Immigration, Terrorism, and Foreign Policy Rise Among Americans’ Top Voting Issues

USA flag waving in front of Washington dome

NEW YORK, N.Y. – April 30, 2015 – Cruz, Clinton, Paul, and Rubio are in. Bush, Walker, Christie, Perry, and a whole lot of others are “maybes,” while Romney and Warren have RSVP’d “no.” The 2016 presidential election is a year and a half away, and even the Iowa caucuses – the kickoff to 2016’s presidential primary season – are more than eight months off. That hasn’t stopped more than a few politicians from throwing their respective hats into the ring. But which issues are most likely to move the needle on public perceptions of those vying for spots on their parties’ tickets? And how has the “voting issues” lineup changed?

When asked which two to three issues, from a provided list, are most important in making decisions between candidates, the economy is among the top issues for a majority of Americans (56%) – though it’s worth noting that this majority has dwindled since last year (when 61% selected the economy). Healthcare is the second strongest factor, with two in five U.S. adults selecting it (39%).

Roughly one-fourth each select jobs (27%, down substantially from 39% last year), taxes (26%), social security (25%), education (24%) and immigration (23%, up notably from 15% in 2014).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,215 adults surveyed online between April 15 and 20, 2015.

Selections have also increased from last year for terrorism (20%, up from 13%) and foreign policy (17%, up from 9%). Just over one in ten select the environment as a top voting issue (13%, down slightly from 16%) and under one in ten each select LGBT rights/equality and abortion (8% and 7%, respectively).

Political differences

Some distinct divisions in voting issue priorities emerge along political party lines:

  • Democrats are more likely than Republicans and Independents to place healthcare (49% vs. 31% and 37%), social security (33% vs. 19% and 24%) and the environment (20% vs. 3% and 12%) as their top considerations when choosing between candidates.
  • Republicans are more likely to say immigration (35% vs. 13% Dem and 25% Ind), terrorism (30% vs. 13% and 18%) and foreign policy (25% vs. 12% and 16%) are among their top priorities.
  • Independents’ responses sometimes align with those of Democrats, sometimes with Republicans. Independents (28%) and Republicans (33%) are both much more likely than Democrats (16%) to call out taxes as a top voting issue; in contrast, Independents (26%) and Democrats (29%) are more aligned on education’s place among their top voting issues, with Republicans far less likely to select it (14%).

Regional differences

Looking at region, Easterners (64%) are more likely than those in the Midwest (50%), South (56%) and West (55%) to say that the economy is one of the most important issues for them when it comes to making voting decisions. Midwestern and Southern Americans (25% and 27%) are more likely than their counterparts in the East (17%) to select education as a top voting issue, while abortion strikes a stronger chord in the Midwest (with 11% selecting it as a top voting issue) than in any other region (5% East, 7% South, 5% West).

Generational differences

  • Younger generations are more likely to focus on jobs (33% Millennials and 37% Gen Xers vs. 20% Baby Boomers and 13% Matures), education (41% vs. 20%, 11% and 14%) and LGBT rights/equality (17% vs. 5%, 3% and 3%).
  • Older generations, meanwhile, show a stronger focus on social security (47% Matures and 38% baby Boomers vs. 19% Gen Xers and 9% Millennials), immigration (37% vs. 25%, 23% and 16%) and terrorism (28%, 24% and 22% vs. 12%).
  • The importance of taxes as a voting issue, meanwhile, peaks among Gen Xers at 34% (vs. 23% of Millennials, 26% of Baby Boomers and 18% of Matures).

But what about the President we’ve got right now?

Of course, our next president – whoever that might be – is a long way off. In the meantime, how do Americans feel President Obama is stacking up? Looking at overall ratings for the job he’s doing, the President’s positive ratings are at 38% – roughly even with last month’s 37%, but up from 33% in April of last year.

Positive ratings for his handling of the economy follow similar trends. Thirty-eight percent of Americans rate President Obama positively on his performance in this area, identical to last month (also 38%) but up from a year ago (when 32% indicated the same).

  • Seven in ten Democrats give the President positive ratings on both his overall job performance (71%) and his performance in relation to the economy (69%), while roughly nine in ten Republicans give the President negative ratings on both these points (93% and 87%, respectively).
  • As for Independents, majorities give the President negative ratings on both his general performance and his handling of the economy (70% each).

