HUFFPOLLSTER: Marco Rubio, John McCain Face Challengers In Primaries

Both incumbents are expected to prevail, but will face tougher general election fights.

Arizona and Florida are voting in congressional and state races. National polls show Clinton’s lead over Trump shrinking a bit. And Hispanic voters aren’t necessarily a unified bloc. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, August 30, 2016.

IT’S PRIMARY DAY IN ARIZONA - AP: “Sen. John McCain is seeking a sixth term, and his main challenger in the Republican primary is former state Sen. Kelli Ward. McCain is hoping to pull out a large primary victory so he can focus on a general election challenge from Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick….McCain has been running a strong campaign, drawing support from business and community leaders and retired military officers. A recent CNN poll showed McCain with a wide lead over Ward among likely Republican primary voters….All nine U.S. House races are on the ballot, but the top challenges are happening in the 1st, 2nd and 5th districts. The GOP currently holds five seats.” [Yahoo]

And in Florida - More from AP: Marco Rubio’s last minute decision to run for re-election almost, but not quite, cleared the field in what was a crowded Republican primary to replace him. Rubio said while running for president that he wouldn’t seek a second Senate term…. Then he changed his mind, causing Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez Cantera, U.S. Reps. Ron DeSantis and David Jolly and businessman Todd Wilcox to drop out of the race. But homebuilder Carlos Beruff stayed in and has spent about $8 million dollars of his own money on his first run for office….U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson are the two leading candidates to take on Rubio and have led strikingly different campaigns....Murphy has excelled at fundraising and is backed by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Grayson has a reputation for being a fiery, outspoken liberal who isn’t afraid to break beyond political norms.” [AP]

Polls give Rubio and Murphy solid leads - HuffPost Pollster’s average gives Rubio a nearly 45-point lead over Beruff, 63 percent to 18 percent. All of the six surveys of the race including Rubio, show the senator polling well above 50 percent. The Pollster average gives Murphy a less overwhelming, but still substantial, 26-point margin over Grayson in the Democratic primary, 42 percent to 16 percent.  [GOP primary chart, Democratic primary chart]

NATIONAL POLLS FIND NARROWING CLINTON LEAD, RECORD DISLIKE FOR NOMINEES - Monmouth University: “Hillary Clinton holds a 7 point lead over Donald Trump among voters likely to cast ballots in November, which is down from a double digit lead earlier this month.  The latest Monmouth University Poll  also found that the number of voters who do not have a positive opinion of either major party nominee is considerably higher than any other election in recent memory….[O]nly 2% have a favorable opinion of both candidates, while 35% do not have a favorable opinion of either nominee. Putting this in historical context, the number of voters in elections going back to 1984 who had a favorable opinion of both candidates was never lower than 5% - in fact registering as high as 19% in 2000.  Conversely, the number of voters who did not have a favorable opinion of either nominee never rose higher than 9%, which is a fraction of what is being seen in the current election.” [Monmouth]

Independent voters may have shifted - Hannah Hartig, John Lapinski and Stephanie Psyllos: “Hillary Clinton’s national lead over Donald Trump has narrowed slightly to 6 points, according to the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll Clinton now enjoys 48 percent support, while Trump holds steady with 42 percent. Last week, Clinton led Trump by 8 points….Given the highly partisan nature of voting, it’s clear there are not that many voters who are persuadable. Since both parties’ conventions last month, a roughly equal number of Republicans and Republican-leaners support Trump and an equal number of self-identified Democrats and Democratic-leaners support Clinton….The one group that is open to changing their minds are registered Independents who do not lean toward either party. Trump has made inroads with this group. Two weeks ago, Clinton led Trump by 12 points among this key group of persuadable voters — 40 percent to 32 percent. This week, that lead is down to just 4 points — 37 percent to 33 percent.” [NBC]

Clinton retains an average 7-point lead - HuffPost Pollster’s model gives Clinton 47 percent to Trump’s 40 percent, marking a slight downtick from her 8-point edge after the conventions.

REPUBLICANS HAVE BUYERS’ REMORSE - HuffPollster: “Seventeen candidates ran for the Republican presidential nomination this year. A majority of GOP voters now say that they wish they’d picked one of the 16 who weren’t Donald Trump, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey...Republican and Republican-leaning voters say by a 19-point margin, 54 percent to 35 percent, that Donald Trump wasn’t the best option in this year’s pool of candidates. In a June HuffPost/YouGov poll, those voters were evenly split, with 44 percent saying Trump was the best choice and another 44 percent that the party could have done better. Meanwhile, a majority of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters are still satisfied with their nominee. Fifty-three percent say Clinton was their party’s best option, with 37 percent saying she was not. In June, the split was 56 percent to 32 percent.” [HuffPost]

THERE’S A BIG DIVIDE AMONG HISPANIC VOTERS - Aaron Blake: “A Gallup poll shows...a significant split in the Hispanic community between Hispanic immigrants and U.S.-born Hispanics. If you focus just on Hispanics born outside the United States, 87 percent have a favorable view of Clinton, while just 13 percent have a favorable view of Trump. If you focus just on Hispanics born in the United States, though, it is much, much closer. Clinton’s favorable rating drops to 43 percent, while Trump’s jumps to 29 percent….The Pew Research Center last month broke this down in a slightly different — but equally telling — way. It compared Clinton’s lead on Trump among Hispanics who are English-dominant with those who aren’t. While bilingual and Spanish speakers preferred Clinton in a head-to-head matchup by a massive 80 percent to 11 percent margin, English-dominant Hispanics were actually relatively evenly split, with 48 percent picking Clinton and 41 percent picking Trump….It should be noted here that polling the Hispanic population is still a work in progress — in large part because of language and other barriers that often exist. And a February Washington Post-Univision poll showed U.S.-born and English-first Hispanics at the time were much friendlier to Clinton than the new Gallup and Pew data indicate.”  [WashPost]

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

-Stuart Rothenberg explains that Donald Trump can’t make blue states competitive. [WashPost]

-Sasha Issenberg thinks Trump’s lack of a campaign operation is a big problem. [Slate]

-A survey experiment shows that changing views on immigration might not help Trump. [WashPost]

-Steven Shepard discusses the importance of undecided voters. [Politico]  

-Harry Enten notes that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein voters are up for grabs in downballot races. [538]

-Gallup tracks the decrease in uninsured Americans since 2008. [Gallup]