A new national poll gives Republicans an advantage on enthusiasm, but not as big as in 2010. The current border crisis has Americans placing greater importance on border security. And millennials are killing the golf industry. This is HuffPollster for Thursday, July 24, 2014.
DEMOCRATS LAG ON MIDTERM ENTHUSIASM, BUT LESS THAN IN 2010 - Pew Research: "The Republican Party holds a clear advantage in voter engagement in this fall’s midterm elections, according to a new national survey by the Pew Research Center. Yet GOP voters are not as enthused and engaged as they were at this point in the midterm campaign four years ago, prior to the Republican Party winning control of the House of Representatives, or as Democratic voters were in 2006, before Democrats gained control of Congress….Today, the Republicans lead on a number of key engagement indicators, though in some cases by smaller margins than four years ago. Currently, 45% of registered voters who plan to support the Republican in their district say they are more enthusiastic about voting than in prior congressional elections; that compares with 37% of those who plan to vote for the Democratic candidate. The GOP had a 13-point enthusiasm advantage at this point in the midterm campaign four years ago (55% to 42%) and the Democrats held a 17-point advantage eight years ago (47% to 30%)." [Pew]
Preferences for U.S. House 'evenly divided' - More from Pew Research: " Currently, 45% say if the election were held today they would support the Republican in their district or lean toward the Republican, while 47% favor the Democrat or lean Democratic...The two parties also ran even on the so-called “generic ballot” throughout much of the 2010 campaign. The GOP’s victory in the national popular vote in 2010 – and their gain of 63 seats in the House – was ultimately fueled by a sharp rise in turnout by the Republican base, particularly among conservatives and older voters." [ibid]
Why does voter turnout drop off for mid-term elections? - Drew DeSilver reviews the political science literature. [Pew Research]
SUPPORT FOR BORDER CONTROL GROWS - Paul Steinhauser: "The current crisis on the nation's southern border appears to be fueling a notable shift in American attitudes toward immigration policy with border security growing in importance, according to a new national survey….The influx of children trying to cross the southern border, many of them unaccompanied, has been a major media story over the past month. The White House and many Democrats have clashed with Republicans in Congress and governors over who is to blame and what should be done about it. According to the poll, 51% now say the government's focus, when it comes to immigration policy, should be formulating a plan to stop the flow of undocumented immigrants. Forty-five percent say the top priority should be developing a plan that would allow undocumented immigrants who have jobs to become legal residents. That's a change from February, when Americans said 54%-41% that legal status trumped border security….Americans are divided on how they view the undocumented children. Fifty-one percent describe most as refugees fleeing violence and poverty, with 45% saying most of them are illegal immigrants whose parents are trying to exploit a loophole in the U.S. immigration system." [CNN]
GEORGIA RUNOFF POLLING, CONTINUED...Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen sent the following response to HuffPollsters review of polling problems associated with Georgia's Republican runoff election on Tuesday: "My big question for the media organizations bashing the public polling in all these GOP contests is if your pollster is so superior why don't you put them to the test polling things like runoff elections? NBC paid Marist last week to do the 10th poll in the last 3 months showing that Scott Brown is proving to be a flop, maybe they should have paid them to poll the Georgia runoff instead. If they'd found Perdue ahead I feel like they'd have more credibility in bashing the 'inferior' polls but there is little record of major media organizations putting themselves on the line by polling anything other than November elections. Their methodology may be 'better' by some set of standards but there seems to be little interest in validating that with these harder to poll elections."
M. Allen Towery, who conducts polling for Insider Advantage, also posted a response. [Opinion Savvy]
AMERICANS DON'T BLAME OBAMA FOR FOREIGN CRISES, BUT DON'T APPROVE OF HIS HANDLING EITHER - Kathy Frankovic: "Ukraine, Syria, Israel. American President Barack Obama gets negative ratings from Americans on his handling of all three crises, even though most respondents in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll don’t hold the President responsible for what is taking place. Neither do they want the United States to seek out any involvement in the conflicts. Barely over a third believe the United States has a responsibility to do something about the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the highest percentage for the three crises. Less than a quarter say that about Ukraine, and even fewer want the U.S. to take a stand in Syria….Despite what appears to be an overwhelming American preference for non-involvement in these three conflicts, as well as general agreement that the President [bears little to no responsibility] for what is taking place there, Barack Obama receives negative assessments for his handling of each of these crises. And the assessments don’t vary crisis to crisis. Less than a third of Americans approve of how he is handling each; in each case, more disapprove." [YouGov]
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THURSDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-The NEP exit poll will return to Texas in 2014. [Texas Tribune]
-Californians support law to reduce greenhouse gases, but aren't as enthused about paying more for gas or electricity. [PPIC]
-Voters say Putin has the upper hand in Ukraine. [Fox]
-Virginians are split over state Medicaid expansion. [Roanoke Times]
-Harry Enten sees John Walsh's (D) chances sinking further in Montana after a plagiarism scandal. 
-Sabato's Crystal Ball issues six Senate rating changes. [University of Virginia Center for Politics]
-The turnout for the Georgia runoff election shows how unusual the turnout gain in Mississippi was. [WSJ]
-The AFL-CIO's political director says elections hinge on how Democrats do among voters making less than $50,000. [Atlantic]
-Brown University is bringing in a new team to conduct its polling. [WPRI]
-Americans oppose lowering the drinking age. [Gallup]
-Millennials are not so big on golf. [WSJ]
-Data visualizations, made from food. [Wired]