Half of Minnesota Voters Feel Al Franken Should Not Resign From Senate

This post is by Justin Baragona from Mediaite

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Even though Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has already announced that he will resign from the Senate amid numerous allegations of sexual misconduct, set the date for his departure, and the Governor of Minnesota has selected his replacement, a lot of folks in Minnesota would like for Franken to reconsider his decision. According to a new survey by Public Policy Polling, 50 percent of Minnesota voters think Franken should not tender his resignation. This is compared to 42 percent who believe he should go through with his plan to leave the Senate on January 2. One thing that may be driving this opinion in the state is that Franken is fairly popular with voters. PPP found his job approval rating at 53 percent. And despite the allegations that he’s groped multiple women, female voters are the ones pushing his popularity as 57 percent approve of the job he’s doing compared to Continue reading "Half of Minnesota Voters Feel Al Franken Should Not Resign From Senate"

New Poll Finds 42 Percent of Trump Voters Think It’s Appropriate to Bodyslam Reporters

This post is by Aidan McLaughlin from Mediaite

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Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 17.29.13 42% of Trump voters said they thought it appropriate for Republican politicians to bodyslam reporters, according to a new nationwide poll out Monday, conducted by Public Policy Polling. The new poll comes on the heels of newly elected Montana congressman Greg Gianforte’s bodyslamming of Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs on the eve of Gianforte’s election. The new congressman pled guilty to assaulting Jacobs on Monday, and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management. That was after he issued a lengthy apology to the reporter and donated $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Despite assaulting a reporter the night before the election, Gianforte beat his Democrat opponent Rob Quist. Reports from the time indicated that alarmingly few Republican voters in Montana cared that their candidate attacked a reporter, and some even saw the assault as deserved. Conservative media was equally irreverent about the unprovoked assault Continue reading "New Poll Finds 42 Percent of Trump Voters Think It’s Appropriate to Bodyslam Reporters"

Poll: African-Americans Have Higher Opinions of Bedbugs and Airplane Middle Seats Than Trump

This post is by J.D. Durkin from Mediaite

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Although the findings of the newest Public Policy Polling poll won’t be released until later today, Rachel Maddow debuted some rather startling numbers last night on her program. In a poll taken August 26-August 28 with a margin of error of +/-3.3, African-Americans were asked about their opinion of Republican party nominee Donald Trump in direct comparison to a number of controversial or presumably low opinion topics. The list included Ryan Lochte, bedbugs, the bubonic plague, Duke University, and middle seats on airplanes. Care to see how disastrously Donald Trump stacked up against those ills of the world? Trump’s closest competitor was bedbugs in the poll, which comes out as the GOP nominee is making as strong an effort Continue reading "Poll: African-Americans Have Higher Opinions of Bedbugs and Airplane Middle Seats Than Trump"

Poll: 69% of Trump Supporters Think That When Clinton Wins, ‘It Will Be Because It Was Rigged’

This post is by J.D. Durkin from Mediaite

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Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 11.12.57 AMTake a careful note of my headline. I balanced out a few options, namely, using the word “If” in place of “When” so as to read:
Poll: 69% of Trump Supporters Think That If Clinton Wins, ‘It Will Be Because It Was Rigged’
However, it is essentially — in the opinion of this writer — a foregone conclusion that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will win the November general election. Before we continue with the absurd findings of the Public Policy Polling data out today that suggests a staggering 69% of Trump faithful think the election will be “rigged,” let’s quickly establish why I’m so confident Trumpty Dumpty will lose yuge: You don’t vote for the President, Trump fans. Remember your social studies classes? Well, at some point you learned that it is the electoral college that decides who wins the White House, not you and your precious Continue reading "Poll: 69% of Trump Supporters Think That When Clinton Wins, ‘It Will Be Because It Was Rigged’"

Poll Finds Americans Really Don’t Trust Trump, Rubio, or Cruz to Fill SCOTUS Vacancy

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scotusAs President Obama continues to mull replacements for late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Senate Republicans continue to insist they won’t even consider an Obama nominee (or “Obamanee™”), a new poll finds that the GOP is badly at odds with the American people on this issue. In a new Public Policy Polling survey, Americans overwhelmingly want President Obama to choose Scalia’s replacement, and even more overwhelmingly don’t trust Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Donald Trump to make the pick:
Reflecting what other national polling has found, 56% of voters in the country want the vacant seat on the Supreme Court seat to be filled this year by a nominee of President Obama’s, to only 40% of voters who think the seat should remain vacant for the next year. That includes 53/41 support from independents for filling the seat this year. Voters especially think that the Senate should Continue reading "Poll Finds Americans Really Don’t Trust Trump, Rubio, or Cruz to Fill SCOTUS Vacancy"

