CNN/ORC Poll: Donald Trump now competitive in general election

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Since announcing his campaign in late June, Donald Trump has quickly leapt to the top of the Republican field, leading recent polls nationally, in Iowa and in New Hampshire. And now, for the first time in CNN/ORC polling, his gains among the Republican Party have boosted him enough to be competitive in the general election.

The poll finds Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton ahead of Trump by just 6 points, a dramatic tightening since July. Trump is the one of three Republican candidates who have been matched against Clinton multiple times in CNN/ORC polling to significantly whittle the gap between himself and the Democratic frontrunner. He trailed Clinton by 16 points in a July poll, and narrowed that gap by boosting his standing among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (from 67% support in July to 79% now), men (from 46% in July to 53% now) and white voters (from 50% to 55%).

But Clinton still holds the cards overall in the race for the White House, leading four Republican contenders: She tops Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by 6 points each among registered voters, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by 9 points, and businesswoman Carly Fiorina by 10 points.

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Hillary’s in danger, Trump is sunk: The hard truths America is ignoring this election season

Hillary's in danger, Trump is sunk: The hard truths America is ignoring this election season

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush (Credit: AP/Reuters/Cliff Owen/Evan Vucci/Richard Drew/David Goldman)


While pundits regurgitate the same bad information, we’re missing the earth-shattering stories under our noses

In January, I began writing a weekly column for Salon. Hillary Clinton was still in pre-campaign mode but already losing ground — churning out formulaic answers to stock questions, delivering pricey speeches to the privileged, hobnobbing with Wall Street players while we peasants, now a working majority of the body politic, stocked up on torches and pitchforks. I wrote that her political model — neoliberal economics wed, as it must be, to pay-to-play politics — felt spent. In March, her emails surfaced. She waited a whole week to stage a brief, dodgy, purposefully chaotic press conference. I thought it a serious problem, especially when viewed in the context of her political history and persona, so I wrote that too.

On both points I got hurricane-force blowback from Clinton backers. As is the custom now, a lot of it was personal (why do you hate the Clintons, we hate you, you’re stupid.) or warmed over consultant speak ( the election’s so far off everyone will forget, the issue’s so abstract no one will care). What my critics shared, apart from their devotion to Hillary and contempt for me, was polling data. In surveys taken after the story broke, Clinton held on to her huge lead. (Had I not seen them? How could Salon hire a political columnist who didn’t even read polls?)

Last week, I wrote of another politician in trouble (at least if you regard Donald Trump as a politician).  I said his debate performance ended any chance he had of being seen as a serious person, let alone a serious presidential candidate. It was a cringe-inducing spectacle, best understood in psychological rather than political terms, a portrait of a man unhinged by narcissistic rage. In the history of presidential debates, it had no equal and anyone not unhinged by rage or ideology should have seen it.

I got the same sort of feedback about Trump, albeit from different folks; personal attacks and political clichés wrapped in polling data. For three days after the debate, there was no data, so reporters hedged their bets. Of the few who took a flier most got it wrong, many writing admiringly of Trump’s feistiness and flair. On Sunday, NBC released a poll showing him at 23 percent; up a point among GOP primary voters.

Armed with data, everybody got it wrong, again. Trump was proclaimed “Teflon Don,” spokesmodel of the month for an America that’s even madder than you thought.

I tell Clintonites upset by my columns that rather than try to get me to stop writing them they should get her to start reading them. One reason they don’t may be the hypnotic power of polls to keep us from seeing what’s in front of our noses. Like Chico Marx asking, “Who you gonna believe, me or you own eyes?” polls make us question what we see. If you didn’t see that Clinton was digging herself a deeper hole every day, or that Trump came across in Cleveland as arrogant, vindictive, uninformed and out of control, you probably read too many polls and think too much about politics.

Read all together and in their entirety, polls can tell a bit more of the truth. That NBC poll also put Trump ahead on the question of who did worst in debate: 29 percent picked him; 14 percent picked Rand Paul; 11 percent said Jeb Bush. No one else was in double digits. In a Suffolk Univ. poll, 55 percent of Iowa Republicans said the debate left them less inclined to vote for Trump.

In the same way, Hillary’s horse race numbers held steady for a while after the email eruption, but other numbers went south fast, including those in which a majority of voters tell any pollster who asks that she isn’t honest or trustworthy.

