HUFFPOLLSTER: Here’s Why Big Rallies Don’t Mean Much For Voter Turnout

Arenas are not voting booths.

The country is deeply split on whether life is getting better or worse for people like them. Crowd size doesn’t matter when you’re behind in the polls. And Donald Trump may be losing support among even his strongest demographics This is HuffPollster for Friday, August 19, 2016.

DON’T FALL FOR ARGUMENTS THAT CROWD SIZE MATTERS MORE THAN POLLS - HuffPollster: “[R]allies couldn’t possibly be more indicative of vote preference than polls. In a 2012 survey from Pew Research, 10 percent of Americans reported having attended a political rally or speech. Compare that to 58.6 percent of eligible Americans who voted in that year’s presidential election. Way more people will vote than attend rallies. Pollsters talk to both enthusiastic rally-goers and couch potatoes because they try to achieve a representative sample ― meaning they try to interview a cross-section of Americans that roughly matches the demographics of the American population. Then they use vote history, ask questions of the respondents or use some combination of those techniques to determine who is most likely to vote. These are the ‘likely voters’ that you hear about.” [HuffPost]

Which polls show Donald Trump ahead? These ones. [HuffPost]

Attending a rally is very different from voting - John Sides: “The benefits you might get from a rally — a chance to express your passion for a candidate, be inspired or entertained by their speech, enjoy the company of other supporters — depend on going to the rally. If you don’t go, at best you’ll hear a few soundbites from the speech on the news. You won’t feel the excitement. You won’t get to see the show, as it were. You’ll lose out. But voting is entirely different. Perhaps the key benefit you’ll get from an election — seeing your preferred candidate win — doesn’t really depend on whether you vote. Obviously your one vote is very unlikely to determine the outcome of the election. You won’t necessarily lose anything if you stay home on Election Day. You could stay at home and still be cheering after the returns come in. In other words, the free rider problem looms large when it comes to voting, but much less so when it comes to attending a rally.” [WashPost]

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AMERICANS ARE DIVIDED ON WHETHER LIFE HAS IMPROVED IN 50 YEARS - HuffPollster: “There’s no shortage of differences between Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s supporters...But a new survey shows that one of the deepest fault lines lies along a far more personal metric: whether voters feel things have improved or gotten worse for people like them. Voters’ answers were divided along a number of demographics….There’s a much wider gulf, though, along political lines. Hillary Clinton’s supporters say by a 40-point margin that life has gotten better for people like them in the last 50 years, according to a Pew Research survey released Thursday. Trump supporters say by a 70-point margin that it’s gotten worse…. Partisans, perhaps reacting to their party’s cues, are increasingly divided as well ― in March, Republicans were 38 points likelier than Democrats to say things were getting worse for people like them. The margin is now 49 points.” [HuffPost]

Is past or present better for people like you? Trump, Clinton supporters differ

Most think the country is on the wrong track ― could that help Trump? - David Byler: “Right now, 28.8 percent of Americans think that the country is going in the right direction, and 64.6 think it’s on the wrong track….Taken at face value, these numbers might seem bad for Clinton ― she has clearly tied herself to the current administration… I tested whether direction-of-country had a statistically significant effect on the overall election results after accounting for presidential approval. It’s dicey to make strong inferences on such a small data set, but the results showed (after accounting for presidential approval) that direction-of-country did not have a statistically significant effect on the incumbent’s popular vote margin….Still, it’s worth asking: What if this time is different?... [I]f Bill Clinton or George W. Bush registered a zero net job approval, about 15 percent more Americans would say the country is on the wrong track rather than going in the right direction. But when Obama is at around a zero net job approval, that gap is closer to 30 percent.” [RealClearPolitics]

DONALD TRUMP MAY BE LOSING SUPPORT AMONG WHITE MEN - Jeremy W. Peters: “Donald J. Trump’s support among white men, the linchpin of his presidential campaign, is showing surprising signs of weakness that could foreclose his only remaining path to victory in November. If not reversed, the trend could materialize into one of the most unanticipated developments of the 2016 presidential campaign: That Hillary Clinton, the first woman at the head of a major party ticket and a divisive figure unpopular with many men, ends up narrowing the gender gap that has been a constant of American presidential elections for decades. Surveys of voters nationwide and in battleground states conducted over the last two weeks showed that Mr. Trump was even with or below where Mitt Romney, the Republican Party nominee four years ago, was with white men when he won that demographic by an overwhelming 27 percentage points….’If you set out to design a strategy to produce the lowest popular vote possible in the new American electorate of 2016, you would be hard-pressed to do a better job than Donald Trump has,’ said Whit Ayres, a pollster who has advised Republican presidential and Senate candidates for more than 25 years. ‘This is an electoral disaster waiting to happen.’” [NYT]

Winning blue-collar white men might not be enough - Greg Sargent (D): “Based on how this campaign has gone so far, there really might not be enough blue collar white men in America to elect Trump president, even if all of them come out to vote. That’s the actual finding of a new analysis conducted by demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution….’If the voting on election day is in line with the Washington Post poll, even if all non-college white men show up on Election Day to vote, it would be difficult for Trump to win,’ Frey told me. To make this worse for Trump, Frey added, it is far-fetched to begin with to assume that non-college white men will turn out at larger rates than college-educated whites overall will. The opposite is more likely to be the case, Frey said.” [WashPost]

FRIDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-A plurality of Americans say the media is biased toward Hillary Clinton. [Morning Consult]

-A new survey from AEI (R) and the L.A. Times shows how views on poverty have both changed and stayed the same since 1985. [AEI]

-Many American immigrants support a test on American values as a requirement for a visa. [Morning Consult]

-Americans’ approval rating for Congress has 18 percent. [Gallup]

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