the condition of the economy.  A lot of conservatives seem to think the relative unpopularity of the GOP is a temporary "hangover" from the Bush years that will gradually dissipate. But if you look at the public opinion data on party favorability (which can all be found together at, what's striking is that the G