More Iowa Republicans Think Ted Cruz Was Born in the U.S. Than Obama

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1canadaDonald Trump famously asked “How stupid are the people of Iowa?” It appears we have our answer, if the newest survey of Iowa voters by Democratic-leaning but deadly accurate Public Policy Polling is to be believed. According to their latest Iowa poll, almost half of the state’s Republican voters are still unaware that presidential candidate and God-Murdering Cuban Heathen Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was born in Canada. Not only that, there are more Iowa Republicans who incorrectly believe that Cruz was born in the United States than correctly believe that President Obama was born in the U.S. With the race in Iowa tightening in Trump’s favor this week, there’s even more bad news for Cruz:
Despite all the attention to this issue in the last week, still only 46% of Iowa Republicans are aware that Cruz was not born in the United States. In fact, there Continue reading "More Iowa Republicans Think Ted Cruz Was Born in the U.S. Than Obama"

Sorry, Media, Trump-Style Racism Is Mainstream in Republican Party

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The mainstream media is slowly coming around to the idea that Donald Trump‘s success is fueled by racial resentment, but they’re having trouble making the same diagnosis to the broader GOP electorate. A new poll by Democratic-leaning but deadly-accurate Public Policy Polling has everyone talking about how Trump fans don’t believe President Obama was born in the United States, is definitely secret Muslim, and wants to end birthright citizenship. But according to the mainstream media, these views are somehow not mainstream among the broader Republican electorate. Exhibit A: Politico honcho Jim VandeHei, on Wednesday’s Morning Joe, described the results as proof that there’s a “segment” of “white, hostile” voters in the Republican Party: Then, as co-host Mika Brzezinski repeatedly made distinctions between the results from Trump voters and the “mainstream” of the Republican Party, no less a mainstream journalist than Chuck Todd joined in with skepticism over Continue reading "Sorry, Media, Trump-Style Racism Is Mainstream in Republican Party"

What Happens When Donald Trump Attacks Ben Carson?

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trump carsonSh*t just got real between Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson. According to two polls released this week, Dr. Carson could present the first real challenge to Trump’s supremacy since the real estate mogul rocketed to the front of the GOP pack a few months ago. In a Monmouth University poll of Iowa voters, Carson tied Trump at 23 percent, and in a brand new national Public Policy Polling survey, Carson was the only Republican candidate to beat Trump head-to-head, with 49% of Republicans saying they preferred Carson to 43% for Trump. In that national poll, Trump still leads the field overall with 29%, and Carson is a distant second at 15%, but these results show room for Carson to overtake Trump should the field narrow. Up until now, the two candidates have been playing nice with each other. Carson has defended Trump Continue reading "What Happens When Donald Trump Attacks Ben Carson?"

Morning Joe Previews Interracial Cheerios Super Bowl Ad Without Mentioning Twitter Controversy

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The official MSNBC Twitter account enraged conservatives Wednesday night with a (now-deleted) tweet about a new Cheerios ad that will debut during this Sunday’s Super Bowl XYLOPHONE, if I’m counting correctly. On Thursday morning’s Morning Joe, the MJ gang previewed the spot, with nary a mention of the tweet, but co-host Willie Geist did note that the ad’s predecessor was “controversial in some circles.”

The Super Bowl ad is a followup to a 2013 Cheerios ad that featured a biracial family, and which caused the spot’s Youtube page to be flooded with racist comments. On Wednesday night, the official MSNBC Twitter feed tweeted a link to an article on the ad, along with the message “Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family.”

About three hours later, that tweet was deleted, and apology tweets were issued. On Thursday morning, Morning Joe co-host Willie Geist introduced the spot by saying “Cheerios has produced a sequel to (an ad) that, I guess, was controversial in some circles, the biracial family. Here’s the second edition from Cheerios.”

