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Westlake Legal Group > Quinnipiac

Milestone: Warren now leads Biden in RCP poll average

Westlake Legal Group w-1 Milestone: Warren now leads Biden in RCP poll average warren Ukraine The Blog rcp Quinnipiac primary morning consult democratic biden 2020

They’re basically tied, with Warren ahead by a mere two-tenths of a point, but (a) this is the first time Biden has trailed all year in the poll of polls and (b) it’s reeeeally hard to see how the trendlines here reverse. Biden’s probably already been damaged by the questions about Ukraine and Burisma, and Warren’s chief competition for the progressive vote, Bernie Sanders, seems likely to fade given the health concerns about him and his newly scaled-back campaign. In fact, Bernie’s health trouble may be a double whammy for Biden, not only freeing up lefties to unite behind Warren but raising new doubts about whether a man of Grandpa Joe’s age might face a health scare of his own later in the campaign.

Combine all that with the facts that Warren does better with white voters and the first two primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire are almost uniformly white and she’s starting to look like a solid frontrunner, whatever the polling numbers at this particular moment happen to say.

She’s led in four of the last five national polls tracked by RCP and the one in which she trailed, Morning Consult, comes with an asterisk: For whatever reason, their data has shown Biden ahead by double digits consistently for weeks even as the entire rest of the polling field has shifted towards Warren. That is, even Biden’s one good poll (showing him at 33 percent) is highly likely to be an outlier. Most of them have him in the mid-20s. Case in point, the new one from Quinnipiac:

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Note how competitive Warren is among all Democratic demographics, up to and including Biden’s base of black voters and whites without a college degree. He still has a double-digit lead among black Democrats, but if you were to combine Bernie’s share of that vote with Warren’s it’d be a dead heat. Again, Bernie is the X factor: If you believe (as I do) that Warren rather than Biden will inherit the majority of his voters if he drops out or loses altitude then what we’re looking at in these numbers is likely a floor for Warren, not a ceiling. Her lead is apt to increase as Sanders is marginalized.

YouGov is out with its own numbers today and the toplines turn out to be nearly identical to Quinnipiac’s:

Monmouth also had the race 28/25 for Warren in a poll conducted during the last week of September. Biden’s remaining hope is to seize on surveys that show him performing best against Trump in head-to-head match-ups and use it to hammer his electability pitch. For instance, Fox News found him leading Trump 48/39 this past week in Wisconsin(!) compared to a 45/41 lead for Warren in the same state. (Trump’s job approval there is just 44/54.) Biden also does better against Trump in Quinnipiac’s national poll, leading POTUS 51/40 compares to Warren’s 49/41 advantage. But there’s a caveat: Biden’s 11-point lead over Trump in Quinnipiac is his smallest margin so far this year, down five points from the 16-point lead he enjoyed in August. Even his electability edge may be fraying.

But it gets worse:

[Biden’s] latest fundraising round was more than $9 million behind his closest rival in the polls — Elizabeth Warren. His total also ran well behind Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders.

That’s a problem for a candidate who is seeking to compete in all four early states and also build out his campaign infrastructure in the 14 states that will vote on Super Tuesday…

“The former vice president, with all the high-dollar contacts around the country — you do all the big fundraisers in the big cities. Once you do that, that’s it. If you don’t have that perpetual, low-dollar fundraising machine, you can’t compete,” [David] Kochel said, noting the massive figures reported by Biden’s top rivals. “Biden looks like he can’t compete with Warren, Bernie and Buttigieg. How’s he going to compete with Trump?”

If Warren inherits most of Bernie’s support — electoral and presumably financial — if and when he quits, or fades from, the race, how does Biden keep pace?

An amazing detail about Warren’s quarterly fundraising haul is that she’s done it without holding the sort of fundraisers for wealthy donors that Biden, among others, routinely conducts. In fact, news is breaking today that she’s done so well with her small-donor operation that she intends to extend it to the general election too:

From the day Ms. Warren announced her plan to skip traditional fund-raisers in February, she had said the pledge only applied to the primary. “I do not believe in unilateral disarmament,” she said then on MSNBC.

