POLITICS

HUFFPOLLSTER: So Far, New FBI Email Investigation Isn’t Affecting The State Of The Race

Nothing's spookier to pollsters than late-breaking news stories.

31/10/2016 6:14 PM IST | Updated 31/10/2016 6:14 PM IST
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A late-October surprise from the FBI has everyone watching to see what happens in the polls. Donald Trump had gained a little in some national polls before the latest news, but his Electoral College deficit remains substantial. And Americans think voting should be easy. This is HuffPollstergeist for Monday, October 31, 2016.

FBI INVESTIGATION HASN’T AFFECTED POLLING NUMBERS YET - HuffPollster: “Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton maintains the same lead over GOP opponent Donald Trump that she had before FBI Director James Comey announced that the bureau is investigating newly obtained emails... according to a new national poll from Politico/Morning Consult. The poll, conducted Saturday and Sunday after the revelations, found Clinton leading Trump by 3 percentage points, 46 percent to 43 percent…. On Thursday and Friday, prior to Comey’s letter to congressional leaders, polling from Politico/Morning Consult showed very similar margins: Clinton led Trump by 3 points in the four-way race and 5 points in the head-to-head matchup, within the poll’s margin of error…. Clinton’s lead remains steady over Trump in the HuffPost Pollster average. She leads by 7 points in the two-way matchup and 6 points when third-party candidates are included. The margins of the Politico/Morning Consult poll are below those averages, but the numbers are consistent in showing a narrower Clinton lead than other polls both before and after the Comey letter. This is just the first poll, though, and opinion could shift in the coming days.” [HuffPost

There might not be much effect - Philip Bump: “How will this change things?...Given that we don’t actually know what’s going on, besides ‘something happened,’ it’s hard to say. We do know that following the resolution of the email issue in July, after FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that his agency wasn’t recommending that charges be filed, poll numbers didn’t move….One way this could affect the outcome is by dampening voter enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton….It is always the case, even in this weird year, that the safest assumption about the effect of a new revelation shortly after it was revealed is that the effect will be small to non-existent. Presidential races are much more likely to hinge on big-picture things, not on daily ups and downs that people on Twitter get excited about. But then, presidential candidates are usually relatively well-regarded and rarely are mired in accusations about who groped who and whose estranged husband texted what to which teenager.” [WashPost]

Early voting has remained stable - Michael P. McDonald: “As of the Sunday before the final week before the November 8 election, more than 21 million people have voted in the 2016 election. Several states and localities are seeing early voting levels well above 2012 records. Some are expected to far outpace their 2012 levels, such as Minnesota, which recently adopted no-excuse absentee voting….[T]he preliminary evidence is little or no effect of Comey’s letter depressing Democratic enthusiasm….Despite surprises, there appears more stability in the early vote than volatility. I suspect that most people have made up their minds about the candidates and the media frenzy is another piece of information to be thrown on the heap of what we already know about the candidates. I do not equate sexual assault with mishandling of classified information, but it strikes me that the cognitive task before voters is similar. In both cases, voters have a mountain of evidence already placed before them. One more woman making an accusation against Trump will not change voters’ assessments of the veracity of the totality of the allegations. Similarly, possibly finding new Clinton-related emails - without any further evidence that they are relevant - does not change voters’ assessments of Clinton on this issue.” [HuffPost]

SOME POLLING SHOWS GAINS FOR TRUMP - HuffPollster, on surveys taken before the FBI story broke Friday: “Donald Trump’s standing is improving in some polls, but he still faces a large Electoral College deficit. The ABC News/Washington Post national tracking poll shows Trump within 1 point of Hillary Clinton in a four-way race that includes Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein ― a drastic cut in her lead since the tracker debuted last week with Clinton up by 12 points. A new Florida poll from The Upshot/Siena College shows Trump leading by 4 points, a significant increase for Trump since their September poll that showed the race tied.  But the news isn’t all good for the GOP nominee.. New CBS battleground polls show Clinton leading by 8 points in Pennsylvania, 3 points in Colorado and Trump only leading by 2 points in Arizona ― a typically strong Republican state. CBS also has Clinton up by 3 points in North Carolina, while a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll shows Clinton up by 6 in the Tar Heel State. Another NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll has Clinton leading by 1 point in Florida.” [HuffPost]

