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Poll: 51% think the First Amendment goes too far by allowing hate speech and should be “updated” to reflect cultural norms

Westlake Legal Group o Poll: 51% think the First Amendment goes too far by allowing hate speech and should be “updated” to reflect cultural norms The Blog rewrite poll hate speech Free Speech First Amendment exceptions Constitution Campaign For Free Speech

Depressing new data from the Campaign For Free Speech. No wonder those two idiots at UConn face criminal charges for saying the N-word: Although it’s unconstitutional under the law we have, it wouldn’t be unconstitutional under the law most Americans wish we had, apparently. No fewer than 52 percent in this poll thought that government should have the power to restrict the views and speech of “racists.”

CFFS asked people if they agree with the statement, “The First Amendment goes too far in allowing hate speech in modern America and should be updated to reflect the cultural norms of today.” Not only did a majority agree, but a strong majority of the benighted cohort you and I know as “young adults” supported the idea.

Are the kids about to ruin American democracy? Well, hold that thought.

Westlake Legal Group l Poll: 51% think the First Amendment goes too far by allowing hate speech and should be “updated” to reflect cultural norms The Blog rewrite poll hate speech Free Speech First Amendment exceptions Constitution Campaign For Free Speech

That’s 51/42 overall who believe the First Amendment is too permissive of hate speech, but the age split is stark. Baby Boomers are mildly opposed to the idea (47/48) while Gen Xers are only tepidly in favor (48/43). You need to sink down to Millennials before you reach robust support at 57/35. It may be that the phrasing of the question is encouraging the division by age, though, by stressing that the First Amendment is more than 200 years old and contrasting it with “the cultural norms of today.” Obviously a young adult will be more likely to take a position that associates him or her with “today’s” values rather than “yesterday’s.”

Age isn’t the only notable demographic split on this question either. There’s also a racial divide, as tends to happen when questions involving “hate speech” come up in polls. Whites are against “updating” the First Amendment to allow bans on hate speech, 43/52, but blacks and Latinos strongly favor the idea at 69/21 and 61/28, respectively. If you’re more likely to face prejudice based on race, you’re probably also going to be more open to prohibiting expressions of prejudice.

The data on “updating” the First Amendment isn’t the only discouraging result in this poll. By a margin of 48/31, Americans agree that hate speech should be against the law. (CFFS didn’t ask for partisan affiliation, alas, so we don’t know how Democrats shake out on that versus Republicans.) Of that 48 percent who think it should be illegal, 54 percent would condone possible jail time for it. The numbers don’t start getting really dodgy, though, until we reach the question about state censorship of the media. How many people agree that “The government should be able to take action against newspapers and TV stations that publish content that is biased, inflammatory, or false”?

Westlake Legal Group 4 Poll: 51% think the First Amendment goes too far by allowing hate speech and should be “updated” to reflect cultural norms The Blog rewrite poll hate speech Free Speech First Amendment exceptions Constitution Campaign For Free Speech

Fifty-seven percent agree! What’s striking about those numbers is how little support varies among different demographics. Whites and blacks are both at 56 percent in favor. Men and women are both at 57 percent. Millennials stand at 62 percent whereas Baby Boomers stand at 55. Only senior citizens, the 65 and older crowd, oppose the idea on balance at 46/50. I don’t know how to spin those results as non-disastrous except to reason that Americans are analogizing from defamation law. If an individual plaintiff can sue in civil court over false statements of fact, they may figure, why not let the, er, government prosecute people? Or maybe they’re not thinking it through at all and are simply reacting to the mention of “biased” media in the question. Everyone hates biased reporting. So if a pollster throws out a question asking if biased reporting should be sanctioned somehow, you might quickly agree just to signal how much that bias disgusts you.

But I don’t know. When CFFS drilled down by asking what type of sanction people would condone for biased/inflammatory/false reporting, 46 percent of those who supported state punishment thought that punishment should include possible jail time. I’d love to see the partisan numbers there, to know how many of that group are lefties and how many are MAGA types wanting to throw Trump’s critics in the dungeon.

One more for you, maybe the most depressing of all. Question: Do you agree with the statement, “While I agree in principle with the idea of free speech, there are places where free speech should be restricted. For instance, in universities or on social media where there is the potential to be hurtful or offensive.”?

Westlake Legal Group 5 Poll: 51% think the First Amendment goes too far by allowing hate speech and should be “updated” to reflect cultural norms The Blog rewrite poll hate speech Free Speech First Amendment exceptions Constitution Campaign For Free Speech

Fully 61 percent agree, and again the numbers are remarkably consistent across demographics. The smallest majority in favor comes among men, who agree to the tune of 56 percent. If you want to make yourself feel better, you could again zero in on the phrasing of the question and tell yourself that it’s ambiguous. “Restricted” could mean many things, after all — for instance, you could restrict certain forms of speech in certain locations without placing a blanket ban on, say, racist speech. But given the results in the other, less vaguely worded questions, I don’t know that there’s cause for deep skepticism about this number. Americans pretty clearly believe that the law should be less forgiving of inflammatory and/or outright false speech because the content itself is objectionable.

And so here’s the point where we lament that our civilization is declining. But … is it? This is why I asked you up top not to jump to the conclusion that American norms on speech are collapsing. New York writer Jesse Singal points to this piece he wrote in 2015 rounding up free-speech polls from years ago to make that point that, ah, Americans have always been pretty lukewarm about traditional speech rights. I’ve been writing about polls on hate speech for years and the numbers today are really no worse than they were four years ago, when 51 percent supported criminalizing hate speech. Free-speech rights seem to be one of those issues where the public’s preferences and the political class’s preferences conflict but the public just doesn’t feel strongly enough about its views to make trouble for the political class about it. Defending the libertarian view of the First Amendment is where most of the passion on the subject lies, and since that’s also the establishment’s view the polling to the contrary can be and is safely ignored. For now.

The post Poll: 51% think the First Amendment goes too far by allowing hate speech and should be “updated” to reflect cultural norms appeared first on Hot Air.

