How Unpopular Is Trump?

Despite some supposed “successes” lately (the tax reform bill), Trump’s approval remains at historical lows.  First off, this graph from the New York Times reflecting how much more unpopular he is since election by every demographic (underlying data from Morning Consult):

It is sorted by biggest fall, although keep in mind that some groups were so law (Dem women for example) that there was little fall to be had.

Next up — the Quinnipiac Poll released yesterday showing that the majority of Americans find Trump to be not honest, lacking in leadership skills, and uncaring about average Americans. While most Americans think the economy is good, 49 percent give credit to Obama, and only 40 percent to Trump.

All in all, a dismal report card.

Moore v Jones: The Showdown

Virtually all national news is focusing on the Alabama Senate race to fill the seat of Jeff Sessions.  On the one hand, you have Democrat Doug Jones — a prosecutor. On the other hand, you have disgraced judge Roy Moore, accused of feeling up (or as he calls it, “dating”) teenage girls while a prosecutor in his mid-thirties. Alabama is conservative, but also righteous morally, and the question really comes down to “can the voters put morality above politics”?  Many Alabama voters simply don’t believe Moore’s accusers, and the conservative media has done much to de-legitimize those women.

Others take the stance – astonishing as it is – that it is better to have a pedophile in the Senate than a “liberal Democrat” (Jones isn’t very liberal). Among those taking this position, it appears, is President Trump as well as the RNC, which initially pulled financial support, only to reverse course and assist Moore during the final week of campaigning.

A Fox Poll out this morning —

So is Moore up by 9 or down by 10 going into tomorrow?  Who knows?

Fox News seems to believe it has the better methodology:

Hopefully, they are right.

Richard Shelby, Alabama’s senior senator, cast an absentee ballot for an unnamed Republican write-in candidate, and he’s now made multiple television appearances to say that he cannot vote for his party’s nominee. Shelby’s criticisms, which are already being featured prominently in Jones’s television ads, have created a permission structure for Republicans to defect, especially as the White House goes all-in for Moore. (President Trump recorded a robo-call that’s being delivered to GOP homes today, in which he says that his agenda will be “stopped cold” if Jones wins and that a Senator Moore will help him fix the problems caused by the “Obama disaster.”)

Shelby fears that Moore’s candidacy could hurt the state he has spent four decades in Congress trying to transform into a destination for manufacturing, biotechnology and aerospace. That argument, it is hoped, will hold sway. The image of Alabama — not a great one — will be forever tarnished if Moore gets elected. Shelby freely admits that he is anxious about how a Moore victory would affect the corporate world’s impressions of Alabama. “Is this a good place to live, or is it so controversial that we wouldn’t go there?” Shelby said. “You know, these companies are looking to invest. They are looking for a good place to live, a good place to do business, a good education system, opportunities, transportation. And we have come a long way; we’ve got to keep going. … We can’t live in the past.”

The discussions on news channels are simultaneously hysterical and depressing. Watch as this guy tries to defend Roy Moore’s recent comments that America was greatest during the time of slavery (and watch the woman’s facial expressions):

This will be over in 36 hours, but it’s amazing to live through.

UPDATE:  Monmouth Poll out today says who wins depends on level of turnout. Higher turnout benefits Doug Jones.

Pollster Nate Silver weighs in and explains:

There’s a massive spread in results from poll to poll — with surveys on Monday morning showing everything from a 9-point lead for Moore to a 10-point advantage for Democrat Doug Jones — and they reflect two highly different approaches to polling.

Most polls of the state have been made using automated scripts (these are sometimes also called IVR or “robopolls”). These polls have generally shown Moore ahead and closing strongly toward the end of the campaign, such as the Emerson College poll on Monday that showed Moore leading by 9 points. Recent automated polls from Trafalgar GroupJMC Analytics and PollingGravis Marketing and Strategy Research have also shown Moore with the lead.

But when traditional, live-caller polls have weighed in — although these polls have been few and far between — they’ve shown a much different result. A Monmouth University survey released on Monday showed a tied race. Fox News’s final poll of the race, also released on Monday, showed Jones ahead by 10 percentage points. An earlier Fox News survey also had Jones comfortably ahead, while a Washington Post poll from late November had Jones up 3 points at a time when most other polls showed the race swinging back to Moore. And a poll conducted for the National Republican Senatorial Committee in mid-November — possibly released to the public in an effort to get Moore to withdraw from the race — also showed Jones well ahead.1

What accounts for the differences between live-caller and automated polls? There are several factors, all of which are potentially relevant to the race in Alabama:

  1. Automated polls are prohibited by law from calling voters on cellphones.
  2. Automated polls get lower response rates and therefore may have less representative samples.
  3. Automated polls may have fewer problems with “shy” voters who are reluctant to disclose their true voting intentions.
  4. Automated pollsters (in part to compensate for issues No. 1 and 2 above) generally make more assumptions when modeling turnout, whereas traditional pollsters prefer to let the voters “speak for themselves” and take the results they obtain more at face value.

Click the link for the deep dive.

Ultimately, Silver says this, although it is his intuition more than anything else:

Because you’ve read so much detail about the polls, I don’t want to leave you without some characterization of the race. I still think Moore is favored, although not by much; Jones’s chances are probably somewhere in the same ballpark as Trump’s were of winning the Electoral College last November (about 30 percent).

The reason I say that is because in a state as red as Alabama, Jones needs two things to go right for him: He needs a lopsided turnout in his favor, and he needs pretty much all of the swing voters in Alabama (and there aren’t all that many of them) to vote for him. Neither of these are all that implausible. But if either one goes wrong for Jones, Moore will probably win narrowly (and if both go wrong, Moore could still win in a landslide). The stakes couldn’t be much higher for the candidates — or for the pollsters who surveyed the race.

Not that I have any credentials like Silver, but I think it will hinge on turnout.  High turnout is good for Jones; low is good for Moore. Democrats, of which there are fewer, are more “fired up” and a significant amount of Republicans are conflicted about Moore (a SurveyMonkey series of polls confirm this). But are they fired up and conflicted ENOUGH?  Who knows?

Trump Hits New Low In Pew Polls

President Donald Trump has hit rock bottom again in a new poll.

The Pew Research Center finds that only 32 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s job performance, the lowest level in any Pew poll measuring his job approval since he took office in January. Sixty-three percent disapprove.

Trump’s approval rating has declined slightly since October when it was 34 percent, and it has decreased markedly since February when it was 39 percent.

Fifty-nine percent of Americans say improper contact between senior Trump officials and Russia during the 2016 campaign “definitely or probably occurred,” and 30 percent say it “definitely or probably did not happen.”

Accusations of such collusion are being investigated by Congress and by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Some other details that could be troubling for Trump if the trends continue: His approval rating among white evangelical Protestants, a key part of his political base, has fallen since February to 61 percent from 78 percent. Overall, Trump’s support among white voters has declined since February to 41 percent from 49 percent, and his approval among white voters without college degrees has declined to 46 percent from 56.

Yet voters who identify themselves as conservative still back Trump although by smaller margins. Seventy-six percent of Republicans and Republican leaners approve of his job performance, compared with 84 percent in February.

Forty percent of men approve, down from 45 in February, and 25 percent of women approve, down from 33 percent.

Trump Endorses Accused Child Molester For Senate

The chyrons say it all:

Kayla Moore (Roy’s wife) confirms:

This is not normal. Can you imagine, in any other time, what would happen if a President endorsed a child molester as a candidate for Senate?

Polls have the two pretty close….

… BUT I am not sure how much to trust these polls. I think many people will lie about whether they are voting for Roy Moore to a pollster, out of embarrassment.

New PPP Poll Shows Republicans Are In Trouble

There is so much poll-y goodness in the new and deep PPP poll.  But I’ll just print the PPP summary and docdump the full results.  One thing buried deep in the poll — 76% of Trump voters think he should remain in office even if it is proven that he colluded with Russia!

2018 Shaping Up Big For Democrats

Democrats picked up big wins in special elections in Florida and New Hampshire this week, and PPP’s newest national poll finds there might be a lot more where that came from. Democrats continue to hold a double digit lead on the generic Congressional ballot at 48-37, which should position them to pick up a lot of seats across the country next year.

One reason for the strong position Democrats are in is fallout from the GOP’s failed efforts on health care, and our new poll makes it clear Jimmy Kimmel won the health care battle in the court of public opinion. By a 47/34 spread, voters say they trust Kimmel more than the Republicans in Congress when it comes to health care issues. Kimmel has a 47/30 favorability rating nationally. By contrast Paul Ryan is at a 25/51 approval rating, Mitch McConnell is at 14/61, and Congress as a whole has a 9/76 approval.

Only 27% of voters support the most recent Republican health care bill to 53% who oppose it. By contrast the Affordable Care Act continues to have new found popularity with 48% of voters in favor of it and 34% against. Asked which of the bills they prefer the Affordable Care Act beats out the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill 53-34, and only 32% of voters think the best path forward on health care is to repeal the Affordable Care Act while 62% think it’s best to keep it and makes fixes as necessary.

The health care debate is having a bad impact on Republicans electorally. By a 19 point margin voters say they’re less likely to support a member of Congress who voted for the health care repeal bill- 48% say they’re less likely to vote for such an incumbent next year to only 29% who say they’re more likely to.

Donald Trump continues to be unpopular with 42% of voters approving of him to 53% who disapprove. Some new issues that have cropped up in the last few weeks are causing him problems in addition to the ongoing issues causing his unpopularity. Only 37% of voters think it’s appropriate for him to refer to a foreign leader as ‘Rocket Man’ to 56% who think it’s inappropriate. Only 24% of voters think it’s appropriate for him to use campaign funds to pay for his legal expenses, to 64% who think it’s inappropriate. And only 20% of voters think it’s appropriate for his cabinet secretaries to fly on taxpayer funded private plans, to 71% who say it’s inappropriate.

Beyond those specific issues voters continue to have concerns with Trump’s general temperament. Only 39% of voters think he’s honest, to 54% who consider him to be dishonest. A plurality of voters- 47%- consider Trump to be mentally unbalanced to only 45% who consider him to be mentally stable. 58% of voters still want to see Trump’s tax returns, to only 35% who think it isn’t necessary for him to release them. Only 35% of voters think Trump has fulfilled his core campaign promise to ‘Make America Great Again’ to 53% who think he has not delivered. And for the fifth month in a row we find voters in support of impeachment- 48% favor it, to 43% who are opposed.

Without Hillary Clinton to kick around anymore Trump has tried to turn the media into his foil, but we continue to find that he is losing all of his battles with the media. For the first time we added ESPN to the list of outlets we compared Trump with this month, and voters say they trust ESPN over him by a 48/38 spread. A plurality of voters- 37%- nationally have no opinion about ESPN with 33% seeing it favorably and 30% unfavorably. Clinton voters give it a 44/11 favorability, while it comes in at 20/54 with Trump voters. Trump is losing the rest of his media fights by similar margins to what we’ve typically found:

Do you have a higher opinion of Donald Trump or… Winner
CBS CBS, 53/38
NBC NBC, 52/39
ABC ABC, 52/39
Washington Post Washington Post, 52/39
CNN CNN, 51/38
New York Times New York Times, 52/40
ESPN ESPN, 48/38

Trump continues to fare very poorly in possible match ups against Democrats for 2020. We tested Hillary Clinton against Trump this month for the first time, mostly as a baseline for comparison against other possible Democratic candidates, and Clinton leads Trump by 5 points at 47/42. 3 Democrats we tested clearly perform more strongly against Trump than Clinton- Joe Biden who leads by 13 points at 53/40, Bernie Sanders who leads by 11 points at 51/40, and Michelle Obama who leads by 10 points at 51/41. Biden and Sanders both win over 10% of people who voted for Trump last fall while losing almost no Clinton voters.

Other Democrats we tested against Trump are Cory Booker who leads him 47/40, Elizabeth Warren who leads him 47/41, Kirsten Gillibrand who leads him 42/39, and Kamala Harris who leads him 41/40. The percentage support the Democrat gets in these match ups varies from 41% to 53% probably depending on their name recognition, but Trump’s support is pretty constant in the 39-42% range against all of these possible challengers.

Voters also wish by a 52/41 margin that Barack Obama was still President instead of Trump.

Trump may be doing poorly with the overall electorate but he’s still in pretty firm control of the Republican Party. By a 34 point margin, 61/27, GOP voters say they’d rather have Trump be their candidate for President in 2020 than anyone else. His margins against specific potential Republican challengers are even more emphatic. He leads Mike Pence by 38 points at 59/21, John Kasich by 50 points at 68/18, and Ted Cruz by 53 points at 68/15. His leadership style might not be doing much to help him win over Americans in the middle but it’s helping him keep a strong hold on his party base.Other notes from our national poll:

-Only 15% of voters think Mexico is actually going to pay for a wall with the United States, to 71% who don’t believe that’s going to happen. Even among Trump’s voters just 32% think he will be able to deliver on his promise to make Mexico pay for the wall. Most Americans don’t want the wall anyway though- just 33% support it to 56% who say they are opposed.

-A rare thing that really does bring together Americans across the political spectrum is support for DACA- 74% of voters think children brought to the US by their immigrant parents and raised in the country should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship to only 18% who don’t think they should be allowed to. That includes 92/5 support from Clinton voters and 52/34 support even from Trump voters.

-Sean Spicer has not been able to rehabilitate his image since leaving the White House. Only 23% of voters see him favorably to 41% who have an unfavorable opinion of him. Those numbers are a little worse even than the 24/37 spread he had in January right after prominently lying about the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration.

-Finally we find that the Trump era has ushered in a huge divide among Americans…about awards shows. Overall there is a pretty dim view of awards shows, with 22% of voters seeing them favorably to 49% who have a negative opinion about them. Clinton voters have mixed feelings about them- 31% favorable, 31% unfavorable. But Trump voters absolutely hate them- just 11% see awards shows positively with 73% having an unfavorable opinion of them.

Trump’s Ego Fires Social Director

Donald Trump is the kind of emotionally unstable individual that would see a crowd of 4,000 to 10,000 and consider it rejection, so he lashed out, and a longtime aide paid the price.

From Bloomberg:

As his surrogates warmed up the audience, the expanse of shiny concrete eventually filled in with cheering Trump fans. But it was too late for a longtime Trump aide, George Gigicos, the former White House director of advance who had organized the event as a contractor to the Republican National Committee. Trump later had his top security aide, Keith Schiller, inform Gigicos that he’d never manage a Trump rally again, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Gigicos, one of the four longest-serving political aides to the president, declined to comment.

So Trump took the stage annoyed, and began his tirade against the media (of course), nonsensically defended his remarks regarding Charlottesville, threatened to shut down the government if they didn’t approve funding for the border wall (that Mexico was supposed to pay for), and then went after the two sitting Arizona senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake.

So what did Gigicos do wrong, that earned him the ire of the mad king?

Gigicos had staged the event in a large multipurpose room. The main floor space was bisected by a dividing wall, leaving part of the space empty. There were some bleachers off to the side, but otherwise the audience was standing — and the scene appeared flat, lacking the energy and enthusiasm of other rallies.

Gigicos has been in charge of arranging Trump’s campaign events for the past two years, and rallies, since he took office. But no more.

Trump shouldn’t be campaigning anyway, and he shouldn’t be wasting his time (on our dollar) with rallies. This presidency is just a reality show with an audience of one: Trump.

This is a good time to check in on the polls, because Pew just conducted a major survey.  I’ll dump the whole thing here, but here’s some major takeaways:

  1. Nearly a third of Republicans say they agree with the president on only a few or no issues, while a majority expresses mixed or negative feelings about his conduct as president.
  2. Issues aside, a majority of all those surveyed (58%) say they do not like the way Trump conducts himself as president, while 25% have mixed feelings about his conduct. Just 16% say they like the way he conducts himself as president.
  3. 58 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning Americans think Trump should be listening more to the more experienced members of his party, while just 34 percent say he should listen less.  (So much for the anti-elite movement)
  4. Among those who approve of Trump’s job performance (36% of the public), more than half (54%) volunteer something about his personality or general approach as what they like most; mentions of Trump’s policies or agenda are a distant second, at 14%.
  5. Half of Americans say they are very or somewhat confident in Trump to negotiate favorable trade agreements with other countries; nearly as many (46%) are at least somewhat confident he can make good appointments to federal courts. Trump draws less confidence in his ability to make wise decisions about immigration and the use of nuclear weapons (40% each). Majorities say they are not too or not at all confident in Trump’s handling of these two issues.
  6. A majority of Americans say prejudiced describes Trump at least fairly well (55%), compared with 42% who think it does not describe him well. And by 65% to 32%, the public thinks selfish is an apt descriptor of the president, including 46% who think it describes Trump “very well.”

  7. Large majorities of Republicans and Republican leaners think intelligent (87%) and decisive (76%) describe Trump at least fairly well. And most Republicans (71%) also think the word honest describes Trump well.  For Dems, it is 23%, 28%, and 10%, respectively.

But there is oh so much more. Dive deep.

PPP Poll On Trump Et Al [UPDATE: Quinnipiac Too]

There’s a lot to digest in the new PPP poll, so I’ll just give the topline results.

It does confirm what I suspected — that Trump is not going to go much lower because his supporters are simply ignorant about discrimination.  Check this out:

PPP’s newest national poll finds that Donald Trump’s approval rating is pretty steady in the wake of the Charlottesville attack, probably because his supporters think that whites and Christians are the most oppressed groups of people in the country. 40% of voters approve of the job Trump is doing to 53% who disapprove, little change from the 41/55 spread we found for him in July.

The reason Trump hasn’t lost more ground for his widely panned response to the attack is probably that many of his supporters agree with some of the beliefs that led white supremacists to rally in Charlottesville in the first place. Asked what racial group they think faces the most discrimination in America, 45% of Trump voters say it’s white people followed by 17% for Native Americans with 16% picking African Americans, and 5% picking Latinos. Asked what religious group they think faces the most discrimination in America, 54% of Trump voters says it’s Christians followed by 22% for Muslims and 12% for Jews. There is a mindset among many Trump voters that it’s whites and Christians getting trampled on in America that makes it unlikely they would abandon Trump over his ‘both sides’ rhetoric.

Overall 89% of Americans have a negative opinion of neo-Nazis to 3% with a positive one, and 87% have an unfavorable opinion of white supremacists to 4% with a positive one. Just 11% agree with the sentiment that it’s possible for white supremacists and neo-Nazis to be ‘very fine people,’ to 69% who say that’s not possible.

Confederate Issues

Voters have nuanced views when it comes to Confederate monuments. Overall 39% say they support monuments honoring the Confederacy to 34% who say they oppose them. That’s basically unchanged from the 42/35 spread we found on this question when we polled it in June. Trump voters support them by a 71/10 spread- to put those numbers into perspective only 65% of Trump voters oppose Obamacare, so this is a greater unifier for the Trump base. Even though voters narrowly support the monuments though, 58% also say they support relocating them from government property and moving them to museums or other historic sites where they can be viewed in proper historical context. There’s bipartisan support for that approach with Democrats (72/14), independents (52/27), and Republicans (46/42) all in favor of it. Voters don’t necessarily want Confederate monuments destroyed, but they also don’t necessarily think they need to be places where everyone is forced to walk by them every day.

Robert E. Lee has a 36/24 favorability with Americans, with 40% having no opinion of him either way. He’s at a 61/10 spread with Trump voters but just a 17/40 spread with Clinton voters. In a finding that says a lot about how we got to where we are today, Trump voters say they would rather have Jefferson Davis as President than Barack Obama 45/20. Obama wins that question 56/21 with the overall electorate.

Congress and 2018

Things are continuing to look good for Democrats in 2018, as they lead the generic Congressional ballot 49-35. The 14 point lead for Democrats may be too good to be true though- it’s a function of a highly divided Republican base at this point. While Clinton voters say they’ll vote Democratic for Congress next year 90-4, Trump voters say they will vote Republican by only a 74-13 margin. Part of the reason Republicans have done better than expected in 2014 and 2016 is they were divided earlier in the cycle and came together by the end, we will see if that trend continues in 2018.

