January 15, 1988

The People, The Press & Politics, Survey II

Summary Report

For this Times Mirror Survey, face-to-face personal interviews were conducted among a nationally representative sample of 2,109 adults during the period from January 8 to 17, 1988.

George Bush’s commanding lead among Republicans in national surveys is a consequence of the ground he has gained among Enterprisers since the last Times-Mirror/gallup survey.  while the Republican nomination contest has narrowed to a two-man race between George bush and Robert Dole, the Vice-President’s fortunes are clearly linked to Ronald Reagan’s popularity.  As the president’s popularity rises among Republicans, so does bush’s standing.  he does less well among those few Republicans who disapprove of Reagan’s handling of his job.

–  In two Republican-oriented groups – the Enterprisers and Upbeat Republicans – bush actually runs behind Dole among those who disapprove of the president’s handling of his job.

–  Robert Dole has improved his standing nationally among one group of independent Republicans – the Upbeats – since the fall.  The degree to which Bush’s lead is tied to the loyalist            factor is underscored by the fact that the Vice President is preferred over Dole at the same time that the challenger actually has a more positive image among Republican voters.

While there is strong latent support for whomever is the Democratic party’s nominee in this fall’s general election,  the race there remains wide open because Democratic-oriented voter groups have not coalesced around any announced candidate.  And a large proportion of Democrats remain undecided…….

At the national level, three candidates – Michael Dukakis, Gary Hart, and Paul Simon – are dividing the support of Seculars and the 60′s Democrats, based upon the issue-oriented campaigns they are running to appeal to these well-educated, politically sophisticated Democrats.  Jesse Jackson is attracting support among the 60′s Democrats. …..

The battle for the Democratic nomination will be played out among the Seculars, new Dealers, and 60′s Democrats, three relatively large constituencies in the Democratic coalition whose members are the most likely to participate in the primaries and caucuses.

Three out of four Americans are looking forward to this fall’s general election campaign, as many as are looking forward to the Olympics.  Slightly more than one-half are looking forward to the presidential primaries, about equal to those who look forward to the Super Bowl or the World Series.