A majority of Democrats and Republicans support nuclear negotiations with Iran. Trust drops for Clinton. And Americans are split over concern of government surveillance in a post Snowden era. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, March 17, 2015.
AMERICANS BACK IRAN NUCLEAR NEGOTIATIONS - Jennifer Agiesta: "Americans broadly back direct negotiations with Iran about that country's nuclear program, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. And although about half (49%) say some Republican senators went too far by sending a letter to Iran's leaders warning that any agreement with the Obama administration would require Senate approval, only about one-third (39%) think the letter hurt U.S. efforts to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.....Direct diplomatic negotiations with Iran are broadly popular, 68% favor them, while 29% oppose them. That support cuts across party lines, with 77% of Democrats, 65% of Republicans and 64% of independents in favor of diplomacy between the U.S. and Iran in an attempt to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons." [CNN]
CLINTON'S NEGATIVES RISE, BUT... - Jennifer Agiesta: "Unfavorable views of Hillary Clinton are on the rise and perceptions of her as 'honest and trustworthy' have dropped following the revelation that while serving as secretary of state she used a personal email address and home-based server to conduct State Department business. But questions about Clinton's email practices may not harm her chances if she makes a run for the White House in 2016, as a new CNN/ORC poll finds 57% of Americans say she's someone they'd be proud to have as their president….The survey was conducted after Clinton's press conference last week addressing the controversy over her emails….With Clinton widely expected to launch a presidential campaign soon, 52% said her handling of these emails is not relevant to her character or her ability to serve as president, while 46% see it as an important indicator of her character and readiness for the job." [CNN]
Consistent with long term trend - Clinton's favorable rating, which had risen to well above fifty percent during her tenure as Secretary of State, has been in gradual decline as her reentry into the domestic political fray renewed polarization in her ratings. [Pollster chart]
MORE ECONOMIC OPTIMISM, BUT FRUSTRATION OVER WAGE GROWTH - Ron Brownstein: "Americans are expressing more optimism about their personal financial prospects, but big majorities remain dissatisfied over wage growth and the cost of living, the latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll has found. Across a range of measures, the survey found that the robust job gains of recent months and record highs in the stock market have not fundamentally lifted the cloud of economic anxiety that has lingered over the public since the Great Recession. Despite some improvement, opinions about the economy's current state—both overall and on specific measures like the job situation and wage growth—remain more negative than positive, the poll found." [National Journal]
Gains in optimism among Republicans - More from Brownstein: "One good sign for President Obama is that these gains are being driven almost entirely by groups that have routinely expressed the most resistance to him. Compared to April 2013, the lowest point for optimism in the survey's past few years...the share expecting personal gains over the next year grew since April 2013 by 10 percentage points among whites with a college degree and 11 points among whites without them. Among each group, men showed larger gains than women and blue-collar white men—consistently the white voters more hostile to Obama—improved the most of all, with the share expecting their situation to brighten rising from 26 to 43 percent. Similarly, the poll recorded a bigger increase in optimistic expectations among Republicans (up 21 percentage points since April 2013) than among Democrats or independents (each up five points)."
POST SNOWDEN ERA: AMERICANS SPLIT ON CONCERNS OVER GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE - Lee Rainie & Mary Madden: "It has been nearly two years since the first disclosures of government surveillance programs by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and Americans are still coming to terms with how they feel about the programs and how to live in light of them… 34% of those who are aware of the surveillance programs (30% of all adults) have taken at least one step to hide or shield their information from the government...Overall, 52% describe themselves as “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about government surveillance of Americans’ data and electronic communications, compared with 46% who describe themselves as “not very concerned” or “not at all concerned” about the surveillance. When asked about more specific areas of concern over their own communications and online activities, respondents expressed somewhat lower levels of concern about electronic surveillance in various parts of their digital lives." [Pew]
EARLY REPORTS OF HIGH TURNOUT IN ISRAEL - Times of Israel: "The 13.7 percent turnout number comes close to the 14.2 percent who had voted by 10 a.m. in 1999. That year, which saw Labor leader Ehud Barak push Netanyahu from power, 78.7% of eligible Israelis voted, before turnout numbers fell off to the low-mid 60s in the new millennium." [Times of Israel]
More reports on turnout via Twitter
-Haviv Rettiggur: "If 20% rise in turnout holds for the rest of the day, turnout would be around 80%, a height we haven't seen since the late 1990s." [@havivrettiggur]
-Lahav Harkov: "10% of Israeli Arabs voted so far, as opposed to only 3% at this time in the last election, according to Joint List" [@LahavHarkov]
Signs of poll 'herding?' - Carl Bialik and Harry Enten: "The [Israeli] polls are stale enough to leave room for a major change before Tuesday, which could shift parties’ power heading into coalition negotiations. The polls could be flawed in addition to outdated. Saltan said that private campaign polling in Israel tends to be better than the publicly released polling, which can vary widely by how people are polled — by landline, cellphone or Internet. Relying too much on any method risks missing parts of the electorate. Batelbe60 has identified what looks like “herding” in the Israeli polls, a phenomenon we’ve spotted in U.S. electoral polls. The polls nonetheless did pretty well in the last two elections. In 2013, Saltan’s model predicted seat counts within one seat of the correct number for most parties." 
AMERICANS SAY CLOSING OKLAHOMA FRAT FOR RACISM WAS RIGHT - Tyler Kingkader: "Most Americans think the University of Oklahoma was right to shut down its chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and expel two of the fraternity members over racist behavior, according to a new YouGov poll. The national SAE organization closed the OU chapter last week after video surfaced of white frat members leading others in a racist song that joked about lynching black men. Following SAE's decision, the university closed the fraternity house, which the school owns, and ordered the students living there to vacate the property. Fifty-nine percent of poll respondents said OU made the correct call in closing the frat house, while 15 percent said it was the wrong decision and 27 percent weren't sure. Older Americans and Democrats tended to be more supportive of the university than those ages 18-29, Republicans and independents." [HuffPost]
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TUESDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush are the most well-known and have the highest net favorable ratings among Republicans, [Gallup]
-Opinions on Obamacare remain divided along party lines. [Pew]
-Americans define "rich" as anyone who makes more money than they do. [WashPost]
-Americans have more tolerance for a speaker who preaches hatred of blacks than they do for a Muslim speaker who preaches hatred of America. [WashPost]
-Millennials connect with the news, in their own way. [AP]
-Becky Kramer (R) notes the rated importance of education as a voting issue in 2016. [POS]
-Political scientists find online town halls can change constituents' minds -- and even their votes. [WashPost]
-R.I.P. Curtis Gans. [ABC]
-Three quarters of parents think other parents overshare online. [University of Michigan]