A big part of the division among Republicans is being caused by extreme unhappiness with their Congressional leaders, perhaps driven by Donald Trump’s attacks on them. Both Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell now have the worst numbers we’ve ever seen for them. Only 16% of voters approve of the job Ryan is doing to 62% who disapprove. A big part of that is even among Trump voters he has only a 30% approval rating with 52% disapproving of him. Ryan comes out looking popular in comparison to McConnell though. His approval rating is just 9%, with 61% of voters disapproving of him. Among Trump voters he receives just a 15% approval rating to 59% disapproving of him, not all that dissimilar from his 68% disapproval with Clinton voters. The possible pitfall for Trump with the attacks on GOP Congressional leaders is disincentivizing his base to go vote for them next year.

Their failed efforts on health care are a big part of what’s causing Congressional Republicans problems. Only 25% of voters support the health care bill that was considered by Congress last month, to 57% who disapprove of it. Even among GOP voters there’s less than majority support, with 48% in favor of it to 34% who are opposed. At this point only 33% of voters think the best path forward on health care is repealing Obamacare, to 57% who think it’s keeping the current law and making fixes to it as necessary. Voters say by a 21 point margin that they’re less likely to vote for a GOP member of Congress who supported the repeal bill- 46% are less likely to vote for such a person to 25% who are more likely to, with 22% saying it doesn’t make a difference either way.

Overall Congress has a 9% approval rating, with 73% of voters disapproving of it. It’s at 12/77 with Trump voters and 8/73 with Clinton voters.

Trump, His Promises, and 2020

Trump continues to be unpopular, with a 40/53 approval spread. Voters think he has failed on two of the core promises of his campaign. Only 15% believe he has been successful in ‘draining the swamp,’ to 64% who say he hasn’t. Even among Trump’s own voters just 26% think he has delivered on this promise to 53% who say he hasn’t. When it comes to whether Trump has come through on ‘Making America Great Again,’ just 33% of voters say he has to 59% who say he hasn’t.

Some of Trump’s issues are related to policy. For instance only 31% of voters agree with his edict to ban transgender individuals from the military, to 57% who oppose it. Similarly only 34% of voters support his proposed wall with Mexico, to 55% of voters who oppose it.

Trump also has issues with how voters feel about his character. Only 39% think he is honest, to 55% who say he is not. In fact 49% of voters come right out and call Trump a liar, with only 43% disagreeing with that characterization. By a 39/34 spread voters express the belief that Trump is more corrupt than Richard Nixon.

Another thing hurting Trump’s standing is a perceived lack of transparency. 61% of voters still think he should release his tax returns to 33% who don’t think it’s necessary for him to. In fact by a 55/31 spread voters support a law requiring the release of 5 years of tax returns for a Presidential candidate to even appear on the ballot.

The upshot of all this is for the fourth month in a row we find a plurality of voters in support of impeaching Trump- 48% say he should be impeached to 41% who disagree. And there continues to be a significant yearning for a return to the days of President Obama- 52% of voters say they wish Obama was still President to only 39% who prefer having Trump in the White House.

Trump continues to trail both Bernie Sanders (51/38) and Joe Biden (51/39) by double digits in possible 2020 match ups. PPP never found Hillary Clinton up by more than 7 points on Trump in 2016. Sanders and Biden each win over 12-14% of the folks who voted for Trump last year. Also leading Trump in hypothetical contests at this point are Elizabeth Warren (45/40), Mark Cuban (42/38), and Cory Booker and Trump Twitter Target Richard Blumenthal (42/39). Trump ties Kamala Harris at 39% each and John Delaney at 38% each.

Generally speaking just 57% of Republicans want Trump to be the party’s nominee again in 2020 to 29% who say they would prefer someone else. That 28 point margin for Trump against ‘someone else’ is the same as his 28 point lead over Mike Pence at 52/24. Both Ted Cruz (a 40 point deficit to Trump at 62/22) and John Kasich (a 47 point deficit to Trump at 68/21) are evidently weaker potential opponents than ‘someone else.’

Trump and the Media

With the absence of a ‘Crooked Hillary,’ ‘Lying Ted,’ ‘Little Marco,’ or ‘Low Energy Jeb’ to use as his foil while President, Trump has taken to attacking various media outlets as his new foes. He’s losing to them in a way that he never trailed during the campaign in our polling though:

Who do you trust more: Donald Trump or _____ Winner
ABC ABC, 53/35
CBS CBS, 53/35
NBC NBC, 53/35
New York Times New York Times, 53/36
Washington Post Washington Post, 51/36
CNN CNN, 50/35

And suffice it to say, Trump’s attacks on Amazon aren’t having much impact on the company’s image. 60% of voters see the company favorably to only 13% with a negative opinion of it. Amazon gets positive reviews from Clinton voters (67/9) and Trump voters (53/20) alike.

Full results here

Also this:

UPDATE:  Quinnipiac just came out today with a poll as well. It’s not as comprehensive, but it had some interesting things to say as well. Most notably,” Every party, gender, education, age and racial group disapproves [of Trump] except Republicans….”.

President Donald Trump is doing more to divide the country, 62 percent of voters say, while 31 percent say he is doing more to unite the country, his worst score on this question, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

President Trump gets a negative 35 – 59 percent overall job approval rating, down from a negative 39 – 57 percent rating in an August 17 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN- uh-pe-ack) University. Every party, gender, education, age and racial group disapproves except Republicans, who approve 77 – 14 percent; white voters with no college, approving 52 – 40 percent, and white men, who approve by a narrow 50 – 46 percent.

American voters disapprove 60 – 32 percent of Trump’s response to the events in Charlottesville. 

President Trump’s decisions and behavior have encouraged white supremacist groups, 59 percent of voters say, as 3 percent say he has discouraged these groups and 35 percent say he has had no impact on them.

There is too much prejudice in the nation today, 55 percent of American voters say, while 40 percent say there is too much political correctness, the widest margin for prejudice since the question first was asked in June 2016.

Prejudice against minority groups is a “very serious” problem, 50 percent of voters say, while 31 percent say it is “somewhat serious,” a new high for these numbers.

Since Trump’s election, “the level of hatred and prejudice in the U.S. has increased,” 65 percent of voters say, while 2 percent say it has decreased and 32 percent say it hasn’t changed.

“One word – Charlottesville”. 

“Elected on his strength as a deal-maker, but now overwhelmingly considered a divider, President Donald Trump has a big negative job approval rating and low scores on handling racial issues,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Voters disapprove 63 – 31 percent, including 56 – 38 percent among white voters, of the way Trump is handling race relations. The president does not care about issues facing minority groups, voters say 60 – 37 percent, including 52 – 45 percent among white voters.

A total of 62 percent of American voters say prejudice against Jewish people is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem.

Voters oppose 50 – 39 percent removing Confederate statues from public spaces. White voters oppose removal 57 – 33 percent, with black voters supporting removal 67 – 21 percent. Among Hispanic voters, 47 percent support removing statues, with 42 percent opposed.

White supremacist groups pose a threat to the U.S., voters say 64 – 34 percent. 

President Trump does not provide the U.S. with moral leadership, American voters say 62 – 35 percent. Voter opinions of most Trump qualities remain low:

  • 61 – 36 percent that he is not honest;
  • 61 – 37 percent that he does not have good leadership skills;
  • 57 – 40 percent that he does not care about average Americans;
  • 68 – 29 percent that he is not level headed;
  • 59 – 38 percent that he is a strong person;
  • 55 – 43 percent that he is intelligent;
  • 63 – 34 percent that he does not share their values.

Trump, the Media and Tweeting 

American voters disapprove 55 – 40 percent of the way the news media covers Trump, and disapprove 62 – 35 percent of the way the president talks about the media. Voters trust the media more than Trump 54 – 36 percent “to tell you the truth about important issues.”

Stop tweeting from your personal account, voters tell the president 69 – 28 percent.

In an open-ended question, allowing for any answers, 64 voters (not percent) say “strong” is the first word that comes to mind when they think of Trump. “Idiot” is the first word for 59 voters. Another 58 voters say “incompetent,” as 50 say “liar” and 49 say “president.”

From August 17 – 22, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,514 voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points, including the design effect. Live interviewers call landlines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys nationwide, and in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa and Colorado as a public service and for research.

Interesting Poll Numbers From North Carolina — Trump Underwater

From PPP:

PPP’s new North Carolina poll finds strong, bipartisan opposition to cuts the General Assembly has made to the budget of the North Carolina Department of Justice. Only 18% of voters support the 10 million dollars in cuts that have been made, to 60% who say they are opposed to them. This opposition is shared by independents (9/68), Democrats (18/65), and Republicans (26/48) alike. Concern about the cuts is fueled by a sense that they will have the effect of making the state less safe- 59% of voters believe that will be the outcome of cuts to funding for the DOJ, while only 12% say they think the cuts will make the state safer.

A plurality of voters- 46%- think the Republicans in the General Assembly made the cuts just because the Attorney General is a Democrat. Only 21% think they did it because it’s good for the state, and 33% aren’t sure one way or another. This is one of several issues driving the popularity of the General Assembly- and the Republicans in it in particular- into the ground. Only 18% of voters approve of the job the General Assembly is doing, to 58% who disapprove. While the Democrats in the body aren’t popular- a 37/46 favorability rating- they come out far better than the Republicans who just 32% of voters see positively, with 55% viewing them in a negative light.

Democrats have an early 46-40 lead on the generic legislative ballot for next year. That includes a double digit lead among independent voters, at 39/29. One thing that’s particularly good news for the party is that enthusiasm is on their side- 57% of Democrats say they’re ‘very excited’ to vote in the election next year, compared to only 47% of Republicans who say that. Among just voters who say they’re ‘very excited’ about turning out in 2018, the generic ballot lead for Democrats more than doubles to 13 points at 52/39.

There continues to be a strong bipartisan consensus in support of nonpartisan redistricting in North Carolina. Overall 56% of voters support it, to just 14% who are opposed. Majorities of independents (63/10), Republicans (55/15), and Democrats (53/17) alike are in favor of shifting to that model for drawing district lines.

Roy Cooper:

Roy Cooper is off to a much better start as Governor than his two immediate predecessors. 48% of voters approve of the job he’s doing, to 33% who disapprove. He’s on solid ground with independents at 45/26, and his -32 approval with Republicans at 22/54 is actually well ahead of the curve for a politician across party lines in these heavily polarized times.

Cooper’s numbers look particularly good when compared to what PPP found for Pat McCrory and Bev Perdue in August of their first terms. Cooper’s the only one of the trio who hadn’t become unpopular within 7 months of taking office. His net approval is 27 points better than McCrory’s was at the same time, and 40 points better than Perdue’s was at the same time.

Governor Approval Rating, August of First Year in Office Net Approval
Roy Cooper 48/33 +15
Pat McCrory 39/51 -12
Bev Perdue 27/52 -25

Speaking of McCrory, voters say by a 44/37 spread that they think Cooper has been a better Governor than he was. Voters are closely divided in their feelings both about McCrory, and whether he should run again in 2020. 40% of voters see him favorably, to 41% with an unfavorable opinion of him. 41% of voters think he should run again for Governor in 2020, to 44% who think he should sit it out. Notably, among Republican voters McCrory has a 66/15 favorability rating while Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest’s is just 29/14.

National Issues:

-Donald Trump is unpopular in North Carolina, although his numbers are at least better than they are nationally. 44% of voters approve of the job he’s doing, to 50% who disapprove. Only 37% of voters think Trump has succeeded in his signature promise to ‘Make America Great Again,’ with 52% saying they believe he has failed on that front. 49% of North Carolinians say they wish they could have Barack Obama back as President, to just 45% who are happier with Trump.

One issue that’s not helping his image- or that of Republican Senators- in the state is health care. 47% of North Carolinians now support the Affordable Care Act, to only 38% who opposed to it. Repeal efforts have made it more and more popular. By contrast just 29% of voters say they support the health care repeal bill recently considered in Congress, to 51% who express opposition to that. 55% think the best path forward on health care is to keep the Affordable Care Act and make changes to it as necessary, to just 37% who think the best thing to do is repeal the ACA.

The health care vote could have long term implications for Thom Tillis. He already has weak approval numbers, with just 28% of voters approving of the job he’s doing to 45% who disapprove. By a 16 point margin voters say they’re less likely to vote in the future for someone who supported the health care repeal bill in Congress- 46% say being on the record in support of that makes them less likely to vote for someone, to only 30% who say it makes them more likely to vote for someone. That could be a problem for Tillis in 2020, and more short term for some Republican House members up for reelection next year, especially when the anger over health care is combined with the enthusiasm advantage Democrats are currently enjoying.

Full results here

Trump Hits Record Unpopularity — But Does It Matter?

Six months into the Trump presidency.

An ABC/WaPo poll this weekend put Trump’s approval rating at 36%, an all-time low for any president since they started polling.  It’s even lower than Nixon’s was when Nixon resigned.

At 538, Harry Enten put this chart out:

What astounds me is that there has been no crisis to cause it to go down.  Ford is low on that chart because he pardoned Nixon in his first six months.

But Trump came in as an unpopular president, after a run as an unpopular candidate.  His net approval rating was slightly positive (+4) when he first took office, and he averaged a net approval rating of -2 over the first month of his term. That means his net approval rating has fallen 14 points since his first month in office, or a bit less than three points per month.  Steadily.

Given his failure to get any major legislation done, his annoying tweets (which gets almost universal condemnation in the polls), and the Trump-Russia scandal, it’s a wonder his polls are not lower. But what is going on here, I think, is that Trump has two “bottoms”.  The 35-39% approval rating is made up of (1) actual Trump supporters and (2) people who are anti-anti-Trump (i.e., people who hate liberals and the media and will support anybody who they see as hating liberals and the media).  I suspect group 2 is bigger than group 1, but I don’t know what it would take to get them to peel off.  Certainly, that is the group that Trump is playing too, and they remain his big defenders — even AFTER the “fake news” about Trump-Russia collusion became much closer to real news.

In the end, Trump’s historical unpopularity means nothing as long as House and Senate Republicans back him. And they will, as long as he can be the useful idiot to them.

Trump Does Not Deny He Is Under Investigation

Amid a terrible day involving attempted assassination of Congressmen, one piece of news managed to break through: Trump is under investigation by special counsel Mueller for obstruction of justice.  The obstruction of justice investigation into the president began days after Comey was fired on May 9 with the team actively pursuing potential witnesses inside and outside the government. The White House is referring all questions about the Russia investigation to Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz.

Already, there is pushback, as the RNC leaked its talking points.

These are horrible talking points. The argument that the investigation is a distraction that is preventing them from carrying out their agenda should be tossed in the trash since an overwhelming majority disapprove of this president, his party, and their agenda. And when the White House’s best defense is complaining about Hillary Clinton while ranting about leaks, they will better off not saying anything. The talking points are bad and likely only to make things worse for Trump.

I will save for some other time another common observation: why the hell is the RNC and Republicans in general hitching their wagon to this sinking ship?

Last night and this morning it looks like there is a concerted effort to smear Mueller.  Hannity got the ball rolling by arguing that Mueller had conflicts and that this was a witch hunt.

This sentiment was echoed this morning by Trump himself…

and Newt Gingrich…

… even thought Newt had a different opinion of Mueller less than a month ago:

And again there is more invocation of this term “deep state”, a nonsense scare phrase which is just a lament USA is a democracy with checks and balances. It’s both deeply silly and profoundly anti-America. Never forget that when Trump sycophants attack “the deep state,” they mean “a government of laws.”

One problem for Trump is that his push back fails to assess the extent of trouble he is in.  It’s not JUST obstruction of justice. As the WaPo article notices, it looks like Mueller is following the money:

Mueller is overseeing a host of investigations involving people who are or were in Trump’s orbit, people familiar with the probe said. The investigation is examining possible contacts with Russian operatives as well as any suspicious financial activity related to those individuals.

So it could get much worse.

Whining about the “deep state” and a “witch hunt” will not win converts and only shore up the most hardcore of his base.  Trump’s approval rating is at 36% and sinking, with a disapproval rating of %60 and climbing.

Trump and his defenders are going with the “they are just making things up to get me” tactic. It won’t work with obstruction of justice, because so much of the evidence against him is known to be true.  Let me explain.

It’s important to remember that, in obstruction investigations, the sum total or pattern of facts is often critical. When you’re doing an obstruction investigation, all the facts are important. Mueller won’t look at this as a discrete series of interactions, and instead is likely to ask, “Is there some pattern of behavior that constitutes obstruction?” If you’re looking for a pattern of behavior that constitutes obstruction, you want to know the entire pattern.

To be sure, some of these facts are in dispute. Trump has denied demanding Comey’s loyalty, and his advisers have said (ludicrously) that Trump merely asked Comey to drop the Flynn probe.

But there is a set of shared facts that are not in dispute, which we can now consult, and those already constitute a pattern of conduct that is deeply problematic, whether or not it ends up amounting to obstruction.

Here are those facts: Trump did fire Comey. Trump and the White House did contradict themselves about the rationale for that firing. They both did originally say that Trump fired Comey at the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Rod J. Rosenstein, who created a memo detailing that recommendation rooted in Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe. After that story fell apart, Trump did subsequently tell NBC News that he was going to fire Comey regardless of any recommendation and that he did so over the Russia probe. Thus, Trump and the White House themselves did create the strong impression that Sessions and Rosenstein may have been involved in creating a cover story for the Comey firing, and this (among other things) did leave Rosenstein no choice but to appoint a special counsel.

That’s a lot that we know about. And who knows who else Trump talked to about firing Comey.

UPDATE:   A late afternoon mini-rant from Trump on Twitter. He’s sticking to the talking points.

Talking point:


Wife Melania and their son Barron have now moved into the White House now that the school year is over. it was hoped their presence would calm him down. It didn’t.