Economic expectations

Looking ahead to the coming year, 26% of Americans expect the economy to improve in the coming year, with 24% expecting it to get worse and half (51%) expecting it to remain the same. This is comparable to a roughly a year ago – with an identical 26% anticipating improvement last May – but down some from the optimism seen this past January, when a third of Americans (32%) were expecting the economy to improve in the coming year.

  • Gen Xers are far less likely than their counterparts in other generations (15% vs. 29% Millennials, 29% Baby Boomers and 27% Matures) to expect the economy to improve in the coming year.

Turning to the home front, 23% expect their household’s financial condition to improve in the next six months while 21% expect it to worsen and 56% expect it to remain the same. This is again on par with roughly a year ago (24% expected their household’s financial condition last May) but down slightly from the beginning of this year (this same measure was at 27% in January).

  • Looking across regions, Americans in the West are more likely than those in any other region to expect that their own household’s financial situation will improve in the next six months (31% vs. 20% East, 20% Midwest and 22% South).

To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

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TABLE 1a

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – TREND

“How would you rate the overall job President Barack Obama is doing?”

                Base: All adults

 

TREND

Positive*

Negative**

%

%

2015

Apr

38

62

 

Mar

37

63

Feb

38

62

Jan (post-SOTU)

42

58

Jan (pre-SOTU)

39

61

2014

December

33

67

 

November

35

65

October

34

66

September

30

70

August

32

68

July

34

66

June

38

62

May

38

62

April

33

67

March

35

65

February

35

65

January

32

68

2013

December

34

66

 

November

32

68

October

35

65

September

34

66

July

39

61

June

41

59

March

38

62

2012

December

45

55

 

September

41

59

April

41

59

March

40

60

January

36

64

2011

December

36

64

 

November

34

66

October

33

67

September

32

68

July

38

62

May

46

54

April

38

62

March

39

61

Feb.

42

58

Jan.

44

56

2010

Dec.

36

64

 

Nov.

38

62

Oct.

37

63

Sept.

38

62

Aug.

40

60

June

39

61

May

42

58

March

41

59

Jan.

40

60

2009

Dec.

41

59

 

Nov.

43

57

Oct.

45

55

Sept.

49

51

Aug.

51

49

June

54

46

May

59

41

April

58

42

March

55

45

*Positive = excellent or pretty good.  **Negative = only fair or poor.

 

TABLE 1b

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – By Political Party & Ideology

“How would you rate the overall job President Barack Obama is doing?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Political Party

Political Ideology

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

38

7

71

30

11

39

70

    Excellent

9

1

21

5

2

8

21

    Pretty good

28

6

50

25

9

31

49

NEGATIVE

62

93

29

70

89

61

30

    Only fair

26

24

21

33

20

33

22

    Poor

36

68

8

37

69

29

9

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding 

 


TABLE 2a

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING ON THE ECONOMY – TREND

“Now, turning to something different, how would you rate the overall job that President Barack Obama is doing on the economy?”

Base: All adults

 

2009

2010

March

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Nov

Dec

Jan

Mar

Apr

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

47

49

46

43

39

40

34

36

31

32

33

36

32

32

29

27

31

30

      Excellent

13

13

10

3

9

7

6

6

5

5

6

6

5

6

5

5

5

5

      Pretty good

34

36

36

34

31

33

27

30

25

27

27

30

27

26

24

22

26

25

NEGATIVE (NET)

53

51

54

57

61

60

66

64

69

68

67

64

68

68

71

73

69

70

      Only fair

30

27

30

27

25

27

30

30

31

30

31

29

32

29

31

33

30

34

      Poor

23

24

24

30

36

33

37

34

39

37

36

34

37

39

40

39

39

36

 

 

2011

2012

2013

Jan

Feb*

Mar

May

June

July

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Feb

Mar

Apr

June

July

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

33

33

33

32

27

26

21

23

22

25

25

32

32

36

33

39

35

33

29

30

30

29

  Excellent

7

9

5

7

5

3

2

3

3

4

2

3

5

4

6

6

5

5

4

5

6

4

  Pretty good

26

24

28

26

22

23

18

20

20

22

22

29

27

32

27

32

31

28

28

25

24

25

NEGATIVE (NET)

67

62

67

68

73

74

79

77

78

75

75

68

68

64

67

61

65

67

71

70

70

71

   Only fair

30

22

29

28

30

33

33

36

32

34

34

30

29

26

26

26

29

29

31

28

29

30

   Poor

37

39

38

40

43

41

46

41

46

41

41

38

39

38

41

35

36

38

40

42

41

41

 

