March 31, 2011 - U.S. Voters Back Women In Combat More Than 2-1, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Voters Back Offshore Drilling, Not Strategic Reserve

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American voters support 67 - 29 percent allowing women "to serve in ground units that engage in close combat," with voters in military households supporting the move 61 - 36 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

There is no gender gap as men support women in combat 69 - 29 percent and women support it 66 - 29 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds. Support ranges from 81 - 17 percent among voters 18 - 34 years old to 55 - 38 percent among voters over 55 years old.

On energy policy, American voters:
  • Support by a narrow 48 - 45 percent building new nuclear plants, but oppose 58 - 38 percent building new plants in their town or city;
  • Support 67 - 28 percent new offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico;
  • Oppose 56 - 38 percent releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
"Americans have become accustomed to women in the armed forces, and apparently are ready for them to serve in combat units. It will be interesting to see how the public feels if, God forbid, there is combat with large numbers of women casualties," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Some might find it surprising that despite the spike in gasoline prices American voters don't think tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a smart idea. They apparently are buying the argument that the current situation is not so serious that the big pool of petroleum the country has set aside for emergencies should be used. And there is strong support for lifting the ban on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico."

By a narrow 40 - 37 percent margin, American voters would vote for a Republican rather than a Democrat in the 2012 congressional elections. Another 20 percent are undecided.

The GOP lead in the generic ballot stems from its 36 - 27 percent margin among independent voters, whose strong swing to the GOP in 2010 was a major reason for the Republican landslide.

The three-point GOP lead in the 2012 ballot comes along with a slightly higher - although still strongly negative - rating for Republicans in Congress: Voters disapprove 55 - 34 percent of the job Republicans are doing and disapprove 58 - 31 percent of the job Democrats are doing.

"We have a long way to go and the wrangling over the federal budget and possible government shutdown certainly will have an unknown effect on public opinion. But at this point the Republicans are doing slightly better on the generic congressional ballot," Brown said.

There is no partisan split on the petroleum reserve issue with 54 percent of Republicans, 54 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independent voters against tapping the reserve.

On nuclear power, 25 percent of voters are "very concerned" that the United States could have a nuclear crisis similar to what occurred in Japan; 37 percent are "somewhat concerned;" 24 percent are "not very concerned" and 13 percent are "not at all concerned."

"The thing that comes through on nuclear power is the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) effect is alive and well in public opinion," said Brown.

Voters oppose 52 - 34 percent cutting federal funding to National Public Radio. Republicans support a cutoff 44 - 38 percent. Backing NPR are Democrats 69 - 20 percent and independent voters 48 - 37 percent. Men oppose the cutoff 50 - 40 percent and women oppose the idea 53 - 28 percent.

In an open-ended question, allowing for any answer, 47 percent of voters say the economy is the most important problem facing the nation today, followed by 13 percent who cite the budget, with 6 percent each for "war," "healthcare" and "politicians."

From March 22 - 28, Quinnipiac University surveyed 2,069 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

2. If the 2012 election for the U.S. House of Representatives were being held today, would you vote for the Republican candidate, or the Democratic candidate in your district?
                      Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Republican            40%    86%     3%    36%    44%    36%    45%     8%
Democrat              37      1     87     27     34     40     31     85
SMONE ELSE(VOL)        2      1      -      4      2      2      2      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)       1      -      -      2      1      1      1      1
DK/NA                 20     12      9     31     18     22     21      6
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Republican           36%    41%    42%    35%    44%    48%    12%    29%    65%
Democrat             42     35     36     40     37     37     76     41     16
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      3      2      2      2      3      1      2      2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      1      -      1      -      -      -      -      1
DK/NA                20     20     19     22     17     13     11     27     17
 
                            EDUCATION.... WHITE.............
                     Union  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     HsHlds Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Republican           30%    40%    41%    61%    56%    45%
Democrat             50     35     42     19     23     30
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      2      3      1      2      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      1      1      -      -      1
DK/NA                18     22     14     19     18     23
 
 
4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Democrats in Congress are handling their job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              31%    11%    62%    24%    28%    34%    27%    60%
Disapprove           58     81     28     66     64     53     63     24
DK/NA                11      9     10     11      8     13     10     17
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Approve              39%    31%    26%    33%    29%    29%    58%    30%    19%
Disapprove           47     60     64     53     64     66     34     56     73
DK/NA                13      9     10     14      7      6      8     14      8
 
                            EDUCATION.... WHITE.............
                     Union  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     HsHlds Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Approve              36%    30%    34%    19%    21%    29%
Disapprove           55     58     58     74     70     61
DK/NA                 9     12      7      7      9     10
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Democrats in Congress are handling their job?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Mar 31  Mar 03  Jan 18  Nov 17  Sep 09  Mar 4   Nov 17
                     2011    2011    2011    2010    2010    2009    2010
 
Approve              31      33      33      27      30      45      27
Disapprove           58      57      58      66      60      45      66
DK/NA                11      10       9       7      10      10       7
 