But she told CBS News in an interview posted on Tuesday evening that, even as President Trump has set fund-raising records, she would not change how her campaign raises money if she won the Democratic nomination.

“No, I will not be forced to make changes in how I raise money,” Ms Warren said. “Look, for me this is pretty straightforward. Either you think democracy works and electing a president is all about going behind closed doors with bazillionaires and corporate executives and lobbyists and scooping up as much money as possible. Or you think it’s about a grass-roots, let’s build this from the ground up.”

Democrats will pressure her to rethink this if she’s the nominee, knowing what an enormous fundraising advantage Trump is building for himself, but there’s strategy to Warren’s position. She watched Trump himself defeat a better-funded candidate three years ago by campaigning as a populist. She won’t get as much free media as he got in 2016 but she’ll get plenty, and it’ll be almost uniformly glowing. The press has its usual strong anti-Trump and anti-GOP incentives to side with the Democratic candidate, but on top of that they have a “first woman president” narrative to push and a kinship with a candidate who is, after all, a well-educated Ivy League liberal academic. More than anything, though, Warren wants to draw a contrast with Trump’s practice of attending lots of fatcat fundraisers for his own campaign. You can see her message coming from a mile awhile: The so-called “populist” president turns out to have been a swamp creature all along and now spends his days happily splashing around in special-interest money. I’m the real populist and to prove it I won’t hold a single fundraiser. Will that work in the midwest?

The post Milestone: Warren now leads Biden in RCP poll average appeared first on Hot Air.

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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:

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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.

The post Quinnipiac: Support for impeachment and removal now at 47/47, up from 37/57 five days ago appeared first on Hot Air.

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Bye-bye Biden? Warren leads in new national poll, tied for lead in another

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Bear in mind, these results are trickling in *before* Democratic voters have digested the allegations of corruption made against Biden in the Ukraine matter. Even if they opt not to believe them, how many will conclude that swing voters will believe them next fall and start discounting Biden’s alleged “electability” advantage?

Imagine if Trump ends up being impeached for trying to make trouble abroad for a candidate who was never going to be his general election opponent anyway.

A game-changing new poll from Quinnipiac:

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Not only is 27 percent the best Warren’s ever done in a national poll, it’s also the first time she’s led Biden outright in any national poll. As usual, she leads him in enthusiasm too: Fully 70 percent of Dems say they’d be excited to see her as nominee versus 56 percent who say the same of Biden.

The real alarm bell for Grandpa Joe, though, is the split among black voters, as Philip Klein rightly notes:

Back in a July poll, Warren was essentially in a three-way tie for second place, with 15 percent nationally, according to Quinnipiac. In that poll, she was at 20 percent among white voters, but way back at six percent among black voters. In a Wednesday poll, she has vaulted to the top, with 27 percent overall, just edging out Joe Biden, at 25 percent. But now among black voters, she’s in second place, at 19 percent.

In California, it’s a similar story. A new LA Times poll finds Warren jumping to a 29 percent to 22 percent lead in the delegate-rich state overall, but, she’s only trailing Biden 32 percent to 24 percent among black voters. Sen. Kamala Harris, who is both black and from California, was at 18 percent among the group.

Not only is Warren now second to Biden among black voters, trailing him 40/19, but Bernie Sanders has 12 percent of that group. If Bernie fades and black progressives begin drifting towards Warren, suddenly she’d be competitive with Joe among voters who are supposed to be his “firewall,” the group that will offset his losses among other demographics by preferring him overwhelmingly. Blacks no longer prefer him overwhelmingly, according to today’s Quinnipiac data. And given the general drift towards Warren in all polling lately, it’s likely that his lead among them will shrink rather than grow.

Could the Quinnipiac poll be an outlier? Seems unlikely. This new data that dropped this morning from YouGov confirms that the race is a coin flip right now, with Warren and Biden neck and neck in the mid-20s.

