Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Coleman Popularity Virtually Unchanged Since Election Day, Despite Recent Poll Headline

Bookmark and Share

Much has been made of the extremely low favorability ratings Norm Coleman (and Al Franken) are enduring in the wake of numbers released in last week's SurveyUSA poll of Minnesotans conducted after the conclusion of the 2008 U.S. Senate recount process.

The poll found Coleman's favorability numbers dipping to just 38 percent - the second lowest mark during his 6-year stint as U.S. Senator. As such, the results of the poll and the subsequent reporting, suggest that Coleman's image has taken a severe beating as a result of the legal battles that have stemmed from the two-month post-election fight with Franken.

This notion is underscored by the fact that a plurality of Minnesotans in the SurveyUSA poll (49 percent) did not believe Coleman should challenge the recount results (including a majority of independents).

No doubt Coleman is not a highly popular figure in the Gopher State at the moment (and neither is Franken, according to the poll), but the SurveyUSA numbers are misleading regarding the degree to which Coleman has dropped out of favor with Gopher State residents.

· To begin with, the poll offered three response categories to its respondents - favorable, unfavorable, and neutral - whereas the previous 15 public polls conducted during the past 15 months had offered just two responses (favorable and unfavorable). As a result, due to 12 percent of Minnesotans having a 'neutral' view of Coleman, his favorability numbers dipped below 40 percent for the first time in over a year.

However, Coleman's unfavorability numbers in the new SurveyUSA poll (44 percent) were also at their lowest point going back to April 2008 (42 percent, Rasmussen). In fact, Coleman's favorability numbers are actually up 2 points from the last time SurveyUSA asked the three-response option question, back in October 2007 (from 36 percent; though his unfavorability numbers rose by 7 points during that span).

If one distributes the 12 percent of 'neutral' respondents proportionately according to the percentage of favorable, unfavorable, and 'no opinion' nods Coleman received by the other 89 percent of respondents in the new SurveyUSA poll, his favorability rating would increase by 5 points (to 43 percent), his unfavorability rating would increase by 6 points (to 50 percent), and those stating they had 'no opinion' would increase 1 point (to 8 percent). This is basically where Coleman has been for the past 6 polls dating back to mid-September 2008: averaging 52 percent unfavorable and 45 percent favorable.

· Secondly, the SurveyUSA poll was conducted of 500 adults - not registered, likely, or actual voters. The previous 15 statewide polls (all of which had Coleman's favorability numbers well above 40 percent) were each conducted of likely voters. By including non-voters in this sample, the results are likely to find a higher number of respondents having no opinion (as well as those who might have a less than warm view of their elected politicians, regardless of partisan affiliation).

· This was borne out by the poll: 7 percent (35 respondents) of the 500 adults polled by SurveyUSA had neither a favorable, unfavorable, or neutral opinion of Coleman. The last time more poll respondents were undecided or had no opinion in a survey question measuring Coleman's favorability was before he assumed office in D.C. - back in November 2002 (Minnesota Poll). By comparison, the average number of people without an opinion on the issue of Coleman's favorability during the previous 15 public polls was just 3.1 percent.

· Additionally, when looking at Coleman's net favorability in the new SurveyUSA poll (-6 points), it is not elevated when compared with recent polls conducted during the past 3+ months:

October 7, 2008: -11 (Rasmussen)
October 14-15, 2008: -14 (Research 2000)
October 16-17, 2008: -7 (Minnesota Poll)
October 27-29, 2008: -5 (Research 2000)
December 4, 2008: -3 (Rasmussen)
January 7-8, 2008: -6 (SurveyUSA)

Al Franken, on the other hand, tied his worst ever mark for net favorability in the new SurveyUSA poll at -8 points (37 percent favorable and 45 percent favorable), matching his -8 point net rating in an early October Rasmussen poll.

· Lastly, the partisan breakdown of SurveyUSA's poll is a bit curious: 25 percent Republican, 33 percent Democrat, 39 percent independent, and 3 percent other. Of the more than 50 polls conducted by SurveyUSA since May 2005, the number of independents surveyed had only reached or eclipsed 39 percent twice before, and not for over three years (in September and October 2005). Of the 18 polls conducted by SurveyUSA in the Gopher State during the past year, an average of only 23.5 percent of respondents identified themselves as independents. Republicans, meanwhile, averaged 28 percent of SurveyUSA polls conducted during this span.

All things considered, while Coleman is obviously far from the peak popularity he enjoyed during his reelection campaign, his current numbers really have not dovetailed as the SurveyUSA numbers suggest. Coleman's popularity has been basically flat for the past four months - ever since the financial market collapse in September 2008.

Norm Coleman Favorability Ratings, 2007-2008 Election Cycle

Poll
Date
Favor.
Unfavor.
Neut.
No opin.
Net
SurveyUSA
1/7-8/09
38%
44%
12%
7%
-6
Rasmussen
12/4/08
48%
51%
2%
-3
Research 2000
10/27-29/08
46%
51%
7%
-5
MN Poll
10/16-17/08
43%
50%
7%
-7
Research 2000
10/14-15/08
42%
56%
2%
-14
Rasmussen
10/7/08
44%
55%
1%
-11
Rasmussen
9/18/08
48%
50%
2%
-2
Rasmussen
8/13/08
53%
44%
3%
+9
Rasmussen
7/22/08
48%
48%
3%
0
Rasmussen
7/10/08
49%
47%
4%
+2
Rasmussen
6/11/08
51%
45%
3%
+6
Rasmussen
5/22/08
49%
49%
3%
0
Rasmussen
4/22/08
55%
42%
3%
+13
Rasmussen
3/19/08
54%
44%
4%
+10
Rasmussen
2/16/08
55%
42%
3%
+13
Rasmussen
10/31/07
56%
42%
3%
+14
SurveyUSA
10/24-28/07
36%
37%
20%
6%
-1
Rasmussen
9/6/07
54%
46%
1%
+8
MPR
5/7-9/07
43%
25%
29%
3%
+18
Rasmussen
3/7/07
51%
42%
7%
+9



Previous post: The Frugal Three: Wisconsin Legislators Reject Annual Pay Increase
Next post: Will the Minnesota-Wisconsin Shared State Services Plan Work?

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting