A new poll of finds most Ukranians want their country to remain unified, and Pew Research explains how they got the interviews done. Fewer Americans identify with the Tea Party, but those who do are especially enthusiastic about voting in 2014. And we just can't stop talking about turnout. This is HuffPollster for Thursday, May 8, 2014.
UKRAINIANS FAVOR UNIFIED STATE - Pew Research Global Attitudes Project: "A clear majority of Ukrainians agree that their country should remain a single, unified state, according to a pair of new surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center in Ukraine and Russia – after Crimea’s annexation by Russia, but prior to recent violence in Odessa and other cities. The survey in Ukraine also finds a clearly negative reaction to the role Russia is playing in the country. By contrast, the poll in Russia reveals a public that firmly backs Vladimir Putin and Crimea’s secession from Ukraine...Ukrainians are far from satisfied with the involvement of foreign powers to date. The European Union fares best in the eyes of Ukrainians, with a 45%-plurality describing its influence in Ukraine as good. Meanwhile, assessments of the U.S. impact on Ukraine are split: 38% positive, 38% negative. Russia is viewed with the greatest suspicion. Three times as many Ukrainians say Russia is having a bad influence on their country as say it is having a good impact (67% vs. 22%)." [Pew Research]
How did Pew survey a country 'stricken by violence and unrest?' James Bell, Pew Research’s director of international survey research, explains: "In Ukraine, as in many other countries around the globe, our surveys are conducted face-to-face, rather than by telephone. This means that interviewers are assigned the task of walking through neighborhoods and knocking on doors to randomly select survey participants. Being out on the street can be risky at times, especially in a restive country like Ukraine. I want to stress that Pew Research always puts interviewer safety first...If we judge conditions in a country to be too dangerous, we will either delay or cancel the project." In this case Pew Research did not exclude Crimea or other parts of the country due to violence or security threats, however: "We encountered one instance where a driver on his way to deliver completed questionnaires to the central office was stopped at a roadblock. Unidentified men seized a packet of questionnaires and burnt it on the spot. The driver was not detained and left the scene unharmed. This occurred in the early days of fieldwork, and the lost questionnaires were replaced by interviewers returning to the original neighborhoods and re-administering the survey." [Pew Research]
TEA PARTY SUPPORT CONTINUES TO DECLINE - Frank Newport: "About four in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents classify themselves as supporters of the Tea Party, while 11% are opponents and 48% are neither. This continues to be a significant drop from the Tea Party's high-water mark in November 2010, when 61% of Republicans were supporters of the Tea Party….The broad group of Republicans who are supporters of the Tea Party are remarkably similar to other Republicans across most demographic categories -- including race and ethnicity, income, age, education, or region of country. Republican Tea Party supporters are somewhat more likely to be weekly church attenders and slightly more likely to be men.What then are the key factors that separate Republicans who support the Tea Party and those who do not? The answer to that question revolves mainly around ideology. Over half of Republicans who self-identify as conservatives are supporters of the Tea Party. Support for the Tea Party drops to 23% among moderate and liberal Republicans....[Yet] Republican Tea Party supporters have given the election more thought, and also are significantly more likely to say they are more enthusiastic about voting, than either other Republicans or non-Republicans. [Gallup]
30 PERCENT WILL VOTE TO OPPOSE OBAMA - Andrew Dugan: "Three in 10 registered voters say when they vote for a candidate in the fall midterm elections, it will be to send a message that they oppose U.S. President Barack Obama, equal to the amount who said this before the Republican wave election of 2010. Nearly a quarter, 24%, say they are voting to support Obama, also similar to 2010. The largest number of voters, however, say their vote will not be a reflection on the president." [Gallup]
TURNOUT NOT AS IMPORTANT AS DC WAGS CLAIM - So says Harry Enten: "The demographics of who voted in 2012 vs. 2010 were different, but that difference didn’t make much of a difference. The reason Republicans won more votes in 2010 — and likely will in 2014 — is that voters wanted Republicans in office, not that minorities and young people didn’t turn out to vote." Using statistics drawn from the Census' Current Population Surveys on voting from 2010 and 2012, Enten attempts to apply the 2010 turnout to the 2012 vote, and vice versa. "In this hypothetical 2010 [based on 2012 turnout], Republicans would have won the national House vote by 4.1 points and taken somewhere in the neighborhood of 232 seats, good enough for a 53-seat gain. The more robust the math, the more solid the GOP’s lead. The same thing works in reverse, when we take 2010’s turnout rates and apply them to 2012. With just midterm voters casting a ballot, President Obama would have won the national vote in 2012 by 1.2 points. That’s 2.7 points less than his actual margin in 2012, but it’s more than enough to have carried the election. It’s not that the demographic splits of voter turnout don’t matter. They worked in Republicans’ favor in 2010 and in Democrats’ favor in 2012; demographics just weren’t the reason either party won. What really mattered was that voters changed their minds about which party they wanted to vote for." 
Nate Cohn agrees - Via Twitter, The New York Times' Nate Cohn offers "3 thoughts" about his "apparent disagreement" with Enten's article: "1) Despite framing, we agree: his piece says midterm turnout costs Ds 2.7 pts, my estimate was 3 pts....2) In states where Ds depend more on young, non-white voters, like NC, turnout costs...3) If the race for Senate is as close as [the NYT and] 538 [models] estimate, a 3 pt turnout gap is easily decisive. Models don't really account for it." [@Nate_Cohn here, here and here]
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THURSDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-Jason Husser examines how North Carolina Republicans could help Kay Hagan. [WashPost]
-Why should Republicans hope Jeb Bush runs? Florida, says Nate Cohn. [NYTimes]
-To reach younger voters, Jim Hobart (R) says Republicans should emulate Barack Obama's decision to "go Between Two Ferns." [POS]
-Marjorie Connelly explains why pollsters are exempt from the Do-Not-Call registry. [NYTimes]
-South Dakota reporter David Montgomery offers reasons to distrust the public release of internal polls. [Argus Leader]
-Nearly half of Netflix subscribers would abandon the streaming video service if prices went up by $2. [HuffPost/YouGov]
-Utahns are most likely to donate money or time to charities. [Gallup]