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Is Kamala Harris still campaigning?

Westlake Legal Group k-2 Is Kamala Harris still campaigning? The Blog south carolina poll New Hampshire nbc kamala harris Iowa hillyard early states

Per NBC, the answer appears to be “technically yes but actually no.” She’s not out of the race, she’s just … doing other stuff right now.

Much of that stuff is fundraising, I realize, but the flaw in doing that instead of hitting the trail is that dollars tend to dry up once your polling lands in the toilet because no one in the early states ever sees you anymore. Money follows popularity in political campaigns, not vice versa.

Maybe Harris is running the ol’ Giuliani 2008 strategy of skipping all of the early states and focusing entirely on Florida.

When Harris returns to Iowa this weekend for the Polk County Democrats’ Steak Fry, it’ll be her first trip to the state in over a month. She’s visited just 18 of Iowa’s 99 counties so far.

It’s been more than two months since her last visit to South Carolina, where Harris, who is African American, is counting on a robust showing among black voters who make up the majority of the state’s Democratic primary voters.

And Harris has been in New Hampshire just once in the last two months.

Old Man Biden’s made seven trips to the early states in the past six weeks or so and has already visited more counties in Iowa than she has despite having entered the race much later. Someone drag Officer Harris out of the donut shop and tell her to get back on the beat.

Or don’t. It’s already too late. Let her enjoy her cruller.

Kamala Harris’ support is plunging in Iowa, where she’s seen a 13-point drop since July, according to a new poll.

Notably, the survey, commissioned by Focus on Rural America and taken after the third presidential debate in Houston, was conducted by Harris’ chief pollster, David Binder

The new survey, conducted Sept. 14-17, shows Harris sliding into sixth place at 5 percent, with Biden at 25 percent retaking the lead he lost over the summer. Harris recently embarked on a statewide bus tour and was the first in the field to run ads in Iowa. The Harris campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Between this and yesterday’s NBC survey, there’s a distinct “Scott Walker 2016” stench coming off of her right now. But I think she’ll soldier on, believing that she could rocket into the top tier again at any moment if Biden has a lethal rhetorical stumble of some sort and black voters in South Carolina are suddenly in play.

If nothing else, it’ll be interesting to see how she uses her time at the next few debates. Her only big moment of the race to date came at Biden’s expense at the first one but trying to reprise that would be perilous for her. Realistically, Harris should be playing for a VP spot at this point, and realistically, the only type of nominee whom she’d “balance” demographically on the ticket is a white male, i.e. Bernie Sanders or Biden himself. The obvious strategy for her now is to go easy on Joe to ingratiate herself to him and maybe even start carrying his water by trying to damage Elizabeth Warren on his behalf. That’s risky too, though, since Warren is probably the “true” frontrunner — she outpolls Biden when Dem voters’ first and second choices are combined, she’s the only candidate in the race drawing very enthusiastic crowds, and the overwhelmingly white electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire play to her demographic strengths. Harris won’t be VP to Warren (I think?) since Democrats would worry how an all-woman ticket would be received, but Attorney General in a Warren administration, God help us, seems feasible.

As long as she doesn’t hit Warren too hard on the stump this fall, that is. So what does Harris do?

Anyway, she’s leaving the donut shop soon:

While you mull that, via the Free Beacon, here’s NBC not sugarcoating the state of her campaign. “Rather bleak, rather uncertain” about sums it up.

The post Is Kamala Harris still campaigning? appeared first on Hot Air.

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And then there were two: New WSJ/NBC poll has Biden and Warren breaking from the pack as Harris collapses

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This is a big deal if it’s part of a trend, and maybe it is. After all, it was just a week ago that Elizabeth Warren pulled 26 percent in a YouGov poll, her best total ever. Now here she is again breaking into the mid-20s with Bernie Sanders a distant third in the mid-teens.

Is this now a two-way race?

Because increasingly it feels like a two-way race.

Biden fans will find solace in the fact that he kept pace with Warren’s surge, losing just one net point to her since July. But read the fine print here. When we combine first- and second-choice totals for the candidates (and we should since the race is still heavily in flux at this early point) we find Warren at the head of the pack, not Grandpa Joe.

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Who’s leading in voter enthusiasm, you ask? Right, Warren again. Back in March, just 20 percent of Democrats said they were enthusiastic about her as nominee. Today 35 percent do. The trends for Bernie and Biden are in the opposite direction, with enthusiasm for Sanders dipping from 28 to 25 percent since March and enthusiasm for Joe sliding all the way from 33 percent to 23. Dems are going to find themselves in quite a spot if Biden ekes out the nomination on “electability” grounds despite no one getting excited for him while Warren has to settle for second place despite galvanizing the base.

