POLITICS
08/15/2014 06:00 pm ET

HUFFPOLLSTER: Recent Surveys Don't Agree On Midterm Outlook

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If the election were today, some U.S. House generic ballot estimates would be very wrong. African-Americans feel their relationship with the police has worsened in the past two decades. And time has vastly changed opinions of gay rights. This is HuffPollster for Friday, August 15, 2014.

AMERICANS ARE FRUSTRATED WITH PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE IN WASHINGTON - Dana Blanton: "With less than three months until Election Day, the Democratic Party is better liked than the Republican Party, but voters are equally frustrated with both. A new Fox News national poll finds the same percentage is extremely or very “frustrated and upset” with congressional Republicans and congressional Democrats -- 44 percent each. That’s more than say they feel that way toward President Obama (40 percent frustrated and upset), incumbents in general (38 percent) or members of the Tea Party in Congress (35 percent). The most frustration is saved for the news media: 48 percent are extremely or very frustrated and upset with the press (but 49 percent aren’t)...It’s August. Obviously it isn’t Election Day. If it were, the poll finds that 46 percent of voters would back the Democratic candidate in their House district and 39 percent the Republican." [Fox]

No consensus on Generic House ballot - Fox's 7-point lead for the Democrats contrasts sharply with a McClatchy/Marist poll earlier this week that found the GOP 5 points ahead. Other surveys fielded in August fall somewhere in the middle: CBS has the Democrats up 4 and the libertarian Reason/Rupe poll has them up 1, while Rasmussen and NBC/Wall Street Journal have the GOP up 1. [HuffPost chart, non-partisan live caller only]

PLURALITY OF BLACK AMERICANS SEE WORSENING RELATIONS WITH POLICE - Emily Swanson: "Black Americans are more likely to think blacks' relationships with police have gotten worse rather than better over the past 20 years, and only a third of blacks think relationships with police have improved in the past 50 years, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows. Black respondents to the poll were three times more likely to say relationships with police have gotten worse rather than better over the past two decades, 42 percent to 12 percent. Thirty-nine percent of blacks said they think relationships have stayed the same over the past 20 years….A 53 percent majority of all Americans think police in most big cities are tougher on blacks than on whites. Only 31 percent think police treat blacks and whites the same. Three percent said they think police are tougher on whites. Among black respondents, 86 percent said city police are usually tougher on blacks, while 6 percent said police treat blacks and whites the same." [HuffPost]

'SEA CHANGE' IN OPINIONS OF GAY RIGHTS - Anita Kumar: "Americans are changing their minds about gays at a startling pace, driven by young people coming of age in a new era and by people of all ages increasingly familiar with gays and lesbians in their families and their lives, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll. A solid majority support same-sex marriage, confirming the fast-turning tide that’s started appearing over the last three years. A majority say they wouldn’t be upset or very upset if a child were gay, up dramatically from a generation ago. And an overwhelming majority say it would make no difference to them if a candidate for Congress were gay, up sharply. The sea change in attitudes is being propelled by two major forces, the poll found. First, people aged 18-29 overwhelmingly favor same-sex marriage. Second, the ranks of Americans who say they know someone who’s gay has skyrocketed over the last decade and a half. And those who know someone who’s gay are almost twice as likely to support same-sex marriage, the survey found." [McClatchy]

MORE APPRECIATION OF DOTTY LYNCH - Annie Groer on Dotty Lynch, the former Democratic campaign pollster CBS News political analyst who died of melanoma on Sunday at age 69: "She played the ukulele. She adored tacky Christmas sweaters. She was funny. She was also a deeply religious Catholic. When asked once to name her favorite book, she replied 'Matthew,' as in 'The Gospel According to.'...'She loved data. She loved political intel and she loved gossip, but not necessarily in that order,' said R. Morgan Downey, an obesity health policy consultant whom she married in 2003, more than three decades after they met on George McGovern’s presidential campaign...But she was, by all accounts, a natural mentor and professor, teaching political communication and research at American University from 2006 until May. 'Dotty always wanted to give us real-life experience. She brought in experts. She wanted us to see what it was like to be journalists,; said Miriam Diemer, 31, a former student who is now a researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics. A key lesson from Lynch: 'The best thing Dotty taught us was to be generous.'" [WashPost]

Stephanie Slade remembers: "After breaking ground as the first woman to be top pollster on a presidential campaign and then spending two decades as the immensely respected political director at CBS News, Dorothea Jean Lynch — known to all as Dotty — launched her third career as a professor at American University. Her vision was for the school to offer an M.A. in political communications, a program that would span two departments and prepare students for something resembling the success she’d had in Washington...Dotty was the definition of a beautiful soul. Never without a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye, she loved everyone around her. Asked in an interview once about awards she had received, Dotty answered thusly: 'My students won AU awards last semester for best research paper and best political communication paper at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Those were more gratifying than any awards I might have won myself.' That was Dotty: far more concerned about others’ accomplishments than she was about her own." [US News]

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

-Nate Cohn discusses one path to a Democratic majority in the Senate [NYT]

-Walt Hickey and Harry Enten compile a list of the "most blah governors." [538]

-Americans divided about whether the US has responsibility to get further involved in Iraq [YouGov]

-Rasmussen finds Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Mary Burke (D) nearly tied in Wisconsin gubernatorial race. [Rasmussen]

-Lawrence Ezrow, Margit Tavits and Jonathan Homola ask when polarization matters. [WashPost]

-A poll for the libertarian Reason Foundation finds a plurality wants increased infrastructure spending, few want to pay for it with higher gas taxes. [Reason]

-Brian Schaffner, Wouter Van Erve and Ray LaRaja investigate why the racial composition of Ferguson officials doesn't match the racial composition of Ferguson residents. [WashPost]

-Julia Ioffe's informal focus group in an "upscale St. Louis suburb" finds little sympathy for for Michael Brown or the Furgeson protesters. [New Republic via @DrewLinzer]

-Nathan L. Gonzales looks at how much challengers have to spend to have a shot in Senate contests [538]

-Micah Roberts (R) argues poll data show independents have been hit hardest by Obama's economic policies. [POS]

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