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HUFFPOLLSTER: What To Watch For In The 5/20 Primaries

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Primary elections will be held today in six states. We've got a roundup of what the polling predicts, plus a summary of what pundits are watching for. And all battleground polls are not created equal. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, May 20, 2014.

A FINAL 5/20 PRIMARY DAY PREVIEW - Six states hold their primaries Tuesday night. Yesterday, we took a look at Kentucky, where tea party challenger Matt Bevin is trailing far behind Mitch McConnell. Two more races to watch:

Georgia - It's nearly a sure thing that Georgia's GOP Senate primary is heading to a runoff, and that businessman David Perdue - whom HuffPollster puts at about 25 percent will be one of the two candidates to move on. Jack Kingston and Karen Handel are effectively tied for second place, with about 18 percent each. [HuffPollster chart]

Pennsylvania - Pennsylvania's gubernatorial Democratic primary, which initially looked close, now has a clear favorite in Tom Wolf. HuffPollster puts him at 46 percent, with his closest rival, Allyson Schwartz, trailing at 12 percent. [HuffPollster chart]

More reading on the primaries:

-Harry Enten provides a "what to look for" list on tonight's Georgia Senate primary. [538]

-Caitlin Huey-Burns has another look at the Georgia primary field. [RCP]

-Jonathan Bernstein is keeping an eye on Georgia, Oregon, and several house primaries. [Bloomberg]

-Nate Cohn says Tuesday's primaries are the exception to the rule that not much matters six months out. [NYTimes]

-Andrew Prokop sees a spate of likely losses for the Tea Party. [Vox]

Where to watch for results - Via Harry Enten, links to AP's results pages:
- Georgia
- Kentucky
- Pennsylvania
- Oregon

HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE STAVING OFF TEA PARTY CHALLENGES - Elaine Kamarck: "As the congressional primary season continues with a slew of important states today, the big question—how’s the Tea Party doing—remains hard to answer. On the one hand Tea Party candidates have failed to capture high profile Senate primary seats in Texas and North Carolina...On the House side however, the Tea Party assault on the GOP has been intense...the GOP has drawn a very large number of challengers this year compared to the less conflicted Democrats. And the vast majority of Republican challengers have been identified, in one way or the other, with the Tea Party….But the final metric of the primaries to date is whether or not the House Tea Party candidates are winning. The verdict: incumbent Republicans are holding their own. So far only one incumbent, Congressman Ralph Hall, has failed to win his primary outright—though he won a large plurality in the first round of his primary….In Republican primaries where there are no incumbent Republicans (open-seat primaries), Tea Party candidates aren’t doing so well….Thus, the jury is still out on the future of the Tea Party and the Republican Party. Individual Tea Party candidates don’t seem to be winning so far but their sheer numbers in these races mean that they will be a force to reckon with—win or lose." [Brookings]

GOP HAS SLIGHT LEAD ON AMERICA'S TOP ISSUE - Frank Newport: "American voters rate the economy as the most important issue to their vote for Congress this year, and give the Republicans in Congress a slight edge over the Democrats as best able to handle it. Voters give four other issues lower, but still above-average, importance -- the federal deficit, taxes, the Affordable Care Act, and income and wealth inequality. Voters see Republicans as better able to handle the first two, while Democrats have the edge on the latter two."
[Gallup]

ANOTHER LOOK AT POLITICO'S BATTLEGROUND POLL - Scott Clement takes a closer look at a Politico survey that offered especially gloomy numbers for Democrats: "Every battleground poll is different, varying chiefly on what Senate and congressional races a pollster defines to be 'competitive.' The Politico survey used a broad definition -- any Senate or House races not ranked as 'safe Democrat' or 'safe Republican' by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics….Battleground polls hold big potential, appearing to offer a look at how voters in areas with legitimately competitive elections compare with the nation overall. But designing such a sample is difficult, and often involves different methodologies from most national polls which produce predictably different results….How likely voters are selected is a major source of variation in election polls, and it’s a key reason the Politico and Democracy Corps surveys find Republicans leading by 7 and 5 points while many national polls of registered voters show an even split." [WashPost]

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

-An internal poll for Nick Rahall (D) gives him a 13-point lead. [The Hill]

-A poll for Citizens United (R) shows Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel leading Thad Cochran in Mississippi. [Scribd]

-A Kantar study finds that about $445 million has been spent on ads mentioning the Affordable Care Act since the law passed in 2010. [WashPost]

-Brendan Nyhan examines the mismatch between Jeb Bush's messaging in Florida and his potential appeal to the 2016 national primary electorate. [NYT]

-It's Elizabeth Warren's turn for a YouGov reputation audit. [YouGov]

-A New Hampshire poll finds tea partiers less likely to trust science than other Republicans. [Mother Jones]

-Alec Tyson reviews how Republicans and Democrats differ in the traits and experiences they say they want in a president. [Pew Research]

-Patrick Ruffini (R) weighs in on the turnout vs. persuasion debate. [@PatrickRuffinni]

-Elizabeth Wilner says the shift from "repeal" to "fix" in Republican television advertising is already underway. [Cook Political]

-Anja Neundorf and Kaat Smets examine millennials' voting record in historical context. [WashPost]

-Steve Benen takes Fox to task for its Benghazi polling. [MSNBC]

-Brendan Nyhan ponders the role of elites in the prevalence of Holocaust denial. [NYTimes]

-HuffPollster will join political scientists Matthew Dickenson, Michael Lewis-Beck, Drew Linzer, Mary Stegmaier and Lynn Vavreck for a briefing on election forecasting sponsored by the American Political Science Association in Washington DC on May 28. [APSA]