Day 118. Hot Mess

1/ Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Bob Mueller to oversee the investigation of Russian interference in election. Mueller will take command of the prosecutors and FBI agents who are working on the far reaching Russia investigation. Trump said that he expects the probe will find no collusion between his 2016 White House campaign and foreign countries, calling the Russia inquiry a “taxpayer-funded charade.” (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico)

  • Former Trump aides Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort have emerged as key figures in the FBI’s investigation into Russian campaign interference. Multiple grand jury subpoenas and records requests have been issued in connection with the two men. (NBC News)
  • Federal investigators have subpoenaed records for Manafort’s $3.5 million mortgage that he took out on his Hamptons home just after leaving the campaign. (NBC News)

2/ The House majority leader told colleagues last year: “I think Putin pays” Trump. Paul Ryan told them not to leak the remarks and swore them to secrecy. (Washington Post)

3/ Jason Chaffetz asked the FBI to turn all documents it has on Trump and Comey’s conversations. The FBI has until May 24 to produce the records before the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee subpoenas them. Chaffetz said that if the memo exists and accurately reflects the conversation, “that seems like an extraordinary use of influence to try to shut down an investigation being done by the FBI.” (NBC News / CNN)

  • Comey’s memos were a product of a culture of note-taking. It is standard for people who work in law enforcement to keep detailed phone and meeting logs. (New York Times)

4/ Senate and House Republicans and Democrats want Comey to testify about his interactions with Trump, including whether Trump tried to obstruct the criminal probe into Michael Flynn. The collective political fallout from the past week “will make it difficult” for Republicans to resist a change in approach, Representative Charlie Dent said. “I think we need to hear from him as soon as possible in public to respond to the issues that have been raised in recent days,” Mitch McConnell said. (Politico / Washington Post / (Wall Street Journal)

  • The Senate Intelligence Committee requested that James Comey testify publicly in the wake of his firing by Trump. Sentors Richard Burr and Mark Warner sent a letter asking Comey to testify before their panel in both open and closed sessions. The senators had previously asked Comey to testify in a closed session, but he declined. (Politico)
  • The House Oversight Committee invited Comey to testify next Wednesday. Jason Chaffetz has officially scheduled the hearing and is in the process of trying to connect with Comey. The hearing will be the day the FBI is due to send documents to the oversight panel. (Politico)

5/ Democratic congressman Al Green called for “the impeachment of the President of the United States of America for obstruction of justice.” Green said it was the House of Representative’s “duty” to take up impeachment. More Republicans and Democrats are starting to talk of the possibility that Trump could face impeachment after reports that he pressed James Comey to end an investigation of Michael Flynn. Representative Justin Amash said if the reports about Trump’s pressure on Comey are true, it would merit impeachment. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi both raised concerns about Trump’s action, but avoided the topic of impeachment in their statements responding to the news of Comey’s memo. “At best, President Trump has committed a grave abuse of executive power,” Pelosi said. “At worst, he has obstructed justice.” Democrats can’t impeach Trump without significant Republican support. (CNN / The Hill / BuzzFeed News)

6/ Republicans blocked the Democrats attempt to force a vote on creating a bipartisan congressional commission to investigate Russian interference, how the intelligence community handled the matter, and the Trump’s involvement. “You’re watching an obstruction of justice investigation developing in real time,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “If there were ever any question about the need for an independent special prosecutor, this report is the nail on the argument.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Reuters)

  • Calls grow for an independent investigation. The deputy Republican whip Adam Kinzinger switched his position for an independent commission or special prosecutor to investigate possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia, saying the recent news reports had marked a turning point for him. (NBC News / Washington Post)

7/ Paul Ryan tried to contain the political fallout from the Comey memo by urging members to avoid “rushing to judgment.” He called himself “a person who wants to get the facts” and said that “there are some people out there who want to harm the president.” (CNN / Washington Post / Politico)

8/ McCain compares Comey memo about his meeting with Trump to Watergate. “The only thing I can say is I think we’ve seen this movie before. I think it’s reaching the point where it’s of Watergate size and scale,” McCain said. His advice to Trump is “the same thing that you advised Richard Nixon, which he didn’t do… get it all out… it’s not going to be over until every aspect of it is thoroughly examined and the American people make a judgment. And the longer you delay, the longer it’s going to last.” (ABC News / The Daily Beast)

9/ Putin offers to provide Congress with the transcript to prove Trump didn’t pass Russia secrets, turning up the pressure on the White House to provide its own transcript of the meeting. Putin said Russia could hand over a transcript of Trump’s meeting with Lavrov, if the Trump administration deemed it appropriate. (Reuters / New York Times / CNN / Washington Post)

  • Adam Schiff: “Last thing” Trump needs “is Putin vouching for him.” Schiff called Putin’s offer “yet another twist in the road” and said, “all of this gets more baffling every day.” (CNN)
  • Senator Susan Collins says Trump needs to “right the ship” and get his “house in order” because “we cannot have this constant chaos” every single day from him. (CNN)

10/ Trump provided Russia with secrets so sensitive that news organizations are being asked not to report it. Trump told the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador that the Islamic State had used stolen airport security equipment to test a bomb that could be hidden in electronic devices. US intelligence officials have asked media organizations not to report on the type of equipment, where it was stolen, and the name of the city where the intelligence was gathered. The intelligence has led to the new rules banning electronic devices in the cabins of certain flights. (NBC News)

11/ Trump: No politician “has been treated worse or more unfairly,” warning graduating Coast Guard cadets that life is unfair. (Politico)

12/ Sally Yates disputed Sean Spicer’s characterization of her warnings that Flynn could be open to blackmail by Russia as a “heads up.” Yates said she expected the White House to act urgently on the information that Flynn had been compromised by his contact with Russian officials prior to Trump’s inauguration. (CNN / NBC News)

13/ Members of the Turkish president’s security team breached police lines and attacked protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in the US. About two dozen demonstrators showed up outside of embassy hours after Erdogan met with Trump and a brawl erupted when Erdogan’s security detail attacked protesters carrying the flag of the Kurdish PYD party. (CNN / The Guardian / New York Times)

14/ The Iran nuclear deal will remain as Trump imposes new penalties over its ballistic missile program. The new sanctions is the latest attempt by the administration to signal its displeasure with Iran while not jettisoning the 2015 nuclear deal. (Politico / New York Times)

15/ Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke accepted a job at the Department of Homeland Security. Clarke has made a name himself for supporting Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration and for patrolling of Muslim neighborhoods. (Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel / Los Angeles Times)

16/ Trump has turned to Corey Lewandowski, Jason Miller, and David Bossie as scandals pile up. The former campaign aides have slid back into his group of advisers as a steady stream of damaging leaks and critical blind quotes that have flowed out of the West Wing. (Politico)

17/ Trump’s education budget calls for deep cuts to public school programs in pursuit of school choice. Funding for college work-study programs would be cut in half, public-service loan forgiveness would end, and hundreds of millions of dollars that public schools could use for mental health and other services would vanish under the plan, which cuts $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives. (Washington Post)

poll/ Trump’s approval rating hits a new low: 42% – and that’s before claims that he disclosed sensitive information to Russian officials and tried to shut down an FBI investigation into Michael Flynn. (Politico)

Day 117. Wow.

1/ Trump asked James Comey to shut down the Michael Flynn investigation in a February memo he wrote shortly after meeting with Trump. “I hope you can let this go,” Trump told Comey. The request is the clearest evidence that he tried to directly influence the Justice Department and FBI investigations. Comey kept detailed notes of his meetings with Trump, documenting what he perceived as improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An FBI agent’s notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations. (New York Times)

2/ Trump defended his decision to share ISIS intelligence with Russia, tweeting that he had an “absolute right” to do so in the interest of fighting terrorism. Trump’s tweets undercut his administration’s effort to contain the report, where Rex Tillerson, H.R. McMaster, and the deputy national security adviser for strategy all called the report that Trump revealed highly classified information to Russia false. The information was considered so sensitive that US officials had not shared it widely within the government or among allies. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)


Three administration officials conceded that Trump simply did not possess the interest or knowledge of intelligence gathering to leak specific sources and methods that would do harm to United States allies. (New York Times)

  • Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian diplomats during their Oval Office meeting last week, which has jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State. (WTF Just Happened Today)
  • “This is really the nightmare scenario for the intelligence community,” a former CIA officer said, and as a result Trump could have hampered the US response to ISIS. (Politico)
  • Initial thoughts on the Washington Post’s game-changing story: It matters who we have running the most powerful institution in the world. (Lawfare)

3/ McMaster backs Trump’s sharing of sensitive intelligence with Russians: “It is wholly appropriate for the president to share whatever information he thinks is necessary.” He added that Trump “wasn’t even aware where this information came from. He wasn’t briefed on the source or method of the information either.” McMaster refused to confirm whether the information the president shared with the Russians was highly classified. (ABC News / Washington Post / Politico)

4/ Israel was the source of ISIS-related intelligence that Trump shared with Russia last week. Two Israeli officials said that the intelligence shared by Trump “syncs up” with intelligence that shared with its US counterparts. The revelation is Israel’s “worst fears confirmed” as it raises the possibility that the information could be passed to Iran, Russia’s close ally and Israel’s main threat in the Middle East. (New York Times / BuzzFeed News / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

5/ CIA Director Mike Pompeo will brief the members of the House intelligence committee today on what Trump discussed with Russian officials last week, following claims that Trump apparently revealed classified information. (CNN)

6/ Republican and Democratic lawmakers to Trump: hand over the transcript of the meeting with the Russians. Members of Congress have spent several days demanding that Trump turn over tapes of White House meetings after he suggested that he records his conversations. Those calls intensified after Trump acknowledged on Twitter that he had shared sensitive information during his meeting with the Russians. White House aides have neither confirmed nor denied the possibility that Trump records his conversations at the White House. (Washington Post)

  • Lawmakers express shock and concern about Trump disclosure of classified information. “They are in a downward spiral right now and have got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that’s happening,” the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee said of the Trump administration. “The chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating an environment that I think makes — it creates a worrisome environment.” (Washington Post)

7/ Mitch McConnell called for “less drama” from Trump. “I think it would be helpful if the president spent more time on things we’re trying to accomplish and less time on other things,” McConnell said. (Bloomberg)

8/ Trump will disclose some of his personal finances this year, which will likely indicate his personal income, assets, and liabilities. They won’t contain details like his tax rate or any charitable donations. (Associated Press)

9/ Paul Manafort took out a $3.5 million mortgage and never paid taxes on it. The former Trump campaign manager took out the mortgage through a shell company just after leaving the campaign and never paid the $36,000 in taxes that would be due on the loan. (NBC News)

10/ Trump to meet with Turkey’s president amid differences over the Trump administration’s plan to directly arm Kurdish rebels in Syria for the fight against ISIS. Turkey considers the group a terrorist organization, because it maintains ties with a Kurdish revolutionary group inside Turkey. (ABC News)

11/ Gingrich urged Trump to shut down White House press room in order to send a message to the country “that the media is a corrupt institution and [Trump] is tired of being harassed by people whose only interest is making him look bad.” (Politico)

poll/ 48% of voters support impeaching Trump compared to 41% that are opposed to the idea. 43% of voters think Trump is actually going to end up serving his full term, while 45% think he won’t. 12% aren’t sure one way or the other. (Public Policy Polling)

Most Americans Think Trump Won’t Keep His Promises

Gallup this morning:


Trump Loses Ground on Key Characteristics
Percentage who think each of the following applies to Donald Trump


Feb 1-5 Apr 5-9 Change
% % pct. pts.
Keeps his promises 62 45 -17
Is a strong and decisive leader 59 52 -7
Can bring about changes this country needs 53 46 -7
Is honest and trustworthy 42 36 -6
Cares about the needs of people like you 46 42 -4
Can manage the government effectively 44 41 -3

Yeah, that’s not good.

Maybe that explains the Trump tweets this morning.

He starts off by taking shots at Obama. Then he takes a shot at Democrats by recommending a book (it’s his kind of book because it has blank pages), gripes about “fake media” (which is, to Trump, anything factual that puts him in a bad light), and weighs in on an election with lies.  And finally, he touts a poll which isn’t that good, even it were from a reputable polling company, which Rasmusson is not.

It’s going to be a long week.

UPDATE:  On the other hand, according to Pollster his approval rating has been improving for the past couple of weeks:

The Very Uneventful 2016 Election

Yeah. I was in Europe for a couple of weeks.  They weren’t following the election as much as I thought they might have been.  And so I took a break from it too.  I can’t remember what was going on when I left, but it sure was big and sure isn’t a headline now.  I think it was about how Donald Trump had denied groping women and then a parade of them were coming forward saying how they were groped or kissed without consent.

Then there was, last Friday, another BOMBSHELL (the media’s word) which, at first blush, seemed like the FBI was going to look into more emails that they had discovered on Anthony Weiner’s shared computer with Huma Abedin (a Hillary Clinton aide).  In other words, it WAS a bombshell — a shell without a bomb.  On closer examination, it turned out to be just what it LOOKED like — nothing (at this point).  Apparently, if you can create a headline with the word “Clinton” and “email” in close proximity, that is enough to send the media into apoplectic fits, even if there is no actual email contents to report on.

I am reminded about what I heard last week, and heard again today.  Despite the crazy rollercoaster of news and constant scandals and non-scandals, this is STATISTICALLY a rather dull election.  Since the conventions, Hillary has been roughly 5 points ahead of Trump, give or take 5 points.  That means she has been close to even and sometimes has a double digit lead.  But Trump really has never held a secure lead…. not once.   In fact, while Hillary cannot get below 42%, Trump cannot get above it.

And it is worse when you switch from the popular vote to the electoral college.  Clinton has a thick blue line: all the New England states, NY, PA, DE, MD, VA, and DC.  And to that Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois, and the Pacific Coast (California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii) and you have a total of 249 SOLID BLUE electoral votes.  With only 270 needed.

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

That’s how lopsided this thing is.  Hell, a win in Florida puts her on top.

But she has significant leads in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Wisconsin.

At the end of the day, this is Clinton’s election.  And what you’re hearing now is a lot of wind and drama.  The Cook Political Report:

However, despite the recent tightening, Trump remains behind in the polls. And, his path to 270 electoral votes remains decidedly and almost impossibly narrow. Polling taken over the weekend suggests that voters are reacting to the FBI story in a typically partisan manner. Could it have an impact on enthusiasm? Perhaps. And, it also could get reluctant GOPers to show up to cast a vote for down ballot GOPers to give a “check” on Clinton. But, it hasn’t upended the normal pattern/trajectory of the campaign.

The most recent polls suggest that Trump’s best chances to flip a state Obama carried in 2012 are Iowa, Ohio and Florida. Even so, North Carolina — a state Romney carried in 2012 — is looking tougher and tougher for Trump. Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado also look out of reach. Without North Carolina or Pennsylvania, it is almost impossible for him to hit 270.

The Trump campaign remains hopeful that the Rust Belt — with its white, working class voters — will be their savior. The Trump campaign says they have polling showing a tight race in Michigan as does the Survey Monkey 50-state survey. All other polling taken in the state shows Clinton with a pretty healthy lead. Democrats aren’t panicking there either, suggesting they feel confident in the numbers they are seeing.

At the end of the day, the map may not look all that different from what we are used to seeing. But the margins of victory may be the more surprising. In blue states where the white working class vote is more significant — Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin — the Democratic share of the vote is likely to be smaller than we’ve seen in the last eight years. But, in red states that are more diverse — Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina — the GOP margin is likely to be narrower than we’ve seen in recent years.


Bottom Line: The race has tightened to its “natural resting place” with a 2-4 point lead for Clinton. However, the Electoral College math continues to favor Clinton. While she may lose Obama-held states in the Midwest like Ohio and Iowa, she’s been able to build up a pretty solid lead in states that Trump needs to win to hit 270 like Virginia and Pennsylvania. At the end of the day, voters are well-aware of the two less than ideal choices in front of them. They don’t trust Clinton. But, they don’t think that Trump has the temperament or judgment to be president. Baring any new or indictable information, it’s hard to believe that these new batch of emails will change this calculation.

Trump’s campaign managers seem to know that the math is not in their favor.  They are gambling on a “second tier” win — giving up on Pennsylvania, and buying ads in New Mexico and hitting Michigan hard.

Burning Down The House

It should be easy, I hope, to understand my blog’s reliance on Twitter, rather than these more thoughtful posts.  It’s not because we live in a Twitter world where everything is reduced to sound bites (although, we do).  It’s because events move so incredibly fast this political season that there is no time to pause and realize exactly where we are.

Last Friday morning, for example, Trump made the incredible statement that the Central Park Five — five young black men who were accused, jailed and exonerated for a Central Park rape — were actually guilty, even though DNA evidence matched the known rapist who admitted to the crime.  Amazing.  Stunning that a presidential candidate would take this position in the absence of DNA evidence and common sense.  And yet, before anybody could digest that, there came the Access Hollywood tape of Trump admitting to sexual assault of women (and using bad language while making that admission).  And although that was widely covered, it was done breathlessly, because very soon we were into the debates.

So…… puff, puff, pant, pant…. here we are.

The effect of late last week on the race cannot be underestimated.  The tape destroyed Trump.  But he only made it worse.  Rather than do a heartfelt mea culpa (what I am sure was the Kellyanne Conway approach), Trump read unconvincingly from a prompter in a taped apology, within which he chastised Bill Clinton for being worse.

It did not work.

Recall how easily provoked he was with Hillary Clinton’s mere mention of Alicia Machado in the first debate (which seems like an eternity ago).  He doubled and tripled down on the attacks on her.  But that was nothing compared to how flustered and knocked senseless he was by the Access Hollywood “grab ’em by the pussy” tape.  By the time of the debate, Trump was full-on Breitbart.

He threatened to jail his opponent.  He called her the devil.

Pundits said it was red meat to shore up his base.  I could not disagree more.  Trump’s base was never bleeding out.  As Trump correctly said months ago, he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, and his base would support him.

No, this was not strategic anything.  This was testosterone.  This was Steve Bannon, editor of Breitbart.com and Trump adviser.  He got Trump to set aside the Kellyanne Conway approach.

Has it worked?  Of course not.  Bannon brought Trump into the bubble where, like Trump rallies, it looks like Trump is winning and can do no wrong.

But being in the bubble requires vigilance.  You have more enemies than Hillary.  Your enemy now is reality.  So you attack CNN.  You attack the “biased” polls, except for the online ones which show you crushing your opponent.

Does Trump believe this?  Or is this a scam?  Does he know he is burning down the house?

I suspect he does, but he believes it is a movement.  And he will burn down the Republican party and build something greater from the ashes.  I am pretty sure that is the hope of Steve Bannon.


And the first step in that?  Attack the GOP party.  And that’s is where Trump is going to now.  Check out these two tweets:


First he says that Paul Ryan and others are not giving support, then he attacks Paul Ryan.  The truth is, Trump — despite being the nominee — has given very little support to the party and others running in it.  Trump only knows loyalty one way — the hallmark of a dictator.


That’s right.  This is Trump the way he wants to be.  Up until now (apparently) he’s been “shackled” by… I’m guessing… political correctness (or what many of us call “decency”)

Naturally, it is dividing the GOP.  Do they stand with Trump or not?  And it seems to be…. not.

The consequence?  Trump is losing…. badly.  Here are the prediction sites this morning:


Note that the most bullish for Clinton — Nate Silver’s 538.com — gives her an incredible 83% chance of winning.

Here’s the breakdown for each state:


All the prediction sites give Hillary the 270 EVs needed to win without even winning a swing state!  And that is because some states are no longer swing states — most notable, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Colorado.

Can Hillary still lose?  Sure.  I wouldn’t want to bet against ANYTHING in this election.  But Trump’s new “unshackled” strategy?  Well, while it may feel good to Trump, Bannon, the alt-right, and Russia — it’s a losing strategy.


All Looking Good

If you look at all the statistical prognosticators, this election (as of today) is Hillary’s to lose.


Nate Silver’s 538 forecast is the most cautious, placing HRC’s chances at 77%.  But it’s a 77% and rising…


And here’s 538’s electoral map as of today…


I’m actually not as bearish on Ohio as 538 seems to be — I might even put that in the Trump column.  Also, it is interesting that Colorado is a “tipping point” state.  Never expected that.

All this is from the fallout of the first debate.  It just seems that whenever the nation tunes in for these big events (the conventions, the debates), Trump plummets. People like me who follow politics have forgotten how grating he is — we’re used to it by now, but a lot of non-political voters, they might be experiencing Trump full-on for the first time.

The Veep debate earlier this week does not appear to have moved the needle at all.

The upcoming debate on Sunday October 9 is town-hall style.  A moderator is there, but the questions come from a small crowd of 100 or so.  A chance for the candidates to relate to real people face-to-face one-on-one.  For Trump, it may be his first time – in his life – relating to real people who make under $100,000.  Can he do it?  Obviously, the format benefits Clinton, but again, the bar is so much lower for Trump that he might “win” the debate just by NOT insulting someone.

Still, things are looking good for the Dem nominee.

AND… bonus… for the Senate.  From 538 again:


Definite whoop.

Trump and Clinton Neck and Neck in NC

Yeah, it is exciting to be in a semi-big swing state.  The candidates keep coming through.  It’s like the New Hampshire primaries in the old days.

A new PPP poll on North Carolina came out this morning.

Bottom line: Donald Trump 45, Hillary Clinton 43, Gary Johnson 6.

Clinton/Trump head to head is tied at 47:

That’s okay news since Trump had pulled ahead in some NC polls these past few weeks.

The PPP poll took some deep dives and discovered a few things:

(1)  Undecideds.   Among undecideds for President in NC, 62% would take 4 more years of Obama to only 5% who prefer Trump. If undecideds in NC voted Clinton/Trump the same as their Obama/Trump preference, Clinton would lead state 50/48.  The problem for Clinton with undecideds in NC, even though they like current direction of country, is her favoritism rating is 10/75.  Trump’s favorability among undecideds in North Carolina is literally 0, with 79% seeing him unfavorably.

(2) More Obama Please.  The key to the race in NC is voters who want to continue Barack Obama’s direction, but dislike Hillary Clinton. Overall in NC 51% of voters would prefer continuing Obama’s leadership to 46% who prefer Trump’s direction.

(3) Equally (dis)lilked.  Clinton and Trump have identical favorability numbers in NC: 40/55.

(4) Bigots Be Here.   30% of Trump supporters have a higher opinion of David Duke than Hillary Clinton. 47% of Trump voters were “not sure” who they prefer.  Meanwhile, 44% of Trump supporters are “not sure” about their opinion on LGBT people. 29% unfavorable. Only 27% favorable.