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Majority of Americans Believe We’re On the Verge of a Second Civil War Poll Reveals

Westlake Legal Group nra-constitution-620x349 Majority of Americans Believe We’re On the Verge of a Second Civil War Poll Reveals War republicans polls poll Politics Political Discourse Front Page Stories democrats civility civil war America Allow Media Exception

A new poll conducted by Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service conducted a poll and found a shocking statistic that showed the majority of Americans believed that a second civil war is looming in the near future.

The poll found that when American citizens were asked to rate the current state of political civility from a scale of 0 (no political division) to 100 (political division to the point of civil war), the responses averaged around 67.23. The poll noted that 7 in 10 Americans believe that America is on the verge of a violent war with itself.

The poll did come with odd answers from those took it. The majority of people wanted compromise from political leaders but wanted leaders to stand firm in their opposition according to GU:

“Our Civility Poll finds that eighty percent of voters say that they both demand compromise from political leaders, but want political leaders who will stand up to the other side. That creates mixed messages for even the most skilled political leader trying to decide whether to be a fighter or a dealmaker,” said Mo Elleithee, Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service.

This is most likely a desire for Americans to have more give from the other side while they wish their own leaders to remain immovable. This is not going to help the situation at all if both sides are expecting flexibility from their opponents while willing to give up none. Should a politician do what the voting base expects their opponents to do, it won’t sit well, and thus you may find many politicians unwilling to budge at all, furthering the divide.

Some in the media also suggest a civil war is looming, such as National Review and Foreign Policy. Others believe it has already begun, such as Rush Limbaugh, who said we are currently in a “cold civil war.”

According to Limbaugh, the Democrat establishment may be the one who drives us into violence due to their desire to obtain and retain power by any means necessary, including finding ways to kick Trump out of office and punish the civilian population for supporting him, or ideals like his.

The idea has also sprung up on social media. Oftentimes during a gun debate, ideas would be floated around about military involvement in the seizing of guns, which usually leads to the discussion of civil war and how that scenario would go.

At this time, the radicalism of the left has driven many to openly advocate for the termination of various rights outlined in the Bill of Rights. Many have stated that this will result in war as the American people will face down the government, topple it, and reinstate a new one as the founders suggested we do in the event of a tyrannical government takeover.

Other indicators that we may be approaching levels of nationwide violence is the constant escalation of violence by radical protesters on the left, including Antifa, who openly threaten political dissenters with violence, and sometimes death.

(READ: Leftists Threaten To “Bring Out The Guillotine” If Theaters Show Jordan Peterson Documentary)

 

The post Majority of Americans Believe We’re On the Verge of a Second Civil War Poll Reveals appeared first on RedState.

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Huh: Another poll shows John James statistically tied with Dem Sen. Gary Peters in Michigan

Westlake Legal Group jj Huh: Another poll shows John James statistically tied with Dem Sen. Gary Peters in Michigan vanguard The Blog Senate Pubic Sector Consultant poll Michigan John James Gary Peters Dennis

I sure hope this is for real. And it may be: Recall that James fell just six points short of formidable incumbent Debbie Stabenow last fall, on a night when Democrats were cleaning up in House races coast to coast. Also recall that a separate poll published last week found James trailing Gary Peters by three points, 43/40.

Now here comes a new one putting Peters and James less than a point apart.

Imagine if Democrats have a big night in the Senate next fall, picking up three net seats — and their dream of a Senate majority ends up in ashes because Gary “Who?” Peters couldn’t hold off James in supposedly blue Michigan.

In the Vanguard, Dennis, Pubic Sector Consultant poll last May it was Mr. Peters 42% and a generic Republican 36%. It is now 39.5% for Mr. Peters and 39.3% for Mr. James

At this point in the campaign last year when Senator Debbie Stabenow took on Mr. James, she had a comfortable lead.

But he closed the gap on her and now she is saying, “this is a make or break race and we’re at a critical moment.”

She notes Mr. James raised more money than Mr. Peters in the third quarter but Peters continues to have more money in his coffers than the challenger.

How bad could it get theoretically for the GOP in November 2020? Well, start with the positive. No matter how poorly things go nationally, Alabama’s likely to dump Doug Jones for a Republican to be named later. That’s GOP +1. Assume James stuns Michigan by knocking off Peters, a big ask but not an impossible. That’s GOP +2, a total of 55 Senate seats — if all Republican incumbents hold their seats. And that’s really the best-case scenario. There are no other ripe pick-up opportunities for Republicans.

Things are different for Democrats. In Maine, one lefty poll has Susan Collins at 50 percent disapproval. In Colorado, Cory Gardner looks to be in trouble against John Hickenlooper. In Arizona, Mark Kelly is already ahead of Martha McSally. And in North Carolina, at least one poll taken last month shows Thom Tillis narrowly trailing his Democratic challenger. A Morning Consult survey of various battleground races published last week found slippage in the job approval of five different vulnerable GOP senators, with Joni Ernst sliding the furthest at nine points. That’s what the impeachment saga is apparently doing to Republicans. The good news is that impeachment will long since have ended by the time voters vote next fall. The bad news is that the GOP will doubtless be forced to defend Trump on other matters various and sundry by then, with the Ukraine matter lurking in the background of voters’ minds. How will that shake out?

In the ultimate worst-case scenario, Collins, Gardner, McSally, Tillis, and Ernst all get wiped out and maybe one or both of the Senate seats on the ballot in increasingly purple Georgia go the other way too. If that happened, it would mean a national disaster for the GOP, in which case John James — and Trump — are likely losers too. Conceivably, Democrats could have a net gain of five or six seats and control of the White House. Which would mean nothing would be standing in the way of Chuck Schumer nuking the filibuster and enacting President Warren’s “share the wealth” agenda. Gulp.

Trump’s job approval in Michigan, by the way, was 43/53 last month. It’s not unthinkable that James will run ahead of him on the ballot next fall; it happened in Florida in 2016, for instance, with Marco Rubio winning 200,000 more votes in his Senate race than Trump did in the presidential contest. If Trump can make Michigan as close in 2020 as he did in 2016, James could potentially win narrowly even if Trump loses narrowly. But a presidential job approval above 43 percent on Election Day would be … preferable, needless to say.

