French surveys show Marine Le Pen narrowly ahead in the nation’s first round of voting, but losing in subsequent runoffs. Back at home, the GOP health care bill is deeply unpopular. And a new study finds a growing partisan divide between younger and older Americans. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, March 18, 2017.
HUFFPOST POLLSTER IS TRACKING THE FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION - Natalie Jackson: “Front National candidate Marine Le Pen’s lead in French pre-election polls raises the specter of France falling to right-wing populist power similar to the forces that resulted in U.K. voters choosing Brexit and U.S. voters electing Donald Trump to the presidency....She has consistently held the lead in the first round of voting, but En Marche’s Emmanuel Macron is close behind...Unless she pulls off a surprise and gets a majority of the vote on April 23, Le Pen will have to face either Macron or Les Républicains’ François Fillon in a runoff election on May 7. Le Pen doesn’t poll very well against either of these two most likely runoff opponents. According to HuffPost Pollster’s new French election poll aggregates, Le Pen trails... there are many fewer pollsters and polls in France than in the U.S. HuffPost Pollster is tracking polls from seven pollsters, including daily tracking polls from Ifop and OpinionWay. Many of the polls are co-sponsored by French media organizations.” [HuffPost, Round 1 chart, Le Pen vs. Filon runoff, Le Pen vs. Macron runoff]
THE GOP’S HEALTH CARE BILL IS DEEPLY UNPOPULAR - HuffPollster: “Americans are more likely to hate the GOP’s proposed health care bill than they are to even tepidly support it, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. The top-line numbers alone aren’t good for the bill’s proponents: The public opposes the bill released by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and backed by President Donald Trump by a 21-point margin ― 45 percent to 24 percent ― according to the survey, with 31 percent unsure. The GOP plan also is on the wrong side of a significant gap in intensity, with just 5 percent strongly favoring the bill, and 32 percent strongly opposed. Leading the charge are voters who supported Hillary Clinton, nearly three-quarters of whom say they strongly oppose the bill….Voters who supported Trump consider the GOP plan an improvement over Obamacare, but are less than unanimous ― and not especially enthusiastic. While 50 percent say they favor of the GOP bill, just 13 percent report favoring it strongly….Most other recent polling has also found the public opposed to the Republican health care plan, although the numbers vary between surveys.” [HuffPost]
TRUMP’S APPROVAL HIT A NEW LOW LAST WEEKEND. DOES IT MATTER? - Philip Bump: “Social media erupted into paroxysms of schadenfreude over the weekend with the discovery that President Trump’s daily approval rating from Gallup had hit a new low of 37 percent….Gallup’s daily numbers are volatile. He’s been down before, as low as 38 percent approval. A week later, he was at 43 percent. On March 11, about a week before the March 18 low that’s gotten so much attention, he was at 45 percent approval — which then collapsed….Using data from Huffington Post Pollster, you can see that the average of a variety polls of Trump’s approval is much smoother than the Gallup daily poll. There’s still been a recent downturn, but a more modest one than the Gallup numbers might suggest. You’ll notice, too, that Gallup’s daily numbers are a bit lower than the running trend line in that overall average.” [WashPost, Trump approval chart]
Is the health care bill hurting Trump’s ratings? - Nate Silver: “House Republicans introduced their health care bill, the American Health Care Act, only two weeks ago. During that relatively short interval, President Trump’s approval ratings — which were never very good — have become a little worse. Is that just a coincidence? Could health care be Trump’s undoing when so many things haven’t been?...For one thing, the timing lines up fairly well, given that we’d expect a lag of a week or so between when the bill was introduced (on March 6) and when we’d begin to see clear effects from it in the polling average….We can observe when a president rises and falls in the polls, but it’s not always easy to say why. Still, there are lots of reasons to think that health care is a liability for Trump … even in a political climate where people have often been too quick to predict Trump’s demise….One factor is that we know health care policy can cause big swings in public opinion.” 
PARTISAN DIVIDES GROW ACROSS GENERATIONAL LINES - Shiva Maniam and Samantha Smith: “The generation gap in American politics is dividing two younger age groups, Millennials and Generation X, from the two older groups, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation….The public’s overall partisan and ideological balance changes little from year to year. But there have been some long-term shifts among the public and within generational groups, according to a new analysis based on more than 15,000 interviews conducted in 2016 as well as earlier survey data….[T]he share of Gen Xers who identified as liberal Democrats (21%) stood at its highest point since 2000...Boomers have turned more conservative. In both 2015 and 2016, about three-in-ten Boomers (30% in 2015, 31% in 2016) identified as conservative Republicans – the highest percentages dating back to 2000.” [Pew]
WHO SHARES AN ARTICLE MAKES MORE OF A DIFFERENCE TO ITS PERCEIVED TRUSTWORTHINESS THAN THE MEDIA SOURCE - The American Press Institute and The AP-NORC Center’s Media Insight Project: “When Americans encounter news on social media, how much they trust the content is determined less by who creates the news than by who shares it, according to a new experimental study….Whether readers trust the sharer, indeed, matters more than who produces the article — or even whether the article is produced by a real news organization or a fictional one, the study finds.The experimental results show that people who see an article from a trusted sharer but written by an unknown media source have much more trust in the information than people who see the same article from a reputable media source shared by a non-trusted person.The identity of the sharer even has an impact on consumers’ impressions of the news brand. The study demonstrates that when people see a post from a trusted person rather than an untrusted person, they feel more likely to recommend the news source to friends, follow the source on social media, and sign up for news alerts from the source.” [Media Insight]
HUFFPOLLSTER VIA EMAIL! - You can receive this daily update every weekday morning via email! Just click here, enter your email address, and click “sign up.” That’s all there is to it (and you can unsubscribe anytime).
TUESDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-Gallup finds concern over illegal immigration remaining steady, but with a growing partisan divide. [Gallup]
-Anna Maria Barry-Jester and Charlie Smart chart the possible effects of the AHCA. 
-Kristen Bialik details the backgrounds of previous Supreme Court justices. [Pew]
-Aleksandra Sandstrom notes how heavily Christian the 115th Congress is. [Pew]
-Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson discusses the politics of polling and the risks of nonresponse bias. [Harvard Political Review]
-Mrs. Porter’s second grade class has written the world’s most adorable survey. [Buzzfeed]