This election could see a changing crop of swing states. Americans are nervous about the prospects of a Trump presidency. And the threat of Zika may be changing minds on abortion.This is HuffPollster for Monday, August 8, 2016.
DONALD TRUMP MIGHT BE SHIFTING STATES FROM RED TO PURPLE - HuffPollster: “A new set of battleground state polls out Sunday morning from CBS News/YouGov adds evidence of some surprising trends in the 2016 race: Arizona looks more like a battleground state than Virginia. Among likely voters in Arizona, CBS/YouGov finds Republican nominee Donald Trump leading by only 2 points. Incorporating that into the HuffPost Pollster average puts Trump only very slightly ahead ― 45.7 percent to Hillary Clinton’s 45.1 percent. In Virginia, Trump is 12 points behind the Democratic nominee among likely voters, according to the CBS/YouGov poll. Polls have generally found a consistent and substantial Clinton lead in the Old Dominion state. With this latest one included, the HuffPost Pollster average shows Clinton leading by 5.5 points….Both states are showing a reversal from trends in the last few presidential election cycles, and that’s not good news for Trump.” [HuffPost]
One demographic reason for the change -
MOST AMERICANS ARE ANXIOUS ABOUT A POTENTIAL TRUMP PRESIDENCY - Gary Langer: “Hillary Clinton has advanced among women and consolidated support within her party since her nominating convention, while a difficult few weeks have left Donald Trump still struggling on basic ratings from his temperament to his qualifications for office….Seventy-nine percent of Americans say he doesn’t show enough respect for people he disagrees with, 70 percent express anxiety about a Trump presidency, 67 percent think he lacks the personality and temperament it takes to serve effectively, 64 percent doubt his understanding of world affairs, 63 percent see him unfavorably overall, 62 percent say he’s not honest and trustworthy, 61 percent think he’s unqualified for office and 60 percent think he’s biased against women and minorities….Clinton has her own challenges in this poll... 66 percent say she’s too willing to bend the rules, though this has eased by 6 points from last month. She only runs evenly with Trump in trust to handle two key issues, the economy and terrorism. And she remains vastly unpopular in some groups, notably among white men who don’t have a college degree, an economically struggling group.” [ABC]
Trump’s numbers didn’t change; Clinton got a boost - Many of those numbers were already bad for Trump in ABC/Washington Post polls before the conventions. In July, 60 percent of voters said Trump was unqualified, compared to the 61 percent in this poll. His favorable ratings are also essentially unchanged. Clinton, however, got a boost in favorability, going from 42 percent favorable and 54 percent unfavorable in July to 48 percent favorable and 50 percent unfavorable in the latest survey. Clinton also improved her standing when respondents were asked which candidate is more honest and trustworthy, better understands “the problems of people like you” and would make the country safer and more secure. [ABC]
CLINTON’S POST-CONVENTION BUMP IS HOLDING STEADY - Harry Enten: “Hillary Clinton’s post-convention polling surge is showing no signs of fading. She leads Donald Trump, on average, by about 7 percentage points in national polls, and is an 83-percent favorite to win on Nov. 8, according to our polls-only model. Our polls-plus model — which accounts for the ‘fundamentals,’ as well as the tendency for a candidate’s numbers to temporarily rise after his or her convention — gives her a 76 percent chance. Those are her largest advantages since we launched our election forecasts back in June….My guess is that that will tick down a couple of points in the coming days….But it’s also possible that Clinton’s strong numbers aren’t solely the result of a fleeting post-convention afterglow. As my colleague Nate Silver pointed out on Friday, Trump’s recent struggles — his attacks on the Khan family and feuds with Republican leadership, for instance — could be inflicting more durable damage to his chances. Trump is the least-liked major party nominee in modern history. Perhaps the conventions and their aftermath, when many voters presumably tuned into the 2016 race for the first time, established a new equilibrium.” 
POST-CONVENTION POLLS ARE VOLATILE BECAUSE OF WHO ANSWERS THEM - Andrew Gelman and David Rothschild: “Recent research, however, suggests that swings in the polls can often be attributed not to changes in voter intention but in changing patterns of survey nonresponse: What seems like a big change in public opinion turns out to be little more than changes in the inclinations of Democrats and Republicans to respond to polls. We learned this from a study we performed during the 2012 election campaign using surveys conducted on the Microsoft Xbox….Looking more broadly, we examined all five polling companies that had polls posted on Huffington Post’s Pollster in July before the Republican convention and between the Republican convention and Democratic National Convention. The correlation between reported swing in candidate preference and swing in party identification in the sample is 85 percent. That is, most of the movement is attributable to nonresponse by Democrats, rather than to any shift in support for Trump.” [Slate]
MOST AMERICANS SUPPORT ALLOWING LATE-TERM ABORTIONS FOR ZIKA SUFFERERS - Laura Bassett and Nick Bayer: “American voters are much more inclined to support legal late-term abortions if the fetus is afflicted with a severe birth defect caused by the Zika virus, according to a new STAT-Harvard poll. The poll found that 59 percent of Americans favor allowing a woman to obtain a legal abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy ‘if a woman is infected with Zika virus and a health professional believes there is a serious possibility that the baby would be born with a severe birth defect that includes an abnormally small head and brain damage,’ which is known as microcephaly. Less than a quarter (23 percent) of respondents favor legal abortion at the same stage of pregnancy when the question does not mention the Zika-related birth defect.” [HuffPost]
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).
MONDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-NBC/SurveyMonkey found that Hispanic voters who take surveys in Spanish favor Clinton more than those who take surveys in English. [NBC/SurveyMonkey]
-Voters would rather trust Clinton than Trump with nuclear weapons. [Morning Consult]
-Poll unskewers are back with a website dedicated to “unbiasing” poll numbers. [Vox]
-Karl Rove rejects the idea that Trump’s numbers problem is due to skewed polls. [The Week]
-13 percent of Americans admit to smoking marijuana, up from 7 percent in 2013. [Gallup]