The post Huh: Another poll shows John James statistically tied with Dem Sen. Gary Peters in Michigan appeared first on Hot Air.

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Poll: Pierre Delecto’s approval rating in Utah now underwater at 46/51

Westlake Legal Group m-7 Poll: Pierre Delecto’s approval rating in Utah now underwater at 46/51 utah Trump The Blog romney removal poll Policy Mike Lee impeachment delecto

Boy, this “secret Twitter account” thing has hurt him more than I thought it would.

No, I kid. Obviously the backlash in this poll is to his frequent noisy criticism of Trump. It comes with caveats, of course. First, Romney’s not up for reelection until 2024 (and who knows if he’ll even run again). He’ll be there hounding the president to the bitter end even if Trump gets a second term no matter how low his polling in Utah goes. Second, I’m not sure Romney particularly cares about his polling. His attacks lately on Trump are clearly the work of a guy who’s thinking more about his legacy than his hold on his seat. If he ends up as Jeff Flake and has to retire because he can’t win a primary, on a scale of one to 100 I’d guess his anxiety about that is somewhere in the neighborhood of “one.” And third, although Mike Lee has been a loyal soldier for Trump in the Senate for the most part (even backing his Syria withdrawal recently), Lee’s job approval is no better than Mitt’s. He’s at 43/47 compared to Romney’s 46/51. If kissing Trump’s ass is the secret to popularity with Republicans in Utah, why isn’t Lee at 60/40 or whatever?

Leave all that aside, though. This is a fantastic poll for Trump if only because it shows other Republicans in the Senate that not even Mitt Romney is immune from a backlash in Utah for criticizing him. If the first Mormon presidential nominee can be underwater in a state where Mormons are 60+ percent of the population simply because he’s anti-Trump, God help any GOP senator whose political position isn’t as secure in their own home state. See why I’m skeptical that Schumer will find even four Republicans to join with Democrats to give the pro-removal vote a majority of the Senate?

Although Romney’s and Lee’s overall approval numbers are nearly identical, the partisan coalitions that form their bases are starkly different. As you’d expect, right-wingers love Lee and then his popularity fades as you move further left. Romney, however, is disliked by both the very right-wing and very left-wing — and pretty popular among everyone in between.

— Romney’s approval rate among “strong Republicans” is actually underwater: Only 40 percent approve of him, while 59 percent disapprove of him.

That is rather amazing.

— But “strong Republicans” really like Lee, 72-19 percent.

Romney’s problem with the reddest of his party is no doubt because he has been critical of Trump, while Lee has mostly stood by the president.

Romney rebounds among those who said they are “not very strong Republicans.” He has a 71-23 percent approval rating among them.

Lee’s approval rating among that GOP group is 59-24 percent.

True political independents give Romney a 44-52 percent approval rating; Lee gets 36-53 percent approval from this group.

The most dramatic difference between them comes among Democrats. Lee is at single digits in approval among independent-leaning Dems, not-very-strong Dems, and strong Dems. By comparison, Romney is at 36 percent, 65 percent(!), and 32 percent among those groups, respectively. Obviously you’d rather have Lee’s coalition in a state as red as Utah than Mitt’s, since Mitt is more susceptible to a primary challenge and wouldn’t win most of those Democratic voters who approve of him right now in a general election. But these numbers do go to show that stalwart support for Trump is no guarantee of overall popularity even in a state as Republican as Utah. In fact, the same poll found that all three Republican members of Utah’s House delegation are *also* underwater in approval while the state’s lone Democrat in the House is in positive territory. That suggests that many voters aren’t thrilled with the GOP’s decision to stand by Trump on impeachment.

Elsewhere today, Tim Miller is urging Senator Delecto to take the final step in his political journey, a step made easier by the rising prospect of him not being reelected in Utah: It’s third-party time. No, no, not a third-party presidential candidacy. A new third party. To change the balance of power in the Senate.

First and foremost, it is electorally viable on a small scale. Mitt himself, thanks to his profile and the unique nature of the electorate in Utah, could survive without succumbing to the partisan poles that most politicians are slaves to. Secondly there are some obvious candidates for existing politicians who could join him to create a real organization. Moderate Republican governors Charlie Baker and Phil Scott from his erstwhile home in New England. Other anti-Trump electeds in Utah. Other Republicans in blue states or Democrats in red states who might need to shed their toxic party brand to survive. And most importantly a few fellow senators who might be interested in making a similar calculation: Namely Lisa Murkowski and Joe Manchin.

He has a point about GOP governors. Figures like Charlie Baker and Larry Hogan really do seem to belong to a separate party already. It’s not just that they’re moderate GOPers governing very blue states, it’s that they have no presence whatsoever in the right-wing media ecosystem. Surely they and other prominent but now out-of-office figures like John Kasich and Flake would be interested initially in the “Pierre Party,” let’s call it. And Miller’s also right that *if* the Senate shakes out a certain way next fall, even a small bloc of three like Romney, Murkowski, and Manchin could exert outsized influence over the body. If the Senate ends up as 51/49 in favor of the GOP and those three break away, they could effectively choose who the majority leader is, how the Senate operates, and so on.

It’d be almost hallucinatory to have the last 10 years of Republican politics end up with a third party led by Mitt Romney, of all people, brokering power in the Senate. The decade began with a populist righty backlash to ObamaCare that produced the tea party, a movement that wrestled with whether to try to take over the GOP or break away. It lost in 2012 with Romney, who was never a great fit for cultural reasons, but won its greatest victory with Trump, who was never a great fit for ideological reasons and who himself functioned as a sort of independent during the primaries. Under Miller’s plan this would culminate with Romney ceding the GOP to Trumpist forces and breaking away to form his own moderate outfit for centrist Republicans that could conceivably end up roadblocking the populists’ agenda in the Senate. Even the writers of the virtual reality we live in would consider it too far-fetched, I think, but it has an intriguing symmetry. Besides, if you believe today’s poll, Romney may well end up as a one-termer. Might as well make the most of his remaining time!

