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The Gazette KCRG
Posted November 2, 2011
Hawkeye Poll: Young, educated, and wealthy Americans express disapproval of Obama’s performance as president

President Barack Obama takes the stage to speak on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, in Washington, D.C., about the urgent need to repair the infrastructure of America which is part of his $447 billion job package. (Astrid Riecken/MCT)

 

A recent University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll indicates that President Barack Obama may have to work harder to win the support of young voters in his bid for re-election.

Nearly 49 percent of Iowans between the ages of 18 and 34 “disapprove” or “strongly disapprove” of Obama’s job performance as president. Of respondents aged 35 to 54, 49.9 percent disapprove or strongly disapprove of Obama’s performance and 47.4 percent aged 55 to 69 disapprove or strongly disapprove.

Levels of disapproval of Obama’s job performance increased as the level of education among the respondents increased; 51.7 percent of respondents with some college education expressed the highest levels of disapproval. Levels of disapproval also increased as annual income increased among respondents; the highest level of disapproval was reached among respondents who earned $100,000 or less and $150,000 or less annually (48.2 percent).

The results also indicated that levels of disapproval were impacted by respondents’ feelings about Obama. Approximately 75.5 percent of respondents who expressed that Obama often made them afraid indicated that they strongly disapproved of Obama’s job performance. In contrast, 46.2 percent of respondents who expressed that Obama never made them afraid approved of his job performance.

Perceptions of Obama’s performance as president also varied depending on the amount of hope respondents felt about him. Results demonstrate that 81.5 percent of Americans who often felt hopeful about Obama approved or strongly approved of his performance as president. In contrast, only 2.8 percent of respondents who indicated that they never felt hopeful about Obama expressed approval or strong approval of his performance as president. Strong disapproval of Obama’s performance as president was found among 67.5 percent of respondents who expressed never feeling hopeful about him.

Partisanship and ideology impacts feelings about Obama

Feelings of fear and anxiety toward Obama were strongly correlated to respondents’ partisanship and ideology. While 88.2 percent of Democratic respondents and 69.5 percent of Independents indicated that Obama never made them afraid, 44 percent of Republicans expressed that sentiment. Nearly 28 percent of Republicans expressed that Obama often made them afraid, while 0.3 percent of Democrats and 14.1 percent of Independents felt the same. Of those respondents who identified as Democrats, 46.8 percent expressed that Obama often made them feel hopeful. This sentiment was shared by 2 percent of Republicans and 16.1 percent of Independents. In contrast, 54.5 percent of Republicans indicated that Obama never made them feel hopeful. This sentiment was also expressed by 2.8 percent of Democrats and 27.8 percent of Independents.

Across the types of ideology, 1.7 percent of respondents who identified as “Liberals,” 28.7 percent of respondents who identified as “Conservatives,” and 6.3 percent of respondents who identified as “in between Liberal and Conservative” indicated that Obama often made them feel afraid. A large percentage of Liberals (89.4 percent) said Obama never made them afraid. Seventy-six percent of In-betweens and 47.4 percent of Conservatives said they never felt afraid of Obama. Regarding levels of hope toward Obama, 51.2 percent of Liberals expressed that Obama often made them feel hopeful. Close to 5 percent of Conservatives and 24.9 percent of In-betweens also shared this sentiment. Of those who identified themselves as Conservatives, 55.3 percent stated that Obama never made them feel hopeful. Only 5 percent of Liberals and 13.9 percent of In-betweens expressed the same feeling.

Levels of hope about Obama fluctuate among the young

Results demonstrate that levels of hope about Obama are fluctuating among the young. Approximately 42 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 indicate that Obama occasionally makes them feel hopeful. However, 27.7 percent of respondents in this age category indicate that Obama never makes them feel hopeful.

“As levels of hope fluctuate among the young, Obama will have to work hard to retain the support of young voters in his bid to win re-election,” says Rebecca Kreitzer, a graduate student in the UI Department of Political Science and a member of the Hawkeye Poll Cooperative.

The telephone survey of 778 Iowans was conducted Oct. 12-19. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 3.6 percent. Of those respondents, 181 indicated they were “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to attend the 2012 Republican caucus; the margin of error for likely Republican caucus-goers is plus or minus 7.4 percent.

Topline results for the poll are available at: http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2011/november/110211Hawk_Poll_Obama_topline.pdf.

About the Hawkeye Poll

The partisan breakdown of the sample was: 33 percent Democrat, 31 percent Republican, and 36 percent Independent. Fifty-five percent of surveyed Republicans said they were “somewhat” or “very” likely to attend the Iowa Caucuses. Reported results are weighted by Congressional district partisanship.

The poll was conducted by the Hawkeye Poll Cooperative, comprised of UI faculty and graduate students in political science. The faculty adviser for the poll is UI Associate Professor of Political Science Frederick Boehmke. The poll is carried out with the cooperation and facilities of the Iowa Social Science Research Center, directed by UI Sociology Professor Kevin Leicht. The poll is a teaching, research, and service project of the Department of Political Science in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). CLAS and the Provost’s Office fund the poll.

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