Sooner or later polls may catch up to where the truth is, or at least was. In the latest ones Clinton trails Walker, Huckabee, Rubio and Carson in Iowa; Walker, Bush and Paul in New Hampshire, and Sanders in New Hampshire. I’ve no faith in their predictive power, but they do affirm a deepening disaffection. I once said by the time Clinton fell behind in polls it would be too late to save her. That overstates the case but this much is clear: She must change and polls alone can’t tell her how. She has to see it for herself, and then believe what she sees. I’m not sure she can.

Polls do worse things than get races wrong. Their most insidious effect is on the quality and direction of public debate. They blind us to glaring truths about issues as well as people. A key issue in this race is the integrity, accountability and efficiency of government. Republicans talk more and more about it, Democrats hardly at all. In case you didn’t notice, the fallen state of politics and government is what Trump talks about most; that he does so vividly and bluntly is a big part of what some must consider his charm.

Credit Trump this far: When he says he didn’t arrive at his message via a poll, he’s probably telling the truth. He looked at government, stopped talking long enough to listen to a few people, and saw it was an issue voters really care about. Hillary Clinton on the other hand, relying on polls to plot her every step, never talks about it, except to repeat the Democrats’ mantric vow to overturn Citizens United and say a few words in a single speech about getting agencies better computers and improving management. It’s what happens when we let polls obscure core values and gut instincts. Here, even Trump’s gut instinct works better than Clinton’s polls.

Fox Poll: 29 Percent Would Be ‘Scared’ If Obama Was Re-Elected

To paraphrase what former Rep. Anthony Weiner said about the GOP: Fox News is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party. Thus, their reporting, opinion polls and underlying agenda are designed to promote the GOP meme…


Republican efforts to paint President Obama as a liberal bogeyman have long been operational — he’s been the biggest spender in a storied history of Democratic big spenders, he’s instituting death panels, and of course, he wasn’t even born in America.

So Fox News thought they’d really drive the point home by asking the following question about all the major Presidential candidates in their new poll: What would your reaction be if [insert candidate here] were to become the next president? Possible answers: enthusiastic, pleased, neutral, displeased, and scared.

Well, surprise, surprise, some people are a little frightened. Twenty-nine percent of those polled by Fox said they would be “scared” if Obama were re-elected, 21 said the same about Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 18 for businessman Herman Cain and 14 for former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney.

But not everyone is so afraid. A combined 37 percent said they would be “enthusiastic” and “pleased” if the president were to get a second term, while Romney only saw 21 percent in that group, Cain 23 and Perry 17.

There were a few odd questions in the Fox poll. One asked “Now that Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi has been killed, how confident are you that the people who removed him will cooperate and work with the United States?” Another asked “Considering both the full slate of Republican contenders and Democrat Barack Obama, do you think you or one of your close friends are more qualified to be president than anyone running right now, or not?” to which one fifth of the respondents literally said that a friend of theirs is more qualified than any of the current candidates.

The Fox News poll used 904 live telephone interviews with registered voters conducted from October 23rd to the 25th. It has a sampling error of three percent.

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Tea Party Movement Getting Americans Steamed

No surprise there, especially after the debt ceiling debacle…


The debt ceiling fight turned out to be a damper on the American economy, and for the approval ratings of political leaders in Washington. But it’s starting to consume the same political entity that decided to make raising it a major issue: the Tea Party. Last week saw the release of three separate polls that showed Americans are not just more skeptical of their movement, but growing tired of their role in the political process, which builds on previous evidence that the Tea Party is being pushed away by independent voters.

The Tea Party movement, as an idea, was originally about anger at the way things turned out after 2008. Congress had been taken over by Democrats, and President Obama came into office after a change election with high approval ratings and the political capital to make that change. Then, surprisingly, those Democrats didn’t work to enact Republican policies, they proposed and passed a few of their own. This was not how government is supposed to work, according to some very conservative Americans.

So they got some signs and some bags of tea and a few video cameras followed. They protested what they called an oncoming wave of socialism perpetrated by the Democrats who controlled the legislative and executive branches of government. Then they went to some town halls and yelled about the possible reforms to the American health care system. When that passed, they started supporting candidates for Congress that not only advocated the policies they wanted but also held the same contempt for the government process that they did. Then some of those candidates won, and they had to govern.