When Democratic voters are asked whom they’re considering voting for, Warren leads Biden 54/47. There are other polls lately that look like this too — Emerson recently had Biden up 25/23 and NBC/WSJ had it 31/25 in mid-September. There’s no reason, in other words, to think Quinnipiac and YouGov are “bad polls” for Biden or “good polls” for Warren. They seem to accurately reflect the state of the race at the moment, before the impact of the Ukraine stuff has been felt. In fact, as of today, Warren is the first candidate besides Biden to crack 20 percent in the RCP poll of polls since May. She seems to be for real.

“But wait,” you say, “national polls are interesting but ultimately don’t matter. Iowa and New Hampshire are what matter.” Right, true — but Warren’s surging there too. I already posted this new Monmouth poll of New Hampshire yesterday but it’s worth eyeballing the numbers again:

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She’s just three points behind Biden in the RCP polling average of the state right now. And Iowa? Warren has led the field there in the last two polls taken, 24/16 over Biden in an Iowa State survey taken in mid-September and 22/20 in a Des Moines Register poll conducted a few days later. She’s up 2.7 points in the RCP average.

If you had to make a bet on the Democratic primaries at this particular moment in time, Warren running the table would look like a fairly solid bet. The question is whether South Carolina’s mostly black Democratic electorate would stick with Biden if he lost the first two states or if they’d break for Warren if she won them. The signs there aren’t great for Biden either, per Politico:

Biden’s level of support in South Carolina makes it his firewall state, but even in South Carolina there are troubling signs of erosion. While he remains on top, among black voters, who are more than 60 percent of the Democratic electorate, Biden has plummeted 19 points in Tyson’s polls. That’s a potential leading indicator of the problems he could face after South Carolina’s Feb. 29 primary when many of the minority-heavy Southeastern states — as well as Texas and California — beginning voting on Super Tuesday, March 3, and thereafter.

As strange as it is to imagine after the Democratic field initially ballooned to more than 20 candidates, the actual race could be over quickly once Democrats start voting. Which means Trump will never have a chance to use the Ukraine matter against Biden — but Warren will have lots of chances to use it against Trump. Good lord.

Exit question: Kamala Harris is now at three percent nationally, per Quinnipiac? Was even Scott Walker’s 2016 flameout as embarrassing as this?

The post Bye-bye Biden? Warren leads in new national poll, tied for lead in another appeared first on Hot Air.

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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.

The post On second thought: New polls show that Biden isn’t collapsing after all appeared first on Hot Air.

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Quinnipiac: 51% believe Trump is racist

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They neglected to ask the key follow-up question: “If you answered yes, are you considering voting for him anyway?”

Another good one would have been, “Can someone be racist if they don’t use racial slurs?”

Lots of interesting splits here, and of course independents are always notable, but the gender divide may be the most interesting.

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White men are -20 on the question. White women are +9. The AP spent some time in suburban neighborhoods this past weekend interviewing women there about Trump’s recent outbursts at figure like Elijah Cummings and the Squad. On the one hand, man-on-the-street interviews touching on race would seem especially prone to social desirability bias, with participants keenly aware that they’re expected to give a particular answer in order to show their own sensitivity. On the other hand, the Quinnipiac numbers are scientific and they are what they are. A majority of white women see racial bias in Trump and they’re a key bloc in the suburban districts that helped Democrats to a new House majority next fall. Whether Trump’s wars with the Squad, Cummings, Al Sharpton, and other minority pols are winners or losers for him electorally may depend on how white women stomach them, but it’s not going well so far if you believe the AP:

In more than three dozen interviews by The Associated Press with women in critical suburbs, nearly all expressed dismay — or worse — at Trump’s racially polarizing insults and what was often described as unpresidential treatment of people. Even some who gave Trump credit for the economy or backed his crackdown on immigration acknowledged they were troubled or uncomfortable lining up behind the president…

“It was mainly when he got into office when my opinion started changing,” said [Emily] West, 26. “Just the way he treats people.”