 

2014

2015

 

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan (pre-SOTU)

Jan (Post-SOTU)

Feb

Mar

Apr

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

POSITIVE (NET)

28

31

31

32

35

32

30

30

29

33

35

34

39

42

40

38

38

 

      Excellent

5

4

5

5

5

7

7

6

6

5

8

9

10

10

9

10

10

 

      Pretty good

23

27

26

27

29

25

23

25

24

27

26

25

29

32

31

28

27

 

NEGATIVE (NET)

72

69

69

68

65

68

70

70

71

67

65

66

61

58

60

62

62

 

      Only fair

30

29

27

29

26

28

27

31

31

29

29

30

26

27

28

28

28

 

      Poor

42

40

42

39

39

40

43

39

40

38

36

36

34

31

32

34

35

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding; *In February 2012 “Not at all sure” was offered as a response choice and 4% responded in that way.

 


TABLE 2b

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING ON THE ECONOMY – By Political Party and Ideology

“Now, turning to something different, how would you rate the overall job that President Barack Obama is doing on the economy?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Political Party

Political Ideology

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

38

11

69

30

13

40

65

    Excellent

10

1

23

6

2

9

24

    Pretty good

27

10

46

24

11

31

40

NEGATIVE

62

89

31

70

87

60

35

    Only fair

28

25

23

33

21

33

23

    Poor

35

64

8

37

66

27

12

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 3a

CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING – Trend

“How would you rate the overall job Congress is doing?”

Base: All adults

 

TREND

Positive*

Negative**

%

%

2015

April

9

91

 

March

7

93

February

9

91

Jan (post-SOTU)

10

90

Jan (Pre-SOTU)

9

91

2014

December

7

93

 

October

8

92

September

7

93

August

8

92

July

9

91

June

10

90

May

7

93

April

7

93

March

8

92

February

8

92

January

6

94

2013

December

5

95

 

November

7

93

October

4

96

September

7

93

July

9

91

June

9

91

March

6

94

2012

December

8

92

 

April

11

89

March

9

91

January

6

94

2011

December

5

95

 

July

8

92

May

13

87

January

16

84

2010

December

11

89

 

June

14

86

March

10

90

Jan.

16

84

2009

Dec.

17

83

 

Oct.

16

84

June

25

75

March

29

71

2008

October

10

86

 

August

18

77

June

13

83

February

20

76

2007

December

17

79

 

October

20

77

April

27

69

February

33

62

2006

September

24

73

 

May

18

80

February

25

71

January

25

72

*Positive = excellent or pretty good.  **Negative = only fair or poor.

 

 

TABLE 3b

CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING – By Political Party & Ideology

“How would you rate the overall job Congress is doing?”

                Base: All adults

 

Total

Political Party

Political Ideology

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

9

9

11

7

8

10

8

    Excellent

1

*

1

1

1

1

2

    Pretty good

8

9

10

5

8

9

7

NEGATIVE

91

91

89

93

92

90

92

    Only fair

39

50

34

37

45

39

34

    Poor

52

41

55

56

47

51

58

                Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

* indicates fewer than <0.5% selected this response

 


TABLE 4a

INDIVIDUAL MEMBER OF CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING – Trend

“How would you rate the overall job your Member of the House of Representatives is doing?”

Base: All adults

 

Nov

2013

Dec

2013

Jan

2014

March

2014

June

2014

Sept 2014

Oct 2014

Mar 2015

Apr 2015

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

19

20

20

21

22

18

23

22

24

    Excellent

3

4

4

4

4

3

4

4

3

    Pretty good

15

17

17

17

18

15

19

19

21

NEGATIVE

71

69

68

68

65

70

65

66

63

    Only fair

31

31

34

34

32

36

35

36

38

    Poor

39

38

34

34

32

34

30

30

25

Not familiar enough to rate

11

11

12

11

13

12

12

12

13

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 4b

INDIVIDUAL MEMBER OF CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING  – Political Party, Political Ideology & Generation

“How would you rate the overall job your Member of the House of Representatives is doing?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Political Party

Political Ideology

Generation

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

Millennials (18-37)

Gen X (38-49)

Baby Boomers (50-68)

Matures (69+)

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

24

32

25

19

28

24

21

23

20

24

34

    Excellent

3

4

3

4

5

3

2

2

2

4

7

    Pretty good

21

28

22

15

23

20

19

21

18

20

27

NEGATIVE

63

56

63

67

61

62

65

54

69

68

62

    Only fair

38

35

39

40

36

39

35

36

42

39

31

    Poor

25

22

24

28

25

23

30

18

28

29

31

Not familiar enough to rate

13

12

12

14

11

14

13

22

11

8

4

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


TABLE 5a 

RIGHT DIRECTION OR WRONG TRACK – TREND

“Generally speaking, would you say things in the country are going in the right direction or have they pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track?”

