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LUNCHTIME POLITICS: Mental Competency Tests – Ohio Train Derailment – Spy Balloons – DeSantis Leads California


In Insights Posted

Your Daily Polling Update for Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Up 1 from Friday

RON’S COMMENT: Biden has been inching up lately. Today’s average is based on five polls. Biden’s disapproval rating averages 51% today (same as Friday), putting him at 5 points net-negative…. Based on the Fox News poll:

  • Biden’s rating on handling foreign policy is 43% approve/53% disapprove.
  • Biden’s rating on handling the economy is 36% approve/62% disapprove.
  • Biden’s rating on handling the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is 48% approve/49% disapprove. This is his best issue at this point and his approval is still below 50%.

Among voters nationwide/statewide


Among all voters

  • Joe Biden over Donald Trump: +2 (39-37)
  • Ron DeSantis over Joe Biden: +1 (36-35)

RON’S COMMENT: In Arizona, Biden beats Trump and DeSantis beats Biden––all by small margins. The undecided vote is high, which may mean many voters are resistant to these candidates…. Arizona is a critical swing state. Biden won the state in 2020 by a narrow three-tenths of a point. (OH Predictive poll)


Among Republican primary voters

  • Donald Trump: 43%
  • Ron DeSantis: 28%
  • Mike Pence: 7%
  • Nikki Haley: 7%
  • Liz Cheney: 2%
  • Greg Abbott: 2%
  • Glenn Youngkin: 1%
  • Kristi Noem: 1%
  • Mike Pompeo: 1%
  • Other: 1%

RON’S COMMENT: Trump has a substantial 15-point lead over DeSantis in this poll, but the field beats Trump 50-43…. Pence and Haley make up the distant second tier with 7% each…. DeSantis has a problem with women voters in this poll: He’s getting 33% of men, but only 23% of women. If this continues, and if DeSantis is the nominee, it may increase the chance that he picks a woman running mate…. If Trump isn’t running, DeSantis gets 42% of Trump’s vote, Pence gets 23% of Trump’s vote and Haley gets 6%. (Fox News poll)

Among Republican primary voters

  • Donald Trump over Nikki Haley: +42 (66-24) Fox News

RON’S COMMENT: Trump crushes Haley in a two-candidate race for the GOP nomination.

Among Republican primary voters

  • Ron DeSantis: 37%
  • Donald Trump: 29%
  • Mike Pence: 3%
  • Nikki Haley: 7%
  • Liz Cheney: 4%
  • Kristi Noem: 2%
  • Mike Pompeo: 2%
  • Tim Scott: 1%
  • Ted Cruz: 1%
  • Other: 3%

RON’S COMMENT: Even though California is a Democratic state in general elections, it still has a large number of Republican delegates at the national convention, giving it substantial weight in the nomination vote count. This poll shows DeSantis beating Trump in the state; it also shows the field beating Trump 60-29. (Berkeley IGS poll)


Among Democratic primary voters

In 2024, would you like to see someone else as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee or would you rather keep Joe Biden as the nominee?

  • Like someone else: 53%
  • Would keep Biden: 37%

RON’S COMMENT: Even though Biden is highly popular among Democrats nationwide, a majority would rather see someone else as the 2024 nominee. There is a generational aspect to this: 65% of Democrats 18-45 would like to see someone other than Biden, as compared to 35% of those older than 45 who’d prefer someone other than Biden. (Fox News poll)

Among voters nationwide

Do you approve or disapprove of how the Biden administration is dealing with the aftermath of a freight train carrying hazardous materials derailing in Ohio?

  • Approve: 33%
  • Disapprove: 57%
  • Don’t know: 10%

RON’S COMMENT: A solid majority of voters disapprove of the Biden Administration’s handling of the aftermath of the Ohio train derailment. Worth noting: A hefty 67% of rural whites disapprove…. That’s not good for Biden, nor is it good for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg…. 32% of Democrats, 82% of Republicans and 60% of independents disapprove of the administration’s handling. (Fox News poll)

Among voters nationwide

Which political party­­––the Democrats or the Republicans––do you think would do a better job on SOCIAL SECURITY?

  • Democrats: 55%
  • Republicans: 39%

Which political party — the Democrats or the Republicans — do you think would do a better job on MEDICARE?

  • Democrats: 59%
  • Republicans: 36%

RON’S COMMENT: Since the State of the Union address, Social Security and Medicare have been getting increased attention. This Fox News poll shows Democrats leading on both issues by wide margins. (Fox News poll)

Among voters nationwide

Do you favor or oppose requiring mental competency tests for politicians older than 75?

  • Favor: 77%
  • Oppose: 20%

RON’S COMMENT: Whoa! Haley’s proposed mental competency test is wildly popular…. An overwhelming 83% of voters under 45-years-old favor competency tests. Even voters over 65-years-old favor tests (61%). …. More Republicans than Democrats favor competency tests (87% vs. 67%), and 74% of independents do as well. (Fox News poll)

Among voters nationwide

BIDEN HANDLING: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Joe Biden is handling the… Chinese Spy Balloon issue

  • Approve: 46%
  • Disapprove: 49%

RON’S COMMENT: Biden gets slightly negative marks for his handling of the spy balloon issue. For comparison: Biden’s overall handling of “national security” rates 45% approval. (Fox News poll)

CONCERN: How concerned are you about the recent Chinese spy balloon and other unmanned airborne objects above the U.S.?

  • Extremely/very concerned: 63%
  • Not very/not at all concerned: 36%

RON’S COMMENT: A solid majority express concern over the issue of airborne objects above the U.S. (Fox News poll)

CLEAR INFORMATION: How would you rate the job the federal government has done providing the American people with clear information about the spy balloon and other unmanned airborne objects — excellent, good, only fair, or poor?

  • Excellent: 7%
  • Good: 24%
  • Only fair: 32%
  • Poor: 36%

RON’S COMMENT: More than two-thirds (68%) rate the federal government negatively for the clarity of its communications. (Fox News poll)

Among voters nationwide

% = Favorable/ Unfavorable/ Net

  • Ketanji Brown Jackson: 43%/ 29% (+14)
  • Samuel Alito: 40%/ 27% (+13)
  • Amy Coney Barret: 43%/ 34% (+9)
  • Elena Kagan: 37%/ 28% (+9)
  • Neil Gorsuch: 38%/ 30% (+8)
  • Clarence Thomas: 45%/ 38% (+7)
  • Sonia Sotomayor: 45%/ 39% (+6)
  • John Roberts: 39%/ 33% (+6)
  • Brett Kavanaugh: 40%/ 39% (+1)

RON’S COMMENT: All Supreme Court Justices have net-positive personal ratings. Jackson has the highest net-positive (+14) and Alito is second (+13)…. Keep in mind that a substantial number of respondents don’t know enough about most justices to provide a rating…. There is a big partisan divide on some justices: While Democrats rate Thomas 29%/53%, Republicans rate him 62%/15%. While Democrats rate Jackson 67%/10%, Republicans rate her 21%/46%…. Democrats rate Chief Justice Roberts 34%/37% and Republicans rate him 45%/35%. (The Economist/YouGov poll)

Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.

Publication schedule: Lunchtime Politics publishes when important new polling data is available, usually at least once a week. When we get closer to the next round of elections, we will resume daily publication. Thanks to all our readers and best of health, Ron