POLLSTER UPDATE: Hillary Clinton's Favorability Drops

05/31/2013 05:48 pm ET
AP

Hillary Clinton is looking a little more partisan to Republicans again. The Obama campaign shares their trendless trendlines from the 2012 campaign. And Twitter data-crunches democracy. Or something. This is the HuffPost Pollster update for Friday, May 31, 2013.

CLINTON DROPS IN FAVORABILITY, BUT STILL LEADS POTENTIAL 2016 RIVALS - HuffPost: “If the 2016 presidential election were today, Clinton would beat both former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) by 8 points, according to Quinnipiac University, leading Bush 48 percent to 40 percent and Paul 49 percent to 41 percent....Fifty-two percent of voters held a positive impression of her, down from 61 percent in a February Quinnipiac poll.” HuffPost]

Benghazi effect? - In Quinnipiac's news release, assistant polling director Peter Brown linked the drop in Clinton's favorable rating to the Benghazi controversy: "The drop in her favorability is substantial among men, Republicans and independent voters. One reason for her drop may be that 48 percent of voters blame her either a little or a lot for the death of the American ambassador in Benghazi." [Quinnipiac]

Question order effect? - TNR's Nate Cohn tweets an alternative hypothesis, "that Clinton's lower numbers...might be due to question sequence." He notes that a previous Quinnipiac survey "didn't ask any horse race questions," but the current survey led with questions matching Clinton against both Bush and Paul before before asking the Clinton rating that "could shift context" for Republican voters. [@ElectionNate]

Seen in other polls - While Cohn's point is fair -- and important given the speculation about the impact of the Benghazi story -- the change in context on the Quinnipiac poll mirrors the ongoing and inevitable shift in the nature of news coverage of Clinton as speculation mounts about a potential 2016 candidacy. Other polls as tracked by the Pollster chart, which combines all publicly available surveys that ask a favorable rating, finds that her average rating is now under 53 percent, down from nearly 60 percent in November. [Pollster]

CHART OF THE DAY - Bloomberg/BusinessWeek's Josh Green posts an epilogue to his Thursday story on the new business venture of Dan Wagner and much of the rest of the Obama campaign's data analytics staff. Green got the Obama campaign to release "a chart based on internal data that shows how the Obama campaign’s swing state model performed against the much maligned Gallup poll over the last several months of the race. This was the campaign’s daily 'horserace projection of the outcome,' based in part on 10,000 analytics interviews conducted each night to support Wagner's modeling. "Gallup shows a huge drop for Obama—really, an outright collapse—after the debacle of the first debate. At the time, Obama’s staffers were claiming to the press that, yes, their internal numbers showed the president’s weak showing had hurt his support, but that the fall was brief and quickly stabilized right about where his level of support had been all along....Based on this data, though, the Obama campaign looks to have been telling the truth." [Businessweek, see also Pollster: "How The Internal Data Got it Right"]

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Not Just Gallup - While Gallup consistently understated Obama's position compared to other national polls, it was far from the only pollster to show a dramatic decline for Obama following the first debate, followed by a recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. As we reported in November, most national polls, including those conducted by Pew Research and ABC News/Washington Post, showed a trend roughly parallel to Gallup's following the first debate. [Pollster]

WHAT’S THE FUTURE FOR DATA AND DEMOCRACY? The University of Pennsylvania held a conference on Friday on “Data-Crunched Democracy.” Some tweets from the event:

WHERE’S MY NEWSLETTER? Alas, the email version of this update will be delayed slightly, due to some technical issues. If you’ve already signed up, you’ll receive them as soon as we officially launch. In the meantime, as always, you can find our updates on the Pollster page.

FRIDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to more news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-68 percent oppose U.S. military action in Syria. [Gallup]

-37 percent of Republicans say voting for immigration reform with a path to citizenship is a "deal-breaker" for them. [WaPost]

-Younger Americans are less concerned with "family values issues." [POS]

-Nate Silver sees risk for the GOP in Bachmann's retirement. [NYTimes]

-Dave Wasserman says the GOP has a built-in turnout advantage for the midterm elections. [Cook Political Report]

-Harry Enten says Chafee's party switch culminates New England's shift from Republican to Democrat. [Guardian]

-Alex Lundry finds dissimilarities in public opinion on gay marriage and abortion. [Daily Caller]

-Jaime Settle describes her research using Facebook data to assess how political mobilization messages sent through social media affected behavior. [GNIP]

-Adam Sage analyzes Twitter conversation networks at the 2013 AAPOR Conference. [RTI]

-The Market Research Association defends the American Community Survey (ACS). [Research]

-Nicholas Kulish and Chris Cottrell argue that restrictions on the German census in the name of privacy led to a big miss on population estimates. [NYTimes]

-Auto industry trade group survey finds 81 percent of Americans concerned that "computer hackers could take control of an automated vehicle." [NYTimes]

-For the Nerd who has (almost) everything: R-Stats playing cards. [Ebay]

-YouGovUS finds pollster joy in the Spelling Bee. [@YouGovUS]

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