The divide among white voters is especially interesting since, as Liam Donovan notes, Iowa and New Hampshire are almost entirely white. Warren is surging ahead among white college grads but Biden remains in front with working-class whites. Who wins that death struggle in the early states?

Another race-related development worth nothing: Warren has now crept into second place among black Democrats. It’s a very distant second to Biden, just 13 percent compared to his 49, but if she starts taking chunks of his base he’s finished.

And speaking of finished. Although it’s not news that her polls have slipped significantly since July, the fact that she’s now down to a dismal five percent here suggests that Officer Harris has retired from the 2020 force. She’s now fifth when candidates are measured by their first- and second-choice totals behind Pete Buttigieg, and it seems perfectly plausible that she’ll have been passed by Andrew Yang the next time NBC polls the race. This poll is no outlier either: The last three surveys tracked by RCP had her at six, four, and six points. Imagine being a millionaire liberal who’s been approached by Harris for your support. What could she possibly say at this point to convince you to cut her a check instead of Warren or Biden or even Sanders? Hopefully this poll will kickstart the “Harris is a surprisingly weak, cynical, inauthentic candidate” takes in the media, because she really is all of those things and more attention should be paid to it.

One last point. There’s a running debate among politics nerds about whether Bernie is hurting Warren or Biden more by remaining in the race. You might think the answer is obvious — he’s hurting Warren because they’re both far left and some of his voters would surely be with her if he dropped out. But Bernie also appeals to older working-class white voters, the same people who gravitate to Grandpa Joe. Not all voters are ideologues. For some, if they can’t get the geriatric socialist nominated for president, they’ll take the geriatric centrist. I mention all that because this graph from NBC’s story about the poll caught my eye:

Westlake Legal Group n-2 And then there were two: New WSJ/NBC poll has Biden and Warren breaking from the pack as Harris collapses wsj warren The Blog primary poll o'rourke nbc National harris democratic biden beto

Clearly Bernie does seem to be hurting Warren more than Biden right now. Given the reports today of dissension within the ranks of Team Sanders, you wonder if some Berniebros will begin grudgingly leaning him on this fall to do the right thing and endorse Warren if there’s further separation between the two in polling.

Oh, almost forgot: Now that we have two separate post-debate polls showing Beto O’Rourke’s numbers stuck in the toilet, I think we can safely conclude that last week’s gun-confiscation stunt was a bust.

In lieu of an exit question, via Jeff Dunetz, here’s the Trump campaign’s new tribute to the mental health of the Democratic frontrunner, who’s probably not really the frontrunner anymore at this point.

The post And then there were two: New WSJ/NBC poll has Biden and Warren breaking from the pack as Harris collapses appeared first on Hot Air.

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Trump: Pay no attention to that garbage ABC/WaPo polling outfit

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Alternate headline: “Presidential tweet focuses country’s attention on ABC/WaPo poll showing Trump’s job approval sliding.”

It made me laugh to think of lawyers threatening a pollster. With what? Bad Sampling in the First Degree?

There’s one true thing in those two tweets: ABC did briefly have Trump falling 12 points behind Hillary in October 2016 — from October 20 to 23, to be exact. Other pollsters saw Clinton’s lead balloon around the same time, though. The AP had her up 13, Suffolk had her up 10, and so on. That’s not because of data-rigging or FAKE NEWS!, it’s because Trump was getting battered at the time by fallout from the “Access Hollywood” tape and the women coming forward to accuse him of various forms of sexual misconduct. Not long after, though, Comey released his letter to Congress announcing that he was reopening the Emailgate probe. And late deciders began weighing whether to sign up for another four years of Clintonism or to try to something different in a big way. The very next ABC poll taken, from October 21-24, found Hillary’s lead slipping to eight points. The ABC/WaPo poll conducted from October 23-26 found it shrinking to five points. The next tracker, from October 27-30, after the Comey letter was issued, had it down to one.

The final poll they published before Election Day put the race at 49/46 for Hillary. That turned out to be the closest match of any major pollster with the national popular vote, which went 48/46. Which was no surprise: Contra Trump, ABC/WaPo actually has a sterling record of polling in presidential contests.

