Tales from the Trail

Bill Clinton emerges as leading U.S. political favorite — poll


CLINTON/Nearly a decade after his presidency ended in scandal and disgrace, Bill Clinton has emerged as the most popular figure in the U.S. political firmament, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.   Except he’s not running for office.

Fifty-five percent of the 1,000 adults who responded to the survey reported having positive feelings about the Arkansas Democrat, vs. only 23 percent who harbored negative feelings. (When he left office in early 2001, his ratings were 34 percent positive and 52 percent negative.)RACING/

The poll, which has a 3.1 percentage point margin of error, comes at a time when many voters are angry about the country’s economic straits, including high unemployement and an exploding fiscal deficit. Clinton’s two-term presidency was marked not only by impeachment and the Monica Lewinsky scandal but also by buoyant growth and a balanced budget.

How did other political figures rate?

Only President Barack Obama had a favorable rating clearly ahead of the negative number, at 47 percent to 41 percent.USA/

Former Republican vice presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin rated 30 percent to 48 percent. The most visible of potential GOP presidential candidates also elicited the strongest feelings, both positive and negative. 

“Everything but the kitchen sink” poll

The oil spill, immigration, racial profiling, President Obama’s policies, the Tea Party — you name it, Americans were asked about it in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal public opinion poll.

The pollsters surveyed 1,000 people from Thursday through Monday (when there was a lot of news happening) and came away with what NBC says were “striking results.”

Despite the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico threatening environmental doilspillisaster, 60 percent of Americans said they support more offshore drilling, according to the poll.

New poll shows boost for Afghan war strategy

A new national poll by Quinnipiac University shows that the Obama administration’s new strategy in Afghanistan is gaining some favor among voters.

AFGHANISTANConducted April 14-19, the poll of American voters found that 49 percent of the respondents approved of the way President Barack Obama is handling the situation in Afghanistan versus 39 percent who disagreed.

In another bit of good news for the White House, 56 percent of voters polled agreed that the United States was doing the “right thing” fighting in Afghanistan against 36 percent who did not.

Most Americans want Republican input on healthcare – poll

Most Americans want President Obama and the Democrats to jettison the healthcare bill they almost got together before USA-HEALTHCARE/WELLNESSthis week’s political earthquake in Massachusetts and instead look for something Republicans can support.

That’s according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll which says 55 percent of Americans want work stopped on a House-Senate compromise between Democrats, while 39 percent want the Democrats to press on.

In fact, a sizable minority — 46 percent of the 1,010 adults surveyed — say healthcare reform is important but should not be Obama’s top legislative priority. Nineteen percent say healthcare shouldn’t be a major priority at all.
The poll was conducted the day after Republican Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s dyed-in-the-wool-Democratic-blue Senate seat in Massachusetts. The findings have a 4 percentage point margin of error.

Hey Washington, it’s still the economy

Politicians who have a red circle around Election Day in November 2010 would do well to have a look at a new poll by Public Strategies Inc. and Politico. USA-ECONOMY/

It says voters choose the economy by a two-to-one margin over other issues in determining how they will vote in that midterm congressional election.

The numbers:

–45 percent consider the economy the most important issue in deciding their vote.
–21 percent chose government spending.
–20 percent picked a U.S. healthcare overhaul.
–9 percent chose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as their big issues.
–4 percent picked climate change.

How you like me now?!

hillaryRemember during the presidential campaign, when Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was asked about her “likability” compared to that of  rival Barack Obama?

The inference was that people didn’t like her as much as they liked him, even after he told her during a presidential debate: “You’re likable enough.”

That was then.

This is now.

Secretary of State Clinton is more popular (or can we just say likable) than President Obama, according to a Gallup poll released on Thursday.

Obama has 19-point lead with early voters — Pew

DALLAS – According to a new poll by the Pew Research Center, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has a 19-point lead over Republican rival John McCain among U.S. voters who have already cast their ballots.

The Pew poll, released on Tuesday, gels with other reports of a Democratic surge to the polls in states that allow early voting.

Obama holds a 53 percent to 34 percent lead among the sizable minority of voters (15 percent) who say they have already voted. Among those who plan to vote early but have not yet voted (16 percent of voters), 56 percent support Obama, while 37 percent support McCain,” Pew said.

Obama beats McCain in kissing contest

WASHINGTON – With the presidential election four months away, most opinion polls show Barack Obama holding a single-digit lead over John McCain.

mccainobama.jpgBut in the kissing contest, the Illinois Democrat is trouncing his rival.

A nonscientific survey by the dating site Match.com found that 77 percent of respondents believe Obama would be a better kisser than the Arizona Republican.

“While the majority of our member base considers themselves ‘middle of the road,’ it appears that America is leaning to the left with their lips,” said Darcy Cameron, the dating service’s director of marketing and advertising.

Pennsylvania Democratic voters see U.S. recession already

rtr1z301.jpgWASHINGTON – One interesting tidbit that came out of the exit polling from Pennsylvania Democratic voters is that a large majority believe the U.S. economy is already in recession — contrary what the current president said on Tuesday.
A whopping 88 percent of voters in Pennsylvania — a state trying to transition from steel and coal industries to high-tech and medical research — said the U.S. economy was in a recession, with 42 percent saying it was a serious recession and 47 percent said it was a moderate contraction, according to exit poll data on CNN’s Web site (page 5 of data).
On Tuesday, President George W. Bush cited the most recent economic data showing small growth in the fourth quarter of 2007. But he also acknowledged that the first quarter figures had not yet been released.
“We’re not in a recession.  We’re in a slowdown,” Bush said after meetings with leaders of Canada and Mexico. “We haven’t had first quarter growth statistics yet. But there’s no question we’re in a slowdown.”
Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have both said the economy was in a recession as has Republican presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain.
But White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said on Wednesday such pronouncements were a little early in the game. 
“We don’t have data yet and it’s a little premature to declare it so definitively as a recession because the data isn’t in,” she told reporters.
The Commerce Department is due to release the GDP figures for the first quarter on April 30, which is also when the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate-setting committee will announce whether it is cutting rates again. 

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- Photo credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni (shoppers browse food aisles at discount retailer Wal-mart.)