The post Poll: Pierre Delecto’s approval rating in Utah now underwater at 46/51 appeared first on Hot Air.

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Poll of six key swing states: 53% oppose removing Trump over his handling of Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group t-17 Poll of six key swing states: 53% oppose removing Trump over his handling of Ukraine upshot Trump The Blog swing states removal poll pelosi New York Times impeachment cohn battleground Abuse of Power

Some of the best polling news Trump has received in awhile, and ironically it comes from his friends at the New York Times.

Compounding the irony, some of the worst polling news he’s received this year came last week from … Fox News. Impeachment makes for strange bedfellows.

Some polls, like Fox’s, will tell you that Americans support impeaching and removing the president on balance. That’s noteworthy but the leadership of both parties will pay closer attention to what swing states think for obvious reasons. The Times wanted to know how the Democrats’ impeachment push was doing in the six states most likely to decide the next election — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona. They discovered that voters there do support the impeachment inquiry, by a 50/45 margin.

But when you ask how many are ready to take the fateful next step and remove Trump based on what’s currently known, a small but significant minority of seven percent switches sides. Impeachment/removal polls at just 43/53. Wha’ happened?

The Times’s Nate Cohn dug into the numbers to find out who those seven percent are.

This 7 percent slice of respondents tends to be younger — 33 percent are 18 to 34 — and nearly half are self-identified independents. They could prove tough for Democrats to convince: 51 percent say that the president’s conduct is typical of most politicians, perhaps suggesting that they hold a jaded view of politics that would tend to minimize the seriousness of the allegations against him.

I would not have guessed that some younger adults, a famously left-leaning group, would be more hesitant to remove Trump than others in the contingent that supports an impeachment inquiry. Another interesting bit of data from Cohn:

Westlake Legal Group t-18 Poll of six key swing states: 53% oppose removing Trump over his handling of Ukraine upshot Trump The Blog swing states removal poll pelosi New York Times impeachment cohn battleground Abuse of Power

That trend is also true among Democrats specifically, a group that otherwise favors impeachment and removal overwhelmingly. Among Dems overall, 83 percent want Trump out. But among Dems who are following the Ukraine story “not very closely,” 21 percent oppose impeachment.

Which way does all of that cut for Pelosi? Before you answer, read this NBC piece about how House Democrats are preparing to present their impeachment case to the public. The key words are “abuse of power.”

House Democrats are zeroing in on a framework for their impeachment case against President Donald Trump that will center on a simple “abuse of power” narrative involving the president’s actions regarding Ukraine, according to multiple people familiar with the deliberations…

[O]ne person familiar with the strategy said “abuse of power” when it comes to Ukraine is the “big point that Pelosi has been hammering home” and the umbrella under which “this all fits to connect it and help the public understand.”…

Pelosi is also considering a separate article on obstruction or contempt of Congress related to the administration’s blanket rejection of subpoena requests for documents and witnesses related to its inquiry into Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, according to multiple sources involved in the deliberations.

The Ukraine quid pro quo and the White House’s refusal to comply with Democratic demands for evidence will all go under the “abuse of power” heading. Looking again at Cohn’s data, though, I wonder if “abuse of power” might be especially unpersuasive to that stubborn seven percent that’s so jaded about politics that they’re inclined to see Trump’s behavior as business as usual in Washington. Seems to me that that group might logically demand something more — probable cause of an actual federal statutory crime, for instance, or strong evidence that Trump himself was sufficiently aware that the Ukraine business was shady that he took steps to conceal his motives — in order to distinguish what he did from normal Beltway scumbaggery. Think of all the ways the average politician abuses his power, man. Isn’t Pelosi abusing her power when she serves special interests and lobbyists instead of the public?

As others have noted, the sheer cynicism of a political culture capable of electing Trump as a sort of purgative might also be what rescues him from impeachment in the end.

In fact, peek into the crosstabs and you’ll find that a plurality of all Americans agrees that what Trump did was “typical” of politicians, not something extraordinary. How do you sell an “abuse of power” narrative in those circumstances?

Westlake Legal Group w-2 Poll of six key swing states: 53% oppose removing Trump over his handling of Ukraine upshot Trump The Blog swing states removal poll pelosi New York Times impeachment cohn battleground Abuse of Power

On the other hand, the fact that the people who are following the impeachment saga the least closely right now are also the people who are least likely to support it suggests that there may be room for Democrats to grow their support here. Cohn notes elsewhere that impeachment polling lately has been flat after an initial burst of enthusiasm when the first bombshells about Trump and Ukraine began being reported. But maybe that’s because the news itself has plateaued; right now there’s little to report apart from the secretive questioning of witnesses being conducted by Adam Schiff’s committee. That is, the “not following closely” group has had no compelling reason to start following the story closely over the last weeks. But obviously that will change once the articles of impeachment pass, and it will change in a big, big way once the trial of Donald J. Trump is being held on C-SPAN for hours each day in December. Many more Americans will soon be following the Ukraine matter more closely than they have been, whether they want to or not. What happens to the numbers on removal once they are?

You could turn that question around, though. Instead of assuming that following the story closely is leading people towards support for removing Trump, it may be that preexisting support for removing Trump is leading people to follow the story closely. If you’re a Trump fan, it stands to reason that you wouldn’t be eager to follow the Ukraine story closely to this point. If you’re already predisposed to ignore unflattering news about the president because you like him and think his enemies are out to get him, how likely is your opinion to change after an impeachment trial realistically? We may be looking at the same 43/53 swing-state split two months from now that we’re looking at today.

And look: For impeachment purposes, there’s arguably no difference between 53/43 in favor of removal and 43/53 against. Senate Republicans aren’t going to remove the president based on a margin as slim as that either way. The significance of Cohn’s results is that impeachment may not be much of a club for Democrats in next fall’s election either. At a minimum, what they want from this process is an effective talking point they can use to beat Trump at the polls. “Republicans in the Senate didn’t have the guts to oust the president, but the polls show that swing-state voters disagree with them and fully intend to correct that mistake in November.” Per the Times, swing-state voters do not disagree. If this really does settle as a 43/53 issue in places like Michigan, we may not hear the Democratic nominee hammering impeachment on the trail much next year. In which case, what will Dems have gained from this?

