Polls show Donald Trump ahead in critical upcoming primary states, but his path to the nomination remains complicated. And Bernie Sanders is catching up to Hillary Clinton in the national polls, but that won't help him make up his delegate deficit. This is HuffPollster for Friday, April 8, 2016.
DONALD TRUMP IS WELL POSITIONED FOR THE COMING WEEKS - HuffPollster: "New York, which votes on April 19, is the next stop in the Northeast and the biggest prize of all. So far, polls show Trump taking the state by a significant margin….Trump leads in the state [of Pennsylvania] with 39 percent of the vote, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll. Cruz trails him with 30 percent, followed by Kasich with 24 percent….No recent polls have been conducted in the remaining states. But Trump has performed well in other Northeastern states, and delegate rules favor the leader….Despite his Wisconsin loss, it’s not impossible for Trump to win a majority of delegates by the Republican convention — but the odds are building against him." [HuffPost]
It will be difficult for Cruz and Kasich to cause much trouble for Trump in the Northeast - In an email from Josh Putnam, a political scientist at the University of Georgia who runs Frontloading HQ, a blog that tracks the delegate process: "The opportunity is there for Cruz or Kasich to win some congressional district delegates or even some at-large delegates in New York and Connecticut if they clear the thresholds. The problem is that New York is the most delegate-rich of the remaining April states. It tilts toward Trump so much so -- given the data we have now (which could change) -- that a bad night for Trump in New York would meaning winning two-thirds of the 95 delegates. That advantage alone would certainly help pad his delegate lead and his plurality, but needs to be maximized in the effort to get to 1237. The rest of the region is similar."
Trump’s new target is 40 percent of the popular vote - Nate Silver: "The threshold Trump needs to win states is increasing considerably faster than the share of the vote he’s getting, which isn’t increasing much at all. Technically, Trump is chasing delegates, not wins, but most of the remaining states award at least some delegates to the statewide winner (and there are still five winner-take-all contests left on the GOP calendar)....While there will continue to be some variance from state to state, Trump is now usually going to have to be in the 40s to win. That’s a problem, because as you can see from the bottom half of the chart, it’s not clear that his performance is improving much at all. (This is also apparent in national polls, where Trump’s share of the vote has grown only to 40 percent from 35 percent before Iowa.)" 
YOUNG VOTERS HATE TRUMP - HuffPollster: "A new NBC News/SurveyMonkey election tracking poll pitting Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton against her two possible Republican rivals finds that young voters lean Democratic regardless of the candidate, but they’re practically allergic to Trump. Against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Clinton wins the vote of 18 to 24-year-olds by just 7 points. Against Trump, her margin rises to 25 points. There’s a similar gap for older millennials, ages 25 to 34, who give Clinton a 19-point edge against Cruz and a 33-point edge against Trump….[I]f these numbers hold, nominating a candidate who is this unpalatable to young voters could create a serious problem for the GOP — and not only in this year’s election. Research suggests that young voters who develop loyalty to one party often stick with it." [HuffPost]
Young voters are more moderate than their older counterparts - Jeff Stein: "A new study finds that young people are far less ideologically polarized on policy issues than their elders. Even factoring in how voters change as they age, the researchers found that the youngest slice of the American electorate is by far the least divided — giving us reason to at least hope there's an end in sight for entrenched congressional gridlock...Piles of research had already indicated that the youngest generation is much more liberal than its predecessors. But it turns out it's not just that young people are in general more likely to identify as liberal or that young liberals are to the left of older liberals — though both of these phenomena do appear to be true. It turns out young Republicans are also likely to be to the left of older Republicans." [Vox]
SANDERS IS CLOSING IN ON CLINTON NATIONALLY, BUT IT’S PROBABLY TOO LATE - The gap between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in the national polls is the narrowest it’s ever been. According to HuffPost Pollster’s average, Sanders has pulled within 5 percentage points of Clinton, after starting as a virtually unknown candidate who was trailing by more than 50 points a year ago. Two recent polls show Sanders ahead of Clinton by small margins. This is all good news for Sanders, but with many states having already vote, national primary polls are increasingly unhelpful as an indicator of his chances. Even if he catches up to Clinton in the national polls, he still has a delegate deficit that will be very difficult to overcome.
AMERICANS DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE ZIKA VIRUS YET - Lauran Neergaard and Emily Swanson: "[A]bout 4 in 10 say they've heard little to nothing about the mosquito-borne threat. Even among people who've been following the Zika saga at least a little, many aren't sure whether there's a vaccine or treatment — not yet — or if there's any way the virus can spread other than through mosquito bites….The AP-NORC Center poll found that among people who've heard about Zika, 90 percent know mosquitoes can spread it but there are some other key gaps in knowledge: About 1 in 5 couldn't say whether Zika was linked to birth defects. Zika also sometimes spreads through sexual intercourse, but 14 percent wrongly thought it couldn't, and another 29 percent said they didn't know….More than half didn't know if there was a vaccine or treatment for Zika — there is not — or a diagnostic test. There are tests but they're not perfect, and they're being used primarily with pregnant women." [AP]
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FRIDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-Americans overwhelmingly view Donald Trump negatively. [AP]
-Melissa Deckman takes a closer look at Trump's female supporters. [WashPost]
-West Virginia's delegate rules mean that Republican voters might not get much say in the primary. [WashPost]
-Democrats are more likely than Republicans to have a positive view of their presidential frontrunners. [Gallup]
- Matthew Yglesias says Bernie Sanders is in a worse position after the Wisconsin primary. [Vox]
-A new study shows that talking to people can improve attitudes toward transgender people. [NPR]
-A study of 2,000 screenplays shows how severe gender and age discrimination is in the film industry. [Polygraph]
-Sixty-five percent of Americans say they drink beer. [SSRS]