POLITICS

HUFFPOLLSTER: Third Party And Undecided Voters Could Break For Donald Trump

Polls find opportunities for the business mogul to make gains in these groups.

Donald Trump could attract more support from third party and undecided voters if he plays his cards right. Voters are getting more acquainted with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, and many would like to see them debate. And the presidential race is looking closer in Wisconsin. This is HuffPollster for Thursday, September 1, 2016.

TRUMP NARROWS LEAD, COULD HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO ATTRACT THIRD PARTY VOTERS - Dana Blanton: “The race for the White House has narrowed.  A new Fox News Poll finds Donald Trump gaining ground in the head-to-head matchup, despite improvements from Hillary Clinton on top issues….The poll finds Clinton garners 41 percent to Trump’s 39 percent, while Libertarian Gary Johnson receives 9 percent, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein gets 4 percent. The third-party candidates take more from Clinton than Trump, as she holds a six-point lead in the two-way matchup: 48-42 percent…. On immigration, by a wide 77-19 percent margin, voters support setting up a system for illegal immigrants currently working in the United States to become legal residents over deporting them, and those supporting legalization back Clinton over Trump by 18 points. ‘Trump has an opportunity to attract more support by moving off his hardline position on immigration. Nearly half of Johnson and Stein supporters say they’d be more likely to vote for him if he did,’ says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News Poll along with Republican pollster Daron Shaw.” [Fox News]

Trump could also make a move among undecided voters, if they vote - Mark Blumenthal: “Our data confirm the most obvious facets of the undecided – they tend to be politically independent with major reservations about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – but also adds some critical nuance, including a slightly more Republican than Democratic tilt…. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents make up a slightly larger share of the undecided than Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents… Should every undecided voter cast a ballot, these results suggest an opportunity for Trump to narrow Clinton’s lead, if he can coax the Republicans among these voters to support him. However, both previous research and our data suggest that being completely undecided correlates with non-voting. In our interviews conducted earlier in previous weeks, for example, undecided voters said the chances of their voting in the general election were 50–50 or less far more often (26 percent) than those supporting Clinton (8 percent) or Trump (7 percent).” [SurveyMonkey]

VOTERS ARE GETTING MORE FAMILIAR WITH GARY JOHNSON AND JILL STEIN - HuffPollster: “Speaking last week to CNN, Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson tried to spin his low name-recognition off as an advantage. ‘Seventy percent of Americans still don’t know who I am, and I think that bodes well for actually winning the race at some point,’ he told the network. For better or worse, Johnson was actually selling himself short. While he is still lagging in the horserace polls, trailing even the 15 percent he needs to secure a debate invitation, most voters now at least know who he is, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds. Sixty-three percent of voters say they’ve heard of Johnson, up from just 34 percent three months earlier. Twenty-four percent of voters now view the candidate favorably; 24 percent view him unfavorably; 14 percent have heard of him but aren’t sure; and 37 percent still haven’t heard of him. Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who wasn’t included in the May survey, is also now known to a majority of voters, although she’s somewhat less liked. Sixteen percent have a favorable opinion of her; 30 percent have an unfavorable opinion; 14 percent have heard of her but have no opinion; and 41 percent haven’t heard of her at all.” [HuffPost]

Many voters would like to see Johnson and Stein debate - Eli Yokley: “Gary Johnson is polling below the required threshold to earn a spot on the presidential debate stage with the major party presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But most voters think he should be there anyway. A new survey by Morning Consult found that 52 percent of voters think the former New Mexico governor and Libertarian nominee should join the Democratic and Republican candidates when they are scheduled to appear together for the first time on Sept. 26. When asked about Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who has consistently polled lower than Johnson in Morning Consult surveys, 47 percent of voters said she, too, should be allowed to participate.” [Morning Consult]

TWO POLLS GIVE CLINTON A MODEST LEAD IN WISCONSIN - Marquette Law School’s latest survey of the presidential race, released Wednesday, gave Hillary Clinton a 3-point lead among likely voters, taking 45 percent to Donald Trump’s 42 percent in a two-way matchup and 41 percent to his 38 percent in a four-way version. Clinton’s advantage is down from a 15-point lead in early August ― due largely to a decline in her numbers, rather than an increase in Trump’s ― but roughly equivalent to the 4-point edge she held in July. Monmouth University’s first poll of the state also shows a relatively close race, with Clinton leading by 5 points, 43 percent to 38 percent, in a four-way matchup among likely voters. HuffPost Pollster’s model, reflecting Clinton’s wider edge in earlier polling, gives her an 8-point lead. [Monmouth, Marquette, Wisconsin presidential chart]

Surveys differ on Senate numbers - Although the Marquette and Monmouth polls largely agree on the state of presidential race in Wisconsin, they paint significantly different pictures of the Senate matchup between incumbent Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and his Democratic challenger, former senator Russ Feingold. Marquette finds Feingold ahead by just 3 points among likely voters, 48 percent to 45 percent, while Monmouth gives Feingold a much broader 13-point advantage, with 54 percent to Johnson’s 41 percent. While there’s been little other recent polling of the race, other surveys have been similarly variant ― polls in June and July showed Feingold’s lead ranging anywhere from 1 to 13 points. HuffPost Pollster’s model puts Feingold approximately 9 points ahead. [Wisconsin Senate chart]

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

-Matt Ferner looks at Hillary Clinton’s rising unfavorability numbers. [HuffPost]

-The Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest tracking poll finds less concern about the ACA than health care costs and the future of Medicare. [KFF]

-David Lightman and David Goldstein conduct another hunt for Donald Trump’s “secret” voters. [McClatchy]

-Matthew Dickinson compares the results of polling aggregates against forecast models. [Middlebury]

-Josh Pacewicz examines the origins of the GOP’s civil war. [WashPost]

-Damon Darlin notes that adults with college degrees tend to have friends with similar education levels. [NYT]

-Mike Pearl interviews PPP’s Tom Jensen about his trolliest questions. [Vice]