The post Poll of six key swing states: 53% oppose removing Trump over his handling of Ukraine appeared first on Hot Air.

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Hmmm: Buttigieg surges to within five points of lead in Iowa as Kamala Harris collapses

Westlake Legal Group b-5 Hmmm: Buttigieg surges to within five points of lead in Iowa as Kamala Harris collapses warren USA Today The Blog Suffolk Spending progressive poll Iowa debate buttigieg biden

Ed mentioned this poll in passing in his Zuckerberg post earlier but it deserves its own thread. I’ve overlooked Buttigieg in writing about the primary because we (or at least I) tend to focus on national polls as the best rough measure of the race even though we (er, I) understand that there’s no national primary. There are a series of state primaries, they’re held in a very particular order, and how well one does in the first three or four contests strongly influences one’s chances at winning the nomination. Look at Buttigieg’s national polling and you’ll find a candidate who’s distinguished himself enough to escape the race’s populous bottom tier but who’s never gained enough momentum to crack the top tier. Mayor Pete is a four-percent candidate when he’s polling badly and a seven- or eight-percent candidate when he’s polling better, but it’s been many months since he touched double digits. He just doesn’t seem like a threat to Warren, Biden, Sanders.

If, that is, we were having a national primary. Which we aren’t.

In Iowa, where Buttigieg is devoting most of his energy, the story is different. It hasn’t gotten much attention but he’s been in double digits in five of the last six polls taken there. In three of those polls he’s outperformed Bernie Sanders, who came within a whisker of winning Iowa in 2016. The catch is that, even though his polling in Iowa is stronger than it is elsewhere, he hadn’t quite entered the top tier there either. He’s now reliably in the 14-percent range but either Biden or Warren or both had always polled in the low 20s. It is — or was — a two-person race with Buttigieg a potentially dangerous dark horse.

Until today, that is. This USA Today/Suffolk poll has the race essentially a complete toss-up, with enough uncertainty among caucusgoers to hold every last contender under 20 percent.

The poll, taken Wednesday through Friday, put Biden at 18%, Warren at 17% and Buttigieg at 13% among 500 likely Democratic caucusgoers…

At 37, Buttigieg is the youngest contender in the field, and he is the first openly gay candidate to seek the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. He has gained ground through strong performances in the Democratic debates: Among those surveyed who watched the debate last Tuesday, 4 in 10 said Buttigieg was the candidate who did better than they expected

Among debate-watchers only, Buttigieg held a narrow lead in the poll, at 19%. Biden and Warren were tied at 17%.

There were other signs of a friendly political landscape for Buttigieg and Warren in the poll. They led the field as the second choice of respondents; Warren was picked by 22% and Buttigieg by 14%.

The number of caucusgoers who say they’re undecided has actually *risen* eight points since the last Suffolk poll there in June, which is not what you’d expect with voters having had four additional months to deliberate on their choice.

How’s Buttigieg doing it? As noted in the excerpt, he’s impressive at the mic. It may be that with more Democrats starting to pay attention to the race as the caucuses approach, more voters will get their first exposure to Buttigieg at the next few debates — raising the possibility that we’re nowhere near his ceiling yet in polling. But he’s doing it the old-fashioned way in Iowa too. Remember that he led all Democratic candidates in fundraising in the second quarter. He’s been putting that money to good use, both in terms of ad buys and assembling a top-notch GOTV team:

Thanks to a nearly $25 million fund-raising bounty in the spring, which he topped up with a respectable $19.1 million over the summer, as reported Tuesday, Mr. Buttigieg has been able to invest in a gold-plated ground game in Iowa as he seeks to challenge two candidates who have been organizing for longer here, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders…

Grass-roots organizing is essential to a strong caucus finish. Word of mouth about a candidate is often what turns people out on a cold February night. The Buttigieg campaign, which opened its bus tour to live-tweeting journalists in an effort to set itself apart, is also road-testing a somewhat novel approach to organizing. Its Iowa volunteers first contact friends and family members rather than cold-calling lists of registered voters, who are now so bombarded they ignore unknown numbers…

Mr. Buttigieg’s Iowa sweep coincided with the opening of 20 field offices and the hiring of nearly 100 staff members statewide, as robust a build-out as that of Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders.

Iowa isn’t a must-win for Warren, Biden, or Sanders the way it is for Buttigieg. All three are better known than him nationally and can credibly argue that they’ll rebound in one of the other early states if they disappoint in Iowa. Bernie won New Hampshire in a landslide three years ago; Warren is leading in the polls there right now and reportedly has an amazing field operation in Nevada; Biden is counting on South Carolina’s majority-black primary electorate to put him over the top. Buttigieg needs an Iowa win (or second place) to show he’s for real, though. He’s all-in. And he’s competitive.

He has an advantage over Warren and Sanders there too. Remember that the impeachment process might end up bogging down U.S. senators in Washington for a precious month (or more) as Trump’s trial takes place. Warren and Sanders (and Kamala Harris, who’s looking to Iowa to revive her campaign) will be stuck there every afternoon, six days a week, for several weeks. That’ll leave Biden and Buttigieg alone on the trail during the day in Iowa to press their advantage and build a following. Imagine if House Democrats drag their feet on impeachment, the Senate trial bleeds into January, and Mayor Pete has Iowa to himself in the immediate run-up to the caucuses while Warren is chained to her desk in the Senate chamber. Even if an upset win for Buttigieg in Iowa doesn’t deny Warren the nomination, it could make the race much longer and more expensive for her than it would have been if she’d had a free hand to campaign in Iowa and win the state herself.

By the way, the secret ingredient in Buttigieg’s surge is the destruction of Kamala Harris, who was polling at 16 percent in Iowa when Suffolk checked in on the race in June and is down to three percent there today, tied with Tulsi Gabbard. She’s not the only candidate who’s declined (Biden is down six points too) but Harris’s implosion is spectacular, and still somewhat mystifying to me. She’s not a good retail politician, she’s way too slippery on the issues, but still — from 16 points to three? There must be plenty of former Harris voters in Buttigieg’s tent now, which I suppose stands to reason. If you were with Harris in June, odds are it was because you were uncomfortable for whatever reason with the big three. Now that she’s a nonfactor, many of those voters have transferred their discomfort to Mayor Pete’s tent.