“I did not think it was going to be as bad as it is — definitely narcissism and sexism, but I did not think it was going to be as bad as it is,” said Kathy Barnes while shopping in the Denver suburb of conservative-leaning Lone Tree. “I am just ashamed to be an American right now.”…

“I don’t think I should say those words in front of my daughter,” [Yael Telgheder] said, her 3-year-old next to her. “To be honest, there are certain things that — he’s a businessman — so I understand the reasons behind them. But all of the disrespect and lies and stuff like that, it’s just too much for me.”

“Trump fatigue” is a real thing, I’m sure. Trump fatigue specifically in the context of him picking fights with minority pols might be a real thing, if not now then eventually. Trump fatigue that’s so intense that people are willing to overlook steady economic growth and roll the dice on a left-wing Democrat is … less of a thing, I’m guessing.

In fact, Quinnipiac also asked voters about impeachment for its new poll. Between the Mueller hearing and the war with the Squad and Cummings, you might expect the majority of Americans who think Trump is racist to be newly eager to oust him. Not so:

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That doesn’t mean they want to reelect him, but nothing he’s done thus far is a firing offense to a solid 60 percent of Americans. As for whether the fight he’s picked with Cummings is off-the-cuff or strategic, sources tell the Times and WaPo that it’s the former. He’s not following some carefully scripted plan to bait minority pols in order to get working-class whites excited (yet?), he’s annoyed that Cummings’s committee issued subpoenas for texts and emails drafted sent to or from Jared Kushner and Ivanka. He was just lashing out.

Several White House officials expressed agreement during a staff meeting on Monday morning that the president’s attacks were a bad move, according to people informed about the discussion, but they were uncertain who could intervene with him — or if anyone would even dare try.

They privately scoffed at the idea that it was strategy rather than impulse, concluding that any political benefit he might derive by revving up his conservative, largely white base could be offset by alienating more moderate voters in the suburbs of states like Wisconsin and Michigan that he needs to win a second term.

Trump himself told reporters today that there’s no strategy, “zero strategy.” Watch below. And if you have time, skim through the rest of the Quinnipiac data to see how Americans responded to questions about conditions at immigrant detention facilities. Democratic attacks seem to be penetrating, with 51 percent of Americans saying conditions at the facilities are inhumane (just 35 percent disagree), 62 percent saying the feds aren’t doing enough to improve them, and 53 percent saying it’s better to release immigrants if facilities are overcrowded even if it means they won’t show up for their court dates versus 31 percent who say they should be held anyway. Americans prefer catch-and-release to what’s happening now.

The post Quinnipiac: 51% believe Trump is racist appeared first on Hot Air.

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Quinnipiac: Biden bounces back out to a big lead, up 12 points in a month, as Harris fades

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FiveThirtyEight noticed last week that, very quietly, Biden was recovering from the polling hit he took after the busing exchange with Kamala Harris at the last debate. Harris had zoomed up after that in some polls, even touching 20 percent in Quinnipiac’s June survey, but the trend didn’t continue. It was Biden who was once again on the rise while Harris dipped a bit.

Now here comes Quinnipiac’s July poll with even clearer evidence of the trend.

What happened?

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Look back to the numbers from June. After a long slide in early July after the first debate, with Harris nearly passing him, Biden’s regained 12 points and now enjoys a bigger lead than he did before. And most of that 12-point surge has come at Harris’s expense. Check this out (“AA” is “African-American”):

A huge number of black voters migrated from Biden to Harris after the busing exchange … and now they appear to have come home to Joe. It’s not just happening in the Quinnipiac poll either. Over at RCP’s poll of polls, Biden has regained nearly all of the lead he enjoyed shortly before the first Democratic debate. In mid-June he stood at 32 percent with Bernie second at 15. Today Biden’s at 31.3 with Elizabeth Warren second at 14.8. Harris, the supposed breakout star of the last debate, is in fourth place at 11 percent — still several points higher than where she was before the busing attack on Biden but by no means threatening Uncle Joe for the lead.