But we needn’t dwell on this. Anyone who doesn’t understand yet that Trump cries “fake!” at any news that’s bad for him to try to convince people not to believe it isn’t going to be swayed at this point. Besides, I can understand why today’s ABC/WaPo poll is especially irritating to him. It’s not the job approval number in it, which is bad at 38 percent (down six points from June) but nothing he hasn’t seen before. The ominous numbers are the ones associated with the economy, particularly the trade war with China.

While a 56 percent majority of Americans rate the economy as “excellent” or “good,” that figure is down from 65 percent in November. A separate question finds 6 in 10 say that a recession is either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” in the next year. That fear compares with 69 percent who said a recession was likely in fall 2007, shortly before the recession began later that year…

The Post-ABC poll finds 43 percent of Americans say Trump’s trade and economic policies have increased the chance of a recession in the next year, more than double the 16 percent who say his policies have decreased the likelihood of a recession. Another 34 percent say Trump’s policies have not made a difference…

But sizable shares of Trump’s core supporters say they are worried about price increases because of tariffs, including 55 percent of whites without college degrees, 54 percent of people living in rural areas and 45 percent of white evangelical Protestants. Concern rises to about 6 in 10 political independents and people living in the suburbs, two key swing voting groups.

His approval rating on the economy was in majority territory in June at 51 percent. Now it’s at 46/47.

If we do end up in a recession, POTUS will use every rhetorical weapon available to him to shift the blame. It’s Jerome Powell’s fault for not lowering interest rates; it’s manufacturers’ fault for not moving their businesses out of China quickly enough; it’s Democrats’ fault for not agreeing to a payroll tax cut to stimulate the economy; it’s China’s fault for stubbornly resisting American pressure to end its intellectual-property banditry and play fair economically. Those arguments will work for fans but I don’t know if they’ll work for swing voters. A separate poll taken late last month showed most Americans will blame Trump if the economy goes south:

The Harvard CAPS/Harris poll of 2,531 registered voters at the end of August found that 57 percent would blame Trump more than the Federal Reserve or anyone else should America enter recession by the end of the year.

Moreover, 62 percent said they were somewhat or very concerned that there will be a recession in the next six months amid the China trade war, a global economic slowdown, and the waning impact of federal stimulus from early on in the Trump administration…

The Harvard CAPS/Harris poll found that 63 percent believe the tariffs are hurting the U.S. more than China. Moreover, 74 percent said U.S. consumers, not China, pay the cost of the tariffs.

The good news for him is that Americans do see the point of this war. Fifty percent approved of his tariffs on China despite the economic pain and fully 80 percent thought it was better to reckon with China’s chicanery now than to keep postponing it. That’d be an interesting electoral pitch if Trump tried it — “I know it’s tough right now but it’ll be tougher if we let China keep stealing. And unless you elect me to a second term, the next president will let them off the hook.” I don’t think he’d try that message, though; it’s too close to accepting responsibility for a negative development, something to which his ego is deathly allergic. He’ll try a combo of insisting that things really aren’t so bad and, to the extent that they are, it’s someone else’s fault.

One other ABC/WaPo detail via Charlie Sykes: Trump’s approval is at 30/64 among women, abysmal numbers that are way off his pace of 41 percent of the female vote in 2016. Obviously he’ll do better than 30 percent next November as some right-leaning women decide he’s the lesser of two evils, but you can see why I thought yesterday that a third-party run by a woman candidate could be dangerous to him. If a Carly Fiorina type pulled more women voters from him than from the Democrat, it could cost him a second term. Fiorina says it won’t be her, though, luckily for POTUS.

The post Trump: Pay no attention to that garbage ABC/WaPo polling outfit appeared first on Hot Air.

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That Democratic Party Favorability Advantage Just Went Poof

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Some more moderate Democrats (well, moderate by today’s standards) have been sounding the alarm on this for a while. Their presidential candidates haven’t been listening.

During the 2018 election, the Democrats enjoyed a sizable advantage in favorability among the electorate. We would eventually see that play out as the votes were cast, with a somewhat sizable blue wave sweeping over the country. Democrats retook the House with over 40 seat pickups and Republicans, while gaining seats in the Senate, didn’t get up to the 55 that looked possible earlier in the summer.

Now, that favorability advantage is gone.

As Ed Morrisey over at HotAir writes, this can be almost completely laid at the feet of the leftward lurch the 2020 Democrat presidential candidates have taken.

What happened? Leonhardt reaches back to a July NPR/Marist poll to argue that the party’s progressives are pushing away from populism into straight-out socialism — and that voters won’t buy it. Decriminalizing the border and slavery reparations are now practically de rigueur for presidential hopefuls, but it runs right into a brick wall with the electorate:

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The simple answer is that the crazy things the left are pushing, the majority of Americans simply don’t support. Even something like “free public college” can only garner 51%, and that’s before it’s articulated that taxes will have to go up to pay for it.