 
5. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Republicans in Congress are handling their job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              34%    57%    18%    32%    34%    34%    35%    23%
Disapprove           55     32     74     58     58     53     55     61
DK/NA                11     11      8     11      8     13     10     16
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Approve              38%    34%    30%    33%    32%    39%    20%    27%    47%
Disapprove           51     56     59     55     59     55     75     62     42
DK/NA                11     10     11     12      9      6      5     12     11
 
                            EDUCATION.... WHITE.............
                     Union  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     HsHlds Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Approve              28%    36%    30%    45%    39%    35%
Disapprove           64     53     62     46     50     51
DK/NA                 7     11      9      9     11     14
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Republicans in Congress are handling their job? (*High also 34 Mar 03, 2011 & Mar 2010)
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Mar 31  Mar 03  Jan 18  Nov 17  Sep 09  Mar 31  Oct 08
                     2011    2011    2011    2010    2010    2011*   2009
 
Approve              34      34      30      27      29      34      25
Disapprove           55      54      57      63      59      55      64
DK/NA                11      12      13      10      12      11      11
 
 
7. What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?
                             Tot
 
Economy Total                47%
 Economy general             16
 Unemployment/jobs           26
 Stock market                 1
 Cost of living               3
 Business leaving/
  Outsourcing                 1
 
Budget Total                 13%
 Budget general               2
 Budget deficits              6
 Gov too big/Gov spending     3
 Budget priorities            1
 Budget other                 1
 
Healthcare Total              6%
 Healthcare/Costs/
  Ins/HMO's                   5
Healthcare other              1
 
Politicians Total             6%
 Politicians/
  Campaigns general           2
 Political corruption         1
 Obama administration         2
 Politicians/Campaigns other  1
 
War total                     6%
 War general                  4
 War/Other                    2
 
Energy crisis/Gas
  prices Total                4%
 Energy costs/Crisis general  1
 Gas prices                   3
 
Education Total               3%
 Education general            1
 Education other              2
 
Foreign Affairs Total         3%
 Foreign affairs/
  policy general              1
 Priorities s/b at home,
  not abroad                  1
 Foreign affairs/policy other 1
 
Lack of ethics/Morality       2%
 
Crime general                 1%
Lack of religion              1%
Abortion                      1%
Immigration                   1%
Terrorism general             1%
 
Other                         3%
DK/NA                         3%
 
 
16. Do you support or oppose cutting off federal government funding to NPR, National Public Radio?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support              34%    44%    20%    37%    40%    28%    36%    27%
Oppose               52     38     69     48     50     53     49     60
DK/NA                14     17     11     15     10     19     15     12
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Support              27%    37%    36%    30%    37%    40%    16%    25%    50%
Oppose               54     53     49     51     53     54     75     58     34
DK/NA                19     10     15     18     10      6      9     16     15
 
                            EDUCATION.... WHITE.............
                     Union  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     HsHlds Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Support              33%    34%    33%    44%    40%    36%
Oppose               52     49     59     38     43     50
DK/NA                15     17      7     18     18     13
 
TREND: Do you support or oppose cutting off federal government funding to NPR, National Public Radio?
                     Mar 31  Mar 03
                     2011    2011
 
Support              34      40
Oppose               52      49
DK/NA                14      11
 
 
17. As you may know, after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government banned new offshore drilling projects until new safety regulations could be put in place. The federal government has lifted the ban and is allowing new offshore drilling projects. Do you support or oppose allowing new offshore drilling to resume?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support              67%    86%    52%    69%    75%    60%    69%    58%
Oppose               28     11     44     27     23     34     27     38
DK/NA                 4      3      5      4      2      7      4      4
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Support              63%    70%    67%    64%    68%    74%    37%    67%    83%
Oppose               34     28     26     32     30     25     58     29     15
DK/NA                 4      2      8      5      3      2      5      4      2
 
                            EDUCATION.... WHITE.............
                     Union  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     HsHlds Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Support              62%    69%    62%    78%    76%    68%
Oppose               36     26     35     19     19     29
DK/NA                 2      5      3      3      5      3
 
 
18. Do you think that the government is approving new offshore drilling permits too quickly, too slowly, or about right?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Too quickly          28%    14%    38%    30%    21%    35%    27%    34%
Too slowly           26     41     13     26     30     22     29     12
About right          34     34     40     32     37     31     34     43
DK/NA                12     12      8     12     11     12     11     10
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Too quickly          37%    28%    22%    32%    26%    26%    53%    30%    16%
Too slowly           18     28     30     22     29     34      9     19     42
About right          39     33     33     35     35     30     29     39     33
DK/NA                 7     11     15     12     10     10      9     13      9
 
                            EDUCATION.... WHITE.............
                     Union  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     HsHlds Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Too quickly          33%    26%    34%    19%    20%    29%
Too slowly           25     27     22     34     34     27
About right          33     35     31     36     34     36
DK/NA                 9     11     13     11     12      8
 