In lieu of an exit question, watch the second half of this CNN report from earlier this afternoon in which Manu Raju reports that the Democratic impeachment timeline may have already begun to slip from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Warren and Sanders really might end up stuck in the Capitol in January.

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Hoo boy: Colorado poll has Cory Gardner trailing by double digits in Senate race

Westlake Legal Group cg Hoo boy: Colorado poll has Cory Gardner trailing by double digits in Senate race The Blog Senate poll peters Michigan John Hickenlooper james Cory Gardner Colorado

The hopeful caveat comes right up front: This is a Democratic poll and there’s fully a year to go before Coloradans vote.

But the caveat comes with its own caveat. An independent poll of the state conducted by Emerson in August found Gardner trailing John Hickenlooper by a similar margin. Emerson had it 53/40. Today’s Democratic poll has it 53/42. Normally it’d be implausible for any incumbent senator to trail by double digits in a swing state, but … Colorado’s not much of a swing state anymore. It’s blue enough that Hillary managed to win it in 2016 when virtually every other battleground across the country was tilting towards Trump. And Gardner’s not facing some rando next fall. Hickenlooper is a twice-elected governor (and before that a twice-elected mayor of Denver), probably better known to most voters there than Gardner himself is. It’s certainly possible that this really is a 10-point race right now.

To think: If Hickenlooper’s presidential run had gotten a tiny bit more traction, he might have been forced to stick around in the Dem primaries long enough that his window to run for Senate back home would have closed. His total failure at the national level seems likely to produce a Senate pick-up for Democrats next fall.

The poll shows that President Trump is at his lowest popularity point since he took office. Thirty-eight percent of people polled said they viewed him favorably, compared to 60% who view him unfavorably. His favorability has only been that low once in KOM polling, in March 2018; and his unfavorability was last that high in January. KOM also conducted a similar poll in June…

Thirty-four percent of people polled in the latest KOM survey said they viewed Gardner favorably, compared to 45% who view him unfavorably. His favorability was lowest, and his unfavorability highest, at any point that KOM has polled that question over the past 2 ½ years…

Fifty-four percent of respondents said they support the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, compared to 43% who oppose it. And 48% of respondents said they believe Trump should be impeached and removed from office, compared to 44% who said he should not be.

Some have noted that Hickenlooper’s 53/42 margin over Gardner closely matches support for the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, which runs 54/43. Trump may be killing Gardner here. And if it’s true that Trump’s own approval rating in Colorado stands at 38/60, he might not even contest the state next fall, calculating that his resources are better spent trying to flip Minnesota.

All of this puts Gardner in a terrible bind on impeachment. More so than most of his Republican colleagues, he’s damned if he votes to remove and damned if he doesn’t. The poll notes that his approval is barely above water even among his own party, which means he’ll basically be required to vote to acquit Trump to shore up their support. The last thing he can afford to do now is piss off his own base when he’s fighting uphill against Hickenlooper, after all. But given the depth of Colorado’s dislike for Trump, siding with the president is destined to cement some of the opposition to Gardner. Unaffiliated voters already favor Hickenlooper by 25 points (58/33) and 61 percent(!) of them support impeachment, which means there’s no option for Gardner on impeachment and removal that probably won’t cost him more votes than it’ll earn him.

If these Democratic numbers remotely reflect actual reality, Gardner might be sunk next fall. It’s not like the economy’s going to get dramatically better between now and then to rescue him given how well it’s done already during Trump’s term. And in light of the past week or two, it’s highly unlikely that Trump will say or do anything in the coming year that’ll rehabilitate him with Coloradans.

The only silver lining here: Doug Jones is facing the same “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” dilemma in Alabama. Vote to acquit Trump and his own party will be outraged, vote to remove and the majority of the electorate will revolt. At worst, the loss of Gardner’s seat to the GOP will be offset by the gain of Jones’s seat. The difference between the two senators is that Jones surely knows his time in the Senate is over and will probably vote on removal and everything else over the next 12 months the way he wants, without worrying about the political implications. Gardner’s doom isn’t quite as assured so he may still be susceptible to partisan pressure. For Trump’s sake, he should hope Gardner gets a good poll or two between now and the removal vote to convince him to stick with the team. If he falls further behind Hickenlooper, Gardner may say “to hell with it” and start voting the way he wants too.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Republicans in the Senate, though. I’ll leave you on a sunny note with this poll from Michigan, which has challenger John James neck and neck with Democratic incumbent Gary Peters, trailing 43/40. James outperformed expectations last year in falling short against Debbie Stabenow. With Trump at the top of the ticket in a state that went red in 2016, he has a shot at a pick-up. Which is good because, with Susan Collins in the same boat as Gardner on impeachment and removal, we shouldn’t count on Maine’s Senate seat staying red next year either.

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Poll: By two-to-one margin, Americans say there are valid questions about the Bidens’ conduct in Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group b-2 Poll: By two-to-one margin, Americans say there are valid questions about the Bidens’ conduct in Ukraine warren USA Today Ukraine Trump The Blog poll ipsos hunter China biden

This is nice, and it’s not the only poll this week to find Americans rightly suspicious of what Joe and Hunter Biden were up to. But watching Trump risk impeachment to try to blow up Grandpa Joe at this stage of the race is like if Obama had bet his presidency on taking out Jeb Bush circa July 2015.

You don’t need to go nuclear on a frontrunner who isn’t really the frontrunner anymore.

According to USA Today/Ipsos, 42 percent say there are good reasons to investigate the Biden’s Ukrainian activities versus just 21 percent who say there aren’t. Even a quarter of Democrats agree. That’s the good news. The bad news is that skepticism about the Bidens’ shadiness doesn’t seem to be undercutting interest in impeachment. Or in removal:

Americans by a 45%-38% plurality now support a vote by the House of Representatives to impeach President Donald Trump, a USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll finds, as allegations continue to swirl around an embattled White House.