(5) Idiots Be Here Too. 71% of Trump voters in NC think if Clinton wins it will only be because the election was rigged, 17% say it will be because she got more votes

(6) Release The Tax Returns. 63% of voters in North Carolina think Trump needs to release his tax returns, only 24% don’t think he needs to.

(7) Governor’s Race Is Solid Democrat.  For first time ever, there is a clear leader for Governor- Roy Cooper 46, Pat McCrory 41, Lon Cecil 2. Independents are the story here: McCrory won them 2:1 in 2012. This time Cooper leads 44-33 with them.  11%

(8) HB2 Wildly Unpopular.  52% of voters in North Carolina want HB2 repealed, only 32% support keeping it on the books.  This has less to do with the economic harm than with acceptance of th4e LGBT community. Only 19% of NC voters view LGBT people negatively. 47% positive, 34% don’t care.

(9)  Senate Race Has Gotten Tight.  The NC Senate race tied – Richard Burr and Deborah Ross both at 41%, Libertarian Sean Haugh at 4%:

(10) In fact, everything tight.

(11)  This.



62 Days And Counting

Summer is over. Labor Day has past.  And now, says conventional wisdom, is when people start paying attention to the election.

So where are we?

Well, we were all greeted this morning with a bunch of polls, including a 50-state poll from NBC/SurveyMonkey.  Several of them are grabbing headlines, most notably, the CNN/ORC poll (rated A- by 538.com) which has Trump up nationally by +2.  And that is likely voters (more accurate than registered voters).

The SurveyMonkey poll (registered voters; rated C- by 538.com) gives Clinton a +4 lead nationally.  She seems to be doing well in most swing states, although Michigan, North Carolina and Georgia are close.  And…. get this… it has the candidates tied in Texas.

When you step back and look at these polls in the aggregate, one thing is for sure… Hillary’s post-convention lead of 7-8 points has definitely evaporated.

What do the election prediction sites say?  This:

win prez 9-6

And actually, 538 has revised its forecast to 68.5% Dem.

So…. still good, not great.  There are about 248 electoral votes in Hillary’s pocket, compared to only 111 in Donald’s.  That leaves 179 from 13 competitive states.  Since the magic number is 270, Clinton needs only 22 EVs from 13 contested states.

Nate Silver says that although things are still favoring Hillary, there is a high amount of uncertainty at this point:

Higher than people might assume. Between the unusually early conventions and the late election — Nov. 8 is the latest possible date on which Election Day can occur — it’s a long campaign this year. But just as important, many voters — close to 20 percent — either say they’re undecided or that they plan to vote for third-party candidates. At a comparable point four years ago, only 5 to 10 percent of voters fell into those categories.

High numbers of undecided and third-party voters are associated with higher volatility and larger polling errors. Put another way, elections are harder to predict when fewer people have made up their minds. Because FiveThirtyEight’s models account for this property, we show a relatively wide range of possible outcomes, giving Trump better odds of winning than most other statistically based models, but also a significant chance of a Clinton landslide if those undecideds break in her favor.

So what does he think Clinton should worry about?

My first question would be whether the race has settled into a 4-point Clinton lead, as the polls have it now, or is continuing to trend toward Trump. If I’m still ahead by 4 points or more at the time of the first debate on Sept. 26, I’ll feel reasonably good about my position: A Trump comeback would be toward the outer edges of how much trailing candidates have historically been able to move the polls with the debates. If the race gets much closer, though, my list of concerns gets a lot longer. It would include geopolitical events that could work in Trump’s favor, third-party candidates who seem to be taking more votes from me than from Trump, and the tendency for incumbent candidates (since Clinton is a quasi-incumbent) to lose ground in the polls after the first debate.

And what should Trump worry about?

As the polls have ebbed and flowed, I’ve been 8 or 10 points behind Clinton at my worst moments, but only tied with her at my best moments. I’ve also never gotten much above 40 percent in national polls, at least not on a consistent basis, and I’ve alienated a lot of voters who would allow me to climb higher than that. In other words, maybe that dreaded Trump ceiling is there after all, in which case I’ll have to get awfully lucky to win the election, probably needing both a favorable flow of news in the weeks leading up to Nov. 8 and a large third-party vote that works against Clinton.

As for me, I worry about the press coverage.  Clinton had a coughing fit last night, and the media treated it like she was on her deathbed.  Seriously, that LEAD the news on NBC today.

I keep telling myself that the debates are really where it is at.  But a lot of it is expectations.  The bar for Trump is on the floor.  As long as he doesn’t urinate on Clinton, some will say he is “presidential”.  The media again is totally skewing this thing.

Media False Equivalence Watch – Example No. 35442

I’m really tired of hearing from the media that “both candidates” are wildly unpopular.  Historically unpopular.

I don’t have historical figures of previous presidential candidates for comparison, so I will assume that the assertion is technically accurate.

But look at this:


Since May 2015, Trump’s unfavorable has never gone BELOW 60% and this favorable has never gone ABOVE 40%.

In that same period of time, Clinton’s favorable AND unfavorable rating has never dipped/rose into Trump territory.

In other words, she has NEVER been as unfavorable as Trump at his BEST, and he has NEVER been as favorable as Clinton at her WORST.

Yet the press would have you think they are both equally unpopular.  Just not so.

PPP Poll Trolls Trump Voters

A new national PPP poll of likely voters puts Hillary Clinton 5 points ahead of Trump nationally, about on par with other polls of late (especially ones that follow likely, as opposed to registered, voters).

But deep down in their survey results, it seemed they planted an interesting question to Trump supports:


Well done, PPP.

UPDATE:  Speaking of the PPP poll, Trump retweeted an obvious fake tweet.


PPP Puts Clinton Up In NC…. Barely

While Hillary Clinton is enjoying a 8-10 lead in Georgia, her lead locally has always been in question.  A new PPP poll just released shows it still very close in North Carolina:

PPP’s newest North Carolina poll finds Hillary Clinton leading in the state, albeit by a narrow margin, for the first time since March. She’s at 43% to 41% for Donald Trump, 7% for Gary Johnson, and 2% for Jill Stein. In a head to head contest just between Clinton and Trump, she leads 47/46.

Voters haven’t changed their feelings much about Clinton since our June poll in the state- her favorability rating was 39/55 then and it’s 40/55 now. But Trump- already unpopular- has become even more so. He’s seen a 7 point decline in his net popularity from -14 at 38/52 down to -21 at 37/58. His missteps from the last few weeks may be further damaging his reputation.

One finding from the poll that bodes particularly well for Clinton is that voters would prefer a continuation of the Obama administration to Trump’s vision for the country, 50/45. When you look at who the undecideds are in the Clinton/Trump head to head it fits what we’ve found in our other recent polls. By a 33 point margin they prefer Obama over Trump and they have a positive view of Bernie Sanders, giving him a 45/28 favorability. They hate Trump- giving him a 1/94 favorability- but they’re not much more favorable toward Clinton who comes in at 2/75. Because of the direction these folks prefer for the country it seems much more likely that they’ll end up voting Clinton than Trump- or perhaps more likely than anything else staying home. At any rate it’s more likely that they’ll build Clinton’s lead than eat into it when they come off the fence, and that’s good news for Clinton given the advantage she already has.

Donald Trump said a lot of different things last week so we polled to what share of his supporters bought into each of them:

-69% of Trump voters think that if Hillary Clinton wins the election it will be because it was rigged, to only 16% who think it would be because she got more vote than Trump. More specifically 40% of Trump voters think that ACORN (which hasn’t existed in years) will steal the election for Clinton. That shows the long staying power of GOP conspiracy theories.

-48% of Trump voters think that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton deserve the blame for Humayun Khan’s death to 16% who absolve them and 36% who aren’t sure one way or the other (Obama was in the Illinois Legislature when it happened.) Showing the extent to which Trump supporters buy into everything he says, 40% say his comments about the Khans last week were appropriate to only 22% who will grant that they were inappropriate. And 39% of Trump voters say they view the Khan family negatively, to just 11% who have a positive opinion of them.

-Even though Trump ended up admitting it didn’t exist 47% of his voters say they saw the video of Iran collecting 400 million dollars from the United States to only 46% who say they didn’t see the video. Showing the extent to which the ideas Trump floats and the coverage they get can overshadow the facts, even 25% of Clinton voters claim to have seen the nonexistent video.

-Trump said last week that Hillary Clinton is the devil, and 41% of Trump voters say they think she is indeed the devil to 42% who disagree with that sentiment and 17% who aren’t sure one way or the other.

We’ve been writing for almost a year that there’s a cult like aspect to Trump’s supporters, where they’ll go along with anything he says. Trump made some of his most outlandish claims and statements yet last week, but we continue to find that few in his support base disavow them.

The public as a whole is a different story though. A number of the things Trump has been in the news for lately have the potential to be very damaging to his campaign overall:

-Vladimir Putin has a 9/63 favorability rating with North Carolinians, and Russia as a whole comes in at 14/51. By a 49 point margin they’re less likely to vote for a candidate Russia is perceived to prefer for President, and by a 33 point margin they’re less likely to vote for a candidate seen as friendly toward Russia. This issue is not doing Trump any favors.

-58% of voters think Trump needs to release his tax returns, compared to only 31% who don’t think it’s necessary for him to. In every state we’ve polled recently we’ve found an overwhelming sentiment that he needs to release them- independents say he needs to 54/33.

-Even though Trump’s own voters might support the approach he took to the Khan family, only 19% overall think it was appropriate to 54% who think it was inappropriate.

-And after his reported comments last week only 38% of voters think Trump can be trusted with nuclear weapons, to 54% who think he can’t be trusted.

Trump is already in a hole – and none of those issues are doing him any favors in trying to get out of it.

Full results here

Let’s reflect on how stupid this state is by focusing on one paragraph above:

69% of Trump voters think that if Hillary Clinton wins the election it will be because it was rigged, to only 16% who think it would be because she got more vote than Trump. More specifically 40% of Trump voters think that ACORN (which hasn’t existed in years) will steal the election for Clinton. That shows the long staying power of GOP conspiracy theories.

Clinton Lead Still Strong Over Weekend

Halfway through law week, Donald Trump seemed to have gotten the message that his attacks on the Khans was costing him in the polls.  He tightened up.  He started reading more from a script at rallies.  He endorsed Ryan and McCain and Ayotte.

That stopped the poll plunge.  But it doesn’t look like it turned the boat around.

Today, Trump is to give a major policy speech, also known as “Trump to Awkwardly Read Off TelePrompTer Set of Positions He Does Not Care About Because They Are Not About How Great He Supposedly Is.”  He is coming out with an economic plan which, by all accounts, is pure Republicanism.  Tax breaks for the corporations and the wealthy.  Scaling back financial regulations. And it doesn’t add up (it creates huge deficits).

The plan also contains childcare tax deduction, not expanded child-related credits. That’s a bone to the middle class (and upper middle class).  The deduction won’t affect the poor because their income (and hence, their taxes) are too low for the deduction to make a difference.

And repealing the “death tax”.  Can’t be a Republican plan without that.

But it is, no question, a *plan* — and that alone makes it unusual for the Trump campaign.

Also, the nation’s focus will be on the Olympics for a while.  People get back into politics mode again on Labor Day, when we gear up for the debates.

So where are we? Clinton is still enjoying a post-convention bounce, or perhaps this is a post-Trump-gaffe plummet.  She has strong numbers in both national and state polling released this weekend:

  • A new ABC News/Washington Post national poll published on Sunday showed Clinton up 8 percentage points among registered voters. Clinton’s lead jumped 4 points compared to the previous ABC News/Washington survey, conducted before the conventions.
  • A Morning Consult poll, also published Sunday, also found Clinton up 8 points among registered voters. Clinton was up 5 percentage points in the same poll last weekend, conducted after both conventions. That is, Clinton’s post-convention surge has continued in Morning Consult’s polling.
  • Two national tracking polls which have generally shown good numbers for Trump also found Clinton building or holding onto her post-convention bounce. Clinton led by 1 percentage point in the latest USC Dornsife/LA Times survey, and by 6 points in the CVOTER International poll — both matching her largest leads from those pollsters.
  • The only poll showing any real sign of decay in Clinton’s lead is the Ipsos tracking poll, which had Clinton up 2 percentage points as of Friday, down a few points from earlier in the week. For now, it is an outlier, and most polls have Clinton’s bounce holding or expanding.

The newest state polls have been a little more mixed for Clinton, but they basically tell the same story:

538.com (Nate Silver) says she  is an 83-percent favorite to win on Nov. 8, according to their polls-only model. Their polls-plus model — which accounts for the “fundamentals,” as well as the tendency for a candidate’s numbers to temporarily rise after his or her convention — gives her a 76 percent chance.


So this all looks good.  And…. hello…. what’s this?

Evan McMullin, the former chief policy director for the House Republican Conference, will launch an independent presidential bid, according to his campaign website. Several media outlets reported his bid early on Monday morning. “In a year where Americans have lost faith in the candidates of both major parties, it’s time for a generation of new leadership to step up,” McMullin said in a statement to ABC. “It’s never too late to do the right thing, and America deserves much better than either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton can offer us. I humbly offer myself as a leader who can give millions of disaffected Americans a conservative choice for President.”

Better for America, the group that is allegedly facilitating McMullin’s run,“will likely have to sue to get on the ballot” in some states.

On Monday, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said on Twitter that McMullin has “the backing of key $$ contributors in the Republican Party,” citing sources. Nate Hodson, a spokesman for the House Republican Conference, released a statement, saying, “the House Republican Conference has zero knowledge of his intentions.” An aide added that McMullin no longer works for the conference.

Well, at least NeverTrump Republicans have a place to put their vote.  I’m not sure he’ll be a big factor unless he really gets serious money in campaign contributions.  But if he does, it only works to Hillary’s benefit. Trump would be smart to NOT EVEN MENTION the guy right now.

UPDATE:  Here’s Trumps *prepared* remarks:

New Polls Confirm Trump Downfall

Fox News has Clinton up nationally over Trump 49-39 among registered voters (+10 points).

The internals are also bad for Trump:

It’s a draw on “terrorism and national security,” as the candidates receive 47 percent apiece. In May, Trump led Clinton by 12 points on doing a better job on “terrorism” (52-40 percent).

Equal numbers of voters say the economy and terrorism are the most important issues facing the country today (22 percent each). Education is the only other one to receive double-digit mentions (11 percent). Here’s the rest of the list: race relations (9 percent), the federal deficit (5 percent), health care (5 percent), climate change (4 percent), immigration (3 percent), foreign policy (3 percent), and drug addiction (2 percent).

Clinton beats Trump by wide margins on education (+23 points), and on the lower priority concerns: climate change (+31 points), race relations (+28 points), drug addiction (+19 points), foreign policy (+16 points), and health care (+11 points). She also has the advantage on one of Trump’s signature issues — immigration (+7 points).

Who would do better picking the next Supreme Court justice? That’s a hot topic this election. Voters trust Clinton over Trump by eight points. They also think she’s more likely to “preserve and protect the U.S. Constitution” (+7 points).

Trump beats Clinton on the issues of the economy (+5 points) and the deficit (+5 points), which explains why Trump is trying to stay on message about the economy and the deficit.

The McClatchy-Marist poll this week has Clinton up nationally over Trump 48-33 among registered voters (+15 points).  When Johnson and Stein are thrown into the mix, it is +10 points.

Again, there are bad internals.

Clinton beats Trump with whites 41-39.  That’s bad when you consider that Romney had white voters by 20 points, and still lost the election. Also:

Clinton wins moderates, 50-27 percent. She is far ahead with black voters, 93-2 percent, and with Latinos, 55-26 percent.

More encouraging for Clinton, 57 percent of her backers say their vote is for her, while 40 percent say it’s largely an anti-Trump vote.


Most of Trump’s backers – 57 percent – say their vote is against Clinton, while only 36 percent called it a pro-Trump decision.

On issue after issue, Clinton ranked ahead of Trump. She’s up by 8 when asked who can best handle the war on terror. She’s ahead 21 on immigration, 14 on gun violence, 14 on trade and 4 on creating jobs, which had been one of Trump’s strengths.

And the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has Clinton up nationally over Trump 47-38 among registered voters (+9 points).

Internals also strong for Clinton:

Clinton enjoys a significant advantage among women (51 percent to Trump’s 35 percent), African Americans (91 percent to 1 percent), all non-white voters (69 percent to 17 percent), young voters (46 percent to 34 percent), and white voters with a college degree (47 percent to 40 percent).

Let’s stop there, and reflect on that 1 percent.  Ok, done.  Going on….

Trump leads among white voters (45 percent to Clinton’s 40 percent), seniors (46 percent to 43 percent), independents (36 percent to 32 percent) and white voters without a college degree (49 percent to 36 percent).

The two candidates are running nearly even among men, at 43 percent for Clinton and 42 percent for Trump.


Asked which candidate would be better at dealing with economy, voters still give the advantage to Trump, with 46 percent selecting the Republican as the best candidate for economic matters and 42 percent picking Clinton. But in June, Clinton suffered a 10-point deficit to Trump on the same question, 47 percent to 37 percent.

The candidates are also now statistically tied on the question of which one would better handle terrorism and homeland security, compared to a five-point advantage for Trump in June.

Clinton has also improved her scores against Trump on dealing with immigration (49 percent for Clinton compared to 39 percent for Trump), having the ability to handle a crisis (51 percent to 33 percent) and having the ability to unite the country. (43 percent to 26 percent.)

Respondents also chose Clinton as the better candidate when it comes to “caring about people like me” (45 percent to 29 percent.)

All in all, terrible for Trump.

The state polls that came out yesterday are even more bleak.

Clinton leads Trump by 6 in the pivotal swing state of Florida

Clinton leads Trump by 8 in the pivotal swing state of Pennsylvania

Clinton also leads Trump by 17 in New Hampshire and by 9 in Michigan.

ALL OF THIS gives us this map from 538.com — their “polls-only” forecast:


What works in Trump’s favor?  The fact that it is August 5.  This thing starts to get real on Labor Day.  The Olympic are going to get people to focus elsewhere, and perhaps Donald Trump can reboot.

Has The Trump Ship Been Righted? Or Is It Too Late?

Yesterday, it seems that Trump (and everybody else) got past the Khan story, and much of what was discussed was the “intervention” story, wherein GOP leaders (or maybe Trump’s staff) sit down with Trump and get him to pivot to the general election instead of going full-blown tinfoil hat.

Intervention or not, Trump held to rallies yesterday and a couple of local news interviews which veered closer to sanity than anything else Trump has said or done int the past couple days.

Today, with more polls coming in, we get a real clear idea of the post-convention damage.

Last night, we got a preview, with a Fox News poll putting Clinton up by 10 points.

Worse for Trump were some state polls that came in this morning.  Clinton up 9 in Michigan.  Clinton up 15 in the small swing state of New Hampshire.  And Clinton up 11 in the important swing state of Pennsylvania (among likely voters).

Those are bad numbers.  They show that if the election was held today, it would be a Clinton blowout.

BUT…. the election isn’t being held today.

Now, most believe there is an equilibrium, a point where, absent significant events (like a debate or convention or scandal or major faux pas), one candidate resides in relation to another.  Many have floated that equilibrium as +5 Clinton, nationally.  That sounds about right to me.  So I expect Clinton’s lead to come down a little, assuming nothing happens in the interim.

But maybe that equilibrium point has changed.  As new numbers come in today, we’ll see.

UPDATE — And her come the bad numbers.

Another big swing state….

Sidenote: Both the NH and Pennsylvania polls show that Trump’s slide down hurts the GOP senators of those states running for re-election.

Post-DNC: Is There A Bounce?

Of course there is.

It’s only been a few days, and only three polls are out containing JUST data gathered after the end of the Democratic National Convention.  But there are all good.

PPP has Clinton +5 (includes Johnson), Morning Consult has Clinton +3; CBS has Clinton +6 (with Johnson added, +5).

PPP measured likely voters, the other two measured registered voters.