Again, what happened?

Nate Silver speculated last week that the post-debate polls were affected by a burst of enthusiasm from Harris supporters. As that enthusiasm cooled a bit, the polling equilibrium was restored:

[O]ne contributing factor may be nonresponse bias — after a good debate for Harris and a poor one for Biden, for instance, Harris supporters may be more likely to respond to polls and Biden ones less so. I tend to think this phenomenon is a little overstated and that an easier answer is simply that a lot of voters don’t have deep convictions about the race until much later, and so bounce around among whichever candidates have gotten favorable press coverage recently.

The latter explanation about the lack of deep convictions makes more sense to me. Voters liked what they saw of Harris at the debate but they haven’t seen or heard much lately unless they’re so attuned to daily political news that they’re following the rollout of her Medicare for All plans, so they’re back in default mode. If I had to float a theory for why they’re reverting to Biden it’d be pure, clean, simple electability: Uncle Joe blows the field away when Dems are asked who stands the best chance of beating Trump, taking 51 percent of the vote when no one else does better than 10. Every day that Democratic voters are focused on the latest Trump outburst instead of the daily squabbling among Dem candidates is probably a good day for Biden inasmuch as Trump’s antics remind liberals that winning next fall is all that matters, which naturally leads them back to the safest, supposedly most electable choice.

The most frequently recurring narrative about the primary in political media this past week is Biden vowing to get his game face on for the upcoming debate. Literally every four hours or so, some media outlet regurgitates another “no more mister nice guy” piece about Uncle Joe. He’s been taking shots at Harris and Cory Booker too, partly to preview the battle to come on Wednesday night and partly to reassure nervous Biden fans who thought he looked a bit … frail at the first debate that he’s up to the challenge. I hope for his sake that that’s true. Because Philip Klein’s right that he’s staring down the barrel of a “Pawlenty moment” if he wimps out again when he’s face to face with Harris:

For those who need a reminder, Pawlenty was a governor of Minnesota who ran a failed bid for the 2012 Republican nomination. From the get-go, he was hindered by the perception that he was too boring and too much of a nice Midwesterner to survive the brutal world of presidential politics. Seeking to disabuse people of this perception, he used the run up to a summer 2011 debate as an opportunity to attack Romney’s Massachusetts healthcare law that provided the model for Obamacare. In interviews leading up to the debate, he deployed the phrase “Obamneycare” and talked about his sharp elbows from playing hockey. Everything was teed up for Pawlenty to swing at Romney’s biggest vulnerability. Yet when he was given the opportunity to challenge Romney on the debate stage, he totally bungled it. He didn’t merely wiff, he backed off his attack altogether. Pawlenty wouldn’t formally drop out of the race until August, but effectively, his chances were doomed once he blew his chance in the June debate.

Romney analogies usually aren’t good for Harris but she’ll take that one. Exit question: Will Biden wimp out? I think he’ll wimp out.

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Q-poll: Six in ten Americans reject impeachment, majorities in almost all demos

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Consider this a measure of House Democrats’ impotence, and perhaps of Nancy Pelosi’s wisdom. Despite Democrats’ 24/7 hyperbole in demanding impeachment, the needle has not moved at all among voters, according to the latest poll from Quinnipiac. Six in ten American voters oppose impeachment, just as they have for the last six months, although they’re far from convinced that Robert Mueller exonerated Trump in any way.

Take a look at just how opposed voters are to impeachment across almost all demos, and how stable the overall response has been since December:

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The most amazing takeaway here is that the Mueller report doesn’t appear to have had any impact on the popular trajectory on impeachment. That would have likely changed if Mueller found a smoking gun on collusion, but even the whiff of smoke on obstruction hasn’t changed minds. Opposition to impeachment has ranged between 59% and 66% for six months in this series, and it doesn’t appear to be gaining any traction now despite the histrionics from the House Judiciary Committee and their subpoena fights.