That’s really when more Americans started to have a more formed opinion on the Tea Party, and over the last few months that opinion has been turning increasingly sour.

“The Tea Party has become somewhat less popular over time, even before the current debt crisis,” said Carroll Doherty, Assistant Director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Pew itself had released some data showing as much: in April of this year there had been a fifteen point jump in the negative rating of the Tea Party amongst all voters in a Pew survey, up from a similar survey in March of 2010.

Continue reading here…

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Six in 10 Americans Want Obama’s Policies to Succeed, but Many Doubt They Will

I’d like to see 70-80% of the country on board to see the POTUS’ policies succeed…

Politics Daily

Six out of 10 Americans hope that President Obama’s policies will succeed — a percentage that has dropped measurably from last year — but the public is roughly split when it comes to whether they think those policies will in fact be successful, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted Dec. 17-20.

Sixty-one percent want Obama’s program to succeed while 27 percent hope his policies fail. Nine percent have mixed feelings and 3 percent have no opinion. Last December, 71 percent hoped Obama’s policies would succeed compared to 22 percent who wanted them to fail. In March 2009, 86 percent wanted those policies to succeed and 11 percent hoped they would fail. The remainder had mixed opinions.

When it comes to what Americans believe will happen (putting aside whether or not they want Obama’s policies to succeed), 47 percent predict failure while 44 percent say they will succeed. Six percent have mixed opinions and 2 percent are undecided.

CNN polling director Keating Holland called the 61 percent who are in Obama’s corner “a fairly robust number” but singled out as significant the size of the drop-off in the number of those hoping for his success as well as the fact that a plurality predicts his policies will likely fail.

(A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted Dec. 9-13 said 64 percent were only somewhat confident or not at all confident that Obama had the right set of goals and policies to be president, while 36 percent were quite or extremely confident.)

The CNN poll said that one factor working in Obama’s favor is that whether Americans approve of the job he is doing or not, 73 percent approve of the president as a person.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed said it was good for the country that the GOP had taken control of the House while 42 percent said it was bad, with 4 percent answering “neither” and 2 percent undecided.     More…

Study: Cell phones tilt polls

I’ve held a long-standing opinion that pollsters don’t contact people who use cell phones when conducting political polls, thus making the result less accurate. 

Now a report has come out confirming what many progressive bloggers have felt all along:  polls that had no input from cell phone users tend to favor Republicans…


This month’s election results lent support to what many pollsters have long suspected: Polls that don’t include cell phones favor Republicans.

And as more Americans come to rely on cell phones, the disparity is widening, according to a study released Monday by the Pew Research Center.

Pew’s surveys that included cell phones were dramatically closer to the actual midterm election results than they would have been without cell phones in the sample, according to the report.

A national Pew poll conducted days before the election found likely voters preferring a Republican to a Democrat for their representative in Congress by a 6-point margin when both land lines and cell phones were surveyed.

That margin closely matches the national vote for House candidates, according to the latest count: Republicans led by a 7-point margin.

But if the Pew pollsters had called only land lines, disregarding their cell phone sample, they would have found the GOP ahead by 12 points.

The new study bolsters the argument that polls that don’t call cell phones will be systematically biased. Calling cell phones poses numerous challenges for pollsters — from the difficulty of determining where respondents live based on their cell phone numbers to the fact that machine-aided dialing of cell phones is illegal.

While previous Pew reports had found a gulf between its overall sample and its land-line-only sample, the election result shows which one was right. The winner, clearly, was the sample that included both.

The election result “is a very good opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of your methods,” Pew’s director of survey research, Scott Keeter, said. “We don’t have that many opportunities to have that kind of validation.”

And while Pew looked for evidence of a gap only in its own polling data, an independent analysis found a similar gulf existed at polling firms using different methods during the 2010 cycle.

The six national polling firms that surveyed both cell phones and land lines in the week before the election put Republicans ahead by an average of 6 points, while the four that called only land lines showed a GOP advantage

Sarah Palin’s *Unfavorability* Numbers Hit New High, Survey Finds

This should come as no surprise to many from either party as well as independents…

Politics Daily

The number of Americans viewing Sarah Palin unfavorably has hit the highest point since she burst onto the national stage over two years ago, according to a poll out Friday.