Nate Silver:

Before we continue, a quick note or two about terminology. When we refer to a candidate’s “bounce,” we mean the net gain in her standing in the polls, including changes to her opponent’s vote share. For example, if the previous XYZ News poll had it Clinton 42 percent, Trump 40 percent, and their new poll has it Clinton 44, Trump 39, we’d call that a 3-point bounce for Clinton, since Clinton gained 2 percentage points and Trump lost 1 point.1

Also, when evaluating the gains a candidate has made, it’s important to note when the previous poll was conducted. Based on our models, Clinton led by 6 to 7 percentage points throughout most of June, but her lead dissipated to around 3 percentage points by mid- to late July, just before the conventions. Then, after the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Trump pulled into an approximate tie with Clinton. It’s those post-RNC polls that make for the best comparison when describing Clinton’s bounce.

So far, however, the post-convention polls have been strong enough for Clinton that there isn’t a lot of need to worry about semantics. They suggest that she possibly holds a lead over Trump in the mid- to high single digits, instead of being tied with him.

What’s remarkable is that Trump seems to have gone down as much as Clinton has gone up.

Here is a Gallup poll released today.  It isn’t a Trump v. Clinton poll, but it asked if the DNC/RNC convention made you more/less likely to vote for the Democratic/Republican presidential candidate.  The results are telling.


If you look, it shows that — for the first time since this has been polled — Republicans were LESS likely to vote for their presidential candidate (Trump) after watching the RNC.

That is off-the-charts bad news.

Presidential Race Even – Time To Panic?

For the first time ever this presidential season, my Polltracker graph (in the right column) shows Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton.  According to the Polltracker poll averages, Trump has 41.1% to Clinton’s 40.2%.

A couple of things to note.

Most importantly, Trump’s poll numbers have not gone up.  Almost no national poll places Trump above 45%.  It is, and always has been, his ceiling.  And nobody has ever been elected President with 45% or lower.

Clinton, however, has gone down, and understandably so, given her bad week.  Yes, she outspent Trump with ads 15-to-1, but that only managed to buffer the bad news of the email scandal.

Also, one should note that other poll averages are not as bleak.  Real Clear Politics average still has Clinton up by 2.7 points.

In addition, a lot of political events are coming that will change the landscape.  For example, this just happened:

…and pretty soon we get into the conventions with the convention bounces.

Also, the statewide polls still look good.  This came out just this morning:

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump in four of the most diverse presidential battleground states, according to brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls.

Clinton is ahead of Trump by eight points among registered voters in Colorado, 43 percent to 35 percent; a combined 21 percent say neither, other or are undecided.

In Florida, which decided the 2000 presidential election, she’s up seven points, 44 percent to 37 percent; the rest are undecided or prefer someone else.

In North Carolina, a state Obama won in 2008 but lost in 2012, Clinton leads by six points, 44 percent to 38 percent.

And in Virginia, Clinton’s advantage is nine points, 44 percent to 35 percent.

When we go to 538, which not only focuses on state polls, but also weights pollsters based on their past predictive success, we see that it gives Clinton a 62% chance of winning.

So panic?  No.  But Hillary has some work to do.  She has to deliver a few body blows to Trump, and she can’t count on Trump making self-inflicted wounds.

But I expect Trump to get a post-convention bounce, and then Hillary to get her bounce afterward.  If they are this close when the debates start (on September 26), then I might start to panic.

UPDATE: Like clockwork, Nate Silver answers my query….

What would keep me up late at night if I were Clinton?

We’ve gone over most of the reasons for concern. I’d be worried about those trend lines. I’d be worried about my numbers in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, especially after having spent a lot of money on ads. In a big-picture sense, I’d be worried that Americans come to view the race as one between two equally terrible choices, instead of Trump being uniquely unacceptable.

What would keep me up late at night if I were Trump?

I’d be worried that after a bunch of events that would seem to play to my strengths — Brexit, Orlando, Dallas and the resurfacing of Clinton’s email problems — the best I could do was to narrow Clinton’s lead. I’d be worried that some of those undecided and Johnson voters will gravitate toward Clinton now that Sanders has endorsed her (although I’d be hopeful that I have some room to grow among my own base). And I’d be worried about my ground game. Maybe FiveThirtyEight’s model says that I’m more likely to win the Electoral College than the popular vote — but a disorganized turnout operation could eventually yield problems in the swing states.

Damage Report: Clinton Email Scandal Fallout

From the latest set of Quinnipiac polls, it seems that the recent attention on Hillary Clinton’s email practices as secretary of state has taken a toll. The Department of Justice has dropped the case, but several of Mrs. Clinton’s statements were disputed by the F.B.I., which said she was “extremely careless” with classified information.

Specifically, surveys from Quinnipiac University show the two candidates statistically tied in the states going into their party conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia this month. Trump leads Clinton in Florida by a margin of 42 percent to 39 percent. In Pennsylvania, he is ahead, 43 percent to 41 percent. And in Ohio they are tied, with each having support of 41 percent of voters.

When Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee, and Jill Stein, the Green Party’s candidate, are included in the polls, Trump does even better, leading Clinton by five points in Florida, six points in Pennsylvania and one point in Ohio. Johnson is expected to be on ballots in all 50 states.

The polls, which have margins of error of plus or minus three percentage points, show improvement for Trump in Pennsylvania and Florida, where he is starting to do better with women and independent voters while gaining more support among men. In June, Clinton held small leads over Trump in Florida and Pennsylvania and they were tied in Ohio.

Perhaps the most significant finding in the new poll is that Trump now leads among Independents in all three states:

  • Florida – Independent voters shifted from 44 – 35 percent for Clinton last month to 43 – 30 percent for Trump today;
  • Ohio – Trump leads 43 – 31 percent among Independent voters;
  • Pennsylvania – Trump leads 39 – 36 percent.

Nationally, Clinton still leads by 3 over Trump according to a McClatchy/Marist poll released today.  That number goes to +5 when you include third party candidates.  The RCP average has Clinton at 45.0 and Trump at 40.7

Arguably, it could have been worse.  Maybe if Clinton hadn’t outspent Trump 15-to-1 over these past few weeks, it would have been a disaster.

Over at FiveThirtyEight’s General Election Forecast, Hillary Clinton’s victory chances have dropped to 68.7% (in the most pessimistic view).  So, it’s still good, but not in the mid-seventies like it was a couple weeks ago.

Am I worried?  Not yet.

A little.

A bit.

But we have some more poll results coming out today, VP picks coming up (Trump’s will be this week sometime), and the conventions.  Plenty of time for more unforced Trump errors.

UPDATE:  NBC/Marist polls are quite different for PA:


Pennsylvania white voters:
Trump, 40%
Clinton, 40%

Pennsylvania black voters:
Trump, 0%
Clinton, 91%

Same with Ohio — Trump has zero percent black voters

Pew Poll Looks At Demographics Of 2016 Race

The summary chart is too big to cut-and-paste, so I will just link to it.

Basically, it is another Clinton-Trump poll and it shows Clinton leading Trump by 9 points.  But then it compares this presidential race to the polling in June of 2012 and June of 2008 to see where the demographics of the electorate have changed.

Here are a few takeaways that jump out at me:

  • Young women have, and continue to be strong pro Democrat, but this has leaped a lot this time around (D+14 in 2008, D+15 in 2012, D+24 in 2016)
  • Huge shift in higher education to Democrats. For those with postgrad degrees, it’s D+3 in 2008, D+10 in 2012, D+27 in 2016.  College grad: D+1 in 2008, D+3 in 2012, and D+16 in 2016.
  • Also a huge shift in upper income from Republicans to the Democrats.  For those making >$100,000, it’s R+10 in 2008, R+3 in 2012, and D+8 in 2016.
  • Sadly, there is no comparative data for 2008 and 2012, but Hispanics are D+42 this time around.


Tough Days For Trump Continue

I pointed out here that Trump’s campaign is sending solicitation emails to members of Parliament.

But it is worse than that:

Members of parliament in Australia, Iceland, Denmark, and Finland have all received the emails, according to news reports and tweets from the politicians.

For example…

The Trump campaign has also asked members of parliament in Iceland for campaign contributions, according to Icelandic media. At least three Icelandic members of parliament have received a Trump fundraising email, according to the Iceland Monitor. A couple members of parliament told the Morgublaðið newspaper that they had received emails, according to a report in Iceland Magazine.

Guess what? That’s illegal.

So there’s that.

And then there is the possibility that Trump is lying about his contributions to his campaign.  Back on June 23rd, on the heels of the Trump campaign’s catastrophic and humiliating May FEC report, he grandly announced that he was forgiving the debt and that he would file the relevant paperwork with the FEC that day.

When Donald Trump said last Thursday he was forgiving over $45 million in personal loans he made to his campaign, the announcement drew plenty of coverage. Many even reported Trump’s statement as if the deal was done.

But it’s not.

A week later, NBC News has learned the FEC has posted no record of Trump converting his loans to donations. The Trump Campaign has also declined requests to share the legal paperwork required to execute the transaction, though they suggest it has been submitted.

Last week, campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks said Trump was submitting formal paperwork forgiving the loan on Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Reached by NBC this week, she said the paperwork “will be filed with the next regularly scheduled FEC report,” and declined to provide any documentation.

The delay could matter, because until Trump formally forgives the loans, he maintains the legal option to use new donations to reimburse himself. (He can do so until August, under federal law.)

So there’s that.

And that Trumpian behavior — saying he will do a noble thing with this money and then not doing it — is coming back to haunt Trump in other ways:

Trump has a long-standing habit of promising to give to charity. But Trump’s follow-through on those promises was middling — even at the beginning, in his early days as a national celebrity.

In the 1980s, Trump pledged to give away royalties from his first book to fight AIDS and multiple sclerosis. But he gave less to those causes than he did to his older daughter’s ballet school.

In recent years, Trump’s ­follow-through on his promises has been seemingly nonexistent.

The Post contacted 188 charities searching for evidence of personal gifts from Trump in the period between 2008 and this May. The Post sought out charities that had some link to Trump, either because he had given them his foundation’s money, appeared at their charity galas or praised them publicly.

The search turned up just one donation in that period — a 2009 gift of between $5,000 and $9,999 to the Police Athletic League of New York City.

And then there is his campaign which still isn’t staffed:

Nearly everyone can agree that Donald Trump’s path to the White House goes through Pennsylvania.

But local party leaders in some of the state’s most pivotal counties say there’s been almost no outreach from his campaign so far, and there’s scant evidence of any Trump-driven ground organization. What infrastructure is in place lags behind the Democratic coordinated campaign on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

And then there’s this – eavesdropping on private persons’ phone calls:

At Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort he runs as a club for paying guests and celebrities, Donald Trump had a telephone console installed in his bedroom that acted like a switchboard, connecting to every phone extension on the estate, according to six former workers. Several of them said he used that console to eavesdrop on calls involving staff.

Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks responded to written questions with one sentence: “This is totally and completely untrue.”

The managing director of Mar-a-Lago, Bernd Lembcke, did not respond to emails. Reached by phone, he said he referred the email query to Trump’s headquarters and said, “I have no knowledge of what you wrote.”

At the 126-room Mar-a-Lago mansion, Trump keeps an apartment set aside for himself and his family, and rents the rest out to guests and members.

BuzzFeed News spoke with six former employees familiar with the phone system at the estate.

Four of them — speaking on condition of anonymity because they signed nondisclosure agreements — said that Trump listened in on phone calls at the club during the mid-2000s. They did not know if he eavesdropped more recently.

They said he listened in on calls between club employees or, in some cases, between staff and guests. None of them knew of Trump eavesdropping on guests or members talking on private calls with people who were not employees of Mar-a-Lago. They also said that Trump could eavesdrop only on calls made on the club’s landlines and not on calls made from guests’ cell phones.

Each of these four sources said they personally saw the telephone console, which some referred to as a switchboard, in Trump’s bedroom.

None of the four supports Trump’s bid for president. All said they enjoyed their time working at Mar-a-Lago.

And then the polls… oh my God the polls.

First you have predictor extraordinaire saying that as it stands today, Trump has a 20% chance of winning.


The latest polls are overwhelming for Clinton….

latestpolls today

… except for one outlying Rasmussen poll.  Apparently, they are continuing their streak of being wrong and GOP-biased.

And there’s all kinds of other knocks out there.  Like the fact that Trump ties are made in China.

Or the constant exposure of his lies by Politifact.


And on and on and on — another bullshit “university” before Trump University that was just as fraudulent.    Large GOP donors openly NON-endorsing Trump.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce openly saying that Trump’s policies will start a trade war and cause loss of millions of jobs, inflation, etc.  The revelation that Hillary Clinton spent $20 million in advertising this past month compared to Trump’s….. zero dollars.  How nobody wants to speak at his convention.

These are DAILY hits on Trump.

But there’s more.  Believe it or not, I actually listened to Trump’s speech in Bangor, Maine yesterday and I found it perplexing.

First of all, why Maine?  He’s not going to take Maine.

Secondly, 70% of the speech was whining.  Seriously.  Whining about one particular brief second of a Clinton ad which supposedly showed him golfing in Turnberry Scotland (never mind that Clinton nor that ad said anything about Trump golfing in Turnberry Scotland).  Whining about how the GOP candidates he beat were not adhering to the GOP “pledge” to support the GOP nominee (never mind that Trump did the same thing 3 months ago).  Whining about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce saying how terrible he was (Rule No One from The West Wing — don’t keep on repeating what your critics say; it only cements the criticism).

When he finally got to some substance, he read from his prepared bullet points about trade.  That was about 50 minutes and 30 seconds into a 85 minute speech

As you can see, the crowd gets pretty subdued as he says things like:

I’m going tell our NAFTA partners that I intend to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal for our workers. And I don’t mean just a little bit better, I mean a lot better. If they do not agree to a renegotiation, then I will submit notice under Article 2205 of the NAFTA agreement that America intends to withdraw from the deal.

Can I hear it for Article 2205???? Whoop-whoop!!

Then he did the wall shtick and then out the door.

It was the same red meat we’ve seen a thousand times but now with 15 minutes of dry policy read from a script.  This cannot actually be his plan for winning.

20 percent chance, Nate?  Hey, I get how everyone needs to hedge their bets because this is an odd election.  But I can’t believe it is that high.  Not with all the dings Trump and his campaign take on a daily basis.

UPDATE:  Trump is speaking in Manchester NH right now.  The crowds?


Americans Reaction To Orlando Shootings

Here are the major take-aways, as I see it

  1. Most Americans see Orlando massacre as an act of terrorism and a hate crime
  2. Americans are divided on whether the massacre could have been prevented
  3. Most Americans approve of Obama’s response to the massacre
  4. Americans are split on Hillary’s response to the massacre
  5. Most Americans, including Republicans, disapprove  of Trump’s response to the massacre.

Read for yourself:

How Much Do People Love Trump

Very very very much not.

In mid-May, Trump was underwater by barely more than 20 points—a disaster for most politicians, but an improvement for Trump. Now the percent of people with unfavorable views of Trump is on the rise again, and by a lot, if a new Washington Post/ABC News poll is a harbinger: It finds that “70 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of Trump, including a 56 percent majority who feel this way ’strongly.’” Perhaps most significantly, he’s suffering with groups that were supposed to help him:

Trump’s net favorable rating (favorable minus unfavorable) among non-college whites has flipped from a plus-14 in May to slightly negative minus-7 in the latest survey. Among independents, Trump’s net rating has shifted from from -19 last month to -38 in the latest survey, returning him to roughly the same standing as in April (-37).

The poll was conducted as the controversy over Trump’s attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel erupted, but before the Orlando mass shooting. So as more polls come out, we’ll see if Politico’s right that Orlando is Trump’s “terrain” and will strengthen his hand.

In the meantime, he is underwater with every demographic.  Even white men.


Hillary Clinton also had more negative impressions among the public than positive ones, but her problems pale in comparison with Trump’s, the survey indicates.

Among all American adults surveyed, 55 percent had a negative view of Clinton, and 43 percent viewed her positively. Only 29 percent of adults had a positive view of Trump.

UPDATE:  An entirely different poll shows something even more remarkable.  Trump is so unpopular that he is actually suppressing the GOP vote.

According to Marquette’s latest polling out of Wisconsin, they have Hillary Clinton leading +7 among registered voters, but +9 among likely voters. They also have Russ Feingold leading the Senate race +4 among registered voters, but +9 again among likely voters.

Both Clinton and Feingold will win Wisconsin in November, but what’s interesting here isn’t that they’re winning a state they’re supposed to win but rather the gap between the registered and likely voter screens. In short, Democrats always do better among registered voters. The likely voter screen always looks better for Republicans. Always.

Until now.  Now “likely voters” looks better for Democrats.  Yes, if anyone could defy the laws of physics, it would be Donald Trump. He’s doing what no Republican before him has managed—suppress his own vote.

Good Political News: Polls Show Trump Falling Behind

Hillary Clinton’s advantage over Donald Trump grew over the course of the last week, according to the results of the latest NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll released today.  The survey was conducted in the same week that Clinton clinched the Democratic nomination and Trump continued his criticism of federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel,

Clinton leads Trump 49 percent to 42 percent.

Clinton narrowed Trump’s lead among men and white voters to single digits over the past week and now leads Trump by 25 points — 58 percent to 33 percent — among voters describing themselves as moderate. Trump led men by 14 points in last week’s survey but now leads by only 9 points in this week’s poll — 51 percent to 42 percent. Among white voters, Trump’s lead also shrank to 9 points, 50 percent to 41 percent.

But what I find more interesting is what is happening to Trump in a couple state polls:

Kansas last went Democratic in a presidential election in 1964, joining 43 other states plus the District of Columbia in choosing Lyndon Baines Johnson, who had ascended to the presidency after the assassination of John Kennedy less than a year before, over conservative firebrand Barry Goldwater. As of Friday, Hillary Rodham Clinton led Donald Trump in Kansas by seven points in the Zogby poll, respondents to which were 44 percent Republican and 28 percent Democratic.

Clinton leads Trump by seven points….. in Kansas?  And how about Utah:

Clinton and Trump are knotted at 35 percent, with five months of campaigning remaining before the election, according to the survey conducted for The Salt Lake Tribune and the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah.

Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson draws 13 percent, a remarkably strong showing for the candidate who garnered 1.2 percent as the party’s candidate four years ago.

Now, granted, these are not states with large electoral college numbers.  But if Trump has a problem throughout all the prairie states, this is incredibly bad for him.

UPDATE [5:05 pm]:  A new Bloomberg poll published just now shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump 49 percent to 37 percent – that’s 12 points.  Libertarian candidate Johnson has percent.

The Angry Voter

Pundits say that America is mad with the government this election cycle, and that informs how they will vote.

The Cook Political Report examined this theory and found that Americans are no more “angry at government” now than they were before:

In fact, according to data from the Pew Research Center, the percent of Americans who say they are “angry at the federal government” has remained rather consistent over the last six years, ranging from a high of 32 percent in October 2013, to a low of 13 percent in March 2011. Today, 22 percent of Americans say they are “angry.” Even when asked their feelings about the broader category of “politics” just 21 percent say they are angry.

So, why the obsession with anger? Well, like just about everything else we talk about this year, it has an association with Donald J. Trump. Among Trump supporters, Pew found in March, 50 percent said they were angry with the federal government. Forty percent said they were angry with politics. Meanwhile, just 30 percent of Cruz and 18 percent of Kasich backers described themselves as angry with government. Even those who support Sanders, who is often described as the angry candidate on the left, are not any angrier about “politics today” than Clinton supporters are – 18 percent to 14 percent.

Americans are – and quite frankly have been for a while – frustrated. According to the same Pew data, 57 percent of Americans consider themselves “frustrated” with the federal government. But, this 57 percent isn’t that out of the ordinary either. In fact, since 1997, a majority of Americans – between 51 percent and 62 percent – have described themselves as frustrated. The one dip, of course, was in the immediate wake of 9/11.

So how does anger/frustration affect the vote?

[P]eople who are angry with government (21 percent of all voters) have their candidate – Trump. People who are content with government (20 percent of all voters) have theirs – Clinton. But, for the vast majority who are frustrated, Clinton has a small edge. Or more accurately, those who are frustrated with government view Trump more negatively than they do Clinton.

There is a racial component to this as well.  The ones who tend to be angry are the white voter, while black voters seem to be more content.  Party and education level make a difference.

