POLITICS
06/13/2014 05:22 pm ET Updated Jun 16, 2014

HUFFPOLLSTER: Most Americans Still Think Gitmo Should Stay Open

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Americans remain opposed to closing Gitmo. More accounts show David Brat worked to increase turnout among 'far right independents.' And Eric Cantor isn't the only GOP leader with low ratings from the Republican rank-and-file. This is HuffPollster for Friday, June 13, 2014.

MOST OPPOSE CLOSING GUANTANAMO BAY - Justin McCarthy: "Twenty-nine percent of Americans support closing the terrorist detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and moving its prisoners to U.S. prisons, while two in three (66%) oppose the idea. Despite the recent controversy surrounding the release of five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release from Afghanistan, Americans' views have barely budged since 2009….Republicans remain more likely than Democrats to oppose closing the detention facility, although the majority of Democrats remain opposed." [Gallup]

ERIC CANTOR'S NOT THE ONLY GOP LEADER WITH LOW RATINGS NATIONALLY - Rachel Lienesch: "Three days after Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) stunning loss in the Republican primary in Virginia sent shockwaves through the U.S. Capitol, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds that Cantor is not the only GOP congressional leader struggling to find support from the party’s base. According to the poll, only about a third of Republicans have a favorable view of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)....Also troubling for the GOP leaders is the fact that 45 percent of Republican respondents said GOP leadership in Congress is not conservative enough. Democratic respondents expressed much more positive views about their party’s congressional leaders." [HuffPost]

MOST AMERICANS DOUBT MIDTERMS WILL AFFECT ECONOMY - Mark Murray: "Exactly half of Americans say that Democrats or Republicans in control of Congress won't make much of a difference in improving the economy, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg Survey finds. That's compared with 25 percent who believe the economy will improve if Republicans control Congress, and another 23 percent who believe it will improve if Democrats are in charge. The survey also shows that 45 percent of voters say the economy and jobs will be most important in determining their vote in November -- followed by health care at 20 percent, education at 15 percent, foreign policy at 7 percent and the federal deficit at 6 percent." [NBC]

A new NBC/WSJ poll, but not the NBC/WSJ poll - The Wall Street Journal reports that the new poll "is the first in a series...done by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News in collaboration with the Annenberg Public Policy Center, a research center at the University of Pennsylvania." Via email, NBC's NBC's Mark Murray confirms that the new partnership is "IN ADDITION TO" their long-time collaboration with campaign pollsters Peter Hart (D) and Bill McInturff (R). "In fact," Murray adds, "it’s Peter Hart who is helping us with these Annenberg polls."

BRAT TARGETED NON-PRIMARY VOTERS, NOT DEMS - Sean Miller: "House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s pollster is blaming thousands of Democratic voters for his client’s surprise primary loss on Tuesday but David Brat’s campaign didn’t spend any time targeting Democrats, at least according to one of Brat’s consultants. Steven Adler, a former Democratic consultant who was one of the inventors (along with Mark Sullivan) of the Voter Activation Network (VAN), was contracted by Brat’s campaign. Adler sold his half of the company, which has since merged with NGP, in 2005 and founded rVotes five years later. Adler says Brat’s campaign used rVotes to expand its universe beyond the traditional Virginia GOP primary voters being targeted by Rep. Eric Cantor’s campaign. Adler, who previously told C&E he as an apolitical 'computer guy' when VAN was founded, said several Tea Party campaigns had donated their data to Brat to allow him to expand his targeting universe." [Campaigns & Elections]

Work 'across party lines' helped target marginal Republicans- An account from a Democratic consultant Brian Umana, who helped provide guidance to anti-Cantor forces starting in 2010: "[We] saw no harm in mentioning strategies that tea partiers might use to reach sporadic Republicans or far-right 'independents' who were less likely to support Cantor than other Republicans. We shared data-science techniques for voter targeting and for evaluating the relative cost of earning the votes of different types of voters." [WashPost]

A little more detail from McLaughlin - In the C&E report, Cantor's pollster John McLaughlin shared a little more detail about how he sampled likely voters for a much derided poll that showed Cantor leading by 34 percentage points two weeks before the election: "Cantor’s pollster pointed the finger at an unexpected surge in primary turnout. 'We were polling a universe of people who voted in one of the last three Republican primaries and said that they were likely to vote in this Republican primary,' New York-based pollster John McLaughlin said in an email to C&E. He pointed to the increase in turnout from 46,000 two years ago to more than 65,000 on Tuesday. 'Untold story is who were the 19,000 new primary voters? They were probably not Republicans,' said McLaughlin." [C&E]

