HUFFPOLLSTER: New Polling Finds Fewer Voters Calling Themselves Republicans

No, it doesn't mean the numbers are skewed.

Fewer poll respondents are identifying as Republican in recent polls. Donald Trump has problems with his temperament and with women. And most churchgoers have heard politics from the pulpit. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, August 9, 2016.

POLL SHOWS FEWER VOTERS IDENTIFYING AS REPUBLICANS - Patrick Murray: “Some commenters have noted that the Democratic advantage in the latest Monmouth University Poll is larger than in our poll taken just prior to the two parties’ conventions. Specifically, voters in the current poll self-identify their party leanings as 35% Democrat, 26% Republican, and 39% independent or other.… Party identification is a self-reported attitude based on where people see themselves fitting in the current political environment. It is not the same as party registration or partisan voting behavior (e.g. consistently voting in one party’s primaries), which is a more stable metric….According to this metric, 34% of the Monmouth sample are registered or active Democrats, 34% are Republicans, and 32% are independents or something else. In other words, the Monmouth sample is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to registration and past voting behavior. Yet when asked how they see themselves politically, these same voters are 9 points more likely to call themselves Democrats rather than Republicans.” [Monmouth]

That doesn’t mean the polls are skewed - Harry Enten: “We’ve reached that stage of the campaign…. [T]he unskewers are back, again insisting that pollsters are ‘using’ more Democrats than they should, and that the percentage of Democrats and Republicans should be equal, or that there should be more Republicans. They point to surveys like the recent one from ABC News and The Washington Post, in which 33 percent of registered voters identified as Democrats compared to 27 percent as Republicans. That poll found Hillary Clinton ahead by 8 percentage points….But let’s say this plainly: The polls are not ‘skewed.’ They weren’t in 2012, and they aren’t now. The basic premise of the unskewers is wrong. Most pollsters don’t weight their results by party self-identification...A person’s party identification can shift, and therefore the overall balance between parties does too. ” [538]

TRUMP’S TEMPERAMENT MIGHT BE TURNING REPUBLICANS OFF - Samantha Neal: “The post-convention pattern is clear: [Donald] Trump’s poll numbers are palpably suffering. And a new Pew Research Center poll might help explain why. According to Pew, 6 in 10 voters say that their conversations about the 2016 election have focused on candidates’ personalities and comments, while only 32 percent say they’re talking more about policy positions. That’s not great news for Trump. After all, 67 percent of respondents say the real estate mogul does not have “the kind of personality and temperament it takes to serve effectively as president,” according to a ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday ― while 6 in 10 respondents say Clinton does. A Monmouth poll had similar results, finding that 67 percent of registered voters polled believe Trump lacks the right temperament to be president ― up from 61 percent in July. Once again, Clinton’s numbers show the exact opposite: Sixty-one percent say she does have the right temperament to be president, up nine percent from July.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP IS DOING WORSE WITH WOMEN THAN ANY REPUBLICAN IN 20 YEARS - Philip Bump: “Right now, Trump’s biggest problem is on gender. He’s doing better with men than Mitt Romney did four years ago, according to the new Post/ABC poll, but far worse with women. When George W. Bush won in 2000 — barely — he did so with an 11-point advantage among men and an 11-point disadvantage among women, with women comprising about 52 percent of the electorate (according to exit polling).... Right now, Trump’s doing worse with women than Romney, John McCain, George W. Bush or Bob Dole did…. But then there’s the issue of race….The problem for Trump, as you might have guessed from the first graph, is white women. White women haven’t voted Democratic since 1996, but that’s where they’re leaning now. With white men, Trump is matching Romney, according to Post/ABC polling…. Among black voters, Hillary Clinton is matching Barack Obama’s performance.” [WashPost]

AMERICANS THINK CRIME IS RISING NATIONALLY. IT’S NOT - HuffPollster, with Ryan Reilly: “Most Americans, 61 percent, falsely believe that the level of crime in the United States has increased over the past decade, according to a poll conducted by The Huffington Post and YouGov. Just 15 percent of Americans said they believed ― correctly ― that crime rates in the United States had decreased over the past decade. The statistics indicate that false beliefs about crime rates are shaped not by lived experience or by an analysis of government crime statistics, but by people’s perceptions typically influenced by news coverage and social media in an era in which people may be more aware of individual crimes than they may have been in the past. While just 13 percent of Americans believe crime is a very serious problem in their own community, 53 percent believe crime is a very serious problem in the nation overall.” [HuffPost]

MOST CHURCHGOERS HAVE HEARD CLERGY TALK ABOUT POLITICS - Pew Research: “[M]any American churchgoers were hearing at least some discussion of social and political issues from the pulpits at their houses of worship, a new Pew Research Center survey finds. Religious liberty and homosexuality were chief among the issues they were hearing about, with four-in-ten saying they heard from clergy on each of these topics during the spring and early summer….some Americans – 14% of those who attended religious services in the spring and early summer – say their clergy have spoken out in support of, or in opposition to, one of the presidential candidates during this campaign season. One-in-ten (9%) say they have heard clergy speak out in support of a candidate, including 6% who say they heard support for Hillary Clinton and 1% who heard support for Donald Trump. A similar share of churchgoers (11%) say they have heard religious leaders speak out against a candidate, including 7% who say their clergy have come out in opposition to Trump and 4% who have heard opposition to Clinton.” [Pew]

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

-The NBC/SurveyMonkey tracking poll shows Hillary Clinton opening up a double-digit lead. [NBC]

-The First Read team explains why it’ll be difficult for downballot Republicans to run from Donald Trump. [NBC]

-Thomas Wood argues that betting markets don’t outperform polls in predicting presidential nominees. [WashPost]

-Young Americans’ concerns about extremism vary along racial lines. [AP]

-A new Washington Post/ABC survey finds little concern about Zika. [WashPost]