HUFFPOLLSTER: GOP Strategist Gives Democrats The Advantage In November

The party could be especially weak if Donald Trump wins the nomination.

Republicans face trouble with minorities. Nearly half of Americans think Donald Trump is complicit in the violence at his rallies. And most of the public supports renewed relations with Cuba. This is HuffPollster for Monday, March 21, 2016.

REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST SEES GOP IN A WEAK POSITION - Stuart Stevens (R): "The simple truth is that there simply aren’t enough white voters in the America of 2016 to win a national election without also getting a substantial share of the non-white vote. Romney won 17 percent of the non-white vote. Depending on white voter turnout, a Republican needs between 25 percent and 35 percent of the non-white vote to win….Only 12 percent of Hispanics have a favorable view of [Donald] Trump with 77 percent unfavorable. Even among Hispanic Republicans, he has a 60 percent unfavorable ranking. Among African Americans, 86 percent have an unfavorable view of Trump. To have even a chance at winning a national election, a nominee must get 90-plus percent of their own party. But one out of every three Republicans view Trump unfavorably….In my view, Donald Trump, if he does claim the party’s mantle, would be a historically weak and vulnerable nominee. But let’s not kid ourselves. Even if John Kasich or Ted Cruz, the remaining two candidates, were to emerge, the advantage is still very much with the Democrats." [Daily Beast]

Trump remains the frontrunner, but  could still fall short - Nate Cohn: "Donald Trump is about 550 delegates short of earning the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the Republican nomination. If he keeps winning at the pace he has so far, he will probably take around 60 percent of the remaining 900 or so pledged delegates, reaching his target. But Mr. Trump’s path is deceptively tenuous, and it might not take much to knock him off. It all hangs on whether Mr. Trump can continue to fend off Ted Cruz in states where Mr. Trump is relatively weak. He barely did it in Missouri (with an official result still pending) and North Carolina last Tuesday, when Mr. Cruz showed unexpected strength….If the rest of the primary season goes as it did in early March, Mr. Trump could win the nomination with around 1,300 delegates, based on a model of how demographics have correlated with the strength of the candidates so far. The model isn’t perfect….But it nonetheless offers a realistic path that’s consistent with the results so far." [NYT]


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NEARLY HALF OF AMERICANS THINK TRUMP INCITES VIOLENCE AT HIS EVENTS - HuffPollster: “Half of America believes Donald Trump’s campaign exhibits fascist undertones, with only 30 percent disagreeing, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. The sentiment isn’t contained to Democrats, who unsurprisingly are willing to agree with a negative statement about their political rivals. Forty-five percent of independents also say Trump’s campaign has echoes of fascism, as do a full 28 percent of Republicans. About half the country believes Trump encourages violence at his campaign events, with just 34 percent saying he doesn’t. The rest aren’t sure. Meanwhile, 27 percent of Republicans say it’s acceptable to 'rough up' protesters at political events.” [HuffPost]

Trump has activated a mix of latent Republican beliefs - Kirby Goidel and Keith Gaddie: “Trump does better among respondents who believe God chose the U.S. to lead the world and the Bible is the inspired word of God, and who value the role of businesspeople in society and obedience in children. Taken in isolation, none of these appeals is particularly new or unique….The something new about Trump then is the combination of appeals to operate government like a business thus ignoring the constraints of checks and balances, separations of powers, and the protection of individual rights against impassioned majorities. Add in a dose of white ethnocentrism and economic frustration and you have a volatile mix that suggests a lack of commitment to democratic processes….These data indicate the strong prospect that democracy and inclusion are failing among this long-courted, long taken for granted demographic.” [HuffPost]

OPINIONS OF A WOMAN AS PRESIDENT HAVE CHANGED DRASTICALLY- Kathleen Weldon: “As the frontrunner in the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton has already come closer than any other woman to becoming president of the United States. From the earliest days of public opinion research, polls have been documenting the country’s shift from rejection to skepticism to acceptance of the idea of a woman president…Americans may say they are willing to vote for a woman, but when asked to assess the willingness of others, people have not been as optimistic about women’s chances of winning the presidency. In 1984, when NBC asked likely voters if they were ready to elect a woman president, only 17% said yes….The 20% saying the U.S. isn’t ready to elect a woman president is similar to the proportion who said the same about an African-American president in an August 2008 Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll. Earlier polling indicated that a plurality of Americans once believed a female president was likely to be elected before a black president.” [HuffPost]


MOST AMERICANS SUPPORT RENEWED TIES WITH CUBA - CBS News: “As President Obama travels Cuba for his historic trip, a majority of Americans support restoring U.S.-Cuba diplomatic ties, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll. Fifty-two percent approve of the president's handling of relations with the island nation, according to the poll released Monday. Six in 10 Americans think restoring diplomacy with Cuba is mostly good for the U.S., but views are mixed on whether it will lead to more democracy in Cuba….In December 2014 Mr. Obama announced that U.S. and Cuba would resume diplomatic ties after more than 50 years. Fifty-eight percent of Americans support this, while just 25 percent oppose it. Most Democrats and independents favor re-establishing diplomacy, while Republicans are divided.” [CBS]

More on what public opinion says about US-Cuban relations - Samantha Smith: “Americans are skeptical about whether Cuba will become more democratic in the near future. Fewer than half of those surveyed in July 2015 said they thought Cuba would become more democratic over the next several years. A greater share (49%) said that the state of democracy in Cuba would be ‘about the same...For the first time, a majority of Americans have a favorable view of Cuba. A Gallup survey conducted in February found that 54% of Americans had a favorable view of Cuba.  The Cuban American community, long a source of opposition to restoring relations with Cuba, is changing. The number of Hispanics of Cuban ancestry in the U.S. has increased from 1.2 million in 2000 to more than 2 million, with much of the growth coming from those born in the U.S….The U.S. decision to restore relations with Cuba had strong support in Latin America. A majority across five Latin American countries surveyed in the spring of 2015 said they approved of the thawing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba.” [Pew]

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

-Donald Trump supporters are more likely to judge others for liking their steak well-done. [HuffPost]  

-David Wasserman is convinced that it is impossible for Trump to reach 1,237 delegates before June. [Cook Political Report]

-Steve Koczela explains how Trump could still lose according to GOP delegate rules. [WBUR] 

-Craig Gilbert says Trump is causing a regional divide among GOP voters in Wisconsin. [Journal Sentinel]

-Nearly half of Republican voters think the Senate should hold SCOTUS confirmation hearings. [Morning Consult]

-John Kastellec, Jeffrey Lax and Justin Phillips argue that state-level public opinion could sway senators to hold hearings on Merrick Garland. [WashPost]

-A majority of Americans oppose nuclear energy for the first time in a Gallup poll. [Gallup]

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly summarized the conclusions of David Wasserman's article on Donald Trump.