Gallup Poll: Gingrich, Obama Intensely Liked By Their Party, Disliked by Opposing Party

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General voters have more intense opinions about Obama than all but two of the current Republican candidates. Photo credit: Iowapolitics.com

Gallup intensity polling released Thursday suggests that more Republicans and Republican leaners have stronger feelings for Newt Gingrich than any other GOP candidates. Gallup’s intensity rating used to assess voter sentiment involves subtracting the number of respondents who state they strongly disapprove of a candidate from the number of respondents who say they strongly approve. The data also indicates that more Democrats strongly disapprove of Gingrich than any other Republican candidate. Mitt Romney’s positive intensity rating among Republicans is 12, two points lower than Gingrich’s, and Rick Santorum is ranked third with an intensity rating of 11. When the formula is used to analyze Democrats who disapprove of the candidates, Gingrich scores -37, followed by Santorum with -24, then Romney with -12. President Obama has strong intensity scores from Democrats and Republicans, with a score of 27 among Democrats, and -50 among Republicans. A separate sample of national adults did not bring positive intensity ratings for any candidate, although Mitt Romney and Ron Paul scored 0. Barack Obama and Newt Gingrich were tied with -11.

What is the Intensity Score?

Since March, 2011, Gallup has been tracking the intensity of the sentiment from Republicans to the 2012 candidates by compiling intensity ratings, meant to gauge the level of strong feelings for the candidates, and whether the feelings lean positive or negative. The poll released Thursday was the first time President Obama’s intensity rating was calculated and compared with Republican results. Gallup used a standard approval poll to gather the percentages used to calculate the intensity scores. This method is similar to Rasmussen’s presidential approval index, but by calling it an “intensity score” Gallup avoids some of the confusion that may lead readers to assume that the number being reported represents approval among all voters, instead of those with the most intense opinions.

Both Newt Gingrich and Barack Obama generate significant intensity. Images by Gage Skidmore and Allison Harger

Gallup Daily Tracking Polling Methodology

The polls on which Gallup based intensity scores were a series of daily tracking polls conducted between December 12 and December 18, 2011. Four separate samples were used. One consisted of 3025 national adults, whose answers were used to calculate President Obama’s intensity rating among the general public. This sample had a margin of error of +/-2. Another sample consisted of 1348 self-identified Republicans/Republican leaners and 1287 self-identified Democrats/Democratic leaners, all of whom were used to calculate the intensity score for Obama among the two party affiliations. This sample had a margin of error of +/-3. The third sample was used to measure intensity among general voters for Republican candidates. The number of respondents ranged between 1195 and 1972 national adults. The margin of error was +/-3.  Another pool of 607 to 914 Republicans/Republican leaners and 493 to 840 Democrats/Democratic leaners was used to gather results for the Republican candidates. The margin of error was +/- 4 to 5.  Gallup uses random dialing of landlines and live interviewers in its tracking polls. Weighting is used to account for demographics, cell phone use, and multiple adults in households.

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