02/27/2014 05:52 pm ET

HUFFPOLLSTER: Do Republicans Hold The Advantage In 2014 Elections?

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The CBS/New York Times poll gives Republicans a slight advantage in early vote intentions for their member of the House, which will portend doom for the Democrats chances of holding the Senate...if it persists until the summer. And 72.5 percent of registered voters named "Poll" are Democrats. This is HuffPollster for Thursday, February 27, 2014.

CBS/TIMES GIVES GOP EDGE ON NATIONAL HOUSE VOTE - Jonathan Martin and Megan Thee Brennan: "Republicans are in a stronger position than Democrats for this year’s midterm elections, benefiting from the support of self-described independents, even though the party itself is deeply divided and most Americans agree more with Democratic policy positions, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll shows….Republicans hold their edge despite the fissures in their party over whether it is too conservative or not conservative enough, and many are discouraged about the party’s future. Democrats, in turn, are more optimistic and relatively united. Nonetheless, they, too, are held in low regard over all by a public fed up with Washington’s failure to compromise, and they have failed so far to energize a broader segment of the population….42 percent say they will back Republicans in November, and 39 percent indicate that they will back Democrats, a difference within the poll’s margin of sampling error." [NYT]

The 'generic vote' can help predict the outcome, but... - Alan Abramowitz: "A simple model based on a large body of political science research allows us to make fairly accurate predictions of seat swing in midterm U.S. Senate elections...The three predictors are the results of the generic congressional ballot question in national polls in early September; the difference between the number of Republican seats and the number of Democratic seats at stake in the election; and a dummy variable for the president’s party….Republicans start off the 2014 campaign with an expected gain of 5.7 seats. That is very close to the six seats that Republicans need to regain control of the Senate….The only predictor that is not yet set for 2014 is the generic ballot variable, and that will not be known for several months — results much earlier than the late summer or early fall have little or no predictive validity...Based on the generic ballot forecasting model, Democrats will need a cushion of at least five points on the generic ballot question in early September in order to have a better than 50/50 chance of keeping control of the Senate." [Sabato's Crystal Ball]

And other recent polls have been slightly kinder to the Democrats - While virtually all of the recent surveys have put Democrats below the five point margin Abramowitz says they will need to keep control of the Senate, several have produced slightly better findings for the Democrats than the CBS/NYTimes poll. A MClatchy-Marist survey in early February gave the Democrats a 2 percentage point edge, and the Rasmussen Reports tracking poll has given Democrats the advantage by margins varying from 1 to 6 percentage points since January. [Marist, Rasmussen]

AMERICANS SPLIT ON DEPORTATION OF UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS - Elise Foley: "While most Americans think undocumented immigrants should get a chance to become legal residents, they're split on whether a recent uptick in deportations is a good or bad thing, according to a poll released Thursday by Pew Research Center….The new poll found broad support for allowing some undocumented immigrants to remain in the country legally, which would in effect stem the tide of deportations. Seventy-three percent of those polled support such a measure, while 24 percent oppose allowing undocumented immigrants to stay….The view on deportations -- which hit a record high in 2012 at more than 400,000 -- showed a very divided opinion among Americans. Forty-five percent of people said the increase in deportations over recent years was a bad thing, another 45 percent called it a good thing." [HuffPost] Pew Research]

FEW BACK RELIGIOUS-BASED DISCRIMINATION AGAINST GAY CUSTOMERS - Emily Swanson: "Most Americans oppose allowing businesses to legally use religious beliefs as grounds to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. By a 50 percent to 32 percent margin, Americans in the poll said that businesses should not be allowed to refuse service to certain customers if the business owner says serving those customers would violate his or her beliefs. And Americans were even more likely to oppose allowing businesses to target gays and lesbians specifically. By a 67 percent to 25 percent margin, most Americans rejected the idea that it should be legally permissible for a business to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers because of the owner's beliefs." [HuffPost]

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

-More Americans say the government spends too much (37 percent) rather than too little (28 percent) on the military. [Gallup]

-More voters think the auto industry bailouts were good for the U.S. (45 percent) rather than bad (35 percent). [Rasmussen]

-The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index has improved for three straight weeks. [Bloomberg]

-In Iowa, PPP (D) finds Clinton leading the 2016 field among the Democrats, and all candidates in the teens or lower among Republicans. [PPP]

-Despite slight decline, Christie still runs within five points of Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania [Quinnipiac]

-Another poll gives Wolf the lead in Pennsylvania's Democratic primary for Senate. [Harper Polls(R)]

-Sasha Issenberg explores the limits of money in crafting a grassroots advantage. [Politico]

-25 years after the Internet's creation, nearly all Americans now use it, and most see it and similar technologies as increasingly essential. [Pew Research]

-Is your first name Democratic or Republican? [HuffPost]