Featured ReportAugust 2, 2012

Romney’s Personal Image Remains Negative

2012 Election Voter Preference Trends Track voter preferences for Obama vs. Romney overall and by demographic group. By a 52% to 37% margin, more voters say they have an unfavorable than favorable view of Mitt Romney. The poll, conducted prior to Romney’s recent overseas trip, represents the sixth consecutive survey over the past nine […]

Featured ReportJuly 24, 2012

Most Say They Already Know Enough about the Candidates

With more than three months to go before Election Day, most voters already feel that there’s little left to learn about the presidential candidates. When it comes to Barack Obama, 90% say they already pretty much know what they need to know about him; just 8% say they need to learn more. A substantial […]

Featured ReportJuly 12, 2012

Obama Holds Lead; Romney Trails on Most Issues

Despite the stagnant economy and broad dissatisfaction with national conditions, Barack Obama holds a significant lead over Mitt Romney. Currently, Obama is favored by a 50% to 43% margin among registered voters nationwide. Obama has led by at least a slim margin in every poll this year, and there is no clear trend in […]

Featured ReportJune 21, 2012

GOP Holds Early Turnout Edge, But Little Enthusiasm for Romney

Less than five months before Election Day, voters are not as engaged with the presidential campaign as they were at this point four years ago, when interest in the campaign reached record levels. But voter engagement today generally equals or surpasses levels from the four campaigns prior to 2008, indicating that 2012 could be […]

PublicationsMay 15, 2012

Obama Support for Gay Marriage Public’s Top Story

President Obama’s expression of support for same-sex marriage proved to be the public’s top news story last week. About a quarter of Americans (26%) say they followed news about Obama’s statements on the divisive topic more closely than any other news, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted May 10-13 among […]

CommentaryApril 16, 2012

Obama vs. Romney: Which One Can Defy Political History to Win?

With the focus now fully on the campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, commentary about the issues, the voting blocs and the strategies of the two campaigns dominates political discourse. But having polled on the last 10 presidential elections, I’m struck by a meta-question about each candidate’s viability that may trump all else. Obama […]

Pew Research/Washington Post SurveysMarch 22, 2012

Top One-Word Reactions to GOP Candidates

When Americans are asked what one word comes to mind when thinking about Mitt Romney, no single term stands out. The most frequent responses are “no” or “no way,” and “rich.” That represents a shift from October and December 2011. In both of those surveys, far more mentioned the Republican presidential candidate’s Mormon faith than […]

Featured ReportJanuary 12, 2012

Many Voters Unaware of Basic Facts about GOP Candidates

Many voters do not know basic facts about the Republican candidates running for president or the early primary calendar. While a sizable majority (69%) knows that Newt Gingrich served as speaker of the House, only about half (53%) identify Massachusetts as the state where Mitt Romney served as governor. Fewer than half of registered […]

Pew Research/Washington Post SurveysDecember 14, 2011

Top One-Word Reactions to GOP Frontrunners

When Americans are asked what comes to mind when they hear Newt Gingrich’s name, no single word stands out. Some refer to the Republican frontrunner’s intellect and conservatism.Others see him as “old school” or even as an “idiot.” Most frequently, they offer a quick negative assessment of Gingrich’s White House bid: “no” or “no way.” […]

CommentaryDecember 8, 2011

For Gingrich, Age May Just Be a Number

As the newly anointed GOP frontrunner, Newt Gingrich is facing increased scrutiny about his record, policy proposals and temperament. But so far, Gingrich’s age – he will turn 69 next summer – has virtually escaped notice. This marks quite a change from the last presidential campaign, when then 72-year-old John McCain faced persistent questions about […]

PublicationsNovember 23, 2011

Romney’s Mormon Faith Likely a Factor in Primaries, Not in a General Election

A new survey finds that there has been virtually no change in Americans’ impressions of the Mormon faith over the past four years. Meanwhile, about half of all voters, and 60% of evangelical Republicans, know that Mitt Romney is a Mormon. Romney’s religion has implications for his nomination run but not for the general election […]

PublicationsNovember 7, 2011

39% Think Cain Allegations True, 24% False

Americans who have heard about the sexual harassment allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, on balance, think they are true rather than false. At the same time, a plurality thinks that recent coverage of Cain has been fair. Three-quarters of the public say they have heard a lot (51%) or a little (24%) […]

Featured ReportOctober 18, 2011

Top One-Word Reaction to Cain Is a Number: 9-9-9

When Americans are asked to describe Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain in a single word, they most frequently offer a series of numbers: “9-9-9.” Cain’s tax proposal is mentioned more often than his background as a businessman. For Mitt Romney, the most frequently used single word is his religion – “Mormon.” And the most frequently […]

Featured ReportSeptember 26, 2011

Obama Draws More Confidence than GOP Leaders on Deficit

As the nation prepares for another round of deficit reduction debates, the public’s confidence in congressional leaders, particularly Republican leaders in Congress, has plummeted. Just 35% say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in Republican leaders in Congress to do the right thing when it comes to dealing with the […]

CommentaryJuly 5, 2011

Are Republicans Ready Now for a Mormon President?

By Carroll Doherty, Associate Director, Pew Research Center. Special to the New York Times.  For more debate on Mormon candidates in the 2012 election click here. Overall, being a Mormon is hardly an asset for presidential candidates, but it is not a deal-breaker for most Americans. A quarter of Americans say they would be less […]

Multi-section ReportsJune 2, 2011

Republican Candidates Stir Little Enthusiasm

The emerging Republican presidential field draws tepid ratings. Just a quarter of voters (25%) have an excellent or good impression of the possible GOP candidates, and a separate survey conducted jointly with The Washington Post finds that negative descriptions of the field far outnumber positive ones. Asked for a single word to describe the […]

CommentaryMay 16, 2011

When Private Lives Become Public

For more on how a candidate’s marital and family life affects voters’ views, click here. Generally, the issues matter most in voters’ judgments about presidential candidates, but personality, character and values are not far behind. This is especially the case in the primaries where differences between candidates of the same party tend to be modest. […]

2010 Congressional ConnectionSeptember 27, 2010

Obama Viewed as Doing Better than GOP Leaders in Explaining Vision

With just over a month to go before the midterm elections, the public by a wide margin says Barack Obama has done a better job than Republican congressional leaders in explaining his plans and vision for the country. Half (50%) of the public says Obama has done a better job, compared with just 28% […]

2010 Congressional ConnectionAugust 2, 2010

Earmarks Could Help Candidates in Midterms; Palin and Tea Party Connections Could Hurt

In the congressional elections this fall, candidates with a record of bringing government projects and money to their districts may have an edge. A majority of Americans (53%) say they are more likely to vote for a candidate with a record of delivering earmarks for their districts; just 12% say they would be less […]

Multi-section ReportsOctober 21, 2008

Growing Doubts About McCain’s Judgment, Age and Campaign Conduct

Barack Obama’s lead over John McCain has steadily increased since mid-September, when the race was essentially even. Shortly after the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, Obama moved to a 49% to 42% lead; that margin inched up to 50% to 40% in a poll taken just after the second debate. Currently, Obama enjoys […]