POLITICS
06/09/2014 05:49 pm ET | Updated Jun 10, 2014

HUFFPOLLSTER: Americans Lean Toward Disapproval Of Taliban Prisoner Swap

Veterans have little sympathy for Bowe Bergdahl. Hillary Clinton has lots of support among Democrats. And Nate Silver updates his (not-yet formal) model. This is HuffPollster for Monday, June 9, 2014.

OBAMA GETS LOW MARKS ON HANDLING OF PRISONER EXCHANGE, ESPECIALLY AMONG VETS - Gregory Korte: "Public opposition to the exchange of five Taliban prisoners for captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has less to do with Bergdahl himself and more with how President Obama handled the transfer according to a new USA TODAY/Pew Research Center poll. The poll shows 43% of Americans say it was wrong for Obama to make the deal, compared with 34% who say it was the right thing to do….Half of respondents [with an opinion on Bergdahl] say they were sympathetic, and half say they are angry with Bergdahl. Veterans are much more harsh in their assessment of the 28-year-old sergeant. Only 6% of veterans who responded say they sympathized with him, while 33% say they were angry. By 68%-16%, veterans say Obama made the wrong decision." [USA Today]

Opinions follow party lines, but most say Congress should be informed - Pew Research: "Reactions to the Bergdahl case are deeply divided along partisan lines. Fully 71% of Republicans think the prisoner exchange was the wrong thing to do, while just 16% say it was the right thing to do. Democrats, by more than two-to-one (55% to 24%), have a positive opinion of the agreement. Republicans, particularly conservative Republicans, also are far less likely than Democrats to say that the U.S. was obligated to do all it could to secure Bergdahl’s freedom….When asked to think generally about situations like the Bergdahl exchange, most Americans (64%) say 'the president should be required to inform Congress in advance of decisions like these'; just 30% say he 'should have the flexibility to make decisions like these without informing Congress in advance.' This view is nearly unanimous among Republicans (87%-11%), and 67% of independents also say the president should be required to inform Congress in advance of decisions like these. Democrats are more divided." [Pew]

conservative republicans bergdahl release left post

Roughly in line with past polling - An online Reuters/Ipsos poll released Friday found Americans split 44/29 against the prisoner swap, while a HuffPost/YouGov poll found 35 percent in favor and 39 against. [Reuters, HuffPost]

HILLARY CLINTON RETAINS BROAD SUPPORT... - David Nakamura and Scott Clement: "Hillary Rodham Clinton retains broad public support for her performance as secretary of state, a sign that President Obama’s struggles abroad and Republican attacks over Benghazi have not been a major drag on her reputation. Clinton left office 1 1 / 2 years ago as the most popular outgoing secretary in recent memory, and 59 percent of the public still approve of her tenure, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll this month. That dipped from 68 percent in late 2012, but 67 percent call her a strong leader in the most recent survey. The findings suggest the public is willing to view Clinton’s term separately from Obama as she attempts to define her legacy with the release on Tuesday of 'Hard Choices,' a reflection on her four years overseeing the State Department. The poll found just 41 percent approve of Obama’s handling of foreign policy, an all-time low for the president." [ WashPost]

...but Democrats still want her to face a challenger - Gary Langer: "Should she run, among registered voters, 69 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents favor her for the party’s nomination over seven other hypothetical contenders. Vice President Joe Biden gets 12 percent, Elizabeth Warren 7 percent, with the rest barely registering….[E]ven among Democrats who support her for the nomination, 58 percent also say they’d rather see other candidates run as well – a preference for a race, not a waltz. That, of course, would keep her in the spotlight and perhaps hone her campaign performance. But contested campaigns are never a sure bet, even for frontrunners, as Clinton herself found in 2008." [ABC]

Clinton's overall favorability remains positive - While the Post/ABC poll didn't ask a favorability question, other surveys found Clinton's rating falling about 10 points after her tenure ended as secretary of state, before stabilizing late last year at just about 50 percent. [HuffPollster average]

GREAT SOCIETY PROGRAMS REMAIN POPULAR - Peter Moore: "YouGov's latest research shows that, fifty years on, the main surviving Great Society programs are viewed favourably by most Americans. The National Endowments for the Arts and for the Humanities (NEA and NEH), the least popular of the Great Society programs included in the poll, are viewed favorably by 51% of Americans and unfavorably by only 28%. The NEA and the NEH offer federal support and funding for cultural and artistic projects. Medicare, which provides health insurance to Americans over 65, is the most popular of the Great Society federal benefits mentioned, with 76% liking the program and only 16% disliking it." [YouGov]

FIVETHIRTYEIGHT'S SENATE FORECAST: MOSTLY STABLE SINCE SPRING - Nate Silver: "Our March forecast projected a Republicans gain of 5.8 seats….The new forecast is for a Republican gain of 5.7 seats. So it’s shifted ever so slightly — by one-tenth of a seat — toward being a toss-up. Still, if asked to place a bet at even odds, we’d take a Republican Senate. Of course, it can be silly to worry about distinctions that amount to a tenth of a seat, or a couple of percentage points. Nobody cares all that much about the difference between 77 percent and 80 percent and 83 percent. But this race is very close. When you say something has a 47 percent chance of happening, people interpret that a lot differently than if you say 50 percent or 53 percent — even though they really shouldn’t." [538]

But note... - Silver: "It’s important to clarify that these forecasts are not the results of a formal model or statistical algorithm — although it’s based on an assessment of the same major factors that our algorithm uses. (Our
tradition is to switch over to fully automated and algorithmic Senate forecasts at some point during the summer.)" [538]

BLACK VOTE COULD BE KEY IN MIDTERMS - Nate Cohn: "Black voters will play an outsize role in this year’s fight for control of the Senate. Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia are the three states where African-Americans represent the largest share of the population, and North Carolina isn’t too far behind, at seventh on the list. According to the Census Bureau, the black share of the national electorate has dropped off in every midterm election since at least 1998. That could cripple Democrats in these states. But it is possible to imagine the black share of the electorate holding at 2012 levels in those states, or even increasing. It has happened before. In the 2002 Louisiana Senate runoff, Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, benefited from a small but surprising increase in the black share of the electorate, which rose by 0.6 of a percentage point between 2000 and the 2002 runoff, according to turnout data from the Louisiana secretary of state….Black turnout in Louisiana wasn’t higher in 2002 than it was in the 2000 presidential election. White turnout just dropped off more. The same thing happened in 1998, when the black share of the electorate nearly reached 30 percent, even higher than in the Democratic wave year of President Obama’s election in 2008." [NYT]

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

-Vox Pop (R) finds Joni Ernst (R) leading Bruce Braley (D) by 5 points in the Iowa Senate race. [Vox Populi]

-A Chism (D) poll of the Mississippi Senate runoff finds challenger Chris McDaniel (R) 3 points ahead of Thad Cochran. [Chism]

-A Suffolk poll finds the Massachusetts governor's' race narrow. [Suffolk]

-David Nir notes that the horserace questions were preceded by a long battery of other questions. [Daily Kos]

-Depression rates are higher among the unemployed. [Gallup]

-Simon & Schuster denies Hillary Clinton's camp is using her book site for data mining. [Buzzfeed]

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