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Poll Watch
September 10, 2019

President Trump might not want to look at a new poll conducted by Univision and the University of Houston.

The survey shows six Democratic presidential candidates leading the incumbent in Texas. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has the healthiest lead over Trump — a 48 percent to 42 percent edge. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden has Trump beat 47 percent to 43 percent, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is ahead 44 percent to 42 percent. Those three, frequently considered the front-runners in the Democratic primaries, don't come as a huge surprise, but Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) also hold slight advantages. Former Housing Secretary and homegrown Texan Julián Castro is the sixth candidate that Texas would seemingly support over Trump; he has a three point lead over the commander-in-chief.

Those are the only six candidates highlighted in the survey for this particular question. Oddly, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) is not pitted against Trump, though among the Democratic candidates, he finished second only to Biden in the survey, and led all other candidates by seven points or more among Texas Latinx voters. So it appears the El Paso native is doing pretty well in his home state at the moment.

The poll also revealed that 40 percent of voters would vote for any Democratic candidate over Trump, compared to just 33 percent who are committed to voting for the president. The poll was conducted between Aug. 31 and Sept. 6 on the phone and online. It consisted of 1,004 voters and the margin of error was 3.1 percent. See the full results here. Tim O'Donnell

September 10, 2019

President Trump can, on occasion, be unpredictable, but his approval numbers aren't.

He's the only commander-in-chief in the polling era never to never cross the 50 percent threshold, CNBC reports. His Gallup Poll peak is 46 percent and his low his 35 percent, good for an average of 40 percent to date; in Gallup's latest poll, he's right there again with a 39 percent approval rating. The consistency is not inconsequential when considering Trump's long-term electoral prospects, the Century Foundation's Ruy Teixeira told CNBC.

In 2018, just before the Republicans lost control of the House in the mid-term elections, Trump was at his normal 40 percent Gallup approval rating, while 54 percent of those surveyed disapproved of his performance. He's only budged slightly since then — and in the wrong direction, to boot. CNBC's John Hardwood notes that when former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were routed by Republicans in the 1994 and 2010 midterms, respectively, they bounced back in their approval polls before winning re-election in 1996 and 2012.

Vegas oddsmakers still have Trump as the favorite in 2020, perhaps because Obama and Clinton were able to shake off those defeats to gain a second term. But Trump does not appear to be making up the ground his predecessors did to recapture the electorate.

Of course, polls have not recently proven themselves to be the ultimate litmus test for determining presidential elections. Read more at CNBC. Tim O'Donnell

September 4, 2019

If you weren't aware, Wisconsin is likely to be a pretty important state in the 2020 presidential election. And things are looking good for former Vice President Joe Biden there, at least according to a new poll from Marquette University Law School.

The poll, which is described as the "gold standard" barometer for the state, has Biden defeating President Trump by nine points in the general election at the moment, 51 percent to 42 percent. That's a fairly significant number, and some analysts are anticipating one of the smallest electoral college maps in recent history for 2020.

Biden isn't the only Democratic candidate holding a lead over the president, although he does have the largest point differential. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) holds a four-point edge. Meanwhile, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) are tied with Trump.

Nothing is certain with any poll, of course, but these results will likely add another wrinkle to the never-ending "electability" argument. The poll was based on 800 interviews with Wisconsin registered voters over the phone between Aug. 25 and Aug. 29. The margin of error involving the full sample is 3.9 percentage points. See the results here. Tim O'Donnell

August 19, 2019

A 64 percent majority of U.S. adults agreed that free trade is good for America in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Sunday, while only 27 percent said free trade is bad, harming manufacturing and other industries. Support for free trade is up 7 points from WSJ/NBC polling in 2017 and a 13-point jump from 2015, thanks largely to increased support from Democrats and independents. This is the highest number in favor of free trade in WSJ/NBC News polling on the question.

Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, which conducted the poll with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, blamed Trump's trade wars with China and other nations. "While Trump plays a game of chicken on tariffs, a record number of Americans believe that free trade is good," he noted. McInturff pointed to the growing support among Democrats: "If Donald Trump is for it and you're a Democrat, you move in a very different direction."

On Sunday's Meet the Press, Chuck Todd said "Democrats reflexively opposing anything this president does" is one factor in the opinion shift "from a 10-point spread to a 40-point spread," but "some of it also reflects voter anxiety about the president's trade policies."

The WSJ/NBC poll, conducted via phone Aug. 10-14 among 1,000 adults, has an overall margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points. Peter Weber

August 16, 2019

A Fox News poll released Thursday found former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) in the same place they were in March — 31 percent for Biden and 8 percent for Harris — while the two candidates in between them swapped places. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is now in second place in the Democratic presidential race, with 20 percent, according to the new Fox News poll, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) now has 10 percent. No other candidate tops 3 percent.

In March, Sanders was at 23 percent and Warren at 4 percent; she has gained ground steadily since then in the Fox News polls, and her "gains come at Sanders' expense," Fox News reports. Each of the top Democrats beats President Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, Biden by 12 points, Sanders by 9, Warren by 7, and Harris by 6 points, right at the margin of error. Trump doesn't hit 40 percent in any of the matchups.