The support for the “Green New Deal” continues to baffle, but again, when polls ask about it in relation to the government control and cost, public support plummets for it.

It’s still really, really early. Nothing we are seeing now is dispositive of what will happen in 2020. That includes polls that are both good and bad for Republicans. But, what this does show is that the strategy of preaching radical socialism isn’t working for Democrats. Their only real hope is that Biden somehow coasts to the nomination without his eye completely exploding next time.

Here’s the reason this trend extremely important for Trump. The President is never going to garner 50+% favorability. He’s likely to never cross 50% approval outside of Rasmussen’s polling. The way Trump wins is how he won in 2016. He gets his opponent down in the mud and exposes them. If the Democratic party favorability is at parity with Republicans, that’s a huge advantage to Trump because it’s basically giving him a head start.

If the nominee ends up being an Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, Trump will immediately have the foil he needs to propel himself to reelection. Neither of them are going to tack to the center, as has been shown necessary in essentially every presidential race in the modern era. Of course, the stakes become much higher if it’s Warren and not Biden though. At that point, we enter Flight 93 election territory.

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The post That Democratic Party Favorability Advantage Just Went Poof appeared first on RedState.

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CBS poll: Biden now trailing in New Hampshire and Nevada, barely ahead in Iowa

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Just how soft is Biden’s frontrunner status? Pretty soft even according to people who support him. Politico reported this weekend that a top state senator in New Hampshire who’s backing Grandpa Joe was so concerned about his low-energy campaign events in the state that he drove more than an hour to meet Biden in hopes of staging an intervention. Another piece up at the site today has Biden cheerleader Ed Rendell acknowledging fear among colleagues that his lead may be fragile, a house of cards that’ll eventually collapse under the weight of his gaffes and age-related concerns:

“There’s a clear worry among Biden supporters that he can’t be the front-runner from June of 2019 through July of 2020 … that eventually, the gaffes will pile up and he’ll come down,” said Ed Rendell, a former Pennsylvania governor and one of Biden’s most vocal supporters…

“It’s a deceptive lead, because it really doesn’t get tested until we get down to a narrower race in which, at some stage, people are going to have to say, ‘Is he our guy or not?’” said Paul Maslin, a top Democratic pollster who worked on the presidential campaigns of Jimmy Carter and Howard Dean…

Biden’s appeal to Democrats is so tightly tied to his perceived ability to defeat Trump that if he appears likely to suffer an early loss, one veteran Democratic strategist in Iowa said, “if you take any drop in [polling] support, you might bleed.”

Right, essentially Biden’s edge in the race is self-reinforcing. He’s the “electable guy”; the evidence of his electability is his lead in the polls (and head to head against Trump); but perceptions of electability are themselves contributing to his polling. If Warren or Sanders starts to outpoll him and air begins leaking out of the Biden “electability” balloon, how much might it deflate? An unnamed Dem who works for a rival campaign pointed Politico to Hillary’s sudden collapse in South Carolina in 2008 after Obama shocked the party by winning Iowa. She went from a huge lead to a blowout loss practically overnight, once it became clear to voters there that her nomination wasn’t inevitable. Once the balloon was punctured in the early states, it couldn’t hold air anymore.

Which brings us to the new early-state polls from CBS:

South Carolina is the one early state with a majority-black primary electorate and, not coincidentally, it’s the one state where Biden continues to run rings around the competition. He’s in trouble everywhere else, though — three points ahead in Iowa, behind in Nevada and New Hampshire. In every state except SC, Bernie is within three points of him or less. In fact, if not for Kamala Harris’s collapse, Biden might not have an edge on Bernie. He picked up 15 percent of Harris’s supporters since the last CBS poll (Elizabeth Warren picked up 29 percent!), helping to buoy him up against Sanders.

How long can that last, though? What if Harris has another good debate on Thursday night, or Biden a bad one? Certainly Warren’s going to come hard at him too. CBS went on to note that if you aggregate its polling from all four early states, including South Carolina, it’s not Joe who leads overall. It’s Warren, with 26 percent to Biden’s 25. She’s way ahead of him too when early-state voters are asked if they’d be enthusiastic if she/he became the party’s nominee, 46/29,

What kind of “frontrunner” is actually behind among the voters who matter most?

