HUFFPOLLSTER: Is Donald Trump Really Leading In Ohio?

It depends on which poll you look at.

Three polls in Ohio show three very different results. Party identification in surveys can be difficult to interpret. And the annual Census report on wages and poverty is good news for most Americans. This is HuffPollster for Wednesday, September 14, 2016.

NEW POLL SHOWS TRUMP LEADING BY 5 POINTS IN OHIO - John McCormick and Mark Niquette: “Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton by 5 percentage points in a Bloomberg Politics poll of Ohio, a gap that underscores the Democrat’s challenges in critical Rust Belt states after one of the roughest stretches of her campaign. The Republican nominee leads Clinton 48 percent to 43 percent among likely voters in a two-way contest and 44 percent to 39 percent when third-party candidates are included. The poll was taken Friday through Monday, as Clinton faced backlash for saying half of Trump supporters were a ‘basket of deplorables’ and amid renewed concerns about her health… Trump’s performance in the poll—including strength among men, independents, and union households—is better than in other recent surveys of the state.” [Bloomberg]

Significantly different from other polls - Bloomberg’s results contrast with the two other recent surveys of the state ― a Quinnipiac poll that had Trump up by 1, and, more starkly, a CBS/YouGov survey that had Clinton up by 7.  The HuffPost Pollster aggregate shows Clinton still leading by 2.6 percent after all three results. Both CBS/YouGov and, to a lesser extent, Quinnipiac, show a more Democratic electorate than Bloomberg’s. It’s probably safe to say the presidential race is close in Ohio.

One key difference: Party ID - More from McCormick and Niquette: “‘Our party breakdown differs from other polls, but resembles what happened in Ohio in 2004,’ said pollster J. Ann Selzer, whose Iowa-based firm Selzer & Co. oversaw the survey. ‘It is very difficult to say today who will and who will not show up to vote on Election Day. Our poll suggests more Republicans than Democrats would do that in an Ohio election held today, as they did in 2004 when George W. Bush carried the state by a narrow margin. In 2012, more Democrats showed up.’... Party breakdown for the poll was 33 percent Republican, 29 percent Democrats, and 34 percent independents. Exit polling shows that Ohio’s electorate in the 2012 presidential election was 38 percent Democratic, 31 percent Republican, and 31 percent independent, while in 2004 it was 40 percent Republican, 35 percent Democratic, and 25 percent independent.” 

How to balance differing poll results? - Amy Walter has a suggestion:

PARTY ID SHIFTS ARE DIFFICULT TO INTERPRET - Mark Blumenthal: “SurveyMonkey’s Election Tracking this week shows a slight narrowing in Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump, but there may be less change here than meets the eye…. How real is this week’s narrowing of the vote? Some argue that the ‘swings’ sometimes seen in polls are mostly about what sort of voter chooses to respond to surveys in any given week—that in some weeks Democrats may be more inclined than Republicans to participate in surveys (or vice versa). Others point out that while the overall party identification numbers change very slowly over time, surveys that recontact the same respondents during election years find roughly 15 to 25 percent change their answer to the party identification question — perhaps just temporarily — during the last few months of a presidential campaign. So, party identification may show some small but gradual change over course of the campaign. For better or worse, our data can be read as consistent with either argument.” [SurveyMonkey]

MOST AMERICANS DON’T HATE EITHER NOMINEE - HuffPollster: “With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump setting records for unpopularity, it’s easy to get the impression that the nation’s electorate outright loathes them both. Americans may not be particularly enthusiastic about their leading presidential candidates, but most don’t hate them, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey. Eighteen percent of all Americans said they hate Clinton, and 24 percent said they hate Trump. Sixty percent of Americans don’t hate either candidate, while only 2 percent hate both….Another poll found people even less likely to express enmity toward the presidential nominees. An August survey from Quinnipiac University, asking the same questions, came up with similar like/dislike numbers, but found that just 8 percent of voters said they hate Clinton and only 10 percent said they hate Trump. That disparity could be partially a consequence of how each poll was conducted. The HuffPost/YouGov survey was fielded online, while the Quinnipiac poll used live phone interviewers. Respondents talking to another person might have felt less comfortable expressing hatred than those taking the survey privately on their own computer.” [HuffPost

AVERAGE AMERICANS JUST GOT A HUGE INCOME BOOST - Jonathan Cohn: “The U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday released its annual report on income, poverty and health insurance. Every year, the report serves as a key benchmark for how the American people are doing economically. And this year the report is very encouraging…. According to the report, median household income rose by 5.2 percent, from $53,700 to $56,500. This is the largest increase the Census Bureau has ever recorded. That figure reflects rising incomes for all income groups, which is a very big deal. The story of the past few years ― and, really, for most of the last few decades ― has been an economy in which the rich have prospered far more than everybody else….Of course, the report doesn’t suggest everything is hunky-dory in America. Not by a long shot. Median income still hasn’t reached its pre-recession level.” [HuffPost]

And some Americans didn’t benefit -   

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

-Farai Chideya profiles some of Donald Trump’s blue-collar supporters. [538]

-Brendan Nyhan writes that a candidate’s health issues could have a bigger influence on the election than their gaffes. [NYT]

-Americans are split on whether Hillary Clinton’s health would impact her performance as president. [Morning Consult]

-Nate Cohn questions how much demographic change has actually helped Hillary Clinton. [NYT]

-A survey of Jewish voters finds them supporting Clinton over Trump by a 42-point margin. [AJC]

-Harry Enten looks at the states where polling and demographics differ the most. [538]

-Greg Sargent (D) questions whether voters’ view of Trump as unqualified will matter. [WashPost]

-Workers remain more worried about having their benefits cuts than facing wage cuts, fewer hours, outsourcing or layoffs. [Gallup]

-Bruce Stokes looks at Chinese and Japanese perceptions’ of each other. [Pew Global]