By Saeed Sobhani 

What do the new polls say? Diminish public trust in Trump

August 24, 2019

Polls released in the United States in recent days indicate a decline in public confidence in President Donald Trump. Trump is extremely frightened of the continuation of this process. Remarkably, Trump has lost his former popularity in the economy. Polls show Trump's economic popularity is also on the decline. Here are some news, surveys and analytics on this:

CNN Poll: Public's view on the economy dips for the first time in Trump's presidency

Almost two-thirds of Americans (65%) say current economic conditions are good, but that's down since May, representing the first significant decline in public perception of the economy during Donald Trump's presidency, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. As some economic indicators are beginning to show warning signs of a looming recession, the public's impressions of -- and outlook for -- the country's economic conditions are starting to waver, but they remain mostly positive. The 65% of Americans who now say economic conditions are good represent a 5-point drop from the May CNN/SSRS poll.

The President's overall approval has ticked down slightly. Forty percent of Americans approve of the job he's doing, down from 43% in June. Most, 54%, disapprove.

A majority (56%) say they expect economic conditions to be good a year from now, 40% say they will be poor. That's a less-rosy outlook than in December when 66% said they expected a good economy in a year. Overall, half of Americans say that economic conditions are good now and will continue to be good in a year (50%) and a quarter say that they're poor now and will be poor in a year (26%). Of the roughly one in five people who see change happening, 13% say the economy is good now, but will be poor in a year, while 6% think things are poor now, but will improve in the next year. Those shifts in outlook of the nation's economy haven't had much of an impact on perceptions of Trump, though. Half of Americans approve of how Trump is handling the economy (50%), which has been steady for the last few months. Almost nine in 10 Republicans approve (87%), half of independents and 18% of Democrats.

The declining share who say that the economy is in good shape stems almost entirely from shifts among Democrats (down 7 points since May) and independents (down 6 points). Trump's approval on handling foreign affairs stands at 40%, while he receives a slightly lower rating on immigration (37%) and a significantly worse one on race relations 32%).

The President's approval rating for handling race relations has dropped 7 percentage points since April. It is significantly lower among non-whites (18%) than among whites (40%), including ratings of just 18% approval among Latinos and 11% among black Americans. The decline compared with April comes largely among whites (down 9 points while non-whites are about even), women (down 10 points vs. a 3-point dip among men), and independents (down 12 points vs. single-digit shifts among both Republicans and Democrats).

Trump's approval rating for handling gun policy remains low in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Around a third of Americans (36%) approve of how Trump is handling gun policy, the same as his rating in March of last year, after the shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Trump initially signaled willingness to support expanded background checks for gun purchases after the shootings, but has since toned down his support in public comments on the matter. The poll, however, suggests a broad appetite for stricter gun laws among Americans. Three in five Americans favor stricter gun control laws (60%), down since polling conducted shortly after the 2018 mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School (70%), but up compared with polling after the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas (52%) and the 2016 mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando (55%).

Almost nine in 10 Democrats favor stricter gun control laws (85%), along with 58% of independents, but just 39% of Republicans agree. Those in gun-owning households are more likely than Republicans to favor stricter gun laws -- 48% say so. Support rises to 74% among those living in households without any guns. Democrats are more passionately for stricter gun laws than Republicans are against; 70% of Democrats say they "strongly favor" stricter gun control as opposed to 38% of Republicans who "strongly oppose" such laws.
Still, Americans are less optimistic now than after Parkland that changes to gun laws will lessen the number of gun-related deaths in the country: Just 49% think tighter laws will have that effect, down from 56% in February 2018.

The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS August 15 through 18 among a random national sample of 1,001 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points, it is larger for subgroups.

Biden and Bernie the only Democrats to beat Trump in new poll

As Politico reported, Joe Biden is taking his electability pitch to new lengths. Only eight seconds into his first TV ad launched Tuesday, there’s a full-screen graphic showing Biden leading President Donald Trump by from 9 to 13 points in four recent polls.