Point being, that different groups of people are angry, other groups are frustrated, and they might be angry/frustrated at different things.  Or as Cook says:

Trump’s anger message has limited appeal. But, with most Americans disappointed in both the direction of the country as well as the frustrated with government in general, a “stay the course” message isn’t a winning one for Clinton. The challenge for the media is to avoid characterizing those voters who are throwing chairs or punches as typical. Or that what frustrates or challenges Americans is universal. It looks different to different groups of Americans. There is no “real America” but a series of real Americas. Americans are indeed looking for change, and frustrated with the system. But, please stop saying they are all angry.

Read the whole thing.

Polls, Polls, Polls

I don’t think any Democrat is complacent about the general election.  After all, most Democrats — pundits, politicians, and laymen alike — are still surprised by Trump’s nomination.  But most seem to believe that a Hillary Clinton victory will be the likely outcome.

Do the first round of polls bear that up?  Not as well as I had hoped. A new PPP Poll shows Republicans quickly unifying against Donald Trump.  Yes, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a modest lead — raising the real prospect that Bernie Sanders supporters who decide to stay home and teach their party a lesson could be helping to elect the next President (Trump). Sanders continues to do better than Clinton when matched up against Trump.


PPP’s new national poll finds that Republicans have quickly unified around Donald Trump, making the Presidential race more competitive than it has previously been perceived to be.

Hillary Clinton leads Trump 42-38, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 4% and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 2%. In a match up just between Clinton and Trump, her lead expands to 47-41. That’s because supporters of Johnson and Stein would prefer her over Trump 36-18. Although there’s been a lot of talk about third party candidates drawing support away from Trump, they’re actually taking a little bit more from Clinton at this point.

Clinton leads Trump 78-9 among Democrats in the full field at this point, while Trump leads Clinton 78-7 among Republicans.

And there’s the important point: the Republicans are JUST as unified now with some who don’t like Trump as the Democrats are with some who don’t like Clinton:

Although much has been made of disunity in the GOP, it is actually just as unified behind Trump as the Democrats are behind Clinton. 72% of Republicans now say they’re comfortable with Trump as their nominee to only 21% who they aren’t. Those numbers are little different from the ones among Democrats that find 75% of them would be comfortable with Clinton as their nominee to 21% who say they would not be.

Bernie Sanders continues to do the best in general election match ups, leading Trump 47-37 with Johnson at 3% and Stein at 1% in the full field, and leading Trump 50-39 head to head. The difference between how Clinton and Sanders fare against Trump comes almost completely among young people. In the full field Clinton leads 46-24, but Sanders leads 64-18 with voters between 18 and 29. In one on ones with Trump, Clinton leads 49-27, but Sanders leads 70-14.

The undecideds in a Clinton-Trump match up right now support Sanders 41-8 in a match up with Trump, so the bad news for Clinton is that she has work to do to win over a certain segment of Sanders supporters in the general, but the good news is that they are at least somewhat Democratic leaning and she has the potential to increase her advantage over Trump by a couple points if she is eventually able to get them in her corner. Democrats lead a generic question about which party people would vote for President 49-41, so that may be somewhat of a forecast for where the race could be headed if/when Sanders supporters unify around Clinton for the general.

The poll also checked to see what Trump supporters thought of various conspiracy theories about Obama and found this:

-65% think President Obama is a Muslim, only 13% think he’s a Christian.
-59% think President Obama was not born in the United States, only 23% think that he was.
-27% think vaccines cause autism, 45% don’t think they do, another 29% are not sure.
-24% think Antonin Scalia was murdered, just 42% think he died naturally, another 34% are unsure.
-7% think Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of JFK, 55% think he was not involved, another 38% are unsure.

Plus this aside:

And closing the loop on the greatest conspiracy theory of this election- a rare one that Trump didn’t embrace- 5% of voters nationally think Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer, 18% are unsure, and 77% find Cruz not guilty of the charge of being a serial killer in diapers. So at least he has that going for him.

And how do voters think Trump compares with various maladies or unpleasant experiences?

Do you have a higher opinion of Donald Trump or


Results (Trump +/-)

Hemorrhoids — Trump, 45/39 (+6)

Cockroaches — Trump, 46/42 (+4)

Nickelback — Nickelback, 39/34 (-5)

Used Car Salesmen — Used Car Salesmen, 47/41 (-6)

Traffic Jams — Traffic Jams, 47/40 (-7)

Hipsters — Hipsters, 45/38 (-7)

DMV — DMV, 50/40 (-10)

Root Canals — Root Canals, 49/38 (-11)

Jury Duty — Jury Duty, 57/35 (-22)

Lice — Lice, 54/28 (-26)

Yup, Lice beat out Trump by 26 percentage points.

But all silliness aside, Trump can still win this thing. A 4 to 8 point margin is not a lot.

And then there are the latest Quinnepeac polls in three important swing states:


Those are all within the margin of error.

But NBC/WSJ/Marist battleground polling  looks better for Clinton:

FL: Clinton 49, Trump 41
OH: Clinton 48, Trump 42
PA: Clinton 54, Trump 39

but that looks at the past 2 months.  Clearly, the unification thing has happened.

Obviously, if Trump keeps what Romney took in 2012, and adds Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, he’s won.

But can he?  Florida has a heavy Hispanic population, larger now than it was four years ago.  And more liberal.  And (one hopes), more motivated.

Ohio… I say Hillary can take care of that by nominating Sherrod Brown.

There are other purple states in play.  I live in one.  North Carolina’s electoral votes are nothing to sneeze at, and we have a local elections to contend with.  HB2 has got the electorate charged, which means a good voter turnout (just 36% of voters in the state support HB2, to 45% who are opposed)

But the point is…. this thing is not a done deal.  Trump is unpredictable, and even though the GOP rank and file are not all lining up behind him, there does seem to be some unity among the GOP voters.  Dems need to work to win this, and not just depend on Trump to implode and offend.

Bad Week For Trump To Culminate In Likely Wisconsin Loss

Women.  Turns out THEY are the Donald’s Achilles Heel.

Trump’s campaign was rocked last week by the fallout from his suggestion that women be punished for getting abortions if the procedure is banned.  Trump dialed that back in Trump style — basically he did a 360 on it, saying OF COURSE women should not be punished, and that his views on that have been inconsistent since the Reagan era (but never explaining why he said what he said in the first place)

Also, Trump also acknowledged that he made a mistake retweeting an attack on Cruz’s wife, according to the New York Times.  That was interesting in that he simply acknowledged it as a mistake.  Maybe even he could not make up some justification.

The there was his campaign manager who was caught on tape (after denying it many times) committing misdemeanor battery against a female reporter.  Trump stood by his manager out of loyalty, but then – very quietly over the weekend when nobody was paying attention — he rolled back some of the campaign manager’s duties.

He also drew some fire last week for saying he would not rule out using nuclear weapons in Europe, and that Japan and South Korea might need their own nuclear arsenals to ease the U.S. financial commitment to their security.  Yup.  He thinks a nuclear arms race in Korea would be a good thing for us.

Tuesday is another primary day and the prize is Wisconsin.  A blue collar state, it should be a Trump haven.  But it isn’t.  Cruz is up in all the recent polls…


… and even Kasich does well.  The fact that Kasich is still in the race prompted Trump to make the odd claim to the RNC Kasich should “not be allowed to run” because he is taking “his” (meaning Trump’s) votes.   Apparently, Trump wants the RNC to make up rules on the fly — rules which favor Trump.

Hmmm.  The response from the Kasich campaign was nice.

And speaking or rules, there has been a lot of talk about the rules of the RNC (Republican National Convention), for the obvious reason that there may not be a Republican candidate with a majority going in to the election.

So what are the RNC rules?  Well, that’s the fun part.  Nobody knows.  Not even the RNC.  Here’s what the RNC says:

Convention Facts   GOP

You see, the rules are decided by the convention delegates themselves.

A week before the Convention, the 2016 Convention Rules Committee must convene to put together a package of rules to recommend for consideration by all delegates.

Delegates from each state and territory elect two representatives from within their own delegations to the Convention Rules Committee – 112 delegates in total.

The Convention Rules Committee, after debate and discussion, adopts by majority vote a package of recommended rules that moves to the convention floor.

Once a majority of the convention delegates adopt the report, the rules become the permanent rules governing that Convention.

That package, called a Rules Report, is adopted by the Convention Rules Committee by majority vote.

It’s the 2016 Convention Rules Committee Meeting — the hotel ballroom or whatever — THAT’S the room where it happens.

You can be sure that Cruz will be trying to get “his people” on that committee.  So would Trump, if he has even thought about this and has the ground game to do the same.

Put another way, whoever gets the delegates on the rule committee is the one who ultimately gets the nomination, IF it is an open convention.  112 delegates are going to become VERY important.

Anyway, this might be moot if Trump gets the 1237 delegates needed.  Wisconsin could be bad for him, but after that comes New York and Pennsylvania, where he is expected to trounce Cruz (and Kasich of course).

Trump’s Weekend Foray Into Fascism

“Fascism” is a word that rarely appears in modern political discourse, and when it does, it usually is in an Internet flame.  It’s intended to be incendiary — it is hyperbole.

But not this time.  When I say that Donald Trump — GOP presidential candidate and likely nominee for the Republicans — flirted with fascism this weekend, I mean it.

It started with re-tweeting Mussolini quote:

The @ilduce2016 feed is a parody account by Gawker, with a profile picture that is a composite of Trump’s hair and Mussolini’s face. “Il Duce” was how Mussolini was known by Italians.  The account was set up basically to troll Trump, and it worked.

Trump, in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said he was unaware that it had been a quote from Mussolini. But he didn’t seem to care, saying “It’s a very good quote.  I didn’t know who said it, but what difference does it make if it was Mussolini or somebody else — it’s a very good quote.”  Asked whether he wanted to be associated with Mussolini, Trump replied, ‘No, I want to be associated with interesting quotes.” And he added, “Hey, it got your attention, didn’t it?”

As if that wasn’t enough, Trump went on CNN and was interviewed by Jake Tapper.  He was asked if he would denounce David Duke and white supremacist groups — a softball question really — and Trump just wouldn’t denounce.

Here’s the relevant part:

And while it is true that Trump had denounced David Duke before (even as recently as last Friday), the fact that he claimed not to know who Duke was or to denounce him yet again (on CNN to a broader audience) is giving everyone pause.  It is not unusual for a candidate to get asked the same question many times, and they know to give the same answer (how many times has Trump himself been asked about how he will pay for the wall).  So one has to wonder why the refusal to denounce the Duke/white supremacist endorsement here.

But this morning, Trump offers a lame excuse:

Donald Trump blamed CNN for providing a “lousy earpiece” in explaining his non-answer to the network on Sunday when asked to disavow the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke.

“I’m sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad earpiece that they gave me, and you could hardly hear what he was saying. But what I heard was various groups, and I don’t mind disavowing anybody, and I disavowed David Duke and I disavowed him the day before at a major news conference, which is surprising because he was at the major news conference, CNN was at the major news conference, and they heard me very easily disavow David Duke,” the Republican presidential frontrunner explained on NBC’s “Today.”

“Now, I go, and I sit down again, I have a lousy earpiece that is provided by them, and frankly, he talked about groups,” Trump said, referring to the question from CNN’s Jake Tapper, who asked him about a call from the Anti-Defamation League to denounce the groups endorsing his presidential run. “He also talked about groups. And I have no problem with disavowing groups, but I’d at least like to know who they are. It would be very unfair to disavow a group, Matt, if the group shouldn’t be disavowed. I have to know who the groups are. But I disavowed David Duke.”

The problem with that is that Trump clearly understood the question:

TAPPER: “Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don’t want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?”

TRUMP: “Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.  So, I don’t know. I don’t know, did he endorse me or what’s going on, because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you’re asking me a question that I’m supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about.”

He repeated Duke’s name twice and mentioned white supremacists three times.  And he understood it was about endorsements.  So Trump is BSing.

Not that this is likely to hurt him.  Trump is doing better than ever — the latest poll (from CNN) shows him with a 33 point lead over the remaining four candidates — Trump is at 49%:


That’s an uptick in the poll averages since the last debate (where Trump supposedly got beat up):

RCP polls 2-29-16latest gop polls

On a state by state basis, Trump leads every poll except Texas, where he is tried with Cruz.  And if Cruz can’t win Texas (his home state) tomorrow, he’s done.

Trump’s unfavorables remain extremely high, which is good news for the general election.  And John Oliver did the ultimate Trump takedown this weekend:

If the Clinton people are smart, this will be the template to fight Trump in the general election.

South Carolina Primary Outlook

A the Republican debate last Saturday, which I didn’t see, this occurred:

TRUMP: George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.
DICKERSON: But so I’m going to — so you still think he should be impeached?
BUSH: I think it’s my turn, isn’t it?
TRUMP: You do whatever you want. You call it whatever you want. I want to tell you. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.
DICKERSON: All right. OK. All right.
Governor Bush — when a member on the stage’s brother gets attacked…
BUSH: I’ve got about five or six…
DICKERSON: … the brother gets to respond.
BUSH: Do I get to do it five or six times or just once responding to that?
TRUMP: I’m being nice.
BUSH: So here’s the deal. I’m sick ask tired of Barack Obama blaming my brother for all of the problems that he has had.
BUSH: And, frankly, I could care less about the insults that Donald Trump gives to me. It’s blood sport for him. He enjoys it. And I’m glad he’s happy about it. But I am sick and tired…
TRUMP: He spent $22 million in…
BUSH: I am sick and tired of him going after my family. My dad is the greatest man alive in my mind.
BUSH: And while Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe. And I’m proud of what he did.
BUSH: And he has had the gall to go after my brother.
TRUMP: The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign, remember that.

Now, it is gospel on the left that (a) the notion that Bush 43 “kept us safe” is laughable when you take into account, as you should, 9/11/01 and (b) the justification for the Iraq War was based on known lies.

What’s remarkable is that these things were said (a) by a Republican candidate for President (b) on national television (c) to Bush’s brother (d) just before a primary in a Southern state which loves the Bushes.

For any other candidate, that would have been political suicide.  But the first post-debate poll, and from a reliable polling firm, too, tells us this:

Donald Trump is the clear front-runner heading into Saturday’s South Carolina Republican primary.

A new Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday found Trump leading in the crucial third-nominating state by a large margin.

According to the poll, 35% of likely Republican voters supported Trump. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tied for second with 18%.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) trailed in fourth with 10%, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson each captured 7% of the support.

So once again, the notion that Trump “went too far” never proved reliable.  I’m not particularly surprised anymore.  Also, as the transcript above shows, Bush didn’t really hit back so much as clutch his pearls (“Oh, how dare he!”).

I still believe that Trump has a ceiling.  But we won’t know what it is until the establishment candidates — who remain at this point to be Kasich, Bush and Rubio — unite behind one candidate.  I don’t see that happening before Super Tuesday, which may just mean that Trump will have the momentum to be unstoppable.

The Trump Backlash Continues

A $6 billion golf community under construction in Dubai is removing his name from the project. Trump was tossed from a respected business network in Scotland, where the billionaire says he invested more than $300 million in golf courses and other developments. And Lifestyle, a retailer that does business in an enormous marketplace spanning the Middle East, India and Africa, stopped selling Trump branded products. Trump lost his honorary doctorate at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Scotland.

Trump says that these nations are “caving to political correctness”.

In the national media, Tom Brokaw, the veteran NBC News anchor, has called Trump’s proposal “dangerous,” and likened it to the Holocaust and the Japanese internment. On its front page, The New York Times has said Trump’s idea is “more typically associated with hate groups.” Dan Balz, of The Washington Post, has called Trump’s rhetoric “demagogic,” while BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith has informed staff that it is acceptable to refer to Trump on social media as a “mendacious racist,” because, he said, those are facts.  Thankfully, journalism has moved into the ‘have you no shame’ mode, rather than the typical “he-said she-said”.

Muslim-Americans are speaking out.  The prize goes to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for his Time editorial, which begins:

The terrorist campaign against American ideals is winning. Fear is rampant. Gun sales are soaring. Hate crimes are increasing. Bearded hipsters are beingmistaken for Muslims. And 83 percent of voters believe a large-scale terrorist attack is likely here in the near future. Some Americans are now so afraid that they are willing to trade in the sacred beliefs that define America for some vague promises of security from the very people who are spreading the terror. “Go ahead and burn the Constitution — just don’t hurt me at the mall.” That’s how effective this terrorism is.

I’m not talking about ISIS. I’m talking about Donald Trump.

This is not hyperbole. Not a metaphor. Webster defines terrorism as “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal; the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.”

If violence can be an abstraction — and it can; that’s what a threat is — the Trump campaign meets this definition. Thus, Trump is ISIS’s greatest triumph: the perfect Manchurian Candidate who, instead of offering specific and realistic policies, preys on the fears of the public, doing ISIS’s job for them. Even fellow Republican Jeb Bush acknowledged Trump’s goal is “to manipulate people’s angst and fears.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, however, defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” Now, we don’t require by law that our candidates tell the truth. They can retweet (as Trump did) racist “statistics” from a white supremacist fictional organization that claimed 81% of murdered whites are victims of blacks, when the truth is 84% of whites are murdered by whites. They can claim (as Trump did) to have seen on TV thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering on 9/11, even though there is no evidence of this. They can say (as Trump did) Syrian refugees are “pouring” into the country when only 2,000 have come (out of 4.3 million U.N.-registered refugees). Then, when caught lying (as Trump has been over and over), they can do what every belligerent child does: deny, deny, deny.

While Trump is not slaughtering innocent people, he is exploiting such acts of violence to create terror here to coerce support. As I have written before, his acts could be interpreted as hate crimes. He sounds the shrill alarm of impending doomsday even though since 9/11, about 30 Americans a year have been killed in terrorist attacks worldwide — as The Atlanticpointed out, “roughly the same number as are crushed to death each year by collapsing furniture.” Trump’s irresponsible, inflammatory rhetoric and deliberate propagation of misinformation have created a frightened and hostile atmosphere that could embolden people to violence. He’s the swaggering guy in old Westerns buying drinks for everyone in the saloon while whipping them up for a lynching.

About 30,000 foreign fighters have gone into Syria to join ISIS, thousands of them from Europe and at least 250 from the United States. What most of us in these bountiful countries can’t understand is how our young, raised with such opportunity, choose to abandon our values to embrace a culture of pitiless violence. Before going, many of these recruits spend much of their time on social media being brainwashed by propaganda videos. One 23-year-old woman, a devout Christian and Sunday school teacher, was recruited via Skype. The recruiter spent hours with the lonely woman teaching her the rituals of Islam. Maybe that’s because, according to some psychologists, the brain’s default setting is simply to believe because it takes extra work to analyze information.

The same process works for Trump’s supporters. They are impervious to facts or truth because their (understandable) frustration and anger at partisan greed and incompetence have fatigued them out of critical thinking. Like deranged newscaster Howard Beale in Network, they are mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore. To express their outrage, they have rallied around a so-called “outsider” with no political experience, no detailed policies, and whacky ideas that subvert the very Constitution that he would be required to swear to uphold. Electing him would be like asking the clown at a child’s birthday party to start juggling chainsaws.

Muhammad Ali hit Trump with this released statement:

I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.

We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.

Speaking as someone who has never been accused of political correctness, I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.

Even Ted Cruz, who has taken pains to avoid critiquing Trump, remarked at a private fundraiser that he would have problems with Trump as President and having his finger on the button.

None of this, of course, has affected Trump in the polls.  He leads in NH and SC by quite a bit.

Interestingly, there is an article in the New York Times today which reads

Fear of Terrorism Lifts Donald Trump in New York Times/CBS Poll

I am among the many who thinks it should read

Donald Trump Lifts Fear of Terrorism in New York Times/CBS Poll

The San Bernadino shootings (and to a lesser extent, the Paris attacks), of course, started the fear, but Trump is exploiting that fear in a way that even ISIS couldn’t.