The standard dismissal of a survey like this one is that It’s Just One Poll and that other early-state results for Biden are better. Yes and no. It’s true that most polling in the early states shows Biden with a lead, but it’s also true that his leads there tend to be smaller than his national lead is. He leads by 11.7 points today at RCP in the national average but in Nevada his lead is closer to six points and in New Hampshire he’s actually down by less than a point in a three-way race with Warren and Sanders. The three polls of Iowa since July have each had him up, but two of those placed him in the three- to five-point range. If he were strong on the stump, you might treat all of those numbers as promising, with room for growth. For a candidate who’s weak on the stump, they seem tenuous.

Maybe the real takeaway from the CBS numbers is how resilient Bernie is in the early states. Biden, Warren, and Harris have gotten all the hype over the past few months, the first because of his frontrunner status, the second because of her steady polling rise, the third because of her collapse. But there’s Bernie, plugging away, poised for victory in every state except South Carolina. If he surprises the field by out-organizing everyone in Iowa and wins there, then leverages that momentum for victory in New Hampshire, he might cause a stampede of voters from Warren to him as the new progressive hope, giving him a commanding lead in the race. That’s the bind he and Warren are in right now — since it’s plausible that either one of them could win early and consolidate the other’s support, there’s no incentive for either to get out and endorse the other. They’re going to split progressives. The only question is whether Biden can capitalize.

Exit quotation from Warren, referring to persons who shall not be named: “We can’t choose a candidate we don’t believe in because we’re scared.”

The post CBS poll: Biden now trailing in New Hampshire and Nevada, barely ahead in Iowa appeared first on Hot Air.

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Reports: Trump campaign poll shows new gun-control measures would be unpopular with his base

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“Well, yes, obviously,” you’re thinking. It’s not a secret that Republicans support gun rights. But that’s what makes this story — or stories, rather — interesting. People who are familiar with the results of this poll are curiously eager to share the takeaway from it with the media, even though it allegedly says exactly what you’d expect it to say.

But they’re also being very, very coy about what it says exactly. No numbers have been released. “Gun control would be a problem politically for Trump” is about as specific as they’re willing to get. How come, if they’re otherwise willing to chatter to reporters about it?

The Times reported on the poll yesterday, with uncharacteristic vagueness:

President Trump assured Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, on Thursday that he was still considering legislation that could include background checks for gun buyers. But White House aides said they had polling data showing that gun control was politically problematic for the president, according to two people briefed on the meeting

Mr. Trump’s aides were on hand for the meeting, and the president told Mr. Manchin that a background checks bill that the senator had pushed for with a Republican counterpart, Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, was still on the table, according to the people briefed on the discussion.

But the polling data, White House aides said, indicated that the issue does not help the president with his core base of supporters, according to the people briefed on the meeting.

That’s as much detail as the story provides on the poll’s findings even though its existence and its influence on Trump’s thinking is the entire point of the article. ABC posted its own story about the poll last night — and they’re as much in the dark as the Times is:

As President Donald Trump has mulled acting on gun control legislation in the wake of a string of mass shootings, data gathered by the president’s campaign showed that supporting any gun control measures would pose a problem for him politically going into the 2020 election season, according to sources familiar with the results.

The data is comprised of campaign polling conducted before recent back-to-back mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, that left 31 dead — as well as more recent outreach to his base and independent voters, according to the sources. ABC News has not independently reviewed the data. The sources said it’s likely to inform Trump’s decision on whether to act on any gun control legislation, despite separate nationwide polling showing widespread public support for tougher gun sale background checks.

The White House requested data from the campaign on how Trump’s base and independent voters would react if Trump were to support gun control measures late last month, after the Dayton and El Paso shootings, the sources told ABC News.

That’s all ABC knows. Note, by the way, how similar the phrasing in both stories is: Gun control will pose a “political problem” for Trump in 2020, which is so vague as to be *almost* meaningless. A political problem how, exactly? Are 80 percent of Republicans against universal background checks, in which case Trump signing them into law would be catastrophic for his chances next year? Or are 10 percent of Republicans opposed to them, which still technically qualifies as “politically problematic” given how tight the margins were in the Rust Belt in 2016? Did the poll define Trump’s “core base of supporters” as the entire Republican electorate or as some much smaller subset of that, like “campaign donors” or “Fox News viewers”? How did they define “gun control” for respondents — as a broad unspecified term or with particular proposals like background checks, red-flag laws, an assault-weapons ban, and so on? If they polled particular proposals, was Trump’s “core base” adamantly opposed to all or did some poll better than others?