By a similar margin, 44%-35%, those surveyed say the Senate, which would then be charged with holding a trial of the president, should convict Trump and remove him from office…

Americans have long been wary of impeachment. A USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll taken in June – months before the formal impeachment inquiry was launched last week – found opponents outweighing supporters by nearly 2 to 1, 61%-32%…

One more warning sign for Trump: Nearly two-thirds of Republicans say there isn’t enough reliable information to decide whether he should be impeached. That leaves open the possibility that dramatic disclosures and persuasive evidence could convince some in Trump’s own party that impeachment is warranted.

From a -29 net split on impeachment in June to a +7 net divide now. Thirty-six points is a big turnaround. The most ominous number is that last one, though, showing even many Republicans remain willing to reserve judgment for now. USA Today notes at one point that “just” 17 percent of Republicans currently support impeachment, but 17 percent isn’t negligible on a question as momentous as this. (Harry Enten notes that the sort of moderate Republicans who are more likely to support impeachment are also overrepresented in key Rust Belt states.) It’s not a huge deal for Senate Republicans to find 45 percent of the public in favor of impeaching, as virtually any hotly contested partisan issue in 2019 will draw at least that much support via one party or the other. The noteworthy figure is the 38 percent in opposition; that number “should” be higher considering that Trump regularly registers a job approval in the low 40s. There’s a small but potentially dangerous GOP minority here that’s not ready yet to view this through the familiar partisan prism. Maybe yesterday’s Adam Schiff revelation will get them there.

But then, maybe this morning’s Trump statement on the White House lawn will drive them further away from it.

Speaking of Trump’s job approval, there continue to be some good polls for him amid this Ukraine clusterfark. Rasmussen (which is usually good for him) has him at 47 percent today. And the Hill/Harris X has him up to 49 percent, his single best mark of the year. Is that the smoking gun that impeachment is beginning to backfire on Democrats already? Probably not — for the moment, the RCP poll average shows Trump having *lost* a few points since a surge in late September.

Westlake Legal Group j Poll: By two-to-one margin, Americans say there are valid questions about the Bidens’ conduct in Ukraine warren USA Today Ukraine Trump The Blog poll ipsos hunter China biden

FiveThirtyEight’s tracker also sees a loss of around two points or so over the past few weeks. That’s not disastrous: Trump’s RCP approval of 43.2 percent today is right in line with his average approval for the past 18 months. He had been rising in late September, though, even touching 45 percent for a day before the Ukraine stuff began to bog him down. If you want to see some real poll erosion, go look at the trend in Biden’s polling against Elizabeth Warren. He’s at 26.2 percent today, which is close to his worst number in the primaries this year; Warren, meanwhile, is at 24.0 percent, easily her best number of the campaign. She’s gained seven points in the past 17 days and has led in two of the last three national polls taken. We’re closer than we think to a political reality in which the Ukraine matter, which was supposed to be a weapon exclusively for the right to use against the left, becomes a weapon exclusively for the left to use against the right.

Here’s Biden warning Trump yesterday before a throng of supporters, “You’re not going to destroy me.” True. Elizabeth Warren’s going to do it. Exit question: If Trump is telling the truth when he says that his interest in Biden’s Ukraine conduct is all about exposing government corruption, not accruing political advantage against an electoral opponent, then we should continue to hear from him frequently about the Bidens and Ukraine long after Grandpa Joe’s polls tank and he becomes an also-ran in the race, right? Let’s see if that happens.

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Poll: Plurality believes Biden pressured Ukraine government not to investigate his son’s business dealings

Westlake Legal Group b Poll: Plurality believes Biden pressured Ukraine government not to investigate his son’s business dealings zelensky Ukraine Trump The Blog poll monmouth Inquiry impeachment impeach hunter democrats biden

This new poll from Monmouth is the first I’ve seen to ask about the Biden side of the Ukraine mess. More pollsters should start doing that, as the results here are mighty interesting.

Westlake Legal Group m Poll: Plurality believes Biden pressured Ukraine government not to investigate his son’s business dealings zelensky Ukraine Trump The Blog poll monmouth Inquiry impeachment impeach hunter democrats biden

Naysayers will point to the topline number and note that 42 percent is suspiciously similar to Trump’s job approval in most surveys. Why, Trump-supporting Republicans have simply chosen to believe the worst about poor Joe Biden in the name of legitimizing what the president did in his call with Zelensky! But as you can see from the partisan numbers in the table, that’s not true. A surprisingly large minority of GOPers, 16 percent, are skeptical about Trump’s charges against Biden. And a surprisingly large number of Democrats, 19 percent, are credulous about them.

Although maybe the Democratic numbers aren’t so surprising. In the middle of a presidential primary that Biden is momentarily leading, go figure that some fans of his rivals are disposed to believe the worst about him.

Either way, with 22 percent of the general public and 17 percent of Democrats undecided about Biden and Ukraine, there’s plenty of room for doubt to grow about what his intentions were in leaning on them to fire the corrupt prosecutor Shokin in 2015. Trump’s argument that Biden did something shady may end up with majority support before too long.

What about impeachment, though? Monmouth looked at that too. Result:

Westlake Legal Group 2 Poll: Plurality believes Biden pressured Ukraine government not to investigate his son’s business dealings zelensky Ukraine Trump The Blog poll monmouth Inquiry impeachment impeach hunter democrats biden

We now have enough numbers from multiple surveys over the past few days to draw a tentative conclusion: There’s no majority support for impeachment/removal yet, but support is rising and trending towards a majority. In fact, Monmouth noted in its write-up of these results that it’s only the second time that support for removing Trump from office (44 percent) has exceeded his job approval (41 percent). That happened once before six months ago, around the time Mueller released the summary of his findings, but it was brief. For the moment, more people would rather see Trump ousted than are willing to say that they approve of his performance.

