President Gets High Marks For 2nd Term Agenda, Pollsters Find

The second term agenda which President Obama outlined Tuesday night in his State of the Union address—expressed through new policies for energy, pay equity, jobs, and education—was well-received by voters, a prominent Democratic polling organization finds.

The president made impressive gains on his personal favorability and trust to move the country in a direction that reflects voters’ values. Following the speech, voters gave him high marks on women’s issues, looking out for the middle class, and plans for the economy, the pollsters at Democracy Corps add.

The results were arrived at through dial testing and follow-up focus groups with 44 swing voters in Denver, Colo., the pollsters say.

Even Republicans in the pollsters’ audience responded positively to Obama’s plan for tax reform and his call for bipartisan cooperation to break the gridlock in Washington. As one participant put it, “I liked his speech. I wanted to clap; I got misty-eyed,” the pollsters say in releasing their results.

There is much here to commend the president’s performance, the pollsters say. He made significant gains on the big issues: looking out for the middle class, having good plans for the economy, and having realistic solutions to the country’s problems. The president also made gains on some of the most current and pressing issues—making a 9-point gain on trust to handle gun violence, a 9-point gain on trust to handle Medicare and Social Security, and a 9-point gain on looking out for the interests of women.

Importantly, voters are much more optimistic about President Obama and his agenda than they were even a few months ago. While they remain concerned about Washington’s ability to get things done, they are more hopeful about the president’s stronger tone and hope that Republicans and Democrats in Congress will be able to reach consensus on the most important and pressing issues facing the country. Indeed, voters were touched by the president’s moving oratory on reducing gun violence, accentuated by the people close to recent tragedies who attended the speech. “They deserve a vote” clearly resonated with these participants, the pollsters say.

Additionally, while Obama spoke on issues and in terms that had broad appeal, he also managed to speak specifically to the voters who re-elected him. Unmarried women, a group that has been critical to the president and Democrats’ political fortunes, tracked closely with the Democratic line on the dial meter throughout the speech and exceeded the Democratic line several times, including when the president spoke about pay equity.

The pollsters say their research was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for Democracy Corps, Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund and the Economic Media Project. Participants were 44 swing voters from the Denver, Colo., metro area who split their votes evenly between Democratic and Republican candidates over the past several presidential and congressional elections. The 25 women and 19 men split their 2012 votes for president based on Colorado statewide results, and split the 2010 votes evenly between Democratic and GOP U.S. Senate candidates.

Dial testing focus group research was conducted using the Perception Analyzer powered by Dialsmith. Perception Analyzer measures participant opinions in a real-time, second-by-second methodology that provides instant and precise measurements of quantitative research within a qualitative audience. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research says it measured and examined several participant subsets including political identification, candidate preference and many demographic variables to aid analysis.

 

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