I ask because there are lots of public polls about guns that include numbers on Republican opinion. Quinnipiac asked about universal background checks just two weeks ago. Result:

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Public polls on UBCs routinely show support at those levels. If Team Trump’s poll found similar numbers, I’m curious to know why they think a background-checks would be “politically problematic” for him. Here’s the result from Quinnipiac, meanwhile, when people were asked if they support or oppose red-flag laws (“allowing the police or family members to petition a judge to remove guns from a person that may be at risk for violent behavior”):

Westlake Legal Group 2 Reports: Trump campaign poll shows new gun-control measures would be unpopular with his base Trump The Blog republicans red flag laws poll internal campaign background checks

Nearly three-quarters support there too. To be sure, Republicans didn’t support every gun-control proposal. They split 37/59 on a new assault-weapons ban and 18/77 on a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons already in circulation. But they’re more open to regulation than I would have thought, and sometimes in surprising ways. Here’s how things shake out when people are asked if they support or oppose “requiring individuals to obtain a license before being able to purchase a gun”:

Westlake Legal Group 3 Reports: Trump campaign poll shows new gun-control measures would be unpopular with his base Trump The Blog republicans red flag laws poll internal campaign background checks

Sixty-nine percent *of Republicans* support letting government license gun ownership? I’d love to compare Team Trump’s data.

The public polling may solve part of the mystery about the leaks to the NYT and ABC. Maybe Trump and his team are nervous that publicly available data like Quinnipiac’s is building momentum for gun-control measures like UBC and red-flag laws. “Our data says otherwise,” they’re insisting, “and no, you can’t see it.” But if that’s what’s going on here, who’s the target audience? Whose spine are they trying to steel with rumors of secret numbers showing that Republican voters really do hate universal background checks? It can’t be congressional Republicans. They have their own internal pollsters, and they know better by now than to trust Trump. It can’t be MAGA Nation either. They don’t care what polls like Quinnipiac’s say. They expect Trump to stand firm and protect their priorities even if the entire world opposes them.

So why is the Trump campaign so eager to leak the bottom-line result from the poll but also so reluctant to share details? I don’t get it.

The post Reports: Trump campaign poll shows new gun-control measures would be unpopular with his base appeared first on Hot Air.

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Yikes: New poll puts Harris at 5%, at risk of being passed by Tulsi Gabbard

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Via the Free Beacon, a post with a headline like this one requires us to relive this golden moment of hubris following the second debate, after Gabbard had just roasted Harris onstage for her record as California AG.

Why would a top-tier candidate like Kamala Harris care what a pipsqueak like Tulsi Gabbard thinks?

A month later, here we are:

Granted, granted, that’s a bad poll for Harris and a good one for Gabbard. The latter is averaging 1.6 percent at RCP and seldom edges north of two percent. Harris, meanwhile, touched 10 percent as recently as last week in a poll from Emerson. But don’t let that result blind you to just how far she’s fallen. She’s now averaging a mere 6.6 percent in all polling and has sunk to five percent (or worse!) multiple times in the past month before today. She’s easily the biggest disappointment in the Democratic race to date.

And while it’s unlikely Gabbard will pass her soon given that Harris made the cut for the next debate and Gabbard didn’t, it seems possible that Andrew Yang will. He’ll be onstage with Harris at the debate; he’s polled at three percent repeatedly over the past month, on par with Cory Booker; and his Big Idea, universal basic income, has attracted grassroots interest. He’ll stand out more at the debate this time too because the number of people onstage will be smaller and will consist mostly of serious candidates. If he has a good night, what reason is there to think he won’t bounce out to six percent or so, past Harris?

And so the mystery of her dismal performance deepens. She’s young, smart, a woman, a minority, enjoys the prestige of a Senate seat and can claim to represent America’s most populous state. She should be appealing to Democratic voters. Why isn’t she? A consensus is forming among the commentariat that she’s a bit too slippery on policy to capture anyone’s imagination, which I think is basically right.

“Too flippy-floppy. I just don’t like her,” said Debby Fisher of Richmond, California — near Harris’s hometown of Oakland — who plans to support Sanders.

Suzanne Cowan of San Francisco said she soured on Harris after her change on health care.

“That’s not my kind of candidate. Either you know what issues you support and you have the courage to stand up for them or you don’t,” she said. “For me she’s ‘I’ll be in favor of whatever is trending’ — and that doesn’t cut it.”
‘Her Brilliance, Her Passion’

Patrick Kollar of Roy, Washington, who recently attended a Warren rally in Seattle, said he’s unsure how to define Harris ideologically.