“We have to beat Donald Trump,” the narrator says. “And all the polls agree: Joe Biden is the strongest Democrat to do the job.”Jill Biden was equally blunt in New Hampshire on Monday, telling voters, “I know that not all of you are committed to my husband, and I respect that. But I want you to think about your candidate, his or her electability, and who’s going to win this race.”

Each Democratic candidate is trying to make the case he or she can beat Trump — but Biden is taking the electability argument further than any candidate in recent memory. And he has the numbers to back it up: A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll is just the latest survey showing the former VP with the biggest lead over Trump. It has Biden up 7 points over the president in a hypothetical general election matchup, 42 percent to 35 percent. Other than Bernie Sanders, who led Trump by 5 points, every other Democrat is either tied with the incumbent or trails him.

Biden’s emphasis on his ability to win is a risky campaign strategy: It plays directly to Democrats’ desire, first and foremost, to oust Trump. But if Biden stumbles in polls, his main argument to voters will vanish. Already, there are signs his favorability ratings, which spiked at the end of the Obama administration, are ticking back down since his return to the campaign trail.

Biden isn’t alone in making poll-centric appeals to voters. Sanders has sought to allay fears that, as a self-proclaimed socialist, he would lose in the general. He points out in interviews and debates that he, too, usually leads the president in head-to-head matchups.

And Trump, the man they’re vying to face, frequently mentions his standing in the poll. Just this week, he tweeted a less-than-gold-standard poll that showed his approval rating narrowly above 50 percent and blasted Fox News, usually an ally, for its survey showing him trailing the major Democratic contenders.

Making the case for Biden’s electability goes beyond simply highlighting favorable polls. Much of the campaign’s programming is geared toward building the case that the former vice president is the best candidate to take on the GOP incumbent Democrats want to kick out of office so badly that many are willing to put aside their ideological preferences.

“Clearly, his experience, his decency, his connection to the middle class, the fact that he can get a lot done, he has results, he can work across party lines — all of those go into the fact that he can beat Trump,” said John Anzalone, Biden’s pollster. The 2020 election is still 440 days away, and general-election matchup polls this far out aren’t very predictive. At this point in 2015, Hillary Clinton had a more-than-10-point lead over Trump in the RealClearPolitics average.

And while primary polling becomes more predictive as the first votes of the nominating process draw closer, general-election polls still lack predictive power until later on. An analysis by FiveThirtyEight of polls conducted a year before Election Day — so three or four months from now in this cycle — shows they were off by roughly 10 percentage points. A headline about it, published two months ago, read, “Should We Take These Early General Election Polls Seriously? But Biden is wringing them for all they’re worth, and it’s easy to see why: His structural advantages over Trump are greater than his opponents, at least for now.

Biden leads Trump by 7 points overall in the POLITICO/Morning Consult survey and also posts larger leads than the other Democratic candidates among independents (by 8 points), self-identified moderates (27 points) and voters in the Midwest (5 points).

Biden “would potentially attract the most broad swath of voters across the ideological spectrum in a matchup against President Trump,” said Tyler Sinclair, Morning Consult’s vice president. “Our polling shows 38 percent of independents and 9 percent of Republicans say they would vote for Biden over Trump, respectively. Bernie Sanders receives the same level of support among independents but less Republican support at 6 percent, while Elizabeth Warren holds at 32 percent of independents and 5 percent of Republicans.”

The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted Aug. 16-18, surveying 1,998 registered voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. The former vice president’s advantage extends to other polls. The Fox News poll last week showed him leading Trump by 12 points, 50 percent to 38 percent. Sanders (9 points), Warren (7 points) and Kamala Harris (6 points) also led Trump, but by smaller margins.