Clinton’s negatives are rising - Scott Clement and Emily Guskin: “Registered voters see Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in a nearly identical negative light, mirroring a persistently close split in overall vote preference in a new Washington Post-ABC News Tracking Poll. Nearly 6 in 10 registered voters have an unfavorable impression of Clinton (59 percent), and an identical percentage see Trump negatively. Nearly half of registered voters, 47 percent, have a “strongly unfavorable” view of Clinton and Trump alike. The parity in basic popularity undermines a key advantage for Clinton throughout most of a presidential campaign where Trump set records as most unpopular presidential candidate in polling history. Clinton’s ratings were consistently negative, but were only rarely as troubled as her opponent…. The tightening gap between Clinton and Trump’s ratings results from slightly improved ratings for Trump and slightly weaker ratings for Clinton than in mid-October.” [WashPost

Washington Post

Forecast update - More from HuffPollster: “Despite fluctuations in national polling numbers, state polls indicate that Trump has no plausible path to winning 270 electoral votes at this point. Clinton’s electoral college advantage remains strong. The Huffington Post presidential forecast currently shows a 98 percent chance that Clinton will be elected... Trump’s [less than] 2 percent chance of becoming president represents the possibility that all of the polls could be wrong in the same direction. Clearly we don’t expect that to happen, but it is a possibility…. State polls are generally slower to come in than national polls, and if Clinton’s lead shrinks in key states, as it has in national polls, her Electoral College advantage will shrink a bit…. [But] Clinton’s lead shrinking a bit would likely only mean going from an anticipated 341 electoral votes in the HuffPost forecast model today to somewhere between 300 and 320 electoral votes. Unless Trump can sweep all the states he leads in now plus Ohio, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida and at least one other state (likely among Colorado, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania or New Hampshire), he won’t win the presidency.” [HuffPost, Presidential forecast]

DEMOCRATS HAVE THE EDGE IN SENATE PROJECTIONS - The HuffPost Pollster Senate forecast gives Democrats a 44 percent chance of taking 51 or more seats. There’s also a 35 percent chance that the chamber is tied and the vice president casts the deciding vote. Given Clinton’s strong chances of winning the presidency, Democrats overall have a 78 percent chance of taking the majority. Republicans are down to a 22 percent chance of getting 51 or more seats or 50 or more plus the vice presidency. [Senate forecast]

MOST AMERICANS THINK VOTING SHOULD BE EASY - HuffPollster: “Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the election is “rigged” may have helped stoke fears about voter fraud, but Americans still strongly believe that the government should make it easy for people to vote, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll released Sunday. Sixty-one percent of all Americans say that it should be the government’s goal to make voting easy, while just 24 percent say that it should not. A majority of both parties, as well as independents, agree, although the question isn’t without a partisan divide....Overall, views on many voting issues have remained relatively static. Americans say by a 17-point margin, 53 percent to 36 percent, that it’s more important to prevent voter fraud than it is to make sure that no one eligible to vote is prevented from doing so ― little changed from the 53 percent and 39 percent, respectively, who said the same in a May HuffPost/YouGov survey….A 54 percent majority would support their state automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they go to the DMV, unchanged from last March.” [HuffPost]

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MONDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-David Adams asks whether polls are underestimating the Democratic Party’s Latino vote. [Univision]

-Michael Kranish looks at Donald Trump’s use of the firm Cambridge Analytica to create “psychological models” of voters. [WashPost]

-Chris Jackson and Julia Clark see the 2016 election as “far from a blowout.” [Reuters]

-David Rothschild reviews his use of opt-in, smart-phone only polls. [HuffPost]

-Ben Collins profiles the man behind several fake polling releases. [The Daily Beast]

-French polling shows former prime minister Alain Juppe leading former president Nicolas Sarkozy in their party’s primary. [Bloomberg]

- “Now dip your hands into the witch’s mystery bowls. That’s not cold spaghetti; those are unusual trend lines! And those aren’t peeled grapes; that’s raw polling data!” [New Yorker]

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