07/15/2014 05:43 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

HUFFPOLLSTER: Washington Gets Poor Marks On Immigration Crisis


Americans are unhappy with the way everyone in Washington is handling immigration. Two prominent Senate forecast models both incorporate polling yet disagree on Republican prospects. And for our friends in Cleveland, we've got a fresh LeBron James poll. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

DISAPPROVAL OF BOTH SIDES ON MIGRANT CRISIS - David Nakamura and Scott Clement: "A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds widespread public disapproval of the way President Obama and Republicans in Congress are handling the influx of unaccompanied foreign children at the southern border as the two sides engage in a fierce debate over how to stem the crisis. Nearly 6 out of 10 Americans are not happy with Obama’s performance in dealing with the tens of thousands of minors who have arrived from Central America in recent months, overwhelming Border Patrol stations. All told, 58 percent disapprove of his management on the issue, including 54 percent of Latinos….But as with other hot-button issues, congressional Republicans fare even worse in the court of public opinion, with 66 percent disapproving of the job GOP lawmakers have done to address the crisis." [WashPost]


POLLS GIVE DEMOCRATS SLIM LEADS IN MICHIGAN, COLORADO - HuffPollster: "Democrats have a slim advantage in their quest to hold onto two Senate seats in Michigan and Colorado, an NBC/Marist poll released Tuesday finds….In the race to succeed retiring Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) leads GOP candidate and former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land by 6 percentage points, 43 percent to 37 percent. In Colorado, incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (D) leads Rep. Cory Gardner (R) by 7 points, 48 percent to 41 percent….The latest Michigan results are in line with most other polling on the race: Every survey taken since May, including polling from both sides, has given Peters a lead of 3 to 9 points. HuffPost Pollster's polling model, which includes all publicly available surveys, puts Peters 5 points ahead….There's relatively scant independent polling data to compare in Colorado, where most of the surveys this year have been automated phone polls, often on behalf of partisan clients. The newest results are better for Udall than three robopolls conducted since May (which, unlike NBC/Marist, attempted to screen for voters likely to turn out in November). Those ranged from a Democrat-sponsored survey that put Udall 4 points ahead to a Republican one that gave Gardner a 2-point lead. HuffPost Pollster's model gives Udall a lead of just less than 3 points." [HuffPost]


More from NBC - Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann: "Here’s an explanation: mind the gaps -- the gender gap, the Latino gap, and the independent gap. In Colorado, Udall is up by 12 points among female voters (50%-38%), as Democratic groups like Senate Majority PAC are up with TV ads (like this one) on abortion and contraception. Indeed, 70% of Colorado voters in the NBC/Marist poll said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who supports restrictions on the use of contraception. And in Michigan, Peters is ahead by 13 points with women (46%-33%). We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: The Democratic path to survival in this very difficult midterm season for the party is through women….REAL Republican success in the midterms will be expanding the party’s reach into these blue and purple states, which are also presidential battleground states. The GOP winning in the red states doesn’t prove anything we don’t already know. But the GOP winning in states like Colorado and Iowa, well, that would send quite a statement." [NBC]

WASHINGTON POST ELECTION LAB PREDICTS 86 PERCENT CHANCE OF SENATE TAKEOVER - John Sides: "Election Lab, our midterm elections forecast, has been updated with a host of new features, including — most importantly — an updated forecast. Our model currently gives Republicans an 86 percent chance of winning a Senate majority….Our Senate model includes the same factors noted previously, but now also includes a polling average from various races that currently have sufficient polling data….By itself, our forecasting model has always indicated that the GOP had a good chance of retaking the Senate. Nothing in the political landscape has shifted the model’s forecast….There was a time, though, when the polling data suggested more GOP vulnerability. Consider, for example, the Kentucky Senate race between Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. In late 2013 and the first few months of 2014, polls suggested the race was tied. But now the polling has begun to line up more cleanly with the forecast. McConnell has opened up a narrow lead that, in combination with the model, is sufficient for us to forecast a Republican victory there. Thus, although current polls adjust our model’s forecast for individual races, the polls do not change our topline prediction, which is currently bullish for the GOP." Note: The Post's Election Lab forecast incorporates polling data using the HuffPost Pollster API. [WashPost, Pollster API]

New York Times/Upshot Model predicts toss-up - All forecast models that include polls are not created equal. The New York Times/Upshot election model, also based on a combination of polling plus "candidates’ political experience, fund-raising, a state’s past election results and national polling" currently gives the Republicans a 51 percent chance of winning the Senate. [NY Times]

