Donald Trump gains on Hillary Clinton in polls conducted after the Republican National Convention. But post-convention bumps are common, so expect volatility in the polls for a few weeks. And Democrats have a better perception of their party than Republicans. This is HuffPollster for Monday, July 25, 2016.
TRUMP GAINS ON CLINTON IN NEW NATIONAL POLLS - New polls released Monday morning by CNN/ORC, Morning Consult and CBS show Donald Trump receiving a post convention bump that gives him a slight edge on Hillary Clinton. The CNN poll has the biggest shift: A mid-June CNN poll had Clinton up by 7 points, and now Trump is up by 3 points. Morning Consult shows a smaller increase, with Trump leading by 4 points now compared to a 2-point Clinton lead in their July 14-16 poll. CBS shows the race essentially unchanged. Their last poll with the New York Times from July 8-12 showed the race tied. While CBS reports the race as tied in their most recent poll, HuffPost Pollster reports the question that includes respondents who are undecided but lean toward a candidate, which shows Trump up by one point.
The HuffPost Pollster chart shows the margin between Clinton and Trump narrowing substantially based on these polls. Clinton is still ahead due to the long-term trend, but Trump has pulled to within a percentage point. The two candidates are essentially tied at 42 percent.
Trump narrowly tops Clinton in a poll of 11 battleground states - Anthony Salvanto: “Donald Trump gets a small boost in support across the battleground states coming out of his convention: he is at 42 percent support now, up from 40 percent heading in, and it now pushes him slightly ahead of Hillary Clinton, who remains unchanged at 41 percent. Republicans in the battleground states liked what they saw, much more so than independents, as the continued closeness of the contest and this limited movement - even after a convention - is another example of how staunch partisanship is both defining and constraining this race….The vote change - such as it is - comes almost entirely from a handful of those voters who were undecided or unsure last week, and not from a conversion of voters who were previously with Clinton; Clinton’s support remains the same despite so much of the convention’s rhetorical focus on her and the Democrats.” [CBS]
But don’t get too excited about post-convention polls - HuffPollster: “Following the polls closely immediately after each convention is only good for one thing: Trying to gauge how much of a bump the candidate got. These polls don’t mean that the race, as a whole, has shifted substantially ― especially not before both conventions have taken place. Conventions have often resulted in small to medium polling bumps for the candidate whose party just convened. The gatherings typically help unify the parties, particularly if there were divisive primaries ― which both Democrats and Republicans experienced this year. They also usually correspond to vice presidential candidate announcements, which might (or might not) help the candidate.” [HuffPost]
Another option is to ignore the polls until the convention volatility fades - Josh Katz and Kevin Quealy: “History suggests that in the short periods after the conventions, the polling average can often move away from the final result, not toward it. That’s because polls taken in the middle of the convention are often unreliable: Gains made by the party’s nominee can often be short-lived. One approach is to ignore the polls during this tricky period. Our presidential forecast, which currently gives Hillary Clinton a 74 percent chance to win, does something different: It imposes a small penalty on polls taken when a candidate might be receiving a convention bounce. This penalty, based on conventions since 1980, fades out over the next few weeks.” [NYT]
DEMOCRATS GENERALLY VIEW THEIR PARTY BETTER THAN REPUBLICANS - Cameron Easley: “A new Morning Consult survey shows [Democratic] voters are considerably more united than their Republican counterparts. About one out of four registered Democrats (24 percent) said their party has pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track, compared with almost half of Republicans (46 percent). Almost six out of 10 Democrats (59 percent) said the party is going in the right direction….By comparison, less than half of Republicans (40 percent) said their party is on the right track.” [Morning Consult]
MANY REPUBLICAN CONVENTION PROTESTERS WERE FOCUSED ON RACISM - Shan-Jan Sarah Liu, Patricia Posey and Kevin Reuning: “As expected, many demonstrators (16 percent) came to support or oppose Donald Trump. But more (23 percent) said their primary concern was speaking out about racism or racial inequality. A large group (part of the “Other” category) did not believe that a single issue could be highlighted and saw many issues as interconnected, with capitalism often cited as the root cause…. The majority said they were there to express solidarity, hoped to change public opinion on an issue, or felt obligated to speak out on an issue. This finding contradicts the conventional wisdom that people who demonstrate outside the convention would be targeting what goes on inside the convention.” [WashPost]
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MONDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-Support for stricter gun laws is up, but Americans are pessimistic that anything will change. [AP]
-Harry Enten shows that vice presidential candidates only provide small home-state boosts on average. 
-Philip Bump doesn’t think Tim Kaine will help Clinton much in Virginia. [WashPost]
-Christopher Sullivan and Zachary O’Keeffe analyze whether more policing leads to less crime or just more racial resentment. [WashPost]