Early general-election polls might not be predictive, but they do offer some insight. In this case, the early polls say more about Trump than about the Democrats challenging him. In the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, Trump ranges from the 7-point deficit to Biden, to an 8-point lead over Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg. But that’s only because O’Rourke and Buttigieg lack the profile of their party’s front-runners. In fact, despite this wide spread in the margins, Trump comes in at 35 percent or 36 percent in each of the seven different matchups tested — a troubling place for an incumbent, especially when the majority of voters also disapprove of his job performance. The Fox News poll showed similar results in its four matchups: Trump was hovering just below 40 percent, no matter which Democrat he was matched up against. Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.

Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona

Also The Hill reported that Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are statistically tied with President Trump in Arizona, a state that hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in a quarter century, according to a new poll. The new survey conducted by OH Predictive Insights, a Phoenix-based nonpartisan pollster, shows Biden leading Trump by a 45 percent to 43 percent margin. Trump leads Warren 44 percent to 43 percent, the poll found.

Both results fall within the survey's margin of error, a sign that Trump will have to work harder to win Arizona's electoral votes than any Republican nominee this century. The survey shows Trump running better against other potential Democratic nominees. He leads Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) 44 percent to 34 percent; he leads Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) 45 percent to 36 percent; and he leads South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) 43 percent to 38 percent. Trump "is in the low- to mid-40s, which I'd say is a pretty big red flag," said Mike Noble, a Republican pollster and managing partner and chief of research at OH Predictive Insights. "He's not doing himself any favors for 2020 in a state he won in 2016."

In the group's last survey, conducted in May just after Biden entered the race, Trump led every Democratic candidate except Biden by a statistically significant margin. The May survey showed Biden leading Trump 49 percent to 44 percent. Since that last survey, Noble said, Trump's approval ratings have sagged — and they have taken his head-to-head numbers against Democrats down with them. As a consequence, Trump now appears vulnerable in a state that has rarely been competitive at the presidential level. Trump's approval rating stands at 47 percent among Arizona voters. Fifty-two percent say they disapprove.

Though there are about 145,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats in Arizona, independent voters there appear to be breaking against Trump. Just 38 percent of independents approve of Trump's job performance, and 60 percent disapprove. Trump trails among independent voters against all five Democratic candidates the poll tested. Biden holds a wide 50 percent to 34 percent lead among those voters, and Warren leads Trump 45 percent to 35 percent. In 2016, Trump won independent voters in Arizona by a 47 percent to 44 percent margin, according to exit polls.

In 2018, when Kyrsten Sinema became the first Democrat to win a U.S. Senate seat in Arizona since Dennis DeConcini won reelection in 1988, Sinema beat Republican Martha McSally among independents by a slim 50 percent to 47 percent margin.No Democratic presidential nominee has won Arizona's electoral votes since 1996, when Bill Clinton beat Bob Dole by about 2 percentage points and Reform Party nominee Ross Perot took 8 percent of the vote.

But Hillary Clinton came closer than anyone since her husband. Trump won just 48.7 percent of the vote in Arizona in 2016, edging Clinton's 45.1 percent. The Clinton campaign spent a small amount of money to make a play for Arizona's electoral votes.

The poll shows signs, too, that favoring gun control or gun safety legislation is no longer a negative in a state known for its libertarian leanings. The poll found 56 percent of Arizona voters would be more likely to vote for a candidate who favors gun safety legislation. Only 19 percent said they would be less likely to support such a candidate.

Nearly two in three voters, 64 percent, said they somewhat or strongly support banning assault-style weapons. Sixty-two percent said they support banning high-capacity ammunition magazines. A whopping 84 percent said they support so-called red flag laws, which allow law enforcement officials to take firearms away from someone who poses a danger to themselves or others. And 83 percent said they would support raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 years old. The eventual Democratic presidential nominee will be running alongside Mark Kelly, the retired astronaut and husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) who is running for the U.S. Senate seat McSally now holds. The same OH Predictive Insights poll showed Kelly leading McSally, 46 percent to 41 percent. The survey polled 600 likely Arizona voters Aug. 13–14. It carried a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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