                                Base: All adults

 

TREND

Right Direction

Wrong Track

%

%

2015

April

33

67

 

March

35

65

Feb

38

62

Jan (Post-SOTU)

44

56

Jan (Pre-SOTU)

38

62

2014

December

30

70

 

November

34

66

October

34

66

September

29

71

August

32

68

July

31

69

June

33

67

May

35

65

April

34

66

March

34

66

February

34

66

January

31

69

2013

December

33

67

 

November

30

70

October

20

80

September

29

71

July

34

66

May

39

61

2012

March

34

66

 

January

27

73

2011

August

16

84

 

May

39

61

2010

December

29

71

 

April

39

61

2009

August

46

54

 

January

19

72

2008

October

11

83

 

February

23

69

2007

December

18

74

 

February

29

62

2006

May

24

69

 

February

32

59

2005

November

27

68

 

January

46

48

2004

September

38

57

 

June

35

59

2003

December

35

57

 

June

44

51

2002

December

36

57

 

June

46

48

2001

December

65

32

 

June

43

52

2000

October

50

41

 

June

40

51

1999

June

37

55

 

March

47

45

1998

December

43

51

 

June

48

44

1997

December

39

56

 

April

36

55

1996

December

38

50

 

June

29

64

1995

December

26

62

 

June

24

65

1994

December

29

63

 

June

28

65

1993

June

21

70

 

March

39

50

1992

June

12

81

 

January

20

75

1991

December

17

75

 

January

58

32

 

 

TABLE 5b

RIGHT DIRECTION OR WRONG TRACK – By Political Party and Ideology

“Generally speaking, would you say things in the country are going in the right direction or have they pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Political Party

Political Ideology

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Right direction

33

13

58

26

13

36

54

Wrong track

67

87

42

74

87

64

46

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 


TABLE 6a

 EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR – TREND

“In the coming year, do you expect the economy to…?”

Base: All adults

 

2009

2010

April

May

Aug

Sept

Oct

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

39

38

46

40

34

38

30

29

28

30

34

29

Stay the same

35

35

32

36

37

34

42

39

40

40

41

45

Get worse

26

27

22

24

29

28

28

32

32

30

25

26

 

 

2011

2012

2013

Feb

June

July

Sept

Oct

Dec

Feb

Dec

Feb

March

April

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

34

26

23

21

20

23

36

33

32

30

29

32

32

29

27

22

22

25

27

Stay the same

42

41

41

45

46

47

40

31

40

37

41

42

41

44

42

46

37

44

42

Get worse

25

33

37

34

34

29

24

36

28

33

29

25

27

27

31

32

41

32

32

 

 

2014

2015

Jan

Feb

Mar

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Apr

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

26

26

24

26

22

25

22

26

27

28

32

28

26

Stay the same

44

43

45

48

51

46

49

45

51

50

47

49

51

Get worse

30

32

31

27

26

29

29

29

22

23

21

23

24

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 6b

 EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR

By Generation, Gender & Political Party

“In the coming year, do you expect the economy to…?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Generation

Gender

Political Party

Millennials

(18-37)

Gen. Xers

(38-49)

Baby Boomers

(50-68)

Matures

(69+)

Male

Female

Republican

Democrat

Independent

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

26

29

15

29

27

28

24

13

42

21

Stay the same

51

52

58

47

44

47

54

54

46

50

Get worse

24

19

27

24

29

26

21

33

11

28

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

 


TABLE 7a

EXPECTATIONS FOR HOUSEHOLD FINANCIAL CONDITION IN NEXT SIX MONTHS

“Thinking about your household’s financial condition, do you expect it to be better or worse in the next 6 months?”