"Biden and Sanders have held sizable leads over Trump before," said Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Republican Daron Shaw. "But this is the first time our poll results give Warren and Harris the chance to stake a claim to an electability argument as well." Warren fans have been worried about how she'll fare against Trump, according to a New York Times report Thursday.

All of the top Democrats currently have net positive favorability ratings in the poll — Biden is +8, Sanders +7, Warren +6, Harris +1 — while Trump is at -14 (42 percent to 56 percent). "Voters who have a negative view of both Biden and Trump back Biden by a 43-10 percent margin in the head-to-head matchup," Fox News said.

The poll, conducted via phone Aug. 11-13, surveyed 1,013 randomly selected registered voters nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of ±3 percentage points for all voters, ±4.5 points for Democratic primary voters. Peter Weber

August 15, 2019

President Trump is approaching record disapproval and the National Rifle Association has a net negative favorability rating for the first time in a Fox News poll released Wednesday night. The poll, conducted a week after back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, shows the NRA with a favorability rating of 42 percent among registered voters, down from 49 percent in 2018; 47 percent hold unfavorable views of the organization.

Along with facing a rise in support for stricter gun laws, which the NRA opposes, the gun-rights group is mired in an ugly internecine fight over lavish spending on its leaders and allegations of insider dealing. In the new poll, 56 percent of voters in gun-owner households held a favorable view of the NRA, down from 67 percent last year.

Trump's approval rating is 43 percent, down from 46 percent in a Fox News poll last month, and 56 percent of voters now disapprove of his job performance, just shy of his record disapproval rating of 57 percent recorded in October 2017. "Record numbers of men (53 percent), white men (46 percent), and independents (64 percent) disapprove," Fox News notes. Fifty-nine percent of voters agree that Trump is "tearing the country apart," including 59 percent of independents, 53 percent of white voters, and 74 percent of non-white voters. A 51 percent majority disapproves of Trump's tweeting, while just 16 percent approve.

The poll was conducted Aug. 11-13 via phone by Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Co. (R) among 1,013 registers voters nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of ±3 percentage points for all registered voters. Peter Weber

July 2, 2019

The first major poll after last week's inaugural 2020 Democratic presidential debates confirms the conventional wisdom: They were great for Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and bad for former Vice President Joe Biden. The CNN/SSRS poll released Monday evening showed Biden as the top pick of 22 percent of Democrats, down 10 percentage points from CNN's last poll in May; Harris jumped 9 points to 17 percent, and Warren got an 8-point bump, to 15 percent. Previous runner-up Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) dropped 4 points to 14 percent and fourth place.

All other candidates are in the single digits. Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (Texas) lost 2 points, coming in at 3 percent support, while South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped 1 point, to 4 percent. "For those keeping score at home, that's the field's women up 17 points and its men down 17 points," notes Aaron Blake at The Washington Post.

Biden's strongest support in the poll was among black voters (36 percent) and older voters (34 percent), though the one issue Harris beats him on is handling race relations (she got 29 percent to Biden's second-pace 16 percent). A solid 43 percent of Democrats still think Biden is best positioned to beat President Trump, followed by Sanders (13 percent) and Warren and Harris (12 percent). Among all Americans, 56 percent favored a national health insurance plan, even if it raises taxes (85 percent of Democrats agreed), though only 21 percent of Americans favored a national health insurance plan that eliminated private insurance.

SSRS conducted the poll by phone June 28-30, reaching 1,613 adults. The full sample has a margin of error of ±3 percentage points; the subsample of 656 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents has a margin of error of ±4.7 points. Peter Weber

June 19, 2019

It feels like a bit of cycle.

A new poll conducted by Avalanche — a progressive public-opinion research group — shows that if the nebulous term "electability" is removed as a factor in the 2020 Democratic primaries, the race looks quite different, Axios reports. In an "electability"-free world, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) actually led former Vice President Joe Biden, 21 percent to 19 percent among those polled by Avalanche, while in many other national polls, Biden often leads substantially.

The problem for Warren, though, is reportedly not the idea that a woman isn't capable of performing the job, but the fact that too many voters are concerned that other voters won't elect a woman. It's less about Warren and more about America, Avalanche writes.

So, the distrust in their fellow voters leads people to edge away from Warren's candidacy in favor of Biden, whom voters feel has a better chance of defeating President Trump in the general election. While regular polls show Biden as the favorite among 29 percent of Democrats, that number drops to 19 percent without the "electability" factor. Warren, meanwhile, jumps from 16 percent to 21 percent when "electability" isn't considered.

For reference, Avalanche's survey shows that 97 percent of likely Democratic voters believe getting Trump out of the White House is very important, while only 28 percent feel confident that he'll lose. That, coupled with the fact that 62 percent believe that Americans won't elect a woman, is why, Avalanche's data suggests, Warren is lagging behind Biden.

Avalanche conducted a listening survey of 1,871 registered voters between May 30-June 3. No margin of error was reported. Read more at Axios. Tim O'Donnell

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