Editor’s note: This is another in a series of “WND/WENZEL POLLS” conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
Democrats were enthused by their own political convention, and that has prompted a slight improvement in what people think about the nation’s direction, according to a new poll of likely voters.
The results are from a poll conducted for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies. It was taken Sept. 7-11 and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 2.99 percentage points.
But the bump doesn’t change the high level of concern a larger number of voters have about what’s happening to their nation, with fully half of the likely voters who responded saying the country is on the wrong track under Obama. One in five Democrats was of that opinion, and they were joined by 79 percent of the GOP and 54 percent of the independents.
The poll shows that only 41 percent of respondents think the nation is headed in the right direction.
“The nation improved its outlook for the future in the wake of the Democratic Party political convention, but sentiment remains negative,” said pollster Fritz Wenzel in his analysis of the results.
“Forty-one percent said they believe things are now on the right track, an improvement of four percentage points compared to a month ago.”
He said the change is identified easily.
“This is because of increased optimism on the part of Democrats, 72 percent of whom said they felt things were headed in the right direction,” he said.
“This may well reflect good feelings they hold after having heard presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama at their party convention. Clinton, always a favorite among Democrats, delivered a rationale for Democratic leadership that had been lacking for quite a while. Even Obama was unable to do that, but he benefits from Clinton’s speech,” Wenzel said.
Other polls gave Obama a bump in his pursuit of the Oval Office in this year’s election right after the Democratic National Convention, which finished last week in Charlotte, N.C.
But the advantage quickly vanished as polls this week showed Obama and Romney again nearly tied.
“For his part, Obama delivered a ho-hum speech but ended it well, perhaps giving hope to Democrats that they might hold the White House,” Wenzel said. “While it is important for candidates to lock up their political base, the Democratic convention effect is lost on independent voters, just 37 percent of whom said they think things are headed in the right direction. Republicans are particularly downcast about the current state of affairs in the U.S., as only 13 percent said things are headed in the right direction.”
The poll said Obama held a 48-41 edge on Romney in the race for the White House, with six percent supporting Libertarian Gary Johnson, in line with other polls taken just as the festivities of the DNC were winding down.
“Obama wins 87 percent support among Democrats, offering more evidence he has won back his base. Romney, meanwhile, wins just 82 percent of Republicans, which is an indication he has significant work to do to secure his base,” Wenzel said. “Interestingly, Romney’s problem appears to be among moderate Republicans. Obama wins 15 percent of the GOP vote, and he leads by more than 30 points among political moderates. While Obama’s advantage among women is eight points right now, Obama has moved into the lead among men as well, which is a switch from earlier polling.
“Clearly, Romney has significant work to do to gain the overall advantage in this race,” he said.
Interestingly, 95 percent of the Republicans said they were “very firm” in their choice of candidates already, while only 84 percent of the Democrats said that. About 83 percent of independents were in that category. Nearly five percent of Democrats said they were “open” to changing their choice, while only 2.7 percent of the Republicans were.
Just about six months ago, 57 percent of voters said Obama was doing only a fair or poor job as president. At the same time, more than 60 percent of voters said the nation was on the wrong track.
At that time, 33 percent said the country, following Obama, was on the right track, and among Democrats, who control the White House and half of Congress, the approval rating was only 52 percent. Among key independents, two out of three say America is off the rails.
A few months early, only 38 percent of Obama’s own party said things were running just fine in the country. At that time even 48 percent of blacks said the nation was on the wrong track.
Wenzel said then that such numbers indicate “very deep trouble” for Obama. He said, “Poll numbers for political figures tend to be like cement – the longer they sit at low levels without significant rebounds, the harder it becomes to make them move much at all. Voters appear to have drawn conclusions about Obama’s performance in office and his capacity to lead.”
See detailed results of survey questions: