HUFFPOLLSTER: Voters Prefer State-Level Republicans To Donald Trump

But his unpopularity could weigh many GOP candidates down.

Donald Trump is less-liked by voters than other Republican office-seekers. Hillary Clinton’s national polling lead seems to have settled at around 6-7 percent. And this was supposed to be a good year for a Republican presidential candidate. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, August 23, 2016.

DOWN BALLOT REPUBLICANS ARE MORE POPULAR THAN TRUMP, BUT IT MAY NOT BE ENOUGH TO SAVE THEM - HuffPollster: “To save their Senate majority, [Republicans will] need battleground states to...split their ticket across party lines, supporting GOP candidates for Senate, even if they prefer Clinton over Trump….A new HuffPost/YouGov poll offers another bit of evidence that Trump is under-performing other Republican politicians. Forty-three percent of voters said the Republican candidates running for office in their state were better than Donald Trump, while 12 percent said their state candidates were worse, and 25 percent that they were about the same….Just 31 percent of voters said their state’s Democratic candidates were better than Clinton, while 7 percent said they were worse, and a plurality, 44 percent, that they’re about the same….The question is whether those results are a sign that Trump isn’t dragging down other candidates, or a representation of his potential to do exactly that, especially as House and Senate Democrats seek to link vulnerable rivals to the Trump campaign. Evidence is increasingly pointing to the latter.” [HuffPost]

IN OHIO, ROB PORTMAN IS SIGNIFICANTLY OUTPERFORMING TRUMP - From a Monmouth survey released Monday: “Hillary Clinton holds a slim 4 point lead over Donald Trump in the perennial battleground state of Ohio.  In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent senator Rob Portman has an 8 point lead over former governor Ted Strickland.  The candidates for president and senate are experiencing varying degrees of success in appealing to the typical Buckeye worker….Among Ohio voters likely to cast ballots in November’s presidential election, 43% currently support Clinton and 39% back Trump….the Monmouth University Poll  finds GOP incumbent Rob Portman with a 48% to 40% lead over former Democratic governor Ted Strickland.” [Monmouth] 

Portman’s strength is helping Republican hopes of keeping the Senate - The Monmouth poll and a CBS/YouGov poll out over the weekend both showed strong results for Portman, which increased the chances of Republicans maintaining the Ohio seat from 83 percent to a new high of 93 percent according to HuffPost’s Senate model. That change shifted the overall probability of a Democratic takeover down from 55 percent to 51 percent, and increased the probability of a 50-50 Republican-Democrat split in the chamber to 25 percent (from 23 percent). Republicans still have only about a 24 percent chance of keeping the majority (up from 22 percent), but the trajectory of Portman’s race ― and his ability to lead independent of Trump’s standing in his state ― is some rare good news for Senate Republicans.

HILLARY CLINTON HAS A 6-7 PERCENT ADVANTAGE OVER TRUMP - As we get further from the convention, polling shows Hillary Clinton maintaining a solid lead over Donald Trump in the national polls. Her lead has slipped slightly, but only by about 1 point in the HuffPost Pollster averages since the end of the conventions. Trump has remained steady over the last few weeks, barely budging from his averages in the mid-to-upper 30s. In head-to-head matchups with Trump, Clinton has dropped from a high of 47.8 percent at the beginning of August to 46.9 percent today. In matchups that include Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, she’s seen a similar change from 43.9 percent then to 43.1 percent support now. A month out from the conventions, it’s fairly safe to say that her lead over Trump is a solid 6-7 percentage points.

2016 WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A GOOD YEAR FOR THE GOP  - John Sides: “[I]f Clinton does win comfortably, one of the most important lessons will be: It wasn’t supposed to be that way…. in 2014, given economic growth and President Obama’s popularity and the challenge of winning the White House for a third term, the odds slightly favored the Republicans…. At a minimum, the election should be a toss-up. Thus far, it’s not. Now here’s where it gets interesting. One explanation for why Clinton is favored to win in this environment is simple: Donald J. Trump. By design, statistical models of elections don’t build in the idiosyncratic features of individual candidates….But Trump alone isn’t enough to explain the Democrats’ advantage. Even in late 2015 or early 2016, before any caucuses or primaries, both the prediction markets and political experts gave the Democrats better than a 50 percent chance of winning. At least part of Democrats’ advantage predates Trump’s nomination.” [WashPost]

VOTER FRAUD SPARKS OUTSIZED CONCERNS - Ryan Grenoble: “According to a Gallup poll released Monday, 36 percent of Americans believe voter fraud is a ‘major problem,’ and a further 32 percent view it as a ‘minor problem.’ The poll found that Republicans are much more concerned about voter fraud than Democrats. Fifty-two percent of Republicans think ineligible voters casting ballots will be a major problem in this year’s election, compared to 26 percent of Democrats….There’s virtually no evidence of in-person voter fraud occurring, and voter ID laws passed by state legislatures do nothing to address the fraud that actually does exist. Instead, the laws mostly just impede minorities from voting.” [HuffPost]

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

-Roanoke College gives Hillary Clinton a 16-point lead in Virginia. [Roanoke]

-A new SurveyMonkey poll finds Donald Trump continuing to struggle with minority voters. [NBC]

-Jonathan Ladd argues that better messaging could help the Trump campaign. [Vox]

-Toni Monkovic charts 50 years of electoral college maps. [NYT]

-Stan Greenberg (D) lays out a strategy for Democrats to pick up Senate and House seats. [DemCorps]

-Daniel Cox writes that religious diversity may be making America less religious. [538]

-Nearly half of black Americans say they’ve been treated unfairly in the last month because of their race. [Gallup]

-Most men think sexism no longer hinders women. [WashPost]