New USC Dornsife/LA Times poll
In this and every election, both sides devote huge resources to getting their partisans to turn out and vote — “motivating the base,” in the jargon of politics.
But in many close races in California and around the country, a different group, those who don’t like either party or its leaders, could hold the decisive votes.
The “hold your nose and vote” brigade makes up a sizable chunk of the electorate, according to the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. With election day just over a week away, the poll indicates they lean toward the Democrats. That’s one reason Democrats remain favored to win back control of the House.
Overall, this latest poll, conducted last week, finds Democrats leading 57% to 40% when likely voters were asked for which party’s candidates they plan to vote, a 17-point edge.
That’s a notable increase in Democratic support from the previous week, when the poll found Democrats with a 13-point advantage. The increase, which stemmed from small shifts among several groups of voters, may partly reflect timing. The final two days of the poll coincided with the arrest on Friday of a Florida man on charges of sending explosive devices to prominent Democrats and critics of President Trump, and the killing on Saturday of 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. In a tweet on Friday, Trump expressed concern that news coverage of the mail bombs might hurt Republicans. Whether either of those events might have a lasting effect on the election is anyone’s guess. So far this year, however, news events have not had a large or long-term impact.
A second measure in the poll that factors in voters’ estimates of how likely they are to cast a ballot also shows Democrats ahead by a narrower 52% to 42%.
In 2016, the same poll consistently showed then-candidate Trump winning. It skewed toward the Republicans by a few percentage points in its estimate of the final vote.
The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll continues to show roughly equal levels of interest in the election on both sides. That’s an encouraging sign for Democrats, whose voters have lagged significantly in the last two midterm elections. Just under 4 in 10 Democrats and Republicans said they were paying “very close” or “extremely close” attention to the campaign.
But with the two sides closely balanced, the outcome in many races could depend on voters who don’t easily fit with either party.
The poll offers two ways to examine the views of voters who disdain both sides. One simply looks at their views of the party leaders.
Likely voters disapproved of Trump’s performance in office by 57% to 41%, the poll found. That 16-point gap remains historically bad for a president in a time of strong economic growth.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, the House Democratic leader, is less well known but fared no better among voters with an opinion. Likely voters disapproved of her by 49% to 32%, with 19% unsure.
In both cases, a strong partisan gap shaped those approval numbers. In Pelosi’s case, gender played a strong role, as well: Even after taking party into account, men disapproved of her significantly more than women.
Roughly 1 in 6 likely voters disapproved of both. When asked which party’s candidate they plan to vote for, that group overwhelmingly favored the Democrats.
That’s the reverse of what took place two years ago.
In the presidential election, slightly more than 1 in 6 voters said they disliked both Hillary Clinton and Trump. Clinton campaign strategists hoped to win over many of those voters by constantly reminding them of aspects of Trump’s behavior that they disliked. In the end, however, those voters heavily favored Trump, according to exit polls.
That shouldn’t have come as a surprise, say political scientists John Sides of George Washington University, Lynn Vavreck of UCLA and Michael Tesler of UC Irvine. In their new book examining the 2016 election, “Identity Crisis,” they noted that those “double negative” voters were disproportionately Republicans.
“They appeared to be holding their nose and voting their partisanship,” they wrote.
That’s not the case this time: The “double negative” voters now — those who disapprove of both Trump and Pelosi — are more likely to have been Clinton voters in 2016.
http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-p ... story.html
Almost 1 in 5 likely voters opposed both, and they split closely on which they disliked more. But by 59% to 34%, they said they expected to support Democrats for Congress this year.
Unlike 2016, when the voters who disliked both candidates were disproportionately Republican, those who said they disapproved of both of the agendas described in the poll were more often women and tended to identify as independents, the poll found.
This USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll, supervised by poll director Jill Darling, was conducted Oct. 21 to 27 among 3,922 adult Americans, including 3,453 registered voters, of whom 2,350 were considered likely to vote and 577 said they already had voted early.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan