HUFFPOLLSTER: Trump Tape Seems To Have Little Effect On Supporters

Voters are solidifying their choices, not changing sides.

New polling casts doubt that the tape of Donald Trump discussing assaulting women will substantially impact the presidential race. Regardless, he’s in big trouble in electoral projections. And Hillary Clinton is less popular among Latinos than previous Democratic candidates. This is HuffPollster for Wednesday, October 12, 2016.

MOST TRUMP SUPPORTERS THINK TAPE CONTROVERSY IS A DISTRACTION - Mark Blumenthal: “Despite an uproar over the release on Friday of a video in which Republican nominee Donald Trump can be heard making sexually aggressive and lewd remarks about women, SurveyMonkey’s tracking data suggest that the controversy has served mostly to reinforce rather than counter existing voter attitudes.... The issue is not a lack of awareness. By Sunday night, 78 percent of registered voters nationwide had heard ‘a lot’ or ‘some’ of the coverage of the 2005 tape of Trump, with 14 percent saying they had heard ‘only a little’ and only six percent ‘none at all.’... While most voters are familiar with the story, more say they consider Trump’s comments ‘a distraction to the campaign’ (56 percent) than ‘an important issue to discuss’ (42 percent).... Far more voters say the controversy ‘makes no difference in your support of Trump’ (57 percent) than say it makes them less likely to support him (38 percent), with most of the latter responses coming from Democrats and Clinton supporters.” [SurveyMonkey]  

After the debate, initial reactions to the tape fade - Carrie Dann: “Hillary Clinton holds a nine-point overall lead over Donald Trump after Sunday’s presidential debate, according to a new NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll. The new numbers indicate that, while Clinton still bests Trump by a significant margin, Trump’s debate performance earned him a slight recovery in his overall level of support ― particularly from Republicans… In a four-way matchup, Clinton now has the support of 46 percent of likely voters, while Trump has 37 percent, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson has eight percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein has two percent…. The new data incorporate interviews that were conducted after Sunday night’s debate. Poll data released by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal on Monday, which only included interviews conducted before the debate, showed Clinton with a 11 point lead in a four-way contest and a 14-point lead in a head-to-head matchup. Among only those respondents contacted after the debate, Clinton’s lead shrank to a seven point advantage in both a four-way matchup and in a head-to-head race ― reflecting the same margin that Clinton showed in a mid-September NBC/WSJ poll.” [NBC]

FORECAST UPDATE: TRUMP IS IN MAJOR TROUBLE REGARDLESS OF TAPE - Hillary Clinton has an 89 percent chance of winning the presidency, according to the Huffington Post’s presidential forecast. That’s because she garners 273 electoral votes ― enough to win ― just among states in which her win chances are 90 percent or above. In the last two days Wisconsin and Michigan have broached that 90 percent likelihood mark, shifting from battleground states to probable Clinton wins. Trump could win all 7 states in the battleground section ― which now includes South Carolina ― and still lose the election. The Senate still looks like a probable Republican majority, with a 69 percent chance they’ll hold at least 51 seats. [Presidential forecast, Senate forecast]

CLINTON RECEIVING LESS SUPPORT AMONG LATINOS THAN OBAMA DID IN 2012 - Mark Hugo Lopez, Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Jens Manuel Krogstad, and Gustavo López: “About six-in-ten Latino registered voters (58%) favor [Hillary] Clinton, while just 19% support Trump; 10% favor Libertarian Gary Johnson while 6% back Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee. In 2012, in a two-way contest between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Obama won 71% of the Latino vote, while just 27% supported Romney, according to national exit polls. That was one of the largest Democratic advantages among Latinos dating back more than two decades, according to a post-election analysis of the Hispanic vote….Overall, 69% of Latino registered voters say they are ‘absolutely certain’ they will vote this November, down modestly from 77% who said the same in 2012.” [Pew Research]

Latino millennials are contributing to Clinton’s dampened support - Ed O’Keefe: One of the sharpest declines is among Latino millennials — those ages 18 to 35 this year. Just 62 percent say they are absolutely certain to vote this year, compared with 74 percent in 2012. That seems to be a contributing factor in the softer support for [Hillary] Clinton. Her support among millennial Latinos is 18 percentage points lower than among those who are older (48 percent vs. 66 percent). In addition, Pew finds that nearly two-thirds of Latino millennials who support Clinton say their support is more a vote against Trump than a vote for her. Among older Latinos, 65 percent say their support for Clinton is more a vote for her than a vote against Trump.Those generational divides have been reflected among voters overall this year, as Clinton has struggled to build rock-solid support among younger voters, who are signaling increased interest in voting for minor-party candidates such as Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein.” [WashPost]

TRUMP FALLS IN UTAH, OPENING ROOM FOR THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE - “[A] new poll shows [Donald Trump] slipping into a dead heat with Democrat Hillary Clinton since crude comments he made about women surfaced last weekend. And along with the billionaire businessman’s sudden fall, independent candidate and BYU graduate Evan McMullin surged into a statistical tie with the two major party presidential nominees, according to survey conducted Monday and Tuesday by Salt Lake City-based Y2 Analytics. ‘A third-party candidate could win Utah as Utahns settle on one,’ said Quin Monson, Y2 Analytics founding partner. McMullin may well have caught lightning in a bottle. The poll shows Clinton and Trump tied at 26 percent, McMullin with 22 percent and Libertarian Gary Johnson getting 14 percent if the election were held today.” [Deseret News]  

Trump’s lead in Utah has been substantial - It’s probably best to wait for more data in Utah to see whether this shift is temporary or looks like it will hold before drawing any conclusions. The HuffPost Pollster aggregate shows Trump leading by nearly 20 points before this poll. [Utah chart]

CONSPIRACY THEORIES ARE POPULAR IN THIS ELECTION - Nick Bayer: “Even though there is no credible evidence that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew ahead of time that the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, was going to be attacked, 90 percent of the Donald Trump supporters interviewed believe she ‘definitely’ or ‘possibly’ knew and did nothing to prevent it. By contrast, only 35 percent of Clinton supporters feel the same way. Similarly, the poll found that 68 percent of Trump supporters still believe that President Barack Obama ‘is hiding important information about his background and early life.’ On the other hand, 84 percent of Clinton supporters consider this ‘definitely not true.’ Clinton supporters are mainly suspicious about Trump’s tax returns. Eighty-five percent of them said they believe Trump is either ‘possibly’ or ‘definitely’ not releasing his tax returns ‘because they would show his close financial ties to political and business figures in Russia.’ A much lower number of Trump supporters ― 46 percent ― believe the same. [HuffPost]

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

-Nate Silver finds early evidence to support that women are contributing to Trump’s decline. [538]

-Another poll shows that Hillary Clinton won the second debate, though by a smaller margin than the first debate. [NBC]

-Amber Phillips thinks Republican congressional candidates can weather Trump’s fall by reminding voters they would be a check to Clinton. [WashPost]

-Sam Wang illustrates just how stable this election’s polling has been. [Princeton]

-Nate Cohn provides a helpful guide to interpreting the latest polls. [NYT]

-Only 18 percent of Americans approve of Congress heading into the election. [Gallup]