POLITICS

HUFFPOLLSTER: Americans Have Concerns About Donald Trump’s Lack Of Political Experience

But be careful downplaying his chances too much.

A majority of Americans has concerns about Donald Trump’s lack of experience and wants him to release his tax returns. But widespread dissatisfaction with him doesn’t mean he can’t win the election. And this year's election could shift the way class and politics interact. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, May 24, 2016.

LOTS OF AMERICANS HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT TRUMP - Carrie Dann: “Donald Trump has highlighted his credentials as an outsider throughout his 2016 campaign, but six-in-ten American voters say they're unsure about his lack of military or government experience, a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll shows….[A] combined 61 percent say they have reservations (19 percent) or are outright uncomfortable (42 percent) with Trump's lack of experience in the kinds of positions traditionally held by American commanders-in-chief. To put that number in context: A lower total percentage of voters - 51 percent - expressed concern about Bernie Sanders potentially becoming the first self-described Democratic socialist to lead the country. Those who expressed concern about Trump's lack of military or government experience included 68 percent of women, 60 percent of independents, 78 percent of undecided voters and about a third of Republican primary voters.” [NBC]

They also want trump to release his tax returns - Eli Yokley: “Donald Trump’s campaign claims his federal tax returns are not of interest to American voters, but that’s actually not true, according to a new Morning Consult poll. ‘This is an issue the media is interested in. This isn’t an issue that middle America is interested in,’ Trump aide Paul Manafort said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ earlier this month. But a new national survey by Morning Consult of 2,001 registered voters found that 67 percent – and 60 percent of Republicans – think presidential candidates should have to disclose their returns. Just one in five voters (21 percent) said they don’t think the financial documents should have to be released. Unlike every Republican nominee since Ronald Reagan, Trump has refused to release his tax returns, prompting Democrats – including Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton – to question what he is ‘hiding.’” [Morning Consult]

BE CAREFUL NOT TO DOWNPLAY TRUMP'S CHANCES - HuffPollster: "Donald Trump is rising in the polls again. We’ve been here before: As the business mogul surged in the Republican primary polls last July, analysts and pundits worked hard to explain his rise while downplaying his long-term chances. Now Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, and we’re looking at a similar pattern: Trump’s numbers are creeping upward, and analysts and pundits are explaining why not to trust those numbers. Those criticisms are valid — it is very early, and the Democratic nomination is still not completely settled. A lot can and will happen between now and November. But there are also indications that the 2016 general election won’t be all that different from the early polls. Republicans will vote for the Republican candidate, Democrats will vote for the Democratic candidate and the election will come down to a handful of battleground states. In short, Trump might fail — his polling bump could be short-lived. He could lose in a close race. But he could also win this election. Despite the overarching narrative of a fractured Republican Party elite, most national and state-level general election polls are showing that most Republican voters support Trump. The numbers are pretty similar to the proportion of Democrats who indicate they will support Hillary Clinton." [HuffPost]

Don't underestimate party allegiance, even with polarizing candidates - Andrew Prokop: "One key question of this race has been whether a significant portion of Republicans would refuse to support their party's nominee — either backing Clinton, opting for a third-party candidate, or staying home. Indeed, Democrats' dreams of a landslide rather than just a victory were partly based on the idea that a significant portion of Republicans would neglect to support the billionaire — recoiling at his lack of qualifications, his racism, or even his heterodoxy on a few issues important to conservatives. Yet instead of a vibrant #NeverTrump movement, efforts to draft a third-party candidate who would appeal to conservatives have sputtered, and the past few weeks have seen many key Republican Party actors instead fall behind their likely nominee. And the party's voters appear to be following suit. Eighty-five percent of Republicans intend to vote for Trump, according to the new Washington Post/ABC News poll. This development is a further testament to the importance of partisan loyalties in our modern, polarized political system." [Vox]