How 538's informal forecast would differ if based on polls alone - In June, Nate Silver characterized the 'informal' FiveThirtyEight Senate forecast as pointing to a "toss-up," but "if asked to place a bet at even odds, we’d take a Republican Senate." Today, Harry Enten describes how considering polls alone would differ: "[L]et’s take the polls’ word for it; if Republicans sweep those nine close races (plus South Dakota), the GOP would pick up 10 seats, controlling 55 in the new Senate. If Republicans lost all of them (including Georgia, Kentucky and Arkansas), they’d pick up only two seats — holding 47. In other words, the final outcome for the Senate could be anything from a minor Republican gain to a GOP romp. At the moment, the state of play seems manageable from a Democratic perspective, but the party’s position is perilous. A tiny shift could tip the canoe and spill a lot of Democrats overboard." [538, previous Senate forecast]

AMERICANS HATE CONGRESS, DIFFER ON HOW TO FIX IT - Andrew Dugan: "Congress's low approval ratings for the past several years underscore the idea that Americans think their representative bodies need dramatic changes. Gallup in the current poll asked respondents in an open-ended format what their most important recommendation to fix Congress would be. More than one in five Americans (22%) are ready to start over entirely, saying all members should be fired or replaced. Clearly, there won't be a wholesale turnover in congressional representation in any election, but the general idea of replacing the old with the new does speak to the public's immense frustration with the legislative branch….Americans who say they affiliate with one of the two major political parties have somewhat differing perspectives on the best recourse to rehabilitating Congress. A plurality of Republicans (21%) want to fire all members, and another 18% would impose term limits and/or shorten terms. Fewer than one in 10 Republicans (8%) suggest bipartisan cooperation….The highest percentage of Democrats, on the other hand, advocates bipartisan cooperation (25%) as the remedy for Congress's ills." [Gallup]


REASON POLL SHOWS CONFLICTING VIEWS AMONG MILLENNIALS - Derek Thompson: "Millennial politics is simple, really. Young people support big government, unless it costs any more money. They're for smaller government, unless budget cuts scratch a program they've heard of. They'd like Washington to fix everything, just so long as it doesn't run anything. That's all from a new Reason Foundation poll surveying 2,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 29.….You get the sense, reading the Reason Foundation and Pew studies, that a savvy pollster could trick a young person into supporting basically any economic policy in the world with the right combination of triggers….Overall, Millennials offer the murky impression of a generation that doesn't really understand basic economics. To be fair, neither do most Americans. Or many economists, perhaps. Or most journalists. Economics is hard." [The Atlantic]

Not unique to young Americans - As Thompson notes, millennials are far from the only ones to give pollsters contradictory answers: witness Americans' simultaneous loathing for most of Congress and the sky-high reelection rate for incumbents. The opportunity for conflicted responses is even higher when it comes to complicated issues like economic policy, where broad questions garner very different responses from those on specific policies. In a 2013 Pew poll, for instance, 70 percent of Americans called deficit reduction a top priority, but wide majorities opposed cuts to more than a dozen programs and issues. [HuffPost]

NBA FANS BACK LEBRON JAMES' DECISION - Sabrina Siddiqui and Emily Swanson: "NBA fans largely agree with LeBron James' decision to return home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows, but the majority of them think James would win more championships if he kept his talents in South Beach. Forty percent of Americans who follow the NBA said James did the right thing by signing with Cleveland, as opposed to 24 percent who said he should have stayed with the Miami Heat and just 10 percent who said James should have tried his luck with a different team….Sixty-three percent of basketball fans said Cleveland should welcome James back, while 21 percent said they should not." [HuffPost]

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

-The partisan gap in sympathies toward Israel has never been wider. [Pew Research]

-A PPP survey of Mississippi finds Republicans split over whether Thad Cochran fairly won his runoff against Chris McDaniel. [TPM]

-A survey for Americans United for Change (D) finds little support for suing President Obama. [HuffPost]

-Kaiser Family Foundation looks at the success of programs to assist Americans with buying insurance. Kaiser]

-Marylanders are meh on O'Malley. [Rasmussen]

-Stu Rothenberg moves the North Carolina Senate race to "Tossup/Tilts Democrat." [Roll Call]

-Nate Cohn and Derek Willis find more evidence, in precinct level vote returns, that Thad Cochran's owes his victory in Mississippi to black voters. [NY Times]

-Rich Morin digs into the demographics on gun ownership. [Pew]

-Melissa Michelson reviews research on which voter mobilization tactics work. [WashPost]

-Philip Bump argues the effects of gerrymandering are overstated. [WashPost]

-Elizabeth Wilner reports on the mix of positive and negative political television advertising at different times of day and on different types of programing. [Cook Political]

-David Rothschild and his team at Microsoft correctly predicted the outcome of every match in the World Cup's knockout rounds. [Foreign Policy]

-Babies born on St. Patrick's Day are way more likely to be named Patrick (or Patricia). [Slate]