January 23, 2018

Poll Watch: Good and Bad News for Democrats

I saw a couple of poll results cross my news feeds and thought I'd share. One seems to provide a bit of good news for the Democrats, but the second one is less promising.

Let's start with the bad news side of the ledger: according to a new NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll, the government shutdown was the fault of Democrats and president Trump, with the Dems having a slight lead in the blame category.

First, the small print: the poll was conducted online January 20 - 22, 2018 from a national sample of 3450 adults, who were selected from the 3,000,000 or so people who take SurveyMonkey surveys daily. The error rate is plus or minus 2.2%.

OK, so that's out of the way - who is more to  blame for the government shutdown?
  • 4% don't know
  • 18% said Republicans in Congress
  • 38% of respondents said president Trump, and
  • 39% said Democrats in Congress
That's not a good thing for the Democrats; I've already stated my distaste for it. A huge majority - 81% - said that threatening a shutdown to achieve policy goals is unacceptable, whether it's the president or members of Congress behind the ploy.

Other insights from this poll?
  • 60% of respondents think the country is headed in the wrong direction; the same percentage think that Trump did not show strong leadership during the shutdown.
  • 79% think it's more important to compromise to find solutions
  • 47% strongly disapprove and another 11% somewhat disapprove of the way the president handles his job

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken via land line and cell phones January 15 - 18, 2018 (in English and Spanish) of 1005 adults and 846 registered voters (31% Democrats, 23% Republicans and 40% independents), things seem pretty positive for the Dems when it comes to the upcoming mid-term election.
  • 51% of registered voters would support the Democrat over the Republican in their district
  • 54% of registered voters who are certain to vote support the Democrat 
  • 54% of registered voters who are certain to vote who were old enough to vote in the last midterm - and did so - support the Democrat
That's a 6% swing from the Rs to the Ds among likely voters since November.

What else did we learn here?
  • Non-whites overwhelming favor the Democrat (74% - 15%); up 27% since November
  • Women support the Democrat (64% to 29%); in November, it was 55% - 40%.
  • Men still favor the Republican, 51% to 42%, consistent with November
  • Independents continue to favor the Democrat (51% to 37%), unchanged from the prior poll
Finally, and unsurprisingly, Trump supporters back the Republican in their district 90% - 6%, where Trump detractors favor the Democrat 88% - 6%. 

What does this all mean? I have no idea, really, and I'm not sure the pollsters do either - but there are a couple of milestones on the horizon, and it would be interesting to see how things look then. 

The first is when the promised raises from the tax reform bill go into effect. That's likely to hit everyone by mid-February, we're told.  The second? What happens in the next sixteen days before the short-term continuing resolution to fund the government is set to expire.

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