September 21, 2012 at 06:00 AM EDT
Heartland Monitor: Growing Optimism Favors Obama
Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll Shows a Measurable Lead for Obama but a Statistical Dead Heat Within the Middle Class

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With a growing number of Americans believing the country is headed in the right direction, President Obama has taken a solid lead over Mitt Romney among likely voters, according to new poll results announced today by The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) and National Journal.

New figures from the quarterly Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll, which will be released in full on September 28, 2012, show that 37% of likely voters feel the country is headed in the right direction, the highest percentage recorded in three years. Although a majority of voters (55%) still feel that America is on the wrong track, the poll shows that pessimism about the future of the country has hit its lowest point since April 2010.

Further evidence of America's growing optimism came from 31% of likely voters who said they are better off today than they were at the time of the last presidential election, compared with 23% of all adults who indicated in December 2011 that they were better off today. Thirty-four percent of voters indicated they are worse off today than four years ago and 34% of voters are "about the same."

Against this very modest lift in voter optimism, the data from the latest Heartland Monitor poll also show that 50% of likely voters would opt for President Obama were the election held today, compared with 43% for Governor Romney. Notably, among the 52% of likely voters who self-identify as Middle Class, the race is considerably tighter, with 48% supporting Obama and 46% supporting Romney.

"Overall the poll shows President Obama reassembling the 'coalition of the ascendant' that elected him in 2008 and again posting strong numbers among minorities, young people and college-educated whites, especially women," said Ronald Brownstein, National Journal Editorial Director. "The silver lining for Republicans is that the president, even at this strong moment, hasn't pushed past 50 percent support. But there are clear warning signs in this poll for Romney that he is unlikely to beat Obama unless he can cut into the president's strength among the core groups in his coalition. Today, Romney is relying on too narrow a base of voters-particularly blue-collar and older whites-to win."

Full results from the fourteenth installment of the Heartland Monitor poll will be released in next week's National Journal magazine and then discussed on Wednesday, October 3, 2012, at 9 a.m. (local time) in Denver, Colorado at an event entitled "The Opportunity Debate: Upward Mobility and the American Dream."  The event, which takes place at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel in advance of the Presidential Debate at the University of Denver, will explore Middle Class perspectives on economic security, social mobility and outlooks for the future.  For more information or to register for the event, please visit: http://coheartland.eventbrite.com/

"What is clear about these initial findings from the fourteenth installment of the Heartland Monitor is that Middle Class Americans are still divided and remain uncertain about a great number of things, including their own personal financial situation and their trust in leadership and institutions. Those conclusions have been consistent in every Heartland Poll since 2009," said Joan Walker, Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations, Allstate Insurance Company. "But what is especially heartening about these early findings from our upcoming Heartland Monitor aren't the political implications, but rather the broad-based growth in optimism. The increase in hopefulness is only slight, but we can only be encouraged that it may be an indication of a longer-term trend."

Since its inception, the Heartland Monitor Poll has focused on a wide range of issues providing important insights on attitudes toward retirement, unemployment, changing demographics, home ownership, education, manufacturing and the financial stability of American families. This research has helped to paint an increasingly complex picture of middle class Americans' financial situation and political mindset that extends beyond the rhetoric and political discord that dominates public dialogue. 

Key Findings Among Likely Voters from Heartland Monitor XIV

1.    Right Direction / Wrong Track

  • 37% of voters feel the United States, in general, is headed in the right direction.
  • 55% of voters feel the United States, in general, is off on the wrong track.

2.    Presidential Approval Rating

  • Total Approve 50%
  • Total Disapprove 46%

3.    Presidential ballot: If the election were held today, for whom would you vote:

  • President Obama – 50%
  • Governor Romney – 43%

4.    Would you say you are better off, worse off, or about the same as you were at the time of the last Presidential election in 2008?

  • Better Off – 31%
  • Worse Off – 34%
  • About the Same – 34%

Survey Methodology
Since April 2009, the Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Polls have explored American attitudes on the changing economy. The 14 polls, conducted by Ed Reilly and Jeremy Ruch of FTI Strategic Communications, a communications-strategy consulting firm, have surveyed between 1,000 and 1,200 adults each time, with a margin of error ranging between 2.8 and 3.1 percentage points. The most recent Heartland Monitor Poll was conducted September 15-19, 2012 via landline and cell phone and includes a national sample of 1,055 likely voters.The margin of error for this likely voter sample is +/-3%

About Allstate
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®" slogan, Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help nearly 16 million households insure what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Consumers access Allstate insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, as well as via www.allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate®. As part of Allstate's commitment to strengthen local communities, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate employees, agency owners and the corporation provided $28 million in 2011 to thousands of nonprofit organizations and important causes across the United States.

For an overview of the other Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Polls, visit http://www.allstate.com/heartland-monitor. Additional information is available at www.storiesfromtheheartland.com.

About National Journal Group
National Journal is Washington's premier source for 360-degree insight on politics and policy. With up-to-the-minute breaking news and analysis at NationalJournal.com, the essential intelligence of National Journal Daily, the knowledge and depth of National Journal magazine, and the comprehensive campaign coverage of National Journal Hotline, National Journal delivers everything you need to know to stay ahead of the curve in Washington.

About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 3,800 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.56 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2011. More information can be found at www.fticonsulting.com.Media Inquiries:

SOURCE The Allstate Corporation

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