HUFFPOLLSTER: Iowa Polls Show Both Caucuses Close To Tied

With a little over a week to go, both Democratic and Republican caucuses look closer than ever

Both Democrats and Republicans are in tight races heading into the Iowa caucuses, but beware of outlier polls. Most Americans don’t see greatness in this slate of candidates. And no, people don’t really think “Judge Judy” is on the Supreme Court. This is HuffPollster for Friday, January 22, 2016

ALL SIGNS POINT TO VERY CLOSE RACES IN IOWA - With the caucuses just over a week away, Bernie Sanders’ consistent upward trajectory has brought him within about 3 percent of Hillary Clinton in the HuffPost Pollster average. [Loras, CNN/ORC, Monmouth College, Emerson]

Cruz and Trump are tied in the Hawkeye state - Two new polls on the Republican side show the two frontrunners deadlocked, with either Cruz ahead by two points or Trump  ahead by one. Putting it all into the averages shows a tie. The only other candidate averaging double digits is Sen. Marco Rubio. [LorasCNN/ORCMonmouth College, Emerson]

NEW HAMPSHIRE: HOME OF THE OUTLIERS - Ed Kilgore: “[W]hen polls come out with startling numbers, we may be looking at an important trend — or just an 'outlier' poll that distracts from what's really going on….As it happens, the most recent polls of the Republican and Democratic fields in New Hampshire offer findings that leap off the page and fly around the room cackling madly. An American Research Group survey shows John Kasich surging into second place at 20 percent, with only Donald Trump (at 27 percent) beating him. And a University of New Hampshire poll for CNN and WMUR shows Bernie Sanders trouncing Hillary Clinton by a 60–33 margin.” [NYMag]

Don't make too much of individual polls - HuffPollster: "A new poll, released Tuesday by CNN and WMUR, has some pretty remarkable results for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' campaign in New Hampshire….It's also, most likely, a total outlier. That's not to say there's necessarily anything wrong with the way it was conducted. Pollsters vary in how they contact voters and in the assumptions they make about who'll end up turning out on Election Day. But the laws of statistics mean that even survey houses with almost identical methodologies will sometimes end up with results that just don't look like anything else….Our best chance of figuring out the actual state of the race isn't to figure out which of those surveys is most likely to be 'right,' but to look at all that data together." [HuffPost]

Aggregate shows Sanders and Trump leading New Hampshire - Donald Trump stands far ahead of the pack with about 31 percent, according to the HuffPost Pollster New Hampshire aggregate. He is followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich, both at 12 percent, and Ted Cruz at 11 percent.  In the Democratic primary the HuffPost Pollster Aggregate finds Sanders at 51 percent while Clinton trails with 43 percent.

Independents could shake up New Hampshire - Steve Koczela: "Many of the state’s 'undeclared' voters, as New Hampshire calls them, move back and forth between the two parties’ primaries rather than pulling the same ballot every cycle. Adding last-minute intrigue is the fact that independents can choose on primary day whether to vote in the Democratic or Republican contest. A new WBUR poll of undeclared Granite State voters shows that Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican John Kasich would most benefit from a strong turnout of independents voting in their respective party primary….[A] third [of independents] still haven’t fully made up their mind which ballot to pull on Feb. 9. All of this introduces a significant dose of uncertainty, and gives independents an enormous amount of influence in determining the outcome of both parties’ contests." [WBUR]

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VOTERS DON’T THINK ANY OF THE CANDIDATES WOULD BE GREAT - Pew Research: "A year before the next president takes office, voters are skeptical that any of the leading 2016 candidates would make a good president. Moreover, of nine candidates included in the survey, far more voters say each would make a 'terrible' than great' president. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center...finds that 35% of voters say that Hillary Clinton would make either a good or great president….More voters (44%) say Clinton would be either poor or terrible in the White House...Nearly a third (31%) say Donald Trump would be either a good or great president….Roughly half (52%) think Trump would make a poor or terrible president...Views of other candidates as potential presidents – Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio – are more mixed. [Pew]

VIEWS OF OBAMA'S LEGACY ARE SPLIT BY PARTISANSHIP - HuffPollster: "A majority of Democrats in a new HuffPost/YouGov poll say that since Obama took office, their own lives have improved, the economy has gotten better and the United States has retained its role as the most powerful nation on Earth. Republicans disagree on all three points. The partisan divide over the president's legacy, and the direction of the country as a whole, transcends all other demographic lines, far outstripping age, race, region or income level. The only real point of agreement between the parties, in fact, is the near-universal sentiment that partisanship has worsened over the past eight years." [HuffPost]

NO, JUDGE JUDY ISN'T A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, BUT... - Samantha Guff: "Do you think Judge Judy is a member of the Supreme Court? Yes? Maybe? Doesn't matter. Anything less than 'absolutely not' shows you've been failed by higher education, and our country is therefore in a state of peril…'There is a crisis in American civic education,' reads an alarmist press release for a study published by the right-leaning nonprofit American Council of Trustees and Alumni this month….'If 'Judith Sheindlin' is a name that could be confused with one of the justices, something's gone badly off,' the group's vice president of policy, Michael Poliakoff, told HuffPost. Indeed, that's the part that many major publications focused on in reports about the poll….While the hugely popular, nationally syndicated TV judge's moniker has become somewhat of a household name, 'Judith Sheindlin' is just another vaguely familiar name on a list. Studies like this show how pollsters can focus on relatively peripheral results to inflate their findings and call attention to their studies." [HuffPost


-Most white Americans don't support government intervention to integrate schools. [HuffPost]

-Frank Newport says Americans are more satisfied with their ability to move up in the world. [Gallup]

-Mark Harmon is Americans’ favorite television personality. [Harris]

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

-David Leonhardt explores his reasons for underestimating Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. [NYT]

-The order of primary elections features early states that are friendly to “insurgent” candidates like Trump and Cruz. [538]

-Poll showing Kasich in the lead is likely an outlier but even outliers can shift momentum. [NYT]

-Nate Silver says he's becoming less skeptical about Trump's chances. [538]

-The National Centre for Research Methods releases a post-mortem on U.K. election polling [NCRM]

-Almost half of all Latinos eligible to vote in 2016 are millennials. [Pew]

-Damien Cave reports that many eligible Latinos aren’t likely to vote. [NYT]

-Trump’s polling lead isn’t quite so large according to non-horserace questions. [HuffPost]

-Robert Ford discusses five easy things to look for to spot “voodoo polls.” [The Conversation]