Next, take a look at the demos. Only two support impeachment: Democrats and black voters, by roughly identical margins. Every other demo has a majority opposed to impeachment, and it’s not even a close call in any of them. The narrowest majority against impeachment is among Hispanics, where impeachment still fails by double digits, 39/53. Young voters, most likely to be progressive activists in the making, oppose it by 23 points. And considering that Democrats usually get around 90% of the African-American vote in elections, that 63/31 in their demo looks weaker than the numbers suggest on their own.

Small wonder that Nancy Pelosi wants to talk about anything else but impeachment. It’s an electoral loser and she knows it, even if the rest of her caucus hasn’t figured it out.

That’s not to say that the poll is chock full of good news for Trump. Fifty-seven percent think Trump committed crimes before he took office, and it’s an even 45/45 split on whether he committed crimes in office. Sixty-nine percent think the Department of Justice should be able to indict a sitting president, and 55% say Mueller didn’t clear Trump of anything.

In other words, it’s not as if Quinnipiac got a Trump-friendly sample as an anomaly. It’s that voters take undoing an election extremely seriously, and with another one on the way, they overwhelmingly oppose Congress from taking that action. Perhaps Jerrold Nadler should start listening to them.

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Trump Gets an Unlikely Assist On Why National Polls Are Useless Right Now

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Yesterday, a poll from Quinnipiac came out which showed Donald Trump getting trounced by essentially everyone in the 2020 Democratic field. Unsurprisingly, Joe Biden had the largest lead at 13 points.

There was also a story circulating that Trump got some bad internal polling news. It was then spun as some kind of scandal that he wouldn’t want his surugotes talking about it public, because politicians normally share internal polling or something. The rules are always changing, obviously.

Is all this really the devastating news the media is making it out to be? Donald Trump made his opinion be known.

No doubt, his response isn’t meant to be a scientific rebuttal for why current polling is wrong. He doesn’t need to do that though. As a snapshot in time to help strategic decisions, states polls may hold value. It’s acceptable to say “we’ve got some work to do there.” Trump’s campaign isn’t out there polling right now just for fun. But as a predictive measure, they are completely irrelevant and will remain so for a very long time.

To help with this point, the President got an unlikely assist from a normally staunch critic.

Speaking of Quinnipiac specifically, here’s a reminder of why it’s probably best to not even pay attention to what they are putting out right now.

And here’s Quinnipiac’s final polling of the last Presidential election, taken on the 11/3/16.

A number of Quinnipiac University polls released on Tuesday also put Clinton ahead in four key swing states. In Florida, Clinton has 46 percent to Trump’s 45 percent; in Ohio she leads by 46 percent to Trump’s 41 percent; and in Pennsylvania she leads Trump 48 percent to 43 percent. In North Carolina, Clinton has 47 percent support to Trump’s 44 percent.

If you were keeping score, Trump ended up winning every single one of those states.

If polling was this volatile less than a week out, what value is polling 17 months out? Again, as a predictive measure, it’s completely meaningless and even Nate Silver is admitting that. There is so much that’s going to happen between now and the end of the general election. Joe Biden is not going to remain in witness protection forever. No candidate can maintain a campaign by giving low-energy speeches every two weeks. Hillary tried that after her health issues escalated in 2016 and she fell flat down the stretch.

If it’s not Biden, then Trump will most likely be facing an admitted socialist with zero charisma, whether that be Warren or Sanders. The attack ads start to write themselves at that point, especially regarding the economy, where Trump maintains an approval rating over 50%. The race, regardless of who Trump is facing, will compress greatly. In the summer of 2015, Trump was trailing Clinton by 17 points and 24 points in two separate polls.

In short, the landscape today is nothing like what it will be in late 2020. That doesn’t mean you sit on your hands and just ignore polling and the Trump campaign isn’t doing that. We are seeing them make moves behind the scenes already. But the breathless coverage yesterday about the “bad news” for Trump was mostly wishful thinking.