Evidence of Democratic votes for Brat weak - Sean Trende, who finds the suggestion that Democratic meddling led to Cantor's defeat "highly unlikely," does an analysis comparing Cantor's precinct level vote to votes cast in the 2013 general election for Attorney General: "First, there is evidence that Cantor really did do worse in heavily Democratic precincts. But the relationship is weak and doesn’t come close to explaining his loss. Moreover, we don’t know it was Democratic voting in these precincts that did Cantor in. It might be something about Republicans in these precincts that caused them to dislike Cantor more; in other words, we might have insufficient controls in place. Second, the second regression equation in particular is consistent with the “home style” hypothesis from yesterday. Cantor did well in the D.C. exurbs and in his old base in the City of Richmond. He did poorly in exurban Richmond counties, where he was less of a fixture. Regardless, while crossover Democratic votes might have hurt Cantor somewhat, they don’t appear to have been nearly numerous enough to have cost him his race." [RCP]

Another data point fails to support theory - Nate Cohn: "I’ve not seen any evidence that there was a surge of 15,000 Democratic votes. Here’s one more data point: the change in turnout between the 2012 and 2014 Republican primaries, compared with the performance of Terry McAuliffe in his successful bid for governor of Virginia in November. Turnout increased in Republican precincts by about as much as it did in more Democratic precincts...so far, there just isn’t much evidence consistent with the theory that 15,000 Democrats — or a sixth of the people who voted for Mr. McAuliffe in November, or perhaps half of a normal Democratic primary electorate — decided to show up Tuesday. The simplest explanation is that there was a surge of conservative voters, and that they voted overwhelmingly to dismiss Mr. Cantor, who fared worse in the most Republican areas." [NYTimes]

TEN REPUBLICAN POLLSTERS RELEASE IMMIGRATION SURVEY - FWD.us: "Using a collaborative effort among ten prominent Republican polling firms, FWD.us conducted two national surveys regarding immigration reform, one of 800 Hispanic registered voters, and the other of 800 registered voters, with an oversample to yield 505 Republican voters….Americans overwhelmingly believe the immigration system in the country is broken and that Congress should take immediate action to fix it. Republicans are more convinced than either Democrats or Independents that immediate action is necessary. Most Americans don’t believe 'deportation' is a viable policy with respect to undocumented immigrants. In fact, there is an overwhelming consensus in support of some kind of legalization for undocumented immigrants (either “legal status” or 'citizenship')." [FWD.us]

Anti-immigration Republicans hit back - Neil Munro: "Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rolled out 10 pollsters Wednesday to show that most GOP and Hispanic respondents agree with a carefully crafted pro-immigration proposal that included a barely-visible endorsement of the company’s primary lobbying goal….The script offered by the Zuckerberg poll to respondents downplayed the most unpopular elements of the immigration rewrite, such as the increased inflow of guest workers during a long period of high unemployment. The script also touted conditions — the need for illegals to learn English and pay taxes, for example — that supposedly would be attached to any amnesty for '11 million' people, but it didn’t show the public’s reaction if those conditions were not enforced." [Daily Caller]

Did you vote in the VA-7 primary? We want to hear from you -- drop us a note at pollster@huffingtonpost.com.

WORDING ON NYPD POLL RAISES QUESTIONS - Matt Sledge: "A Quinnipiac Poll released Thursday asked whether 'the [New York City] police should or should not restore the program where they patrolled public housing projects and asked people in the hallways for ID?' The poll found that 59 percent of respondents supported resuming such a program while 30 percent were against it….But there may be a problem with the poll's wording: The police department never said it terminated an ID-checking 'program,' and the implication that the police stopped checking people in public housing is undermined by the available statistics….Pat Smith of Rubinstein Associates, a public relations firm that represents Quinnipiac, defended the poll's wording. He said pollsters believed police officers are leery of asking people in public housing for ID after U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin'srulings last year against stop and frisk, as well as a law passed by the City Council last year that allows citizens to bring lawsuits over discriminatory stops." [HuffPost]

DRIVING WHILE DROWSY IS RELATIVELY COMMON - Emily Swanson: "The sleep-deprived tractor-trailer driver charged in the weekend crash that killed comedian James McNair and badly injured actor Tracy Morgan and three others shed light on the perils of drowsy driving. According to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, though, drowsy driving is far from uncommon. In fact, 45 percent of Americans said they had at some point felt like they were so tired while driving that they might fall asleep at the wheel." [HuffPost]

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

-David Ige leads Gov. Neil Abercrombie by 11 points in a new Merriman River poll. [Honolulu Civil Beat]

-Jim Henson and Joshua Blank list five takeaways from their new Texas poll. [TribTalk]

-Americans care most about VA reform and equal pay for women, less about investigating Bergdahl. [Gallup]
-Tea Party supporters remain the majority of Republican identifiers. [YouGov]

-National Republicans, including the NRCC, are steering top campaigns away from Eric Cantor's pollster. [The Hill via @cam_joseph]

-One Florida House candidate says he's not worried about using McLaughlin & Associates for polling because Jim McLaughlin, not John McLaughlin, is conducting the surveys. [Miami Herald]

-Update your bookmarks: Prof. Michael McDonald's election data website has a new URL. [ElectProject.org]

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