The Gallup survey conducted in the days after the Nov. 2 election found more than half of Americans — 52 percent — hold a negative opinion of the former Alaska governor. Only 40 percent viewed her favorably, which ties her lowest score from about a year ago.

Palin, the GOP’s vice presidential candidate in 2008, is among Republican names being floated as a possible presidential pick in two years time. The poll found she might have a good chance of capturing the nomination: fully 80 percent of Republicans have a positive opinion of her.

She might have a harder time in the general election. Gallup found 81 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents viewed her unfavorably — while fewer than four in 10 view her favorably.

Read the full Gallup report here.

Democrats Served Two Helpings Of Bad News With Two New Polls

It’s not looking good out there for the Dems’ prospects of keeping the majority in the house.  In fact, some people say that their Senate majority is at risk as well.  However, I’m an optimist and I believe that the reports of the “demise” of the Democratic Party are greatly exaggerated…

Huffington Post

Democrats will find few points of optimism in a new batch of polls, with recent surveys by Washington Post/ABC News and Wall Street Journal/NBC News both showing increasing disappointment with the state of the economy and the leadership of both congressional Democrats and President Obama.

When it comes to the overall state of the economy, respondents in the Washington Post/ABC News poll have expressed their lowest enthusiasm in almost 18 years, with 22 percent having a positive view of the economy and 78 having a negative view. In the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, only 26 percent of respondents believed that the economy will improve over the next year, the lowest percentage since President Obama’s election. Forty-five percent of respondents also said that the worst of the recession is still ahead.

Democrats in Congress were hit particularly hard in the latest surveys. From the Washington Post‘s analysis of their polling data:

For the first time in more than four years, Republicans run about evenly with Democrats on the basic question of which party they trust to handle the nation’s biggest problems. Among registered voters, 40 percent say they have more confidence in Democrats and 38 percent say they have more trust in Republicans. Three months ago, Democrats had a 12-point advantage.

These findings are corroborated by the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, which shows that only 29 percent of respondents think it’s a good idea for a party to control both Houses of Congress and the presidency. Overall desire to have a Democrat-controlled Congress and Republican-controlled Congress are evenly matched at 43 percent.

On top of these poor findings for congressional Democrats, President Obama has also reached his lowest ever approval/disapproval ratings in both polls, with the Washington Post/ABC News survey showing a 46 percent to 52 percent ratio and the Wall Street Journal/NBC News turning up a 45 percent to 49 percent mark.

Voter enthusiasm numbers will also provide increased worry for vulnerable Democrats looking forward to November.

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ABC/WaPo poll: Half with “unfavorable impression” of tea party, 6 in 10 disapprove of GOP policy

Daily Kos

Frustration with Washington is deep and unending, but that includes stark disapproval of GOP congressional policy. From a new ABC/WaPo poll (MoE +/- 3):

The national survey shows that 29 percent of Americans now say they are inclined to support their House representative in November, even lower than in 1994, when voters swept the Democrats out of power in the that chamber after 40 years in the majority.

The poll also finds growing disapproval of the “tea party” movement, with half the population now expressing an unfavorable impression of the loosely aligned protest campaign that has shaken up politics this year.

And at a time when Republicans anticipate significant gains in House and Senate elections, there is also fresh evidence of the challenges facing the GOP. Six in 10 poll respondents say they have a negative view of the policies put forward by the Republican minority in Congress, and about a third say they trust Republicans over Democrats to handle the nation’s main problems.

Democrats are not off the hook, by any means. They hold the majority, and the country expects them to actually be doing something about the problems we face. Luckily for Democrats, there are Republicans.

Concrete agenda? I didn’t know “repeal health reform” was considered a concrete agenda. The country clearly doesn’t think so.

One thing is pretty clear for this and other polling: Democrats are in trouble this fall (Dems only lead the generic ballot by 3 (47-44) and 59% say they could change their mind), and voters are very angry at Washington for helping Wall Street but not Main Street, but GOP strength is greatly exaggerated (as is the strength of the tea party outside of GOP primaries, where damage is being done to moderate and establishment Republican candidates…. see NV later today.)

Change is coming, but what it manifests as is not going to be so easily predictable. This doesn’t fit neatly into the “Dems in disarray” and “Obama is Carter” narrative some in the media are trying to push. How can it when only a third of the country prefer R to D ideas and policy? Bush dead-enders always number a third.    Continue Reading