On the other hand, not everyone is in Trump’s grip.  He is viewed as strongly negative by the electorate in general.  Here are some graphics from a WSJ/NBC poll released today:



Again, I think Trump has a ceiling and he’s a media phenomenon, but I don’t think he has a chance in hell to be the GOP nominee.  That’s almost irrelevant though, as his behavior this week is actually damaging to national security.  This is the culmination of years of anti-government right wing radio and TV — an actual honest-to-God fascist candidate who doesn’t see what he advocates as fascism.  In the guise of rejection of political correctness, he rejects the US Constitution and American values.

He’s yuge among white supremacists and crazy people.  The Ku Klux Klan is using Donald Trump as a talking point in its outreach efforts. Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website, is upgrading its servers in part to cope with a Trump traffic spike.

This typifies a Trump fanatic/.  This lady, I am embarrassed to say, is a state representative in New Hampshire:

This is an interesting chapter in American politics, like the McCarthy Era was at one time.  I can’t wait until it is over.

UPDATE: It’s getting ugly too.  Here are Trump protesters being forcefully removed from a Trump event at the Plaza Hotel

UPDATE #2:  The first poll conducted entirely after Trump’s Muslim remarks just came out.  It was conducted by Reuters/Ipsos:

Trump led the pack of candidates seeking the Republican Party’s nomination in the 2016 election with 35 percent of support from Republican voters, the opinion poll released on Friday found, the same lead he held before Monday, when he said Muslim immigrants, students and other travelers should be barred from entering the country.

Most Republican voters said they were not bothered by his remarks, though many said the comments could still hurt Trump’s chances of becoming president. Twenty-nine percent of Republicans, who will pick the party’s nominee for the November 2016 election, said they found Trump’s remarks offensive against 64 percent who did not.


Still, in a sign of how Trump’s rhetoric has polarized the electorate, 72 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of voters overall said they were offended by Trump’s comments.

Forty-one percent of Republicans polled said Trump’s remarks could hurt his chances of becoming president; that figure was higher among all respondents.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson came in second among Republicans with 12 percent in the Reuters/Ipsos poll, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush tied with 10 percent.

NC-GOP Poll: Carson Over Trump By Double Digits

GOP Presidential Primary – Respondent’s First Choice

Registered voters who were self-identified Republicans or Independents who lean Republican were asked who they planned to vote for if the presidential primary were held today. Fourteen candidate names were read to respondents, with names randomly rotated to prevent primacy and recency effects. The survey found Carson in the lead with 31 percent. Carson gained 10 percentage points from the prior Elon Poll conducted between September 17th and September 21st. Donald Trump dropped to second place with 19 percent (compared to 21.5% in the last poll). Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are now in third place. Cruz was previously in 6th place with 6.2 percent but currently has 9.7 percent support. Rubio was in 4th place in the previous poll with 7.4 percent, but now has 9.7 percent support as well. Jeb Bush’s support has dropped from 7 percent to 4.6 percent and Carly Fiorina, previously in 3rd place, has dropped to 6th place with only 3.4 percent (a 6.5 point drop in support). Not a single respondent in our sample mentioned Bobby Jindal, George Pataki or Rick Santorum as a candidate for whom they intend to vote for. Twelve percent of Republican voters are still undecided.


GOP Presidential Primary – Respondent’s Second Choice

Republican respondents were also asked a follow-up question: “If [Respondent’s first choice] dropped out of the race for president which Republican candidate would you vote for?” Ben Carson leads the GOP field in this question as the second choice for 15% of Republican voters, which is similar to what we found in the September 2015 poll. Trump was the second choice for 14% of Republican voters (also similar to the prior poll). Nearly 14 percent said they would vote for Marco Rubio if their first choice dropped out (approximately a 3 point gain). Only 4.4 percent said Carly Fiorina was their second choice (compared to 11.4% a month ago).

2016 Democratic Presidential Primary

Registered voters who are self-identified Democrats or Independents who lean Democratic were asked who they would vote for if the presidential primary were held today. Three candidate names were read to respondents with names rotated randomly. Hillary Clinton is still the clear favorite among Democratic voters in North Carolina. Fifty-seven percent said they planned on voting for Clinton, a 33 point lead over Bernie Sanders’ 24 percent. Clinton’s support is up 4 points from the September survey. Martin O’Malley had less than 3 percent support. Nearly 14 percent of Democrats or Democratic leaning Independents are still undecided.

Hypothetical Match-Ups in the 2016 Election

Respondents were given five hypothetical races they might see in the 2016 election. For each they were asked to say which candidate they would support. Matchups were rotated randomly.

Clinton v. Bush

Between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, Clinton has a three and a half point advantage (46.6% to 43.0%). This is a reversal from the September Elon Poll which found Jeb Bush beating Clinton by about 3 points (46% to 42.6%). Bush does better with whites (55% to 33%), but Clinton does much better with African Americans (90% to 4%). Men tend to favor Bush over Clinton (47% to 42%), while women favor Clinton (51%) over Bush (40%).

Clinton v. Carson

When Clinton faces Ben Carson, Clinton loses by over 4 points (48% to 44%). Clinton has gained some ground against Carson since September when Carson was leading Clinton by 11 points. Some of these gains seem to come from women who now support Clinton over Carson, but just barely (46% to 45%). This is a shift from September when Carson did better with women than Clinton (48% to 44%). Independents still favor Carson over Clinton by a noticeable margin (57% compared to 32%). In September Carson had support form 15% of Black respondents, which although low was twice as much as any other Republican. That support has been cut to 7% in this recent poll.

Clinton v. Fiorina

Clinton leads Fiorina by 6 points in a hypothetical matchup. Clinton does better with women (51% to 38%) and African Americans (89% to 3%), but Fiorina does better with Independents (47% to 39%). Men prefer Fiorina over Clinton, but only slightly (46% to 44%). Only 3 percent of African Americans said they would support Fiorina. 5

Clinton v. Trump

In September Clinton led Trump by 7 points (47% to 40%). Clinton has now expanded that lead to nearly a 10 point lead (50% to 40%). Compared to the other 4 hypothetical matchups, Trump seems to get the lowest level of support from women (33%) and the lowest level of support from African Americans (2%). Trump fares worse than all other tested Republicans in matchups against Clinton.

Clinton v. Rubio

Besides Carson, Rubio is the only other Republican candidate in our 5 hypothetical matchups who beats Hillary Clinton. Rubio has a 1 point advantage of Clinton (46% to 45%) and does better among men, whites, and Independents.

Monday Presidential Outlook

Slow news day but it is well worth mentioning that the sheen has come off the Trump, at least in Iowa.  Now we have three polls showing a substantial lead by Ben Carson over Trump:

Ben Carson has overtaken Donald Trump in Iowa, surging to a 14-point lead, according to a new poll.

A Monmouth University survey released on Monday found Carson taking 32 percent support in Iowa, followed by Trump at 18 percent.

That’s a 9-point gain for Carson from the same poll in late August, while Trump has fallen five points in that time.

The poll found Carson with the best favorability rating in the field, with an astounding 84 percent of Iowa Republicans having a positive view of him, compared to only 7 percent who view him negatively.

Trump’s favorability rating is at 53 percent positive and 38 percent negative. His favorability rating is essentially unchanged from late August, although the percentage of those who view him unfavorably has increased by 5 points in that time.

Trump has led in nearly every poll of Iowa since early August, but the Monmouth survey is the third recent poll to show Carson with a healthy lead over the field in the Hawkeye State.

A Des Moines Register-Bloomberg poll released last week showed Carson with a 9 point lead, and a Quinnipiac University survey found Carson ahead by 8.

Carson is ahead among all demographic groups in Iowa, according to Monmouth. He leads among Republicans who describe themselves as “somewhat” and “very conservative,” as well as self-described moderates.

Carson also leads among evangelicals, non-evangelicals, men and women in the poll.

It is difficult to say what happened.  Trump “won” both debates.  He didn’t gaffe (or at least, there was nothing that seemed like a gaffe).

Personally, I think two things happened.  First of all, he simply grew tiresome to some people.  Secondly, the Democratic debates showed what serious candidates looked like, and people saw Trump in a new light.  Iowa is getting closer and now the Republicans there are getting more serious about who they want.  Carson was always slowly rising, and that made him a safer bet (especially among evangelicals).

As a Democrat, this is fantastic news.  Democrats would love to run against Trump, but the one person even better than Trump, is Carson.  A nice guy, but politically dumb.  Really dumb.

2016 Election Tidbits

biden-hat-ring-reporter-luckovich1)  Biden His Time.  I have written much about Joe Biden entering the Democratic race because I think it is a news story ginned up by the media.  Oh, I’m sure he has considered it, but I took him at his word that he was wiped out by his son’s death and that he might not have the emotional energy for a campaign.  And Hillary, I’m sure he knew, was not going to disappear in a sea of scandal.  So I don’t think he wants to get in the race; I don’t think he’s politically any difference from Hillary.  He also doesn’t have the organization in place.  He’ll make it interesting for a while, and then he’ll lose.  Anyway, the media is thinking he might announce today.  In fact, the Washington Post accidentally put the “Joe’s Running!” story online:

The Washington Post accidentally published the article it had prepared in the event Vice President Joe Biden announces his presidential campaign on Monday night, due to a “technical glitch” when someone was attempting to embed a video. The story included background and analysis, if Biden were to become a candidate.

The article was quickly replaced with an editor’s note: “This file was inadvertently published.”

2)  Jim Webb is out of the race.  He might run as an independent, which means he gets all the debate time for the Independent nomination to himself.

Jim, we hardly knew ye.  No, seriously.  Nobody knew who you were, which is why you never hit 1%.

3)  Trump not fading.  Despite predictions from me and other, Trump doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, if the polls are accurate.  NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, released last night, says:

1. Donald Trump: 25% (up four points from September)
2. Ben Carson: 22% (up two points)
3. Marco Rubio: 13% (up two points)
4. Ted Cruz: 9% (up four points)
5. Jeb Bush: 8% (up one point)
6. Carly Fiorina: 7% (down four points)

The remaining candidates are at 3% or lower, including Chris Christie, who has seen his support steadily drop in recent months, falling to just 1% in this poll. Trump’s 25% showing, meanwhile, represents the strongest support any GOP candidate has in any NBC/WSJ poll this year.

A new CNN poll offers similar results:

1. Donald Trump: 27% (up three points from September)
2. Ben Carson: 22% (up eight points)
3. Jeb Bush: 8% (down one point)
3. Marco Rubio: 8% (down three points)

The remaining candidates are at 5% or lower. Fiorina, in particular, has seen her standing collapse, dropping from 15% to 4% in the CNN poll just over the course of one month.

National Review published a striking piece yesterday noting that the GOP establishment, long confident that Trump’s backing would be fleeting, is starting to reevaluate its assumptions.
It began as whispers in hushed corners: Could it ever happen? And now, just three months from the Iowa caucuses, members of the Republican establishment are starting to give voice to an increasingly common belief that Donald Trump, once dismissed as joke, a carnival barker, and a circus freak, might very well win the nomination.
“Trump is a serious player for the nomination at this time,” says Ed Rollins, who served as the national campaign director for Reagan’s 1984 reelection and as campaign chairman for Mike Huckabee in 2008.
The same piece quoted Steve Schmidt, an MSNBC political analyst who managed John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, saying, “Trump has sustained a lead for longer than there are days left” before voting begins in Iowa.

Yes, Trump will take Iowa.  And probably New Hampshire too.  But I still say Trump will fade, as will Carson, and every will settle for Rubio. The blue collar GOP riff-raff have consolidated on Trump.  That is why he leads.  The white collar GOP is still fragmented.  When the field thins out, Trump will see a decline.  Wait for it.

4)  My campaign advice to Jeb!  Jeb Bush, in one of the GOP debates, got the loudest applause line when he defended his brother saying, “He kept us safe.”  Now, the Jeb campaign seems to be doubling down by continuing to embrace Bush 43.  I think that is a terrible mistake.  For one thing, I don’t think the audience was applauding Jeb’s brother during that debate, but the fact that Jeb retorted at all.  It was an unscripted moment from Jeb that pleased the audience.  It wasn’t an endorsement of Bush 43, who — I think the record is clear — did NOT keep us safe.  I think this explains why Jeb! is going down in the polls — his running as a Bush.  Big mistake.

5)  Liberals take Canada.  The centrist Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau, started the campaign in third place but in a stunning turnaround now command a majority.  Mr Trudeau, the 43-year-old son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, said Canadians had voted for real change. Incumbent Conservative PM Stephen Harper – in power since 2006 – has congratulated his rival.  Justin Trudeau is son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, considered the father of modern Canada.

Maybe that’s why Scott Walker proposed building a wall on our northern border.

For what its worth, this was the longest-lasting federal election campaign in Canada since 1872 – 78 days (By contrast, the US campaign began when Ted Cruz declared himself a candidate on Mar 23, 2015. Elections will be held on November 8, 2016. – 596 days or 1 year, 7 months and 16 days)

Preliminary results show voter turnout in Canada to be in excess of 68% of eligible voters (In 2012 election, 53.6% of US eligible voters cast a ballot)

Republicans Don’t Really Want “Religious Freedom”

Someone at Daily Kos pulled certain results of this PPP poll and turned it into this revealing bar graph:


What does it mean?

While most Republicans want religious freedom, almost half of them mean they want religious freedom for Christians only (and/or no freedom for followers of Islam).  Perhaps they don’t understand what “freedom” means, or perhaps they think “religion” means Christianity only.

Planned Parenthood, the Abortion Debate, and 2016 Elections

There is very little to recommend being over the age of 50, but one of the nice things is that it gives perspective and wisdom — the kind of experience that can’t be taught, but can only come from having lived several decades.

There is one thing I have learned – abortion rights are not going away.

notdifficultThat wasn’t always a certainty.  Roe v Wade was seriously challenged in the 1980s and 1990s, not only in the political arena, but also in the courts.  But that nadir of the conservative anti-abortion movement came in 1992, with the case of Casey vs. Planned Parenthood.  The Supreme Court was, like today, leaning conservative.  You had Scalia, you had Thomas, you had Alito, you had Rehnquist for crying out loud.  And they were handed, on a silver platter, a case in which Roe v Wade could have been overturned, or at least seriously curtailed.  The result was 5-4, with the conservatives losing.  The Casey case actually strengthened abortion rights.

Having lost in the legal arena, the anti-choice forces spent the next two decades challenging abortion in the political arena.  They have had some success there.  There was the Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision barring the use of certain federal funds to pay for abortion unless the pregnancy arises from incest, rape, or to save the life of the mother.  That was signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1993.  At the state and local levels, a hodgepodge of laws have restricted access to abortion through laws requiring waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds, and over-regulation of abortion clinics (like requiring wide hallways).  But abortion itself remains legal.

The recent attempt to defund Planned Parenthood is probably the strongest national push against abortion since the Hyde Amendment.  It is quite obviously punitive in nature — since the Hyde Amendment already restricts federal funds to go to Planned Parenthood for abortions, the current legislative push seeks to defund Planned Parenthood of federal funds for everything else they do (cancer screening, etc.).  And why?  Because they sell “baby parts”, which of course is a crass and not-altogether-honest way of saying that Planned Parenthood provides fetal tissue to medical research facilities in the hopes of curing disease.  Conservatives want to kill Planned Parenthood (the largest abortion provider) even if it means killing women’s health.

Of course, this dovetails nicely into the “war on women” meme.  And Hillary Clinton is right to pound Republicans on this.  This issue was a gift to her — she was sagging in the polls and Bernie Sanders has been making a serious play for the nomination (coming within 8 points of Hillary in New Hampshire).  Now she can talk about women’s health, and the Republican efforts to kill it.

I am perplexed as to why Republicans want this debate.  They seems to care more about two-celled zygotes than million-celled actual women.  After they lost the 2012 Presidential elections, they performed an autopsy of their failures, which included statements like this:

When it comes to social issues, the Party must in fact and deed be inclusive and welcoming.

If we are not, we will limit our ability to attract young people and others, including many women, who agree with us on some but not all issues…

The RNC must improve its efforts to include female voters and promote women to leadership ranks within the committee. Additionally, when developing our Party’s message, women need to be part of this process to represent some of the unique concerns that female voters may have. There is growing unrest within the community of Republican women frustrated by the Party’s negative image among women, and the women who participated in our listening sessions contributed many constructive ideas of ways to improve our brand with women throughout the country and grow the ranks of influential female voices in the Republican Party.

But rather than do that, they seem to be doubling down on losing the women vote — going so far as to threaten a government shutdown.  At first I thought the talk of government shutdown was an empty threat, but maybe I am wrong.  Stan Collender at Forbes puts the odds of a government shutdown at 60% (up from his previous prediction of 40% ). Here’s his wonderfully descriptive way of saying what happened.

But the biggest change from last week in the odds of a government shutdown is because of the emergence of the one big thing that has been missing so far from the appropriations debate: a highly emotional, politically toxic and take-no-prisoners issue.

Even the front-runner in that contest right now – Donald Trump – declared his support for a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood. Any candidate who had doubts about whether or not a government shutdown would be good for their campaign will now have to weigh in with that in mind.  Also, we’ve already seen one example of a candidate making a mess of that when, in commenting about Planned Parenthood funding, Jeb Bush said yesterday that he was “not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.” His campaign pretty immediately tried to walk that one back. Overall it’s very likely that, in order to win the GOP primary, these candidates will all wind up taking positions that their own autopsy suggested were one of the causes of their defeat in 2012.

The craziness of the high rhetoric of this 2016 election campaign is causing Republicans to shoot themselves in the face.  It is interesting to watch.

Everybody Hates Everybody

From First Read:

From the new NBC/WSJ poll we released last night: Almost everyone is in lousy shape. Hillary Clinton’s fav/unfav numbers dropped from 44%-40% (+4) in June to 37%-48% (-11) now — which gives her a worse popularity rating than President Obama has ever had during his presidency. Jeb Bush’s fav/unfav rating, at 26%-40% (-14) is even worse — and it’s worse than Mitt Romney ever had at any point in the 2012 race. And Donald Trump, who leads the GOP horserace, is at 26%-56% (-30). Ratings for other Republicans: Chris Christie (-13), Ted Cruz (-12), Rand Paul (-10), Mike Huckabee (-8), Scott Walker (-1), and Marco Rubio (+1). Even President Obama, who has enjoyed a renaissance in his poll numbers as of late, has seen his overall job-approval rating tick down three points to 45%.  So the American public is down on almost every political figure and institution in our NBC/WSJ poll. 

America is full of malcontents.

The site did offer some exceptions: Bernie Sanders (+5), John Kasich (+5), the NRA (+11), and Planned Parenthood (+15).

We’ll call that a wash, I guess.

I’m not terribly concerned about the defunding of Planned Parenthood.  This is all grandstanding and political theater.  This happened in 2011, too, and it hurt the GOP.  They were called (and rightly so) anti-woman’s health throughout the 2012 elections.  And it had a serious negative impact.  This is why Boehner doesn’t want the issue on his plate.  So Republicans in the House will debate and make speeches and threaten, but they know — and everybody knows — that there are not enough votes in the Senate.  And even if, by some miracle, it passes the House and the Senate, does anyone in their right mind think Obama will sign such a thing?  Of course not.

The problem for Planned Parenthood, initially, were the videos.  Conservatives thought they could do to PP what they did to ACORN — secretly film them doing bad things, and get Congress to defund.  After all, if the videos genuinely exposed a criminal organ harvesting operation, eliminating its federal funding would be an on-point response. In reality, the effort to defund Planned Parenthood is completely unresponsive to the full content of the videos. In an admirably clear-eyed analysis of the Planned Parenthood controversy, Robert Tracinski of The Federalist (which has otherwise been a reliable outpost of rote anti-Planned Parenthood disinformation) admits, “The case wasn’t about what it seemed to be about based on the selected excerpts we had been offered.” The most plausible rationale for this is that conservatives, who have a permanent axe to grind with Planned Parenthood, are using deception to threaten its viability, and make it more difficult for women to obtain abortions as a consequence.  And that is what they are left with: conservatives with an axe to grind.

I mean, the anti-choice crowd sent this issue gift-wrapped to Senator Warren:

So it is all kabuki theater.  Republicans get to grandstand and provide red meat for their base.  Planned Parenthood gets to fundraise off of being attacked again (which is fine).  But this too shall pass.