“That’s a problem,” he said. “I follow politics pretty closely and I don’t know what she’s about.”

There are two models (and potentially a third) for a Democratic nominee in 2020. One is the Vision candidate, the person who recognizes that America needs major changes in all sorts of ways and is intent on delivering it. That’s Bernie and Warren. The other is the Electable candidate, the person who can achieve job one as far as most Democratic voters are concerned, which is ousting Trump. That’s Biden, of course. The third potential model is the Charisma candidate, the person who gets everyone irrationally excited because they’re just *that* good on the stump. Obama 2008 is the classic example; a surprise entry by Oprah into the race would also fill the niche. No one’s really filling it now — the closest thing is Warren, who’s drawing enthusiastic crowds, but even she’s not at the level of hype that Betomania! achieved in Texas last year before O’Rourke took his show on the road.

Harris’s problem is that she doesn’t fit any of the three models. Lord knows she’s not a Vision candidate. To the contrary, her approach to health care seems driven by how best to triangulate between the left and the center to maximize vote totals. She’s not a Charisma candidate either. She’s polished and effective in making her points, as Biden found out at the first debate, but there’ll be no messianic Harris buzz like there was for Obama and Trump. That leaves the Electability model, and she does have some potential there — as a black woman she’s a logical possibility to reassemble the Obama coalition from 2008 and sweep to victory. But Democrats have been haunted for months by the suspicion that only an older white guy can blunt Trump’s edge with the white working class and pull enough Rust Belt votes away from him to win. There’s a case to be made that, however unfair the reasons, Harris might be less electable than Bernie or Warren, say. As Dem voters mull all of that, go figure that they might gravitate to alternatives.

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Radicalization: 82% of Dems now say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, up almost 20 points since 2007

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An eye-popping trend from Pew, destined to spark a new argument between pro-lifers and pro-choicers about cause and effect.

That is, are lefties radicalizing in defense of abortion rights because righties are becoming more radical in trying to restrict those rights, as with “heartbeat laws”?

Or have righties become more radical in trying to restrict abortion rights because lefty politicians keep growing more absolutist about abortion on demand, even in the third trimester?

Westlake Legal Group 5-3 Radicalization: 82% of Dems now say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, up almost 20 points since 2007 wade The Blog roe Radical Pro-Life pro-choice poll pew Legal chappelle Abortion

Pro-choicers will point to the recent upswing in that trend line and lay it at Trump’s feet. How can you blame us for becoming more extreme, they’ll say, when we have a president who may have just assembled a five-vote Supreme Court majority for overturning Roe? It’s only natural that one side’s gains in the abortion war will ignite a backlash in the opposing side. Case in point: This same poll shows opposition to overturning Roe surging to 69 percent in December 2016, a month after Trump’s election, despite barely budging between 2003 (62 percent) and 2013 (63 percent). The out-party inevitably adopts a siege mentality.

And yet … the same phenomenon doesn’t seem to have happened with Republicans during the Obama era. There were minor fluctuations here and there but the share of GOPers who think abortion should be legal in all or most cases is about the same as it was at the end of Dubya’s presidency. So maybe there’s more to the Democratic shift than some quasi-organic partisan backlash cycle.

Another question shows a further asymmetry between the parties. Although conservative Republicans are solidly pro-life, moderate Republicans are actually fairly firmly pro-choice. The GOP skews right overall on abortion because conservatives outnumber moderates but there’s a genuine division within the party. There’s no similar division among Democratic factions:

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A different question shows that no less than 70 percent of moderate Republicans oppose overturning Roe versus 61 percent of conservatives who support overturning it. Combine Republican ambivalence about abortion with Democratic unanimity in favor and we’ve reached a modern high in the number of Americans overall who think abortion should be legal in all or most cases — 61 percent.

Imagine what the “siege mentality” numbers will look like if Trump ends up replacing Ginsburg or Breyer on the Court after all. In lieu of an exit question, here’s a choice bit from Dave Chappelle’s new stand-up special on Netflix that veers from pro-life to extremely pro-choice back to pro-life again in less than two minutes. Lots of profanity so take care if you’re listening at work or around the little ones.

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A surprising number of Americans are retiring the idea of retirement

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Ah, those much-anticipated halcyon days of retirement — sleeping in, golf at will, travel too, leisurely day after leisurely day. No more whining colleagues, carping bosses, endless meetings with no result, tedious commutes.