 
19. To combat rising gasoline prices, some have urged President Obama to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the government's oil stockpile, set aside for emergencies and shortages. Some say that gasoline prices don't justify tapping the reserve at this time. Others say gas prices are high enough that the reserves should be used. Do you support or oppose releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support              38%    38%    40%    37%    34%    42%    37%    53%
Oppose               56     54     54     60     62     51     58     39
DK/NA                 6      8      6      3      4      8      5      9
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Support              44%    35%    36%    46%    32%    26%    33%    40%    39%
Oppose               53     59     57     47     65     70     61     57     55
DK/NA                 3      6      7      7      3      4      6      3      7
 
                            EDUCATION.... WHITE.............
                     Union  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     HsHlds Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Support              47%    43%    26%    38%    37%    44%
Oppose               48     51     70     54     56     54
DK/NA                 6      6      4      8      8      2
 
 
20. The government is in the process of evaluating applications for building new nuclear power plants in the United States. Some say those applications shouldn't be approved because of safety concerns about nuclear power. Others say nuclear power plants can provide needed electric power safely. Do you support or oppose building new nuclear power plants in the United States?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support              48%    58%    39%    49%    61%    36%    51%    33%
Oppose               45     31     58     42     34     54     41     63
DK/NA                 7     10      3      8      4     10      7      4
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Support              40%    50%    54%    42%    55%    61%    31%    47%    59%
Oppose               52     45     39     52     40     34     65     47     32
DK/NA                 8      5      7      6      5      5      4      6      8
 
                            EDUCATION.... WHITE.............
                     Union  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     HsHlds Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Support              47%    46%    56%    54%    54%    50%
Oppose               47     46     39     36     36     43
DK/NA                 6      8      5     10      9      7
 
 
21. Do you support or oppose building new nuclear power plants in your town or city?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support              38%    47%    30%    40%    50%    27%    42%    22%
Oppose               58     47     69     56     47     68     54     77
DK/NA                 4      6      2      4      3      5      4      1
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Support              28%    42%    43%    33%    46%    47%    23%    38%    47%
Oppose               66     56     52     64     51     49     76     59     49
DK/NA                 6      2      5      3      2      4      2      3      4
 
                            EDUCATION.... WHITE.............
                     Union  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     HsHlds Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Support              37%    36%    44%    46%    45%    39%
Oppose               61     59     53     49     50     57
DK/NA                 2      4      3      5      5      4
 
 
22. Does the nuclear crisis in Japan make you less likely to support construction of more nuclear power plants in the United States or doesn't the nuclear crisis in Japan affect your opinion on the construction of more nuclear power plants?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes/Less likely      38%    33%    46%    35%    26%    49%    37%    43%
No/No effect         57     61     50     60     69     46     58     48
DK/NA                 5      6      4      5      5      6      4      9
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Yes/Less likely      36%    42%    36%    39%    40%    31%    47%    40%    32%
No/No effect         61     54     57     55     57     67     49     56     64
DK/NA                 3      4      8      6      3      3      4      4      5
 
                            EDUCATION.... WHITE.............
                     Union  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     HsHlds Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Yes/Less likely      43%    39%    36%    39%    36%    43%
No/No effect         53     55     61     59     60     52
DK/NA                 4      6      3      3      4      5
 
 
23. How concerned are you that there could be nuclear crisis in the United States similar to the one Japan has experienced recently -very concerned, somewhat concerned, not very concerned, or not at all concerned?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Very concerned       25%    18%    34%    21%    18%    31%    22%    44%
Smwht concerned      37     34     37     39     34     40     38     33
Not very concerned   24     31     18     26     28     21     26     14
Not at all concerned 13     16     10     13     20      8     13      8
DK/NA                 1      -      1      -      -      1      1      1
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Very concerned       23%    25%    26%    28%    22%    17%    36%    23%    21%
Smwht concerned      35     37     38     39     31     36     34     40     35
Not very concerned   29     24     22     20     32     29     19     24     28
Not at all concerned 14     13     14     13     15     19     10     12     16
DK/NA                 -      1      1      1      -      -      1      -      -
 
                            EDUCATION.... WHITE.............
                     Union  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     HsHlds Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Very concerned       23%    27%    21%    22%    21%    25%
Smwht concerned      39     37     36     40     37     38
Not very concerned   22     23     29     25     27     24
Not at all concerned 16     13     15     12     13     13
DK/NA                 -      1      -      -      1      -
 
 
24. Do you support or oppose allowing women in the military to serve in ground units that engage in close combat?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support              67%    62%    73%    67%    69%    66%    68%    61%
Oppose               29     35     21     30     29     29     28     32
DK/NA                 4      3      7      3      3      5      4      7
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Support              81%    70%    55%    69%    73%    63%    79%    71%    58%
Oppose               17     27     38     28     24     32     16     25     39
DK/NA                 1      4      6      3      3      4      5      4      3
 
                            EDUCATION.... WHITE.............
                     Union  NoColl Coll   BrnAgn               Military
                     HsHlds Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   HsHlds
 
Support              70%    66%    70%    57%    61%    67%    61%
Oppose               26     30     25     39     35     29     36
DK/NA                 4      4      5      4      4      3      3