Polling on the issue of interracial marriage shows overwhelming, but not unanimous, favorability. A 2009 Pew survey found that 64% of white people said they would “be fine with” a member of their family marrying a black person, while an additional 27% said they would “be bothered but would accept it.” A 2013 Gallup survey showed that approval of black people marrying white people had ticked up a whole percentage point since 2011, to 87%, including 84% among white people. However, Gallup didn’t release crosstabs by party or ideology.

In 2011, though, Democratic-leaning (but deadly accurate) Public Policy Polling surveyed Republicans in Mississippi, and found that 46% of them thought that interracial marriage should be illegal, versus 40% who said it should be legal. They also crosstabbed that question with 2012 Republican presidential primary candidates, which produced some interesting results, as well. Mike Huckabee and then-Governor Haley Barbour led with both groups, but Sarah Palin had the biggest swing, with 27% of those opposed to legal interracial marriage preferring Palin, to just 12% who favored it.

In 2012, PPP polled likely Republican primary voters in Mississippi and Alabama on the same question, and found that in Mississippi, the number who thought interracial marriage should be illegal was 29%, and in Alabama, 21%. The crosstabs showed that voters over 65, women voters, self-described evangelicals, and those who identified as tea party supporters were all significantly more likely to oppose interracial marriage. By far, the most persuasive factor was age. Neither of PPP’s polls included significant numbers of Democrats.

Huck Up: Mike Huckabee Now Leads GOP Primary Field

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In other news, 2007 called, they want their headline back. Following the controversy that erupted over former Governor Mike Huckabee‘s (R-AR) remarks at the Republican National Committee’s annual winter meeting last week, a new poll from Democratic-leaning (but deadly accurate) Public Policy Polling now shows that the evangelical favorite leads the national republican presidential primary field for 2016.

At the RNC winter meeting, Huckabee told the crowd “Women I know are outraged that the Democrats think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have the government provide for them birth control medication.”

Huckabee added: “If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.”

Those remarks launched a week of controversy, and an attempt at a walk-back from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, but they haven’t apparently hurt Huckabee with Republican voters. From PPP:

Following the controversy over his ‘Uncle Sugar’ speech Mike Huckabee has…taken the lead in the Republican primary race for 2016. He’s at 16% to 14% for Jeb Bush, 13% for Chris Christie, 11% for Rand Paul, 8% each for Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan, 6% for Scott Walker, and 5% for Bobby Jindal.

There’s been more movement than usual over the last month, with Huckabee and Bush each gaining 3-4 points, and Chris Christie and Ted Cruz each falling by 6 points.

After briefly holding a small lead over Hillary Clinton, Gov. Christie slipped in general election polling, but still fares better than any other Republican, including Huckabee:

Last month Christie led Clinton in a head to head, 45/42. Now Clinton has the upper hand on him at 45/43. That’s similar to the small leads Clinton holds over the rest of her potential Republican opponents- she’s up 45/43 on Bush, 46/44 on Ryan, 46/43 on Huckabee and Paul, and 47/41 on Cruz.

Clinton has consistently led all Republicans in every other general election poll that PPP has conducted, but those leads are now much smaller than they were. A key part of the sales pitch for a perceived moderate like Christie or Bush has been their ability to perform better against Clinton, but with Huckabee, Rand Paul, and Paul Ryan all polling within the margin of error against her, that rationale is hurt significantly.

Among women, Huckabee has a negative approval rating of 33% favorable, 37% unfavorable, but that’s by far the best spread among Republicans, while Clinton has a 53%-40% favorable/unfavorable rating with women voters. Christie comes closest to Hillary in a head-to-head matchup with women voters, losing 51%-36%, but the rest of the Republicans are closely bunched as well, losing by 16-18 points.

Huckabee does fare best against Hillary with black voters, trailing by only 60 points, 71%-11%. Ted Cruz fares best against her with Hispanic voters, losing by 28 points, 63% to 35%, while Jeb Bush and Chris Christie tie for the lead against the former Secretary of State with white voters, each beating her 51% to 37%.

In losing to President Obama in 2012, Mitt Romney lost the Hispanic vote by 44% and women by 11%, but won the white vote by 20%.

Poll: Nearly Twice as Many Americans Disapprove of Richard Sherman as Approve of Him

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Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has garnered considerable sympathy in the media due to the racist backlash against his now-infamous postgame interview following the NFC Championship, but according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling, those who have an opinion of Sherman overwhelmingly disapprove of him. While 28% of respondents said they had an unfavorable view of Sherman, only 15% had a favorable opinion, with only two groups favoring Sherman more than they disfavored him.