Of course, few retirements turn out that way. And now a new Associated Press poll finds that for a variety of reason about a quarter of Americans have no intention of ever retiring at all.

That may turn out to be unrealistic too, given the vagaries of health for senior citizens and their family members, the rapid growth of robots and automation and the ever-changing work skill sets of each new age of technology.

Not to mention the cyclical swings of a national economy, which now currently happens to be on a hiring upswing.

The recent survey from AP and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found that nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of workers do not expect to stop working. This includes about two-in-10 workers already over 50 years old.

Another quarter of Americans said they intend to continue working well beyond their 65th birthday, once generally considered retirement age.

Many of these optimistic anticipated work plans involve — you guessed it — money. People are living longer now than their grandparents or even parents. So today’s retirement resources need to last longer too. Not to mention possible care costs for their aging parents, who also are living longer.

“People have to live in retirement much longer,” says Anqi Chen, a savings expert at Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research. “And they may not have enough assets to support themselves in retirement.”

About a third of respondents over 50 said they feel financially unprepared for retirement, while 29 percent said they feel well prepared money-wise.

Among those already fully retired nearly 40 percent said they felt very or extremely well-prepared when retiring and a quarter felt poorly or not at all prepared.

As for the effects on other workers of this growing phenomenon of aging workers, Americans seem pretty closely split.

About 39 percent thinks people staying in the workforce longer is a good thing for American workers; 29 percent thinks it’s more of a negative; and 30 percent say it doesn’t really makes any difference.

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On second thought: New polls show that Biden isn’t collapsing after all

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Monday presented a question. Did that new Monmouth poll with a suspiciously small sample capture the start of an avalanche in Grandpa Joe’s support, with Biden dropping 13 points(!) in two months, or was it an outlier?

Wednesday brings the answer. Outlier, per new surveys from Morning Consult, Suffolk, and Quinnipiac, each of which finds him winning about a third of Dem primary voters and maintaining a healthy lead over Warren and Sanders.

In fact, it’s such an outlier that Monmouth itself issued a press release today saying yep, it’s an outlier.

I make this solemn pledge to you, though: I will never let the whiff of garbage around a too-good-to-check poll deter me from blogging that sucker on a slow news day. Pointless freakouts are what the Internet is all about.

New from Quinnipiac:

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Warren is competitive with him among whites but Biden continues to blow the rest of the field away among black voters, winning them 46/10. That’s the difference. As for the other polls out today, Morning Consult has the race Biden 33, Sanders 20, Warren 15 whereas Suffolk has it Biden 32, Warren 14, Sanders 12, each a far cry from Monmouth’s numbers showing Biden sliding to third place at 19 percent. Three different surveys show no one within 13 points of him. Frontrunner status: Secure.

That’s not the most notable result in the Quinnipiac poll, though. They took the public’s temperature on the economy and found opinion shifting a bit towards pessimism, a bad omen for Trump next year. For only the second time in the past year, more people disapprove of his handling of the economy than approve, a 46/49 split (42/51 among independents). He’s at 38/54 on trade, and the share of the public that says the economy is doing “excellent” or “good” has slipped to 61 percent, a solid number but the lowest he’s seen since April 2018.

The upshot is that, for the moment, he’s getting wrecked head to head with the Democrats. Especially the two grandpas.

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As we’re all well aware after 2016, the election doesn’t turn on the popular vote. He could lose nationally to Biden and still win the presidency if he reassembles his swing state coalition. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Morning Consult also has his job approval under 50 percent in multiple battleground states, including Iowa and the entire Rust Belt. He’s even slightly underwater in Florida and North Carolina. And needless to say, he couldn’t win the electoral college if he lost the popular vote *badly.* A narrow defeat of a few points in the PV can be overcome by winning with razor-thin margins in battlegrounds. A blowout loss in the popular vote will carry over to battlegrounds. If 40 percent really does end up as his ceiling next year, he’s looking at a landslide.

But don’t worry. Americans on both sides are preparing to rationalize away a defeat by their preferred candidate, per Suffolk:

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Thirty-eight percent saying *in advance* that they’re “not very confident” or “not at all confident” that an unfavorable result will be legitimate is a lot of institutional distrust. Imagine what the numbers will be if Trump loses and then spends the ensuing months in full sore-loser mode, a la Democrats and Russia.

Exit question: How far would Trump’s approval rating need to fall by next spring for him to invent an excuse to withdraw from the race? Down to 30 percent, maybe? I don’t think there’s anything he could do — barring economy calamity — that would lose him enough Republicans that he might touch 30.

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