Rasmussen: Paul Ryan's favorability bottoms out after election

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) favorability rating has dropped 15 percentage points in the months since Mitt Romney selected him as a running mate, and the majority of Americans now hold an unfavorable opinion of the Wisconsin lawmaker.

Just 35 percent of respondents in a poll published this week by Rasmussen said they have a favorable impression of Ryan, while 54 percent say they have an unfavorable view. Nearly a quarter — 23 percent — say they have a very unfavorable view, while 12 percent of voters are undecided.

That represents a significant decrease from Ryan's 50 percent favorability rating in August, just after Ryan was added to the Republican ticket.


Pair of Pennsylvania polls see Hillary Clinton as early favorite

A pair of new polls released this week predict that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be the odds-on favorite in Pennsylvania's 2016 presidential contest. Republicans have said they hope to make the state more competitive in future presidential contests after losing its 20 electoral votes in 2012.

Both Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, and Quinnipiac University polled the state over the past week, asking voters their preferences in hypothetical presidential match-ups. In both instances, Clinton led any Republican contender she was put up against.

In the Qunnipiac survey, Clinton led New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 47 percent to 42 percent, Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) 55 percent to 38 percent, and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) 54 percent to 36 percent. In the PPP survey, Clinton led Ryan 52 percent to 40 percent, Rubio 52 percent to 37 percent, and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) 55 percent to 38 percent.

But there are signs of optimism for Republicans if Clinton opts against running. In the Quinnipiac survey, Christie led Vice President Biden 51 percent to 38 percent and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo 53 percent to 32 percent. The vice president and New York governor both defeated Ryan and Rubio in hypothetical match-ups.

The state appears to have a strong affinity for Christie, who maintains the nation's highest popularity rating in neighboring New Jersey. In the PPP poll, Christie was the top choice of Pennsylvania Republicans with 20 percent; Rubio and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) each earned 17 percent of potential primary voters, while Santorum and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush each received 10 percent. No other Republican candidate cracked double digits.

"Former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is keeping her future plans to herself, but if those plans include another run for the White House, she starts in a good position in Pennsylvania," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement.

"And if Ms. Clinton doesn't go for it, Pennsylvania voters can look across the Delaware River at another contender, New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie. Another neighbor, Vice President Joseph Biden, a native of Scranton and former Delaware senator, doesn't do nearly as well as Clinton or Christie."


Conservative poll: Republicans increasingly want electability to trump ideology

An increasing number of Republicans want more electable candidates instead of more conservative candidates, according to a poll conducted for Conservative Intelligence by GOP pollster Harper Polling.

When asked if they would more likely "vote for the party-backed candidate who is more electable or the Tea Party conservative candidate," 45 percent went with the "more electable" candidate, while 27 would support the Tea Party candidate.


Poll: Two-thirds of Jersey voters unlikely to support Geraldo

Nearly two-thirds of New Jersey voters said it was unlikely they would vote for television host Geraldo Rivera in a new poll from Monmouth University, casting doubt on the viability of the Fox News commentator's bid for the U.S. Senate.

In the survey, more than half of all voters — 51 percent — said it was "not at all likely" they would back Rivera at the polls. Another 14 percent said it was "not too likely" they would tally a vote for the longtime media personality.

Still, over a quarter of Jersey residents —26 percent — said it was either "very" or "somewhat" likely they would cast their ballot for Rivera. And asked their opinion of Rivera, voters are split, with 26 percent reporting a favorable view and 27 percent reporting an unfavorable view.


Poll: Rubio and Clinton top 2016 contenders in Iowa, nationally

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are the front-runners for their parties' nominations both nationally and in the crucial early-voting state of Iowa, according to a survey released Thursday.

In the poll, from Public Policy Polling, 22 percent of Republicans chose Rubio in a hypothetical primary and 15 percent picked Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie each took 13 percent support, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee got 11 percent and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) received 10 percent.

Huckabee, an evangelical Christian, ranks better among the heavily religious Iowa electorate, tying Rubio at 16 percent each in that state. Paul would have 15 percent of the vote if the caucus were held today, while Bush would garner 14 percent, Christie would take 12 percent, and Ryan would earn 1 out of every 10 voters.


Poll: Collins favorite for reelection, but GOP in trouble if she retires

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) would be an overwhelming favorite for reelection to the Senate next year, but Republicans would struggle to retain her seat if she opted to retire, according to a new poll released Thursday.

The survey from Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling found that 63 percent of voters in Maine approve of the three-term senator, and she holds wide leads over the state's two House members. In a hypothetical head-to-head, Collins defeats Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) 54-36 percent and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) 58-33 percent. In either contest, Collins carries more than a third of self-identified Democrats and leads among independents by more than 20 percentage points.

But there are lurking dangers to Republican chances to hold the seat: the possibility that Collins retires or faces a Tea Party challenge from the right. While Collins has the approval of two-thirds of GOP voters, in a hypothetical primary matchup against a "more conservative" opponent, she leads only 49-46 percent. Three quarters of those who describe themselves as "very conservative" — the group most likely to vote in a Republican primary — say they would like to replace Collins.


Young students more centrist than in 2008

A new survey indicates first-year college students have moderated their political views since 2008, with declining percentages calling themselves liberal and an increase in self-described "middle-of-the-road" youths since 2008.

The survey, conducted for the Cooperative Institutional Research Program among 192,912 freshman full-time students entering nearly 300 four-year colleges nationwide, shows that those describing themselves as "middle-of-the-road" increased by 4 percentage points since 2008. Liberal-identifying young people decreased by 4 percentage points for men, down to 26 percent, and 5 points for women, to 32 percent.

The number of youths identifying as conservative stayed largely steady since 2008, with 20 percent of women and about 26 percent of men identifying as conservative.