Sherman has been outspoken in his own defense, and unvarnished in his criticism of those who attacked him. Video and audio emerged, last week, which showed that Sherman offered San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree a congratulatory handshake, only to be met by a shove to the face seconds before the interview in which he lashed out at Crabtree in a sideline interview. Sherman told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, in an interview Monday, that his offer of a handshake was sincere. PPP’s poll was taken after the release of that additional video, but it’s unclear how many respondents would have had the opportunity to see it.

According to PPP’s crosstabs, those who described themselves as “very liberal” favored Sherman at 31%, versus 13% unfavorable, while Sherman polled worst with those who said they were “somewhat liberal,” at 8% favorable to 36% unfavorable, just a hair worse than the 27-point difference (12% to 39%) for “very conservative.”

Black respondents favored Sherman at 31%, versus 25% who view him unfavorably, but also said they took Michael Crabtree’s side by a 19%-10% margin. White respondents favored Sherman at just 13%, versus 28% who view him unfavorable, and Hispanic respondents overwhelmingly view him unfavorably, 45% unfavorable to just 10% favorable. The crosstabs were generally close in other categories like partisan affiliation and 2012 presidential vote, but significantly more men than women had a favorable view of Sherman (19% to 12%), and were also more likely than women to have an unfavorable opinion (32% to 28%).

Here’s video and enhanced audio of Sherman’s confrontation with Crabtree, from NFL Films:

Chris Christie Ties Rand Paul for 2016 GOP Primary Lead as Ted Cruz Slips 5 Points

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Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) enjoyed a brief moment at the top of the 2016 Republican primary field, buoyed by his not-a-filibuster speech that preceded the government shutdown. What a difference a month makes, as Democratic-leaning (but dead-on accurate) Public Policy Polling now shows Cruz a close runner-up to Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ), who was a 6-point dog in PPP’s last poll, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who regains (a tie for) the lead he held before Cruz’s Sillibuster™.

Cruz was flying high a month ago, but the government shutdown that put Republican electoral prospects into a tailspin appears to have pulled Cruz back to Earth as well, and given Chris Christie his first lead in PPP’s poll, albeit a tie for first with Sen. Paul:

PPP’s newest Republican primary poll for 2016 finds essentially a four way tie at the top of the pack. Chris Christie and Rand Paul both get 16%, followed by Ted Cruz at 15%, and Jeb Bush at 14%. Paul Ryan at 11%, Marco Rubio at 10%, Bobby Jindal at 6%, and Rick Santorum at 5% round out the field.

The biggest change compared to a month ago is a 5 point decline in Cruz’s support from its peak in the immediate aftermath of his long speech on the Senate floor. Bush has seen a three point increase in his support and Christie’s had a two point bump, with Paul, Rubio, and Ryan all within a point of where they were last time.

The poll also shows good news for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who has held commanding leads in almost every one of PPP’s 2016 general election polls:

Hillary Clinton continues to be the overall frontrunner for 2016, leading all of her potential Republican opponents by at least 5 points. Chris Christie comes the closest at 44/39, followed by Jeb Bush at 48/39, and Rand Paul at 49/37. Clinton’s average lead of 9 points in these head to heads is up from an average lead of 4 points on our July poll, perhaps another outgrowth of the shutdown. Clinton leads Ted Cruz 50/33- that 17 point margin would be the most a Democrat has won by since Barry Goldwater was on the ballot.

Christie is the current standard-bearer for the “electability” crowd, and the government shutdown bump could well wear off, but a Christie-Clinton race could be a perilous one for the abrasive New Jersey guv, who will have to thrad the needle in attacking the immensely popular Hillary Clinton.

Texas Toast? Wendy Davis Trails By Either 6 or 15 Points in Texas Governor’s Race

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Electing a Democratic candidate for governor in Texas was always going to be a steep uphill battle, but according to a new poll by Democratic-leaning but deadly-accurate Public Policy Polling, that hill just got a whole lot steeper. State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-TX) now trails Attorney General Greg Abbott (R-TX) by 15 points in PPP’s latest survey, but that lead is only six points in a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Monday.

Texas hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since 1990, when they elected Ann Richards by a narrow, third-party-aided 49%-47% margin. If Davis supporters are inclined to look on the bright side, they’ll go with that UT/TT poll:

In a head-to-head race, Abbott got