Donald Trump leads in recent Florida polls, and new Quinnipiac surveys show him gaining in Ohio and Pennsylvania as well. Clinton might gain a little from Bernie Sanders’ endorsement. And both major party candidates have less support in the polls than usual. This is HuffPollster for Wednesday, July 13, 2016.
TRUMP AND CLINTON IN A CLOSE BATTLE IN KEY SWING STATES - Theodore Schleifer: “Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are now running neck-and-neck in Florida, as well as Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a Quinnipiac University survey that took stock of three swing states. The poll marks an 11-point difference from a month ago in the Sunshine State. Now, Trump leads Clinton 42% to 39%, within the margin of error; a month ago Clinton led 47% to 39%. With third-party candidates included, Trump’s edge extends to five points, 41% to 36%. In the two other states polled, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Clinton and Trump are in as tight a race as other pollsters have documented. They are tied at 41% each in Ohio, and Trump leads by 2 points, 43% to 41%, in Pennsylvania. Much of the change in this poll stems from a steep drop in Clinton’s support among non-whites in Florida compared with the last poll and a decline in support among men. The poll also showed a drop in voters’ perception of her character.” [CNN, Quinnipiac]
Florida is trending toward Trump - The last four polls in the Sunshine State have put Donald Trump in the lead by 2-5 percentage points. Reflecting earlier polls that gave Clinton a strong lead, HuffPost Pollster’s chart of the race still shows her ahead by 2 points, with 44 percent to Trump’s 42 percent. Why is it still showing Clinton in the lead? Two other polls conducted in late June had Clinton ahead, and in the presence of conflicting information the model will hold the trend at the status quo, which has been a Clinton lead. The two July polls are diminishing her advantage in the HuffPost model.
NATIONAL POLLS REMAINED STEADY IN THE PAST WEEK - Amy Fried: “After FBI Director James Comey announced he was not filing an indictment against Hillary Clinton for anything involving her State Department emails, some pundits claimed that the issue would dog her. Some even argued a non-indictment was worse news than an indictment. However, a comparison of polls taken by the same pollsters before and after Comey’s announcement show the whole thing was a nothing, polling wise. All of these shifts are quite small and could be attributed to noise. Averaged together, they show one-quarter of one percent change toward Clinton, a difference too small to mean anything.” [HuffPost]
SANDERS ENDORSEMENT COULD HELP CLINTON GET A FEW MORE VOTES - Harry Enten: “Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on Tuesday...Indeed, Clinton’s favorability among Sanders’s primary voters is rising, and the vast majority of Sanders’s voters are already backing her. But the same polling also shows a smaller bloc of Sanders supporters still reluctant to get behind Clinton. Sanders’s endorsement, in other words, might still be helpful to Clinton. Roughly 1 in 5 Sanders supporters say they are going to vote for a third-party candidate….Whereas Clinton beats Trump by an average of 57 percentage points among Sanders’s supporters when third-party candidates are mentioned, she wins by 69 percentage points when these voters are forced to choose between Clinton and Trump.” 
But most Sanders supporters were already willing to vote for Clinton - Aaron Blake: “Of course [Hillary] Clinton would prefer to unite her party and have Sanders’s long-withheld support to ensure against his supporters staying home or perhaps even supporting Donald Trump. But in recent weeks, it’s also become clear they were very unlikely to do that. In fact, two polls showed Sanders supporters rallying to Clinton rather quickly and overwhelmingly, with more than 8 in 10 saying they would support Clinton in the general election. In both polls, fewer than 1 in 10 Sanders backers indicated that they would support Trump — despite his efforts to woo them….While in June of 2008, just 58 percent of Clinton voters said they would go for Obama, today that number is 81 percent. In other words, in 2008 a whopping 42 percent of Clinton backers hadn’t supported Obama by June; today, just 19 percent of Sanders backers aren’t on board according to Post-ABC polling.” [WashPost]
THERE ARE MORE UNCOMMITTED VOTERS THIS YEAR THAN USUAL - William Jordan: “Trump and Clinton are the most unpopular nominees in modern political history – in fact, about a quarter of Americans dislike both. This leads to an interesting situation where both Clinton and Trump are polling at relatively low numbers in a head-to-head. Not all of this is third party support – only recently have pollsters started explicitly naming candidates like Johnson and Stein. But it shows that there is an unusually large number of voters presently uncommitted to Trump or Clinton, who could swing the margin – or elevate a 3rd party candidate – in unpredictable ways if and when they make a decision. Or not. We will probably know by the end of July.” [YouGov]
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WEDNESDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-Young voters name education as a top issue, but are divided on other priorities. [AP]
-Lesley Clark looks at the polling on Donald Trump’s vice presidential options. [McClatchy]
-Philip Bump highlights the split in perceptions of race relations between Donald Trump and Barack Obama . [WashPost]
-Andrew Gelman and David Rothschild explain what’s behind the recent misfires in prediction markets. [Slate]
-Nate Silver contends that Nevada is still a swing state. 
-Fewer Americans are using cash for transactions today than they were five years ago. [Gallup]
-A poll of Iranians shows that they are disappointed with the Iran nuclear deal. [WashPost]
-Some experts say internet polling is the future. [Fox 5]