Another result here that replicates the findings of other polls is support for the impeachment *inquiry.* Last month the public split 41/51 on that; this month they split 49/43. Every other poll I’ve seen over the past week finds at least a plurality in favor of Democrats taking a look at what went down between Trump and the Ukrainian government. That’s probably because people seem to find the facts suspicious based on what they know: When asked if it’s appropriate or not for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival, Americans split 21/63. That’s the ominous news for Trump in this data — support for impeachment could expand well into majority territory depending on how much evidence there is of Trump trying to wound Biden for his own electoral gain.

One more number for you. What’s noteworthy about this result from a different poll out today?

No, it’s not the fact that his job approval is suddenly down sharply as the impeachment news bites. It’s the fact that this is the only recent poll to show that. You’d expect the uproar over Ukraine and the support for the House’s impeachment inquiry to knock a few points off of Trump’s approval rating, but it’s just not happening anywhere except in the CNBC survey. The Monmouth poll finds Trump at 41 percent, *up* a point from last month. Quinnipiac’s latest poll also saw his approval rise a point since its previous survey. Three different polls conducted last week had him in the 44-46 percent range, all of which is perfectly normal or even good by Trump standards. This is why I think all the navel-gazing about which party will be hurt most by impeachment is beside the point. Nothing affects people’s views of Trump anymore. Probably not even impeachment. I suppose if Dems are able to prove the worst-case scenario, that he really did explicitly threaten Ukraine with the loss of military aid unless they investigated Biden for him, he might slip a bit. But barring that, he’s destined to have an approval rating in the low to mid-40s on Election Day next year. No matter what happens between now and then.

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Quinnipiac: Support for impeachment and removal now at 47/47, up from 37/57 five days ago

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The glass-half-empty view for the White House: The numbers are obviously moving in a bad direction here.

The glass-half-full view: Even after a week of media hype and Ukraine revelations, the country is only evenly split on impeachment. Independents remain opposed on balance, albeit less opposed than they were a week ago.

Is 47/47 enough to make Senate Republicans sweat? Nah. But one clear result from this new survey from Quinnipiac and other surveys over the past week is that the public is, shall we say, “impeachment-curious.” They’re not ready to take the plunge on ousting Trump, but there’s consistently support for opening an impeachment *inquiry* into the Ukraine matter. Independents are willing to let Democrats sniff around here. But for the moment, at least, they’re not ready to do more than that.

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There’s something for everyone there. For Republicans, there’s comfort in knowing that indies are on your side. For Democrats, there’s the fact that a clear majority of people who are paying “a lot” of attention to the Ukraine story support impeachment. (Although that result may confuse cause and effect. How many people paying close attention to this are doing so because they’ve hated Trump all along and want to see him gone?) A weird anomaly in the data is the fact that a plurality of people aged 65+ support impeachment, 49/46. Normally seniors skew Republican. I wonder if they’re more sensitive to alleged presidential abuses of power because they lived through Watergate. Or if they simply have a more solid educational foundation in civics than slightly younger adults.

Other results in this same poll will encourage Democrats. A majority of people think Trump has abused his power in office (54 percent, including 53 percent of independents), and by a margin of 50/40 Americans think Trump did something wrong in his interactions with Ukraine’s president (52 percent of indies agree). On the threshold question of whether Dems were right or wrong to open an impeachment inquiry, the public splits 52/45, with independents at 50/45. A CBS poll over the weekend found 55/45 support for an impeachment inquiry; another from Hill-HarrisX had it at 47/42, up 12 points since June. See what I mean by “impeachment-curious”?

But there are two ominous numbers for Dems in the new Quinnipiac data. One is that the share of Americans who “strongly” approve of Trump’s job performance has now reached 35 percent, easily the highest figure recorded all year. Thirty-five percent isn’t a lot in the abstract but it shows Republican support for Trump hardening as the pressure from impeachment builds. And if there’s any doubt about that, consider that 68 percent of Republicans also answered “no” to the question, “Do you think asking a foreign leader for help in defeating an opponent in an upcoming election is or is not a good enough reason to impeach a president and remove them from office?” Out-and-out solicitation of election help isn’t impeachable? Not to Republicans at this distinctive moment in time.

Here’s the other ominous number for lefties:

Westlake Legal Group 2-2 Quinnipiac: Support for impeachment and removal now at 47/47, up from 37/57 five days ago Ukraine Trump The Blog Quinnipiac poll impeachment democrats

Americans may be impeachment-curious but they’re also highly skeptical of Democratic motives here, which they should be. How much support can Dems realistically build among independents if it’s already baked into their opinion that Team Blue is playing politics with all this?

Just as I’m writing this, CNN is out with its own poll on impeachment and removal. Their numbers, 47/45, are nearly identical to Quinnipiac’s, and the trend line is again bad for Trump. In May, this same question earned a 41/54 split. An interesting detail:

The change since May has largely come among independents and Republicans. About three-quarters of Democrats favor impeaching Trump and removing him from office, roughly the same as in May, while among independents, support for impeachment and removal has risen 11 points to 46% among independents and 8 points to 14% among Republicans.

The shift has also come notably among younger Americans. Sixty percent of those under age 35 now say they support impeaching Trump and removing him from office, up from 43% who felt that way in May, while support for the move among older Americans has held about even (42% now vs. 40% in May). Previous CNN polling on impeachment has not found such a stark gap by age.

And that shift is concentrated on the GOP side. Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents under age 50, support for impeaching Trump and removing him from office has risen from 9% in May to 22% now, while views among older Republicans and Republican leaners have held about even with just 8% in favor of impeachment and removal from office.

Even a minor shift within Trump’s own party would turn impeachment into a majority proposition across the general population. He can’t afford to lose Republican voters.

One more CNN number, which contradicts the Quinnipiac finding: “Americans are more likely to say that most congressional Democrats back impeachment because they believe Trump committed impeachable offenses (49%) than because they are out to get Trump at all costs (38%).” We have one poll today telling us that Americans think Democrats are pursuing Trump for political ends and another telling us that they think Dems are chasing him on the merits. A lot depends on which one is correct. If Trump’s “witch hunt” defense isn’t as effective in this case as it was during Russiagate, he’s in bigger trouble than we think.

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