Poll: Bloomberg candidacy would aid Obama in 2012

If New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) decided to wage an independent bid for president in 2012, he would end up aiding President Obama's reelection prospects, according to a new poll out Monday. 

Numbers from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling show Bloomberg polling at 11 percent in a hypothetical three-way matchup with Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R). Obama led the way with 44 percent to Romney's 38 percent. Another 7 percent were undecided.

Bloomberg, who flirted with an independent bid in 2008, cut into Romney's support among independents substantially. The mayor had the support of 22 percent of independents, compared to 32 percent who went for Romney. 

Bloomberg also costs Romney support among some Democrats. For the small number of Dems who favored the former governor over Obama, Romney loses half of them with Bloomberg in the race. 

In a two-way matchup between Obama and Romney, the president leads by just a single point — 47 percent to 46 percent. Without Bloomberg in the race, his supporters break for Romney over Obama — 50 percent to 21 percent. 

Bloomberg has repeatedly said he has no intention of running for president two years from now, but that hasn't stopped speculation that the billionaire might change his mind and opt for a self-funded run in 2012. 

The poll also found that just 19 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Bloomberg, compared to 38 percent who have an unfavorable view of the mayor.  

The poll also found Obama leading all other potential GOP 2012 hopefuls, but the president doesn't make it above 50 percent against anyone but former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who trails Obama 51 percent to 42 percent. 

Obama leads former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee 48 percent to 45 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 49 percent to 43 percent and Sen.-elect Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) 48 percent to 37 percent.


Poll: Obama doesn't deserve a second term; still leads Palin

New national numbers out Monday from Quinnipiac University show 49 percent of voters do not believe President Obama deserves election to a second term in 2012. Among self-identified independents, that number drops to just 35 percent. 

Obama is also in a dead heat with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in hypothetical 2012 match-ups. 

The best-case scenario for Obama, according to the poll — a general election matchup with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Obama leads Palin 48 percent to 40 percent.  

Palin is also viewed more negatively than any other potential GOP contender in 2012. Just 36 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of her, while 51 percent hold an unfavorable opinion.

"She is very unpopular among independents and although she recently said she thought she could defeat Obama, the data does not now necessarily support that assertion," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, said of Palin. 

Obama also came out on top in a matchup with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels — 45 percent to 36 percent.

"The Democratic base remains squarely behind President Barack Obama when it comes to his reelection, but his weakness among independent voters at this point makes his 2012 election prospects uncertain," Brown said. 

Still, some 27 percent of Democratic voters said they're looking for a Democrat to challenge Obama for the nomination two years from now. 

The poll surveyed 2,424 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. 


Public has mixed reaction to GOP election wins, new poll finds

The public had a mixed reaction to the Republican Party's wins on Election Day, according to a new Pew Poll.

The poll found that only 48 percent said they were happy about the GOP victory, while 35 percent were unhappy. In 1994, when Republicans took back the House, 57 percent said they were happy and 31 percent were unhappy. And in 2006, when Democrats retook the House, 60 percent described themselves as happy, with just 24 percent unhappy.

And there's little optimism that relations between the two parties will improve. Just 22 percent expect relations to get better, while 28 percent say they will get worse and 48 percent say they will stay about the same.

There is a three-way split in opinion on what should be done about extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts: Thirty-four percent favor keeping all of the tax cuts; 30 percent say the tax cuts for the wealthy should be repealed while other reductions stay in place; and 28 percent say all the tax cuts should be repealed.

House Republican Leader John Boehner's (Ohio) name recognition is up slightly. Now 10 percent of people see him as leader of the GOP, compared to the 5 percent who said the same in September. Overall, 51 percent said they don't know who leads the Republican Party.

And there is no clear front-runner for the 2012 Republican nomination for president; former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney all receive about the same level of support. Palin and Huckabee both got 15 percent, while Romney got 13 percent.


Sen. Ensign below 50 percent in potential 2012 match-up against Rep. Heller

Nevada Sen. John Ensign (R) is expected to face a difficult primary challenge if he seeks reelection in 2012, but a new poll shows he may not be as vulnerable as some observers believe.

Ensign leads two of his potential primary rivals in head-to-head match-ups surveyed by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm based in North Carolina. Although against Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Ensign is below 50 percent — a warning sign for an incumbent.

The two-term senator leads Heller 45 to 37 percent. Against Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki (R), Ensign's lead is 28 points — 55 to 27 percent. Krolicki opted not to run against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) last cycle, presumably because he was contemplating a challenge to Ensign.

Moreover, 64 percent of GOP primary voters in Nevada approve of Ensign's job performance, while only 23 percent disapprove. His approval rating is even higher with conservatives — 71 percent back Ensign's performance.

PPP polled 400 Nevada Republican primary voters Oct. 7-9. The survey has a 4.9 percent margin of error.

