Kennedy Down – Inside the Numbers

The WPRI poll Monique mentioned highlights the poor favorability ratings for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (apparently because he has the lowest approval numbers of RI’s Federal delegation). Yet, Senator Whitehouse isn’t up for reelection for a couple more years, so the more immediate–and actionable–item is the news that Congressman Patrick Kennedy has a high unfavorability rating.
First, for what it’s worth, he has a 29/58 Favorable/Unfavorable rating in the 2nd Congressional District (not his own) and WPRI published some overall breakdowns, but the important numbers are those solely from the First District (note, the poll was conducted prior to Rep. John Loughlin officially entered the race):
If the election were held today, would you vote to re-elect Congressman Kennedy?
Re-Elect – 35%
Consider Another – 31%
Replace – 28%
18-39 – Re-elect – 31%; Consider another – 29%; Replace – 20%
40-59 – Re-elect – 34%; Consider another – 30%; Replace – 31%
60+ – Re-elect – 31%; Consider another – 36%; Replace – 29%
Male – Re-elect – 33%; Consider another – 32%; Replace – 30%
Female – Re-elect – 37%; Consider another – 31%; Replace – 26%
Union Member in Household
Yes – Re-elect – 49%; Consider another – 26%; Replace – 23%
No – Re-elect – 32%; Consider another – 33%; Replace – 30%
Political Leanings
Democrat – Re-elect – 61%; Consider another – 20%; Replace – 12%
Republican – Re-elect – 8%; Consider another – 33%; Replace – 57%
Independent – Re-elect – 26%; Consider another – 42%; Replace – 25%
Kennedy is still strong among Democrats, but the Independents are the key. It looks like those over 60 may finally be getting over Camelot, too. Kennedy’s strongest support comes from Democrat women between 40-59 years old who live in union households. His strongest opponents are Republican men of the same age who don’t live in a union household.
NOTE: While I won’t go so far as to agree with the contention that these polls are poorly designed, I do think the real problem is that those who conduct and report on these polls need to do a better job with the way they phrase the results. This particularly true with the way the lump Favorable/Unfavorable by putting “Fair” in the latter category. “Fair” is the ultimate “meh” answer in polling, and doesn’t indicate anything. Someone who says a politician is doing “Fair” could still very well vote for them–and in RI, it would probably take someone else knocking the socks off a voter to get them to change their ballot box habits. That being said, the results I’ve replicated here are a bit more clear.

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