Base:  All adults

 

2013

2014

Feb

Mar

April

May

June

July

Sept

Oct

Nov

Jan

Feb

Mar

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

23

21

22

26

24

24

19

18

20

23

22

21

24

23

23

24

22

21

22

22

     Much better

3

3

4

5

4

5

4

3

4

4

4

4

5

4

6

6

4

3

4

4

     Somewhat better

20

17

18

20

20

19

15

15

16

18

19

17

20

19

18

18

18

18

18

19

Will remain the same

50

49

49

50

53

49

52

48

50

49

52

52

52

54

51

51

53

53

57

56

WORSE (NET)

27

30

28

24

23

26

29

34

30

29

26

27

23

23

26

25

25

26

21

21

     Somewhat worse

20

21

20

18

17

18

21

24

19

19

18

19

17

17

18

17

18

18

16

15

     Much worse

7

9

8

6

6

9

8

11

11

10

8

8

7

7

8

8

7

8

5

6

 

 

2015

Jan

Feb

Apr

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

27

26

23

  Much better

6

5

5

Somewhat better

21

21

18

Will remain the same

53

55

56

WORSE (NET)

21

19

21

Somewhat worse

15

15

16

  Much worse

6

4

5

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 7b

EXPECTATIONS FOR HOUSEHOLD FINANCIAL CONDITION IN NEXT SIX MONTHS

By Region, Gender & Political Party

“Thinking about your household’s financial condition, do you expect it to be better or worse in the next 6 months?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Region

Gender

Political Party

East

Midwest

South

West

Male

Female

Republican

Democrat

Independent

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

23

20

20

22

31

26

21

16

31

21

     Much better

5

6

3

5

7

5

5

3

9

3

     Somewhat better

18

14

17

17

25

21

16

14

22

17

Will remain the same

56

61

61

56

47

52

60

55

58

55

WORSE (NET)

21

19

20

22

22

23

19

29

11

24

     Somewhat worse

16

15

16

15

16

17

14

21

9

19

     Much worse

5

4

4

6

6

6

4

7

2

5

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

 


TABLE 8a

IMPORTANCE OF ISSUES WHEN VOTING – By Political Party, Ideology & Gender

 “Looking at this list of issues, which two or three are most important to you in deciding which candidates you would vote for?

Base: U.S. Adults

 

2014 Total

2015 Total

Political Party

Political Ideology

Gender

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

The economy

61

56

59

52

58

55

60

49

57

55

Healthcare

39

39

31

49

37

32

40

45

35

42

Jobs

39

27

23

29

27

22

31

26

28

26

Taxes

27

26

33

16

28

33

28

11

27

25

Social Security

27

25

19

33

24

23

27

23

22

28

Education

22

24

14

29

26

13

25

36

23

24

Immigration

15

23

35

13

25

39

19

13

26

21

Terrorism

13

20

30

13

18

30

19

10

19

20

Foreign Policy

9

17

25

12

16

21

16

14

20

14

The environment

16

13

3

20

12

6

11

25

13

13

*LGBT rights/equality

8

8

3

12

7

2

6

22

10

7

Abortion

7

7

11

6

6

11

3

9

6

8

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; *listed as “Gay rights” in 2014

 

 

TABLE 8b

IMPORTANCE OF ISSUES WHEN VOTING – By Region and Generation

 “Looking at this list of issues, which two or three are most important to you in deciding which candidates you would vote for?

Base: U.S. Adults

 

2014 Total

2015 Total

Region

Generation

East

Midwest

South

West

Millennials

(18-37)

Gen X

(38-49)

Baby

Boomers

(50-68)

Matures

(69+)

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

The economy

61

56

64

50

56

55

53

59

61

45

Healthcare

39

39

37

35

42

39

34

39

44

38

Jobs

39

27

28

29

26

27

33

37

20

13

Taxes

27

26

30

28

23

24

23

34

26

18

Social Security

27

25

31

23

25

22

9

19

38

47

Education

22

24

17

25

27

22

41

20

11

14

Immigration

15

23

17

22

27

23

16

23

25

37

Terrorism

13

20

16

17

22

23

12

22

24

28

Foreign Policy

9

17

21

14

15

18

15

13

18

25

The environment

16

13

12

15

10

16

17

9

11

13

*LGBT rights/equality

8

8

6

10

8

10

17

5

3

3

Abortion

7

7

5

11

7

5

11

4

4

6

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; *listed as “Gay rights” in 2014

 

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between April 15 and 20, 2015 among 2,215 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

 

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

 

The Harris Poll® #23, April 30, 2015

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll

About The Harris Poll®

Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. For more information, or to see other recent polls, visit the Harris Poll News Room.