POLITICS
10/17/2013 06:30 pm ET

HUFFPOLLSTER: Shutdown Bolsters McAuliffe Lead In Virginia

AP

Another survey shows the Democrat leading in Virginia. Polls get it right in New Jersey. And the handicappers debate whether the shutdown will have a lasting political impact. This is HuffPollster for Thursday, October 17, 2013.

MCAULIFFE HOLDS SOLID LEAD OVER CUCCINELLI - An NBC/Marist poll released Thursday night finds Terry McAuliffe at 46 percent to Ken Cuccinelli's 38 percent among likely voters, with libertarian Robert Sarvis at 9 percent. McAuliffe's 8-point lead is up from 5 points in NBC/Marist's September polling. Domenico Montanaro: "A majority (54 percent) in the poll blames Republicans for the shutdown.** Just 31 percent of likely voters blame President Barack Obama....39 percent said either they or a family member has been affected by the shutdown, whether it’s employment, services or benefits. Many say the shutdown will have an impact on their vote -- 38 percent of registered voters said it would have a major impact on it; 21 percent said it would have a minor one. Among respondents who said it has had a major impact on their vote, McAuliffe is winning them 55-27 percent. " [NBC]

REVIEWING THE NEW JERSEY SENATE POLLING - Cory Booker's victory in the New Jersey special election for U.S. Senate came as little surprise to poll watchers, as most of the pre-election surveys accurately forecast the final result. With 99 percent of precincts counted, the Associated Press reports that Cory Booker won the New Jersey special election for U.S. Senate with 54.8 percent of the vote to 44.2 percent for Republican candidate Steve Lonegan. The final result was well within the respective margins of error of the five of the final six polls. The one exception was a survey from Rutgers-Eagleton poll which had given Booker a 22 percentage point lead. [AP vote results]

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Monmouth takes a victory lap - Pollster Patrick Murray, in a press release: "The Monmouth University Poll correctly forecast the margin of victory in New Jersey’s special U.S. Senate election. Among the independent public polls released during the final week of the campaign, Monmouth’s poll was closest to the final result...This was obviously one of the most difficult races to poll since there is no precedent for New Jersey holding a statewide special election, let alone one on a Wednesday in October. Voter turnout was even smaller than the historically low levels we had already anticipated, but the poll’s underlying vote history turnout model proved to be accurate." [Monmouth]

DOES SHUTDOWN ENDANGER GOP HOUSE? - Nate Cohn: "As a result [of the shutdown], a once unthinkable Democratic takeover of the House is conceivable, even if it remains improbable...But it would take a tsunami, like 2006, to make Democrats a clear favorite to break the GOP’s iron grip on the House. The post-shutdown polls do show a modest wave on the horizon, about thirteen months from shore. On average, Democrats lead by about 7.1 points on the generic congressional ballot, which tends to correlate with the eventual House popular vote. A 7 point Democratic advantage, if it held to Election Day 2014, would put the GOP in danger of losing the House...[But] if the only facts I knew about this election were that it was 1) October of an odd-numbered year; 2) Democrats had an average lead of about 7 points on the generic ballot; and 3) the incumbent Democratic president had an approval rating in the low forties, I would not believe that Democrats were poised to retake the chamber.." [New Republic]

-Harry Enten - "I don't believe the Democrats will win back the House of Representatives in 2014. President Obama's low approval rating, combined with the usual midterm loss and normal movement away (pdf) from the White House party on the national House ballot, should keep Republicans in control. Yet, there's a difference between thinking whether the Democrats 'will' win back the House or whether they 'can' win it back. If the same national environment that is producing a 4--5pt on the national House ballot still exists in a year's time, Democrats may very well win back the House." [Guardian]

Ezra Klein - "Much of the GOP's slide in the polls was due to Republican voters growing disgusted with their own representatives. As the Monkey Cage's John Sides wrote, the polls showed that 'if Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in the electorate approved of congressional Republicans as much as Democrats approve of Obama (71% do), congressional Republicans would be no less popular than congressional Democrats are.' It's bad for congressional Republicans to be losing the support of Republican voters. But it won't matter in a major election. Elections are basically extended reminders to partisans about why they hate the other party. By the end, most everyone heads back to their respective corners." [WaPost]

Sean Trende - "It is early, but what evidence we have seems consistent with the idea that the GOP didn’t take on much electoral water from this loss. This isn’t to say that there isn’t any evidence that the shutdown hurt Republicans, but the idea that their prospects were seriously jeopardized is thin...This isn’t to say that everything is great for Republicans. In particular, I credit Stu Rothenberg’s observations that the divides in the party could trigger recriminations in primaries, hurting the GOP’s chances...But for now, there’s really not much evidence that Republicans took it on the chin, at least electorally speaking." [RCP]

Stu Rothenberg - "The deal to open the government and raise the debt ceiling may be done, but the damage to the national Republican Party is considerable...Republican operatives are worried that the showdown will improve Democratic House recruiting considerably for 2014, and it could well damage GOP fundraising, both among small-dollar donors and the party’s bigger hitters. [Roll Call]

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

-Chris Christie has a 29-point lead. [Quinnipiac]

-Political scientists push back against the "hope" in the NBC/Esquire Center survey. [National Journal]

-PPP finds Alison Lundergan Grimes 2 points ahead of Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, little changed from this summer. [Bluegrass Politics]

-A DCCC internal automated poll, conducted during the shutdown, shows a close race in Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District. [World Herald]

-In the 24 hours before the end of the shutdown, Democratic members of Congress were tweeting about the government opening and the shutdown ending, and Republicans were still tweeting about debt, spending and Obamacare. [WaPost's Monkey Cage]

-The shutdown will impact the accuracy of monthly inflation estimates for at least seven months. [Fed Reserve via @CRampell]

-Kathy Frankovic explains how Obamacare defined the shutdown debate. [YouGov]

-Sam Wang thinks the effects of the shutdown on public opinion will last 2--6 months. [Twitter]

-Cook Political Report sees a "shutdown shift" against the House GOP. [Twitter]

-Nate Cohn updates on the the continuing fluctuation in the racial composition of PPP's Georgia polls. [New Republic]

-Matt Dover talks about applying lessons from the Obama analytics department to state and local campaigns. [C&E]

--77 percent of Americans think their fellow citizens are getting ruder. [Rasmussen]

-Watching television remains the thing most Americans look forward to every day. [POS]

-"Panda cam" overtakes 'furloughs" once again on Google Trends. [Google]

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