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Quinnipiac: Biden leads Trump head to head by 13

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Is it time to worry? Why, er, no, says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, who pointed on Twitter today to this piece he wrote in 2014. Hypothetical match-ups this far out from Election Day turn out to have no predictive power. In fact, according to one study, match-ups polled just 300 days out from Election Day — a moment that won’t arrive for another six months — also have virtually no predictive power. You’re free to ignore this buzzworthy Quinnipiac survey along with every other “Trump vs. X” poll between now and January that I mine for cheap content.

Except in one respect. In an election cycle in which Democrats are paying unusual attention to electability, polling that indicates that Biden would fare best against Trump next year may become a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you’re a liberal who prefers Elizabeth Warren on the merits but whose first, second, and third priorities next year are getting Trump out of office, surveys that show Biden leading Trump by roughly twice the margin Warren leads him may be powerful reason to think hard about nominating Uncle Joe instead. I can’t imagine how Team Biden might come up with a more effective campaign ad than numbers from a respected pollster showing their guy blowing Trump out of the water.

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Those numbers among independents are something else. Other Dems tested head-to-head with Trump also do well with indies but not like Biden does. (Overall, Bernie Sanders leads Trump by nine head to head while Kamala Harris leads him by eight and Elizabeth Warren by seven.) One interesting number not shown here suggests that there may be less to Biden’s lead than meets the eye, though: When Quinnipiac asked people if they’re paying a lot of attention to the campaign, some attention, or very little/none, it turned out that the more closely they’re watching the race, the tighter the margin between Biden and Trump got. Among those who are paying a lot of attention, it’s Biden by seven; among those who are paying some attention, Biden by 12; and among those paying little to none, Biden by 25(!). That trend repeated in Trump’s head-to-head polling against other Democrats like Sanders and Warren. Each one led Trump by around five points in the group that’s following the race closely and by blowout margins in the group that’s not following it at all. Presumably members of that latter group are less likely to vote next fall.

Before you dismiss Biden’s lead as fake news, note that the Times reports today that Trump has conducted his own polling and that didn’t look so hot either — to the point where POTUS told his deputies to just go ahead and lie about it if asked:

After being briefed on a devastating 17-state poll conducted by his campaign pollster, Tony Fabrizio, Mr. Trump told aides to deny that his internal polling showed him trailing Mr. Biden in many of the states he needs to win, even though he is also trailing in public polls from key states like Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania. And when top-line details of the polling leaked, including numbers showing the president lagging in a cluster of critical Rust Belt states, Mr. Trump instructed aides to say publicly that other data showed him doing well…

Unlike nearly every recent modern president who sought re-election, Mr. Trump rarely if ever speaks to aides about what he hopes to accomplish with what would be a hard-won second term; his interest is entirely in the present, and mostly on the crisis of the moment.

It’s not just his own internal polling. A Fox News poll taken last month had Biden ahead by 11 nationally, 49/38. Part of the reason he’s dogging Biden so frequently in public is because he’s worried, which ironically may be boosting Biden’s chances among Democratic undecideds. If Biden’s the one whom Trump fears, some Dems might reason, then he’s whom we should nominate. Reading today’s Quinnipiac poll and mindful that Trump’s job approval is rarely above 42 percent for long, Josh Kraushaar goes so far as to call him an underdog for reelection. I’d say he’s no worse than 50/50, but he’s probably the most vulnerable incumbent since Bush 41 in 1992.

I mean, it’s not a good sign if he’s looking at Oregon as a possible pick-up.