Ensign is considered vulnerable, in part, because he's being investigated by the FBI and the Senate Ethics Committee over his efforts to get lobbying work for the embittered husband of his former mistress. Ensign helped Doug Hampton, the husband of Cynthia Hampton, get a job with a lobbying firm, and his parents provided the Hamptons with a payment of nearly $100,000, which they described as a gift.

Ensign has denied any wrongdoing.


Toomey reasserts lead in Pennsylvania Senate race

After a brief tightening of Pennsylvania's Senate contest between Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) and former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), the Republican has reasserted his lead less than a week ahead of Election Day, according to a recent poll.

A new Franklin & Marshall College poll out Wednesday puts the Republican back on top by 7 percentage points — 43 percent to 36 percent among likely voters. 

Three polls released in the last two weeks showed a narrowing of Toomey's lead. A Rasmussen poll from last week had the Republican up by just 4 points, while a Quinnipiac poll gave Toomey just a 2-point edge and numbers from Public Policy had Sestak up one point.

But the latest numbers are in line with tracking numbers from Muhlenberg College, which put Toomey up 5 points. 

Franklin & Marshall pollster Terry Madonna said that among voters leaning toward casting their vote for Toomey, two-thirds say they oppose President Obama. Additionally, half the likely voters for Sestak say their vote is in support of the president. 


Poll: Rubio has commanding lead in Florida

A new poll shows Florida Senate hopeful Marco Rubio with a commanding lead in a three-way race as the candidate holds on to support from most Republicans and many independents.

The St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 poll shows Rubio with a 15 point lead over Gov. Charlie Crist (I).

That breaks down to 41 percent of likely voters backing GOP nominee Rubio, 26 percent for Crist and 20 percent backing Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.). Forty-one percent of independent voters are breaking for Crist, compared to 21 percent for Rubio and 5 percent for Meek.

The telephone survey of 801 registered voters, including 577 likely voters, was conducted Oct. 15-19 by Ipsos for The St. Petersburg Times, Miami Herald, Bay News 9 and Central Florida News 13.

Among Democrats, Meek has 42 percent of likely voters compared to 36 percent for Crist.

Among Republicans, 70 percent back Rubio while just 17 percent go for Crist.


Poll shows Murkowski in tie, but voters confident they know write-in procedure

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is tied with Republican nominee Joe Miller in Alaska's Senate race, and, in good news for the incumbent, 93 percent of voters who favor Murkowski said they know the procedure for voting for a write-in candidate.

A CNN-Time-Opinion Research Poll of likely voters showed Murkowski and Miller both receiving 37 percent of the vote. After Miller defeated Murkowski in the August GOP primary, Murkowski decided to run as a write-in candidate. Her campaign has embarked on an extensive voter-education campaign, and the poll shows that appears to be paying off.

The poll also examined three other competitive Senate races, and Republicans had imposing leads in all of them.

In Arkansas, Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln appears to be in serious trouble — trailing GOP nominee John Boozman by 14 points, 41 percent to 55 percent.

Marco Rubio (R) continues to maintain his strong lead in Florida’s Senate race. Rubio leads Gov. Charlie Crist (I) by 14 points and Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) by 26 points.

Following a similar trend, Ohio’s Republican candidate Rob Portman leads Democrat Lee Fisher 55 percent to 40 percent.

Republicans need 10 seats to win control of the Senate.

The poll conducted between October 15-18 has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points in Arkansas, Florida and Ohio and a margin of error of 3 percent in Alaska.


Poll: Millennial enthusiasm fading as election approaches

Two-third of young voters, part of President Obama's base in 2008, are ambivalent about voting in November, a poll released Thursday shows.

Fewer than three in ten (27 percent) of 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed by Harvard University's Institute of Politics say they will definitely turn out for the midterms, down from 31 percent in February and 36 percent last September.

The survey also found that among this demographic, lauded in 2008 for its enthusiasm, only 18 percent say they are politically engaged, down from 24 percent in November 2009. 

"In 2008, 'millennials' took control of their own destiny, entered the political process and changed the direction of the country," said John Della Volpe of the Institute of Politics (IOP). "Two years later, the challenges they face as a generation could not be higher. Let's hope they reverse the current decline in interest and participation."

The decline also mirrors a nine-point drop in millennials' approval for Obama since November (58 percent to 49 percent), though most do continue to lean left, preferring that Congress be controlled by Democrats and approving of current Democratic over Republican members by 11 points (39 percent to 28 percent).

Looking toward 2012, Obama emerges between 25 and 30 points ahead of potential Republican candidates Newt Gingrich, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

In a matchup between Obama and a generic Republican, however, Obama only led by one point (31-30), with the plurality (39 percent) of young people saying they were undecided.

The IOP interim director John Culver noted these figures as an opportunity for candidates to engage with young people.

"Recent election cycles show candidates who can motivate this critical demographic will have an important advantage," he said.

The survey has a margin of error of 2.2 points and was carried out between Sept. 23 and Oct. 4 from 2,004 interviews.