A wave of new post-debate polls show that Clinton won handily. A new report shows Americans are split on how to balance religious freedom and nondiscrimination. And Congress avoided another government shutdown that likely would have been viewed negatively by the public. This is HuffPollster for Thursday, September 29, 2016.
HUFFPOST/YOUGOV POLL SHOWS A WIN FOR CLINTON - HuffPollster: “Hillary Clinton scored a decisive debate victory over Donald Trump, coming off as more presidential and better prepared, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. By a 27-point margin, 49 percent to 22 percent, Americans who had heard at least something about Monday’s presidential debate said that Clinton did a better job than Trump. Twenty-two percent said neither had done a better job, while 8 percent were unsure. Those results are broadly in line with other scientific post-debate polls, which also found a sizable advantage for Clinton….Seventy-seven percent of those polled, including a majority in both parties, said that Clinton prepared well enough for the debate, compared to just 27 percent who said the same for Trump. Even 43 percent of Republicans said that Trump should have done more preparation….Those who watched at least part of the debate said by a 30-point margin, 53 percent to 23 percent, that Clinton won, while those who watched highlights or read news stories said so by a narrower 17-point margin, 35 percent to 18 percent.” [HuffPost]
As does NBC/SurveyMonkey - Hannah Hartig, John Lapinski and Stephanie Psyllos: “A majority of likely voters (52 percent) who either watched the debate or said they followed debate coverage in the news said Hillary Clinton won the first presidential debate on Monday night, according to the NBC News|SurveyMonkey Debate Reaction Poll. Just 21 percent of likely voters thought Donald Trump won the debate, and 26 percent said neither candidate won the debate...Though voters agreed Clinton was the clear victor, a majority of voters overall said their opinions of either candidate did not change as a result of the debate. Clinton, however, seemed to boost her image among her own party as a result of her performance — 50 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaners said their opinion of her changed for the better as a result of Monday night’s debate. Trump did not have quite the same effect on his own party.” [NBC]
-A quick refresher on the difference between scientific polls and reader polls. [HuffPost]
-The first swing state polls show good news for Clinton as well. [PPP]
AMERICANS ARE DIVIDED ON HOW TO BALANCE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND NONDISCRIMINATION - Pew Research: “Fully two-thirds of American adults say such businesses should be required to cover birth control as part of their employees’ insurance plans, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, while just three-in-ten say businesses should be allowed to refuse to cover contraception for religious reasons. The survey of more than 4,500 U.S. adults explores recent controversies that have pitted claims of religious liberty and traditional morality against civil rights and nondiscrimination policies…. About half of U.S. adults (49%) say businesses that provide wedding services, such as catering or flowers, should be required to provide those services to same-sex couples as they would for any other couple. But a nearly equal share (48%) say businesses should be able to refuse services to same-sex couples if the business owner has religious objections to homosexuality. And in the debate over bathroom use by transgender people, roughly half of Americans (51%) say transgender people should be allowed to use public restrooms of the gender with which they currently identify, while nearly as many (46%) say transgender individuals should be required to use restrooms of the gender they were born into.” [Pew]
AMERICANS ARE PROBABLY HAPPY CONGRESS AVOIDED A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN - Kathleen Weldon: “Unsurprisingly, the country opposes the idea of shutting down the government. In a 2013 CBS News/NYT poll, 80% of the country agreed it was not acceptable for a President or members of Congress to threaten a government shutdown during budget negotiations; an update of this poll in 2015 that mentioned only Congress found nearly identical results. About a third of Americans in a 2011 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll said there were cuts so unacceptable to them they would rather shut down the government than compromise; 61% said compromise was always preferable. In a 2015 PRRI poll, 78% of Americans said it was more important for government officials to compromise to find solutions, while just 20% said it was more important to stand on principle, even if it meant a shutdown…. Despite the public’s proclaimed fondness for compromise in the abstract, final agreements to end or avert a crisis usually include substantial policy concessions on both sides of the aisle, which could make such agreements unpopular.” [HuffPost]
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THURSDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-Michael McDonald shares a brief history of the rise in early voting. [HuffPost]
-Martin Wattenberg argues that voters don’t care as much as they used to about candidates’ personalities. [WashPost]
-The team at FiveThirtyEight discusses aspects of the campaign that polls might not be measuring. 
-Harry Enten notes that state presidential polls are moving largely in lockstep with Senate polling. 
-Preference for a divided government is at a 15-year low. [Gallup]
-R. Michael Alvarez, Lonna Rae Atkeson and Thad E. Hall summarize research on increasing voter confidence in elections. [WashPost]