Never mind that, though. The real action in the Quinnipiac poll is in the Democratic primary:

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Warren’s surge looks increasingly like it’s for real. This is the fourth straight Quinnipiac poll in which she’s gained ground, now tying Bernie among self-described very-liberals. It’s younger adults, men, and, weirdly, nonwhites who are keeping him a few points ahead of her but it’s hard to see why that would last. All of the intellectual energy on the left side of the campaign is coming from Warren. Voters know Sanders well from 2016 but many are still getting acquainted with her via her “I’ve got a plan” weekly policy rollout. If you’re a lefty who hasn’t yet committed to Bernie, what’s going to pull you into his camp instead of Warren’s? I think she’s going to overtake him, and once she does, some “soft” Berniebros might defect to her. A new poll of Massachusetts today shows Sanders at a measly six percent, in fact, one of the poorest showings of either of his presidential runs. Granted, that’s Warren’s home state, but she’s only at 10 percent there. The electorate simply seems cooler to him and his message this time around.

Exit question via Philip Klein: How much can we trust a poll that places the Republican nominee one point ahead of the Democrat among white voters, as Quinnipiac’s Trump/Biden match-up does? Not since 1996 has a Democrat come within single digits of winning the white vote, notes Klein. Trump and Romney each won it by around 20 points. If Biden truly is that competitive among whites, Trump’s goose is cooked. And if he isn’t — and he probably isn’t — then Quinnipiac’s poll isn’t very useful.

Update: We’re not really going to elect a man who’d plagiarize Michael Avenatti, are we?

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Biden leads Trump by four in Quinnipiac poll of … Texas?

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I’m as skeptical as you are. Scarcely a year passes anymore without hype for some momentous Democratic upset in a statewide race and it never, ever happens — although Beto got too close for comfort against Ted Cruz last fall. It almost certainly won’t happen next year either. And if it does, Texas won’t matter. Trump losing the Lone Star state would only happen if he’s taking an unholy beating nationwide.

But before you dismiss this poll out of hand, note three things. One: This isn’t the first poll to show Texas competitive, or even the first to show Biden ahead. Emerson had him leading Trump 50/49 there a month ago.

Two: Trump’s job approval in Texas has been chronically lukewarm. In all five Quinnipiac polls of the state dating back to last April, he’s been no better than 47/47 there. Today Quinnipiac has him at 48/49. Morning Consult has him at 49/46. Texas just isn’t Trump country the way the deep south or heartland states like Wyoming are. In fact, although Biden’s the only Democrat who actually leads him head-to-head here, the president’s advantage against a variety of other Democrats tested is within the margin of error.

And three: Although Quinnipiac didn’t ask specifically about the new tariffs on Mexico, this poll was conducted mostly after Trump announced them. (The announcement was made on May 31, the survey was in the field from May 29-June 4.) Texas will likely suffer more economically than any other state if the tariffs take effect, which is why even Cruz is pounding the table about them. The numbers on Biden vs. Trump may be an early warning sign to POTUS not to mess with Texas.

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The difference between Biden and every other Democratic candidate: Independents. Among the various other Dems tested against Trump, the best anyone can do is a 13-point lead with indies. (That’s Bernie Sanders.) Biden, though, enjoys a 22-point lead and is the only candidate to win a clear majority of that group (55 percent). Is that due to sheer name recognition or on the merits? We’ll see.

The most interesting numbers from this poll don’t involve Trump, though. They’re from the Democratic primary. Note the “very liberal” column:

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Warren is eating up Bernie’s base. Sanders still leads her thanks to “Democratic leaners,” who favor him 28/10 over her, but I wonder if that’s a function of name recognition or due to far-left progressives drifting into the “leaner” category due to their dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party. Also worth noting, though: Among Dems who say they’re paying “a lot” of attention to the primary, Warren leads Sanders 15/10. She’s catching on among the voters Bernie’s targeting. How much is that split going to end up helping Biden to the nomination?

The good news for Trumpers is that, per another poll today, there’s been a notable shift nationally in the share of Americans who think he’ll be reelected. Last March, just 40 percent thought he would be; now 54 percent do. That 54 percent isn’t promising to vote for him, but if they’re more able to see him winning now, with Russiagate in the rearview mirror, some of them are certainly more willing to consider voting for him. A hopeful sign, even if the Texas numbers are bad.

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