Don't dismiss what the poll numbers are showing - Jon Cohen and Mark Blumenthal: "It happened again this past week. In an op-ed column in the New York Times, academics Norman Ornstein and Alan Abramowitz announced that recent polling showing Trump within striking distance of Hillary Clinton in the general election race can’t possibly be right...But as we should all realize by now, it’s not enough for Trump’s opponents to wish him away. It’s important for political professionals to actually explore what is buoying Trump — even if they find his rise unfathomable. Let us be clear: We believe it’s always dangerous to make predictions about the election more than six months out, especially at a moment when one party’s nomination contest is resolved, and another remains contested. Polls are a snapshot in time, not rarified glimpses into a crystal ball. First, [Ornstein and Abramowitz] argue that polls have been on a 'wild ride' recently, showing 'wild fluctuations.' That’s partly true — polls can vary at this stage of a campaign for a lot of reasons. But one way to smooth out the vagaries of varying methodologies and smaller samples, which Ornstein and Abramowitz actually recommend in their write-up, is to turn to polling averages. And this year, the HuffPost Pollster and RealClearPolitics averages show a fairly clear trend: The Clinton-Trump margin has narrowed significantly, following Donald Trump’s elevation to presumptive Republican nominee following his victory in the Indiana primary on May 3." [Medium]

CHANGES IN PARTIES’ DEMOGRAPHICS COULD SOLIDIFY THIS YEAR - Ronald Brownstein: "One of the key trends in modern American politics is ...the shift since the 1960s of working-class whites from the Democratic Party to the Republican, and the parallel movement of more white-collar whites from the GOP to the Democrats since the 1980s….Trump has demonstrated a visceral appeal among many blue-collar voters, especially men, and raised deep alarms among many of those with advanced degrees, especially women. In both the voting during the primaries and in general-election polling, Clinton, in turn has shown extreme weakness among blue-collar men and generated the most support among college-educated white women. The national CBS / New York Times poll released last week captured a nearly perfect parallel: 68 percent of white women with a college degree said they viewed Trump unfavorably, while 67 percent of white men without a degree were unfavorable toward Clinton. Trump faces big hurdles trying to dislodge the traditional Democratic advantage among non-white voters. So college-educated white men and non-college-educated white women are likely to become important swing groups." [The Atlantic]

Asian Americans are becoming increasingly Democratic - Asma Khalid: “Asian-Americans are shifting toward the Democratic Party in record numbers, according to a new poll conducted by a consortium of Asian-American organizations... In fact, since 2012, there's been a 12 point increase in the percent of Asian-Americans who identify as Democrat — from 35 percent to 47 percent. Asian-Americans overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama in 2012 — 73 percent to 26 percent — so these latest poll numbers suggest a crystallization of party ID among people who perhaps already lean Democrat. But, the partisan divides are growing and particularly obvious among young Asians, who now view the Democratic party far more favorably than the Republican party (77 percent compared to 12 percent).... For years, Asians were considered a swing vote. The tendency to vote Democrat in the Asian community is a fairly recent trend.” [NPR, APIA]

HUFFPOLLSTER VIA EMAIL! - You can receive this daily update every weekday morning via email! Just click here, enter your email address, and click "sign up." That's all there is to it (and you can unsubscribe anytime).

TUESDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Danny Hayes and Jennifer Lawless argue that gender bias in politics exists to a lesser degree than people think. [WashPost]

-Nate Cohn and Toni Monkovic explain why polls that show Bernie Sanders performing best against Donald Trump may not reflect an actual outcome. [NYT]

-Over 80 percent of Sanders supporters think the election system is flawed. [Gallup]

-The RNC is attempting to fill the data gap Trump has left for the party. [Washington Examiner]

-President Obama's approval rating reaches the highest point in NBC/WSJ polling since his second inauguration. [NBC]

-Millennial men are more likely than millennial women to think that their vote doesn't count. [SSRS]

-A study finds that Americans are hesitant to enroll in clinical trials of cancer research. [Science Daily]

CONVERSATIONS