Americans See The Candidates' Focus As Out Of Step With Their Own Priorities

People are most worried about the economy, but don’t think Clinton or Trump cares as much.

Horserace numbers generally look good for Hillary Clinton. So do other indicators. And: One. More. Day. This is HuffPollster for Monday, November 7, 2016.

AMERICANS CARE MOST ABOUT THE ECONOMY. THEY DON’T THINK TRUMP AND CLINTON DO - HuffPollster: “As atypical as the 2016 election has been, Americans are heading to the ballot box with the same top concern they normally have: the economy. The public, though, believes neither major party nominee shares that priority, with Hillary Clinton instead largely attacking Donald Trump’s character and Trump devoting much of his time to anti-immigration rhetoric. Asked in a new HuffPost/YouGov survey to pick the two issues most important to them in this election, 43 percent of Americans named the economy….Prompted to select the two issues that each nominee has spent the most time talking about, 32 percent said that Clinton had focused on the candidates’ personal qualities, and 26 percent that she’d focused on social issues....A majority of Americans, 53 percent, said that Trump’s campaign had focused mostly on immigration, with 27 percent saying he’d mostly addressed the candidates’ personal qualities….The perception that much of this year’s campaign has revolved around character attacks is especially out of step with Americans’ concerns. Clinton and her surrogates have repeatedly advanced the argument that Trump is temperamentally unfit to serve as commander in chief, while Trump and his allies have devoted much of their time to attacking Clinton as corrupt. Just 8 percent of Americans, however, consider each candidate’s personal qualities to be a top concern.” [HuffPost]

CLINTON’S POLLING LEAD HAS BEEN MORE STABLE THAN OBAMA’S - Janie Velencia: “Hillary Clinton has consistently led in a greater portion of presidential polls in the two months heading into Election Day than President Barack Obama did in both 2008 and 2012. The Democratic nominee is ahead of GOP nominee Donald Trump in 93 percent of polls conducted in the two months before Election Day. Trump leads in just 3 percent of the polls. Another 3 percent of polls show a tied race. The ratio of the surveys she leads in is slightly less when polls with third-party candidates are analyzed. Overall, these statistics reflect a greater level of certainty of Clinton’s position as the leader than was present for Obama in 2008 and 2012. Obama led in 83 percent of polls against Sen. John McCain, who led in 11 percent, in 2008. The 2012 race was closer and that uncertainty was reflected in the lower ratio of polls Obama led to former Gov. Mitt Romney: 62 percent to 26 percent…. The range by which Clinton leads relative to Trump also stands in stark contrast to the 2008 and 2012 elections. The former secretary of state leads by 1 to 13 points in the polls she is ahead in. Trump’s lead, among the 3 percent of polls he’s ahead in, ranges from 1 to 2 points.” [HuffPost]  

Non-horserace numbers are also promising for Clinton - Nick Bayer: “While both candidates are historically unpopular with a majority of Americans, Clinton is marginally more popular than GOP nominee Donald Trump ― a good sign for her with just two days to go....It bodes well for a presidential candidate to have an incumbent president of the same party with high approval ratings in office while they’re running….The latest Pew Research Poll finds that voters have more trust in Clinton’s leadership than Trump’s across nearly all major issue areas. ...While a large majority of Americans don’t consider the candidates’ personal qualities to be a top concern in determining who they support, most still think Clinton has a better temperament than Trump to serve effectively as president….A majority of voters in recent polls believe Clinton will be the winner of the race. Questions that test voters’ perceptions of who will win are said to be more indicative of the actual winner than horserace polls asking who they will vote for….While a high probability of a Clinton victory doesn’t mean it will be a blowout, it seems like Clinton is holding strong ― not just in the polls but across several metrics.” [HuffPost]

Forecast update - With one day to go, the HuffPost forecast model doesn’t see much room for the situation to change, so Clinton has a 98 percent chance of winning the presidency based on polls that show her leading in critical states. Trump’s 1 percent chance is mostly based on the chance the polls are completely wrong ― he would have to win every battleground state, plus a few solid Clinton states, in order to get 270 electoral votes. The Senate is less clear, but still favors Democrats: There’s a 66 percent chance they get 51 or more seats. Republicans only have a 10 percent chance of getting to the 51 seat mark. [Presidential forecast, Senate forecast]

HOW TO COPE WITH TONS OF POLLS TODAY: AGGREGATES - HuffPollster: “The end of the election cycle always coincides with a massive batch of poll releases. Most pollsters want to get their final measures out and capitalize on peak interest in polling numbers before Election Day. That means we’ll be swimming in data on Monday…. Perhaps the most important key to keeping your sanity with all the polls coming in is to not follow every single poll and every little bounce in the numbers. Polling aggregates are your friend. I don’t say that to minimize pollsters’ hard work ― many of them do high-quality surveys and deserve credit for that. But when there’s an overwhelming amount of polling data coming at you, the best way to deal with it is to let someone else deal with it. If you’re trying to keep up with multiple 50-state polls on top of the dozens of other polls released each day, you’re going to have a bad time…. Most importantly: Don’t panic, vote. And make sure all your friends and family do, too.” [HuffPost]

2016 IS ‘AN ELECTION ABOUT FEAR’ - Mark Murray: “Whoever wins Tuesday’s presidential election will confront a nation that has grown increasingly pessimistic, divided and bitter about the state of American politics, according to the final national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of the 2016 presidential race. Sixty-four percent of likely voters say the election of the next president has made the nation more divided, versus 23 percent who think it’s made it more united. In  addition, 62 percent say the country is headed in the wrong direction. And strikingly, 6 in 10 voters say the election has made them less proud of the country — compared with just 12 percent who said that before the 2008 presidential election. ‘This election was never about hope, but it was an election about fear,’ says Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted the NBC/WSJ survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff and his firm. ‘Donald Trump’s message was the fear of what was happening to America, and Hillary Clinton’s was about the fear of Donald Trump.’” [NBC]

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

-A majority of Americans think a Donald Trump presidency would be bad for the country. [HuffPost]

-Black voters see the stakes in this year’s election as especially high. [HuffPost]

-Most voters, including nearly 70 percent of Trump supporters, say they’ll accept the election’s outcome. [WashPost]

-Dan Cassino looks at how polling can overestimate support for third-party candidates. [HBR]

-Gregor Aisch, Adam Pearce and Karen Yourish map out the divide between Red and Blue America.  [NYT]

-Alvin Chang illustrates how America’s swing voters have nearly gone extinct. [Vox]