The commission handling this year’s debates lays out their standards for inclusion. There are fewer tossup states on the electoral map this year, which isn’t good for Donald Trump. And Americans support some military action in Syria. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, August 16, 2016.
JOHNSON AND STEIN NEED A BOOST IN CERTAIN POLLS TO QUALIFY FOR DEBATES - Brian Stelter: “The Commission on Presidential Debates has revealed exactly how it will determine who gets to be on stage this fall…. On Monday, the commission announced the five polls that will be averaged together to determine who is receiving 15% support nationwide. The polls are ABC-Washington Post; CBS-New York Times; CNN-Opinion Research Corporation; Fox News; and NBC-Wall Street Journal. The polls were chosen with ‘the professional advice’ of Frank Newport, editor in chief of Gallup, the commission said….CNN added up the results of the most recent ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, and NBC polls to assess where the four candidates stand today with the commission’s criteria in mind. The results cover a period from July 29 to August 4. Clinton has 44% support, Trump has 36%, Johnson has 10%, and Stein has 5%. The most recent CBS and Fox polls did not include Stein. If they continue to exclude her, ‘the average will be based on the polls that include a given candidate,’ a commission official said Monday.” [CNN]
Across all polls, Johnson and Stein are well below the threshold - The commission’s selected polls actually help Gary Johnson get closer to 15 percent. Across all polls in the HuffPost Pollster chart, the Libertarian candidate is averaging 8 percent support, down two crucial points from 10 percent in the five major network polls the commission will use. Jill Stein, classified as “other” in the Pollster chart since not all polls include her by name, has even less support.
Americans want the debates to focus on terrorism and the economy. [Pew Research]
TRUMP COULD WIN ALL TOSSUP STATES AND STILL LOSE THE ELECTION - Charlie Cook: “The two major party conventions are now behind us and the consequent bounces have had time to settle giving us a presidential race that isn’t over, but one that is fully developed. Many observers have noted that in the last six decades of modern presidential polling, the candidate with the lead in the polls two weeks after the final convention has always won….For now, 84 days before the November 8 election, we see this race settling into a very high probability that Hillary Clinton prevails over Donald Trump, though the size of the margin is still up in the air….At the mid-point of August, Hillary Clinton has 21 states plus the District of Columbia and three of Maine’s four electoral votes that are Solidly, Likely or Leaning in Democratic for a total of 272 electoral votes, two more than the 270 electoral votes needed to win….As the race stands today, Trump could sweep the entire Toss Up column and still come up two electoral votes short of the 270 needed to win.” [Cook Political]
Notable changes - Cook has moved Colorado and Virginia into the “likely Democrat” column, indicating a moderate amount of certainty that Clinton will win these states. Both states were classified as tossups in 2012.
Another new poll shows Trump down by 14 points in Virginia - Scott Clement, Laura Vozzella and Gregory S. Schneider: “Hillary Clinton holds a commanding lead over Donald Trump in Virginia, with disdain for the Republican presidential nominee helping Clinton overcome her own vulnerabilities, a new Washington Post poll finds. Clinton leads Trump by a 14-point margin — 52 percent to 38 percent — among registered voters in the state and by an eight-point margin among likely voters, 51 percent to 43 percent. Clinton’s edge dips to seven points among likely voters when third-party candidates are included….The results suggest how difficult it could be for the GOP nominee to win what had been considered a crucial swing state. Virginia had gone red for presidential candidates for decades until Barack Obama broke the streak in 2008 and won it again in 2012. With its changing demographics, especially in the fast-growing suburbs around Washington, the state may not even be competitive for Trump.” [WashPost]
AMERICANS SUPPORT SOME MILITARY ENGAGEMENT IN SYRIA, DIVIDE ON TAKING REFUGEES - Dina Smeltz, Craig Kafura and Kelhan Martin: “The Chicago Council Survey shows that while Americans favor targeted military action against violent extremist groups like the Islamic State in Syria, they are less supportive of US involvement in the internal conflict in Syria between the Assad regime and anti-government forces….Similar to views in the 2014 Chicago Council Survey, three in ten Americans overall (36%) support taking in refugees from Syria. A majority of Democrats (56%) support admitting Syrian refugees; in contrast only minorities of Republicans (18%) and Independents (32%) agree. In part, Republican opinion reflects a partisan preference to limit immigration into the United States. Further, Republican support has declined since 2014, when one in four (27%) favored taking in Syrian refugees. Independent support has also declined (from 40% in 2014), while Democratic support is relatively unchanged from 2014 (when 55% supported admitting them).” [Chicago Council]
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TUESDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-Monica Anderson and Paul Hitlin explore how social media shapes conversations about race. [Pew]
-Justin McCarthy looks at President Obama’s rising approval rating on foreign policy. [Gallup]
-Eli Yokley finds voters turned off by Donald Trump’s claims that Obama founded ISIS. [Morning Consult]
-Michael Tesler notes declining support for the idea of a border wall. [WashPost]