And not to sound like an old fogie, but I can remember a time when political satire in movies would have featured a political ad like this…. for laughs!

This just makes me embarrassed for my country.

The Trump Problem

Quinnipiac Poll (emphasis mine):

Twenty percent of registered Republican voters said they would vote for Trump in the Republican primary, with 13 percent favoring Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and 10 percent choosing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R).

However, Trump also dominated the “no way ” list, with 30 percent of Republican voters saying they would never vote for Trump in the presidential primary, while 15 percent said they would never vote for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and 14 percent said they would not vote for Bush. The real estate mogul also has a low favorability rating, with just 27 percent of voters viewing him positively.

You just can’t win if 30% of your own party will “no way” vote for you.

Trump Surge Continues Unabated

A new Economist/YouGov poll finds Donald Trump way ahead of the GOP presidential field with 28% support, followed by Jeb Bush at 14%, Scott Walker at 13%, Ben Carson at 7% and Rand Paul at 5%.

Key finding: “There is clearly a core group of registered voters who identify as Republicans that has coalesced around Trump’s tough talk and proposals. He is even more clearly in first place than he was two weeks ago”

Also interesting: “A separate YouGov poll completed Wednesday suggests a reason why the McCain controversy may not have affected Trump as much as some expected. Two out of three Republicans view McCain as a war hero. But fewer say they have a favorable opinion of him.”

A new CNN/ORC poll is the latest showing Trump at the top of the gigantic GOP field nationally, at 18%, with Bush at 15% and Walker at 10%.

I still maintain that Trump will not be the nominee.  He simply cannot go for months on end without saying something — eventually — that permanently puts his foot in his mouth, and offends even the base.

But if you want to hear some “experts”, read this Politico article: “HOW DOES TRUMP END?  16 experts from across the political spectrum share their visions”.  Surprisingly, a lot of think he can and will stick around as long as he wants, even becoming an independent third-party candidate.

Whatever happens, when historians try to explain how Trump could have happened at all, I think David Atkins has hit the nail on the head.  It is one of the best, most coherent explanations of the Trump phenomenon that I have ever read:

The Republican Party is locked into an autocatalytic cycle of increasing and self-reinforcing extremism.

The blue-collar white males who make up the GOP base are struggling more and more as business-friendly trickle-down economic policies continue to rob them of their economic security–but their inherent racism, sexism and distrust of government leads them to inherently reject reasonable liberal solutions in the fear that someone they don’t like might get a “handout” with their tax dollars. Hardcore political Republican partisans are slowly realizing that they no longer hold a silent majority in the country if they ever did, that every passing year demographic change makes their electoral prospects increasingly difficult, and that only a combination of gerrymandering, small-state-favoritism and accidental geographic political self-selection allows them to hold onto the House and Senate for now. And conservatives of all stripes can feel the ground shift underneath them irrevocably as liberals continue to win battles on social issues even as unfiltered left-leaning economic populism becomes increasingly mainstream.

Unwilling and unable to moderate their positions, the Republican base has assumed a pose of irredentist defiance, an insurgent war against perceived liberal orthodoxy in which the loudest, most aggressive warrior becomes their favorite son. It is this insurgent stance that informs their hardline views on guns: many of them see a day coming when their nativist, secessionist political insurgency may become an active military insurgency, and they intend to be armed to the teeth in the event that they deem it necessary. The GOP electorate isn’t choosing a potential president: they’re choosing a rebel leader. The Republican base doesn’t intend to go down compromising. They intend to go down fighting.

That’s why Donald Trump is so popular. That’s why the Republican Party’s brand is weak even among conservatives–because it’s too extreme for everyone else, but not extreme enough for them. And that’s why every other Republican candidate is saying increasingly outrageous things just to get noticed.

Liberals = Conservatives


Starting with Rush Limbaugh in the 1980’s (and helped by Reagan), the word “liberal” was viewed as a dirty word,  because being a liberal was viewed as being, well, a communist or something.

The damage to both the word and ideology was profound, and even liberals had a hard time self-identifying as “liberal” (hence, the word “progressive”).  I knew it wouldn’t last forever, though.  Eventually, the older generation would die out and a newer one – one not raise on Limbaugh and Beck – would come in.

We’re there.  Gallup has new numbers today:

Thirty-one percent of Americans describe their views on social issues as generally liberal, matching the percentage who identify as social conservatives for the first time in Gallup records dating back to 1999.

And check out this chart…..



And notice the uptick in Democrats willing to admit being liberal.  The chart below is just Democrats…


And Republicans are LESS willing to admit being conservative.  The chart below is just Republicans…


Gallup concludes:

Americans’ growing social liberalism is evident not only in how they describe their views on social issues but also in changes in specific attitudes, such as increased support for same-sex marriage and legalizing marijuana. These longer-term trends may be attributable to changing attitudes among Americans of all ages, but they also may be a result of population changes, with younger, more liberal Americans entering adulthood while older, more conservative adults pass on. Gallup found evidence that population replacement is a factor in explaining changes in overall ideology using an analysis of birth cohorts over time.

The 2016 presidential election will thus be contested in a more socially liberal electorate — and a less economically conservative one — than was true of prior elections. Economically and socially conservative candidates may still appeal to the Republican Party base in the primaries, but it may be more important now than in the past for the GOP nominee to be a bit less conservative on social issues in order to appeal to the broader general electorate.

And while Americans are less economically conservative than in the past, economic conservatives still outnumber economic liberals by about 2-to-1. As a result, Democrats must be careful not to nominate a candidate who is viewed as too liberal on economic matters if their party hopes to hold the White House beyond 2016.

Crosstabulation on Crazy

Democratic firm Public Policy Polling released a survey that found 32 percent of Republican primary voters believed the government was trying to take over Texas under the guise of the U.S. military’s planned “Jade Helm 15” training exercise. Forty percent of GOP primary voters did not believe the federal government was trying to take control of the Lone Star state while 28 percent were unsure, according to the survey.

Before you have time to contemplate the horror that only 40% of voting Republicans reject the conspiracy theory of a military takeover of Texas…. let’s crosstabulate that data with the GOP candidates to find out who the crazies gravitate to:


It looks like Scott Walker is far and away the favorite of the nutjobs, although he polls well with the reasonable Republicans.  Ted Cruz seems to have the largest insane-to-sane ratio, as does Rick Perry (although the latter polls pretty low all around).  It would be nice if Fiorina was in the picture, but oh well.

All Hail The Fastest Growing Religion In The United States

Eight years ago, more Americans considered themselves “Evangelical Protestant” than any other religion — a full 26.3%.  Next was Catholic (23.9%) and then “Mainline Protestant” (18.1%) in third.

Today, Evangelical Protestant is still Numero Religion Uno, although its adherents have dropped to 25.4%.  And in second?

An upstart.  The number two religion in the U.S. is now “NONE”.  It jumped up 6.7% in the past eight years — now at 22.8%

From Pew Survey:

PF_15.05.05_RLS2_1_310pxThe Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing, according to an extensive new survey by the Pew Research Center. Moreover, these changes are taking place across the religious landscape, affecting all regions of the country and many demographic groups. While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages. The same trends are seen among whites, blacks and Latinos; among both college graduates and adults with only a high school education; and among women as well as men.

To be sure, the United States remains home to more Christians than any other country in the world, and a large majority of Americans – roughly seven-in-ten – continue to identify with some branch of the Christian faith. But the major new survey of more than 35,000 Americans by the Pew Research Center finds that the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated – describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – has jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%. And the share of Americans who identify with non-Christian faiths also has inched up, rising 1.2 percentage points, from 4.7% in 2007 to 5.9% in 2014. Growth has been especially great among Muslims and Hindus, albeit from a very low base.

I’m sure someone will view this as an evidence of an “attack on Christianity”, although it is hard to say exactly who is doing the attacking.

Maybe the United State has finally gone the way of Europe.  Finally.  We no longer believe in myths and fairy tales.

Read the whole thing

Everybody Running Is Unliked Or Unknown (Or Both)

This graphic from Nate Silver is interesting, but I don’t agree with its title:


Yes, most candidates are more unpopular than popular, but I think the story is that Hillary Clinton is more well-known AND more popular than all her possible GOP opponents… with the exception of Dr. Carson who is really unknown and who isn’t going to run anyway.  I guess the good news for Walker and Rubio (the latter who got in the race today officially) is that they are so unknown that they have room to bring up their popularity as people get to know them.  It might be harder for Jeb Bush to that.

Post Shutdown Polls

Post-shutdown polls are coming in and they are brutal:

The numbers:

* Dems lead in the generic ballot matchup by 49-38. Among independents — a key midterm constituency — those numbers are 46-35.

* Only 21 percent of Americans approve of the way the Congressional GOP is handling the federal budget, versus 77 percent who disapprove. Among independents: 20-78. Among moderates: 14-85.  Among seniors: 18-79. Fewer than one in three regard the GOP favorably.

* Only 20 percent think Republicans are “interested in doing what’s best for the country,” while 77 percent think they’re “interested in what’s best for themselves politically.” Among independents: 14-83. Among moderates: 18-81. Among seniors: 24-74.

* Americans blame the GOP for the shutdown by 53-29; moderates by 60-24; indys by 49-29; and seniors by 46-35.

Crucially, large majorities think the shutdown damaged the country. Eighty six percent say it has damaged the U.S.’s image in the world, and 80 percent say it damaged the U.S. economy.

Will all this change by the time of elections?  Many say yes.  And perhaps that is true.  But coming up from a disadvantaged position is worse than coming from an advantaged one, and this is bad news for the GOP.


Check out these numbers from the latest ABC/Washington Post poll (Sep. 15 results) on what Republicans did to themselves during their government shutdown:

Barack Obama, net approval: -1 (0)

Democratic Party, net favorability: -3 (+7)

Republican Party, net favorability: -31 (-14)

Tea Party, net favorability: -33 (-14)

So while Democrats and President Obama saw their net ratings drop by 10 and 1 points, respectively, Republicans and tea partiers saw their ratings drop by 17 and 19 points, respectively.

Government Shutdown Is Over (For Now); “Nobody Won” Says Obama…

… and he's right in a sense.  The Democrats didn't have to concede anything and they didn't gain anything; the Republicans didn't have to concede anything and they didn't gain anything.

On the other hand, the Democrats weren't trying to gain anything, and the House Republicans were (they wanted to defund Obamacare), sosomebody did lose in all this.


And then there's public opinion:

The Tea Party's standing with Americans is at its lowest point since the movement took shape in 2010, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday.

The survey, conducted from Oct. 9-13, reports that nearly half (49 percent) of the public now view the Tea Party unfavorably, compared with 30 percent who view it favorably. Since February 2010, when Pew first began gauging opinion on the Tea Party, unfavorable views have nearly doubled, and the number of "very unfavorable" views has tripled.

In June, when Pew last polled on the Tea Party and before the latest Washington budget battle fully ratcheted up, 45 percent said they held an unfavorable view of the Tea Party, while 37 percent reported they had a favorable view.

Michael Dimock, the director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, told All Things Considered host Audie Cornish that one of the issues is that people don't really know what the Tea Party is about.

"There's not really a consensus about what the Tea Party is, whether it's kind of an outside group trying to steer policy or whether it's working within the Republican Party itself," Dimock says.

The poll, which was in the field as congressional Republicans continued their push to remove financing for President Obama's health care law as part of a deal to reopen the government, found that the Tea Party's popularity is falling even among Republicans.

Pew reported that 53 percent of Republicans now view the Tea Party favorably, down from 62 percent in June; and 27 percent view it unfavorably, up from 23 percent in June.

To show you just how crazy the far right has gotten, they've even lost Ross Douthat.  Even him!

But with tonight’s vote done and the government open once again, I want to return to the theme of my Sunday column, and stress once more the essential absurdity of the specific populist gambit we’ve just witnessed unfold, drag on, and now finally collapse. However you slice and dice the history, the strategery, and the underlying issues, the decision to live with a government shutdown for an extended period of time — inflicting modest-but-real harm on the economy, needlessly disrupting the lives and paychecks of many thousands of hardworking people, and further tarnishing the Republican Party’s already not-exactly-shiny image — in pursuit of obviously, obviously unattainable goals was not a normal political blunder by a normally-functioning political party. It was an irresponsible, dysfunctional and deeply pointless act, carried out by a party that on the evidence of the last few weeks shouldn’t be trusted with the management of a banana stand, let alone the House of Representatives.

This means that the still-ongoing intra-conservative debate over the shutdown’s wisdom is not, I’m sorry, the kind of case where reasonable people can differ on the merits and have good-faith arguments and ultimately agree to disagree. There was no argument for the shutdown itself that a person unblindered by political fantasies should be obliged to respect, no plausible alternative world in which it could have led to any outcome besides self-inflicted political damage followed by legislative defeat, and no epitaph that should be written for its instigators’ planning and execution except: “These guys deserved to lose.”

And it’s important for conservatives and Republicans to recognize this, and remember it, because what just happened can happen again, and next time the consequences may be more severe. The mentality that drove the shutdown — a toxic combination of tactical irrationality and the elevation of that irrationality into a True Conservative (TM) litmus test — may have less influence in next year’s Beltway negotiations than it did this time around, thanks to the way this has ended for the defunders after John Boehner gave them pretty much all the rope that they’d been asking for. But just turn on talk radio or browse RedState or look at Ted Cruz’s approval ratings with Tea Partiers and you’ll see how potent this mentality remains, how quickly it could resurface, and how easily Republican politics and American governance alike could be warped by it in the future.

Biggest Scandal Ever!!

PPP poll:

… there's no doubt about how mad Republicans are about Benghazi. 41% say they consider this to be the biggest political scandal in American history to only 43% who disagree with that sentiment. Only 10% of Democrats and 20% of independents share that feeling. Republicans think by a 74/19 margin than Benghazi is a worse political scandal than Watergate, by a 74/12 margin that it's worse than Teapot Dome, and by a 70/20 margin that it's worse than Iran Contra.



Do these people even remember Watergate or Iran-Contra?

They are of course history impaired.  Once again, facts don't matter.  In fact, most people don't even KNOW the facts about Benghazi:

One interesting thing about the voters who think Benghazi is the biggest political scandal in American history is that 39% of them don't actually know where it is. 10% think it's in Egypt, 9% in Iran, 6% in Cuba, 5% in Syria, 4% in Iraq, and 1% each in North Korea and Liberia with 4% not willing to venture a guess.

That's right.  Of the people who think it is the BIGGEST. SCANDAL. EVER., over one-third can't even say where it took place.

Meanwhile, among non-insane Americans:


PPP's newest national poll finds that Republicans aren't getting much traction with their focus on Benghazi over the last week. Voters trust Hillary Clinton over Congressional Republicans on the issue of Benghazi by a 49/39 margin and Clinton's +8 net favorability rating at 52/44 is identical to what it was on our last national poll in late March. Meanwhile Congressional Republicans remain very unpopular with a 36/57 favorability rating.

UPDATE:  Pew's research poll also makes it clear this story doesn't have legs.

Republicans Are Revolting

Buried deep in a just-released depressing poll from Fairly Ridiculous University, lies this question/result:


That's right. 44% – a plurality — of Republicans think we need an armed revolution in the next few years.  You know, to protect our liberties.  I would like to know what liberties they think are being taken away.

Of course, that result explains the reasoning behind the rest of the poll, which concludes the 73% of Democrats think we need better gun control laws, while 65% of Republicans think the laws we have are fine.

I don't know how you reconcile that poll with this one from Gallup which says that 73 percent of Republicans would vote in favor of a national referendum that would "require background checks for all gun purchases." However, in the very same survey, 50 percent of Republicans said they didn't want the senate to approve legislation to "expand background checks for gun purchases."

It's almost like Republicans want a background check, but they don't want to give Obama a "win".  Which is what Toomey thinks:

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) revealed that some members of his party opposed expanding background checks for gun sales recently because they didn't want to "be seen helping the president."Two weeks ago, only three Republican senators voted for the bipartisan background checks amendment sponsored by Toomey and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), despite overwhelming popular support for such a measure."In the end it didn’t pass because we're so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey admitted on Tuesday in an interview with Digital First Media editors in the offices of the Times Herald newspaper in Norristown, Pa.

IN OTHER GUN NEWS: 2 year old girl shot and killed by 5 year old brother with rifle he received as gift.

Backlash Against Gun Vote

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who championed a bipartisan compromise on gun reforms, has seen his approval rating reach new heights.

On the other, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) has seen her support back home drop sharply, so much so that she is "underwater" (disapproval is higher than approval).

Yesterday, PPP came out with a poll showing that gun vote hurt others too:

After just 3 months in office Jeff Flake has already become one of the most unpopular Senators in the country. Just 32% of voters approve of him to 51% who disapprove and that -19 net approval rating makes him the most unpopular sitting Senator we've polled on, taking that label from Mitch McConnell.


When we polled Alaska in February Lisa Murkowski was one of the most popular Senators in the country with a 54% approval rating and only 33% of voters disapproving of her. She's seen a precipitous decline in the wake of her background checks vote though. Her approval is down a net 16 points from that +21 standing to +5 with 46% of voters approving and 41% now disapproving of her. Murkowski has lost most of her appeal to Democrats in the wake of her vote, with her numbers with them going from 59/25 to 44/44. And the vote hasn't increased her credibility with Republican either- she was at 51/38 with them in February and she's at 50/39 now.

Mark Begich is down following his no vote as well. He was at 49/39 in February and now he's at 41/37. His popularity has declined with Democrats (from 76/17 to 59/24) and with independents (from 54/32 to 43/35), and there has been no corresponding improvement with Republicans. He had a 24% approval rating with them two months ago and he has a 24% approval rating with them now.


We saw serious improvement in Rob Portman's poll numbers in the second half of 2012 following his consideration as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate, but he's taken a nose dive in 2013. Portman's approval has dropped a net 18 points over the last 6 months from +10 (35/25) in October to now -8 (26/34) in April. Portman's popularity decline has come across the board with Democrats (from 15/39 to 8/50), Republicans (62/11 to 46/19), and independents (28/23 to 24/32) alike.


And in Nevada Dean Heller has seen a more modest decline in his approval numbers, from 47/42 right before the election to 44/41 now. However with the independent voters who were critical to his narrow victory in November, his approval has dropped from 52/37 then to now 42/42.

Taken together these results make it pretty clear that this issue could be a serious liability for the Senators who opposed overwhelmingly popular background checks in the Senate vote earlier this month.

Let's hope the voter resentment stays until election day.

Pundit Quote Of The Week

WaPo columnist, Jennifer Rubin:

It took less than 4 1/2 years of the Obama presidency for President George W. Bush to mount his comeback. While doing absolutely nothing on his own behalf (he’s been the most silent ex-president in my lifetime), his approval is up to 47 percent according to The Post/ABC poll. That’s up 14 points from his final poll in office.

Well, sure.  Even my approval of George Bush goes up when he is silent and does nothing.

Good News: Despite The Nuts, Most Common Sense Gun Control Solutions Poll Well

Pew Research released today:

1-14-13-12While the issue of gun control remains divisive, there are clear areas of agreement when it comes to a number of gun policy proposals. Fully 85% of Americans favor making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks, with comparable support from Republicans, Democrats and independents. Similarly, 80% support laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns, with broad support across party lines.

But this bipartisan consensus breaks down when it comes to other proposals. Two-thirds of Americans (67%) favor creating a federal database to track gun sales, but there is a wide partisan divide between Democrats (84%) and Republicans (49%). A smaller majority of the public (55%) favors a ban on assault-style weapons; Democrats (69%) also are far more likely than Republicans (44%) to support this. Similar partisan divides exist when it comes to banning high-capacity ammunition clips or the sale of ammunition online.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 9-13 among 1,502 adults also tested two specific school-safety proposals, with widely different results. By a two-to-one margin (64%-32%), most favor putting armed security guards and police in more schools. But when it comes to more teachers and school officials having guns, most are opposed (40% favor vs. 57% oppose). The latter option is particularly divisive across party lines: 56% of Republicans would like to see more teachers and school officials armed, compared with just 23% of Democrats.


There are a lot more graphs and information at Pew.  A good read.

Will Congress have the courage to be just as common-sensical?