Contrary to surveys released last week, a new Pew Research poll shows no significant change in the popularity of the ACA. Two new polls in Arkansas give the edge to Democrat Mark Pryor. And Fivethirtyeight fields a poll. This is HuffPollster for Thursday, April 10, 2014.
ACA STANCE MORE IMPORTANT TO REPUBLICANS THAN DEMOCRATS - Pew Research: "A new national survey finds that 64% of Republican registered voters say a candidate’s stance on the health care law will be very important in their voting decision, compared with 52% of Democrats and 45% of independents. The new national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted April 3-6 among 1,010 adults, finds more continue to disapprove (50%) than approve (37%) of the 2010 health care law. Last month, the balance of opinion was similar – 53% disapproved of the law, while 41% approved. Six-in-ten (60%) voters who oppose the health care law say that a candidate’s stance on the health care law will be very important to their vote, compared with about half (48%) of voters who support the law." [Pew Research]
NEW ARKANSAS POLLS TILT TO PRYOR - Sabrina Siddiqui: "Despite rumblings that Sen. Mark Pryor is all but certain to lose to his reelection battle this year, a pair of new polls shows the Arkansas Democrat maintaining a competitive edge over Rep. Tom Cotton, his GOP challenger. Two independent polls released this week underscore that the race between Pryor and Cotton remains close, even as Republicans spend millions attacking the Democratic incumbent over his support for Obamacare. A Talk Business Research/Hendrix College poll out Tuesday found Pryor leading Cotton by 3 points, whereas a survey conducted by Opinion Research Associates, released on Thursday, showed Pryor up by 10 points. The Thursday poll was sponsored by GARN, a group supporting legislation to increase the minimum wage in Arkansas, and is somewhat of an outlier given its wide margin for Pryor over Cotton. HuffPost Pollster's model, which combines all publicly available polling, has consistently shown the two candidates separated by just a few percentage points." [HuffPost, Pollster chart]
-The NRSC's Ward Baker takes issue with the Opinion Research Associates poll's partisan makeup, as well as its descriptions of Pryor and Cotton as "the incumbent" and "the challenger" in its vote question. [NRSC]
-Daily Kos politics contributor Taniel: "2 new polls have Mark Pryor leading, by 10% in one. You'd think NRSC [would] release internal if it had good 1. Nothing" [@Taniel]
-New York Times' Nate Cohn: "If your poll of 'registered voters' is 41% over age 65, I'm not taking you seriously" [@Nate_Cohn]
-Fivethirtyeight's Harry Enten: "So Mark Pryor has a 10 point lead, and I also happened to see Babe Ruth jumping out a time machine yesterday." [@ForecasterEnten]
CIVIL RIGHTS ACT SEEN AS HISTORIC, POSITIVE - Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Anthony Salvanto and Fred Backus: "As the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act nears, almost eight in 10 Americans, including most whites and blacks, say passage of the 1964 act was a very important event in U.S. history, 17 percent call it somewhat important, while just 4 percent think it was not an important event. In addition to its historical importance, Americans think the Civil Rights Act has had a positive effect on both the country overall and on blacks in the U.S. Eighty-one percent think the act has been good for the country, while a mere 1 percent thinks it has been bad. Sixteen percent say it hasn't made much difference. Similarly, most Americans think the Civil Rights Act has improved things for African-Americans in the U.S, including 84 percent of whites and 83 percent of blacks." [CBS]
AMERICANS SEE TORTURE AS SOMETIMES JUSTIFIED - Emily Swanson: "Most Americans think the government is sometimes justified in using torture to combat terrorism, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows. But Americans are more likely than not to think terror can be fought without torture. The poll showed that 68 percent think there are some circumstances when the government is justified in using torture, including 16 percent who think it's always justified, 33 percent who think it's sometimes justified, and 19 percent who think it's rarely justified. Only 22 percent of Americans think torture is never justified. Democrats who were polled were most likely to say that torture is either rarely or never justified. But even among Democrats, only 34 percent said torture is never justified." HuffPost]
FOR DEMS, 2014 RESTS ON MORE THAN TURNING OUT WOMEN - Margie Omero: "Everyone from the President on down seems concerned about how the midterm electorate's composition hurts Democrats. Some predict fewer younger voters turning out. Others point the finger at minorities. Still others say women voters' lagging turnout will hurt Democrats. Then of course there is the perennial Democratic turnout pot-o-gold: unmarried women. But it's just not accurate to place blame for Democrats' struggles at the feet of women, young people and minorities….First, turnout across the board is lower in midterm elections….Second, Democratic performance--not turnout--differentiated the last two midterms….Third, turnout among unmarried women was the same in both 2006 and 2010….[T]here is more to our past success--and failures--than simply getting more women, minorities and young people to the polls." [HuffPost]
FIVETHIRTYEIGHT FIELDS THEIR OWN SURVEY - Walt Hickey: "Stephen Colbert will be replacing David Letterman at “Late Show” on CBS, and that is remarkably convenient for us: We had done a study with SurveyMonkey Audience, an online polling firm, about politics and late-night talk shows. On Feb. 27 and 28, SurveyMonkey asked 1,106 people about their viewing habits weeknights at 11:30. Among that group, 100 said they watched 'Late Show With David Letterman,' and 105 said they watched 'The Colbert Report.' That’s a small sample size, but it’s a good start to gleaning some basic similarities and differences between the two audiences." 
-MassINC Pollster Steve Koczela asks...: "Wait, @FiveThirtyEight did their own survey, @WaltHickey? First of many?" [@skoczela]
-Fivethirtyeight's Walt Hickey answers: "We'll keep it in lifestyle for the most part. Don't expect a political poll anytime soon." [@WaltHickey]
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THURSDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-Congress' job approval rating remains mired in the low teens. [Gallup]
-A PPP (D) poll for the League of Conservation Voters finds Jeanne Shaheen 8 points ahead of Scott Brown in New Hampshire, while a separate survey finds North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory still unpopular. [PPP New Hampshire, PPP North Carolina]
-A Magellan (R) poll finds Republican Steve Daines leading in Montana. [Magellan]
-Frank Newport reviews the history of public opinion on civil rights. [Gallup]
-Harry Enten defends Jeb Bush as having 'as good a shot as anybody' in 2016. 
-Sean Trende is not convinced that Republicans are losing ground in the electoral college, at least not yet. [Crystal Ball]
-Amy Walter ponders the consequences of greater economic pessimism in November 2012 among the key subgroups of the Democratic coalition. [Cook Political]
-Dylan Scott argues that 2014 GOP wins could help Democrats in 2016. [TPM]
-Mona Chalabi and Nate Silver find a wider gender pay gap in states that vote Republican.