Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index keeps foot on the brakes

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index kept its foot on the brakes this week, extending what’s now a two-month pause, while the gap between negative and positive economic expectations reached its largest since May. The CCI now stands at 36.6 on its scale of 0 to 100, remaining within a narrow 1.4-point band (36.2 to 37.6) since mid-June. CONT.

Langer Research Associates

Barack Obama vs. George W. Bush — in charts!

… In the states where Quinnipiac polls — mostly states in the bluer Northeast — Obama is underwater on approval in each. We were curious about this, and reached out to Quinnipiac to see if it would be generous enough to share a full set of the data with us. It was. …

We were interested, though, in how this compared to Obama’s predecessor. Quinnipiac gave us data for Bush, too. CONT.

Philip Bump, Washington Post

In Swing States, Obamacare Becomes an Asset

… The Republicans Tom Corbett, of Pennsylvania, and Paul LePage, of Maine, are both unlikely to win their races, and Nathan Deal, of Georgia, is locked in a tight contest with the Democrat Jason Carter. Corbett, LePage, Deal, and Walker have all governed according to their party’s most strongly held beliefs. They stalled or blocked implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including its Medicaid expansion. And all have sharply cut state budgets, imposing austerity measures during a recession.

To get a look at whether a Republican governor’s policy stances matter, I re-plotted some of the relevant polling data. This time, I used two symbols to represent a governor’s stance on Medicaid expansion (and other aspects of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act): CONT.

Sam Wang,

Poll finds many in U.S. lack knowledge about Ebola and its transmission

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports no known cases of Ebola transmission in the United States, a Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH)/SSRS poll released today (August 21, 2014) shows that four in ten (39%) adults in the U.S. are concerned that there will be a large outbreak in the U.S., and a quarter (26%) are concerned that they or someone in their immediate family may get sick with Ebola over the next year.

The nationally representative poll of 1,025 adults was conducted August 13-17, 2014 by researchers at HSPH and SSRS, an independent research company. The margin of error for total respondents is +/-3.6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. …

Two-thirds of people (68%) surveyed believe Ebola spreads “easily” (“very easily” or “somewhat easily”) from those who are sick with it. This perception may contrast with CDC, World Health Organization (WHO), and other health experts who note that Ebola is not an airborne illness, and is transmitted through direct contact with infected bodily fluids, infected objects, or infected animals. …

“Many people are concerned about a large scale outbreak of Ebola occurring in the U.S.,” said Gillian SteelFisher, deputy director of the Harvard Opinion Research Program and research scientist in the HSPH Department of Health Policy and Management. “As they report on events related to Ebola, the media and public health officials need to better inform Americans of Ebola and how it is spread.” CONT.

Harvard School of Public Health


Obamacare Remains a Huge Liability for Democrats

… Obamacare remains a liability to Democrats this fall. It remains widely unpopular in southern red states where control of the Senate will be determined. It may not be the issue this cycle, but it is still a top negative for Democrats. Plus, the more unpopular the President, the more politically toxic any issue associated with him or his administration. One Republican consultant told me he’s calling this the “O” election: it is defined by views of Obama. And among Republicans and independents, those views aren’t positive. CONT.

Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

Republicans More Focused on Immigration as Top Problem

Although both Republicans and Democrats name dysfunctional government, the economy, and unemployment as top problems facing the country today, they attach different importance to other issues. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are significantly more likely than Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents to say that immigration and moral decline are top problems in the U.S., while Democrats are more likely to mention poverty and education. CONT.

Frank Newport, Gallup

The Fire This Time

The 1992 Los Angeles riots that followed the not-guilty verdict in the police beating of black motorist Rodney King were probably the last time the fraught relationship between African-Americans and law enforcement galvanized as much attention as it has since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. …

In some respects, the situation of African-Americans has improved since 1992; in others, conditions are worse. But the overall picture is of disappointingly little change: The African-American community faces many of the same barriers, and jagged racial disparities, as it did when L.A. burned. CONT.

Ronald Brownstein, National Journal

Recent polls: Race relations

Did the protesters and police in Ferguson go too far?

The shooting of Michael Brown – an unarmed 18-year-old African-American man who was shot to death by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri – has unleashed a wave of protests in Ferguson that have turned violent at times, as well as a forceful response by local police. Fifty-nine percent of Americans – including 67 percent of whites but just 43 percent of blacks – think the protesters’ actions have gone too far, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll. CONT.

CBS News

Self-Segregation: Why It’s So Hard for Whites to Understand Ferguson

The shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and the anger poured out in response by Ferguson’s mostly black population, has snapped the issue of race into national focus. The incident has precipitated a much larger conversation, causing many Americans to question just how far racial equality and race relations have come, even in an era of a black president and a black attorney general.

Polls since the incident demonstrate that black and white Americans see this incident very differently. CONT.

Robert P. Jones (Public Religion Research Institute),

Demilitarizing the police is not an option. What is?

… Why do some incidents of police violence mobilize the public into action, while others are dismissed as an everyday occurrence?

In my research on police reform in post-communist societies, I learned that it takes a special type of tragedy to prompt a politically engaged public to demand greater police accountability. While police violence is often seen as trivial, two factors can transform a routine occurrence into a catalyzing event. CONT.

Erica Marat (National Defense U.) The Monkey Cage