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POLLSTER UPDATE: Gridlock, Demographics, And What The Sharknado Says About Data

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Quinnipiac finds Americans more likely to blame Republicans than Democrats for D.C. gridlock. Nate Cohn says an immigration fail will hurt the GOP in Florida. And Sharknado has a hidden lesson for data geeks. This is the HuffPost Pollster update for Friday, July 12, 2013.

QUINNIPIAC FINDS GOP TO BLAME FOR GRIDLOCK - There’s more new data from the latest Quinnipiac national poll, which probes perceptions of D.C gridlock. HuffPost: "Half of American voters think congressional Republicans are causing gridlock by refusing to support presidential initiatives, but there's plenty of blame to go around for both parties...A 51 percent majority said that Washington's gridlock was mainly because 'Republicans in Congress are determined to block any President Obama initiative,' while 35 percent attributed it to 'President Obama [lacking] the personal skills to convince leaders of Congress to work together.' But 64 percent said both Democrats and Republicans were at fault, while 23 percent specifically blamed the Republicans, and 10 percent the Democrats." [HuffPost, see also Quinnpiac release]

GOP trailing on generic House ballot - HuffPost: "If the 2014 midterm elections were held today, 39 percent would vote for the Democratic candidate in their district, while 34 percent would vote for the Republican. That number has fluctuated in recent months: In early April, the Democrats had an 8-point lead, according to Quinnipiac, while in late May the two parties were evenly matched. In the year leading up to the 2010 midterms, when Republicans retook the House, Republicans and Democrats traded the advantage several times, with a clear Republican edge emerging only in the summer before the election. [ibid]

Republican pollster Steve Lombardo, via Twitter: "Most striking thing in [Quinnipiac] poll is that after a dismal 6 months for the WH, the GOP is 5 points behind in the generic ballot." [@Steve_Lombardo]

NBC News First Read: [T]he headline to us is that about half of GOP voters aren’t happy with congressional Republicans: 49% of them disapprove of the job congressional Republicans are doing (compared with 32% of Democrats who disapprove of congressional Democrats). And before some argue that GOP disapproval is from disappointed conservatives, consider this next number: An equal 49% of Republican respondents say that congressional GOP leaders are doing too little to work with Obama on big issues (versus just 22% of Democrats who say the president is doing too little). This suggests a disconnect between Republicans in Washington and Republicans across the country. Half of self-described GOP voters seem to be saying: 'Why don’t we try to start governing?' By the way, not for nothing, a majority also say in this poll Obama needs to reach out more too. But the combined GOP numbers are potentially more telling." [NBC]

COULD THE GOP LOSE FLORIDA HISPANICS -- AND FLORIDA? - Nate Cohn: “Opponents of immigration reform are right about one thing: Hispanics aren’t enough for Republicans to win back the White House. But that doesn’t mean that the GOP can sacrifice Hispanics without big consequences for their chances. That’s already happened in New Mexico and Nevada, where the Hispanic vote has flipped two states from red to blue. The GOP’s route to the presidency has survived the loss of those two small states—they’re worth just 11 electoral votes. But it’s a whole different story if Florida suffers the same fate as Nevada, as it very well might if Republicans can’t improve among Hispanics...Florida’s Hispanic population has exploded over the last decade, growing by 57 percent between 2000 and 2010. As a result, the Hispanic share of eligible voters surged from 12.5 percent to 16.8 percent between 2004 and 2012, while non-Hispanic whites dropped from 72.2 to 65.8 percent. Those new Hispanic voters aren’t Republican-leaning Cubans, either. They’re a mix of heavily-Democratic Puerto Ricans who surged to Orlando-Kissimmee and a mix of Hispanics from elsewhere in Central and South America....None of this means that the GOP couldn’t win Florida in 2016. But there should be serious doubts about whether there’s room for another round of big, additional gains among Florida whites. And once those doubts are raised, the GOP route to victory in Florida looks tough.” [TNR]

SHARKNADO SOARS ON TWITTER, TANKS IN RATINGS - The Atlantic's Allie Jones: "Despite being the most talked about TV on Twitter Thursday night, Syfy's Sharknado didn't do all that well in the ratings. Just over 1 million people tuned in to watch Ian Ziering fight flying sharks with chainsaws and Tara Reid bandy about doing whatever she does. Apparently, you don't need that many viewers to take over the Internet with Steve Sanders GIFs. Sharknado got only a 0.4 rating in the 18--49 age demographic, based on early Nielsen numbers. For comparison's sake, Chupacabra vs. the Alamo, a Syfy camp production that did not capture much of a Twitter audience, pulled a 0.3 rating back in March." [Atlantic]

-Republican Pollster Alex Lundry: "This is why social media data isn't very good for TV ratings data." [@AlexLundry]

-Slate's Dave Weigel: "This offers a valuable lesson, if we want to learn it. Twitter, as read by the pundit/journo class, is a skewed and friendly field of public opinion. What happens on there doesn't necessarily happen anywhere else." [Slate]

-The Washington Post's Ezra Klein: "But it’s not just Twitter. It’s political media in general, of which journo-Twitter is only a particularly virulent subvirus. Stories that obsess Washington for days often fail to leave even the slightest dent in the electorate. And that’s a bit of a problem because the reason the political press typically gives for swarming some gaffe or conflict is that it’s going to matter in the election." [WaPost]

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

--71 percent of Americans say it is important to pass immigration reform legislation. [Gallup]

-Democrats are more likely than Republicans to be satisfied with the federal government’s work across 19 different subjects. [Gallup]

-John Sides questions how the political environment becomes more favorable to Republicans among Latino voters if immigration reform fails, and spells out where he agrees and disagrees with Sean Trende. [The Monkey Cage here and here]

-Charlie Cook warns of overgeneralizing about demographic groups. [National Journal]

-Megan McArdle argues there's a 70 percent chance the Republicans will control the White House, Senate and House in 2017. [MeganMcArdle.com]

-McArdle's argument reminds Henry Farrell of an XKCD cartoon; Jon Bernstein has more. [The Monkey Cage, PlainBlog]

-Nate Cohn questions McArdle's assumptions. [TNR]

-Chuck Todd reports that "smart NYC pol watchers" agree that in the mayor's race, Bill Thompson "is getting overlooked. Polling is underestimating his strengths." [@ChuckTodd here and here]

-Democratic pollster Jonathan Messing argues that support for same-sex marriage is following the dynamics of theoretical tipping points. [Global Strategies]

-Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson makes the National Journal list of 25 most influential women in DC under 35. [National Journal]

-Jeff Lewis and colleagues release digital boundary definition files for every U.S. Congressional District in use between 1789 and 2012. [UCLA PoliSci]

-Census nominee John Thompson gets a friendly hearing in the Senate. [MRA]

-Canada's decision to ditch its long form census in favor of a voluntary survey leads to "skewed results." [Planetizen]

-Mark Wilson explores the CBO’s increased use of the infographic. [Fast Company]

-Gerald Ford, who would have celebrated his birthday on Sunday, was rated an "average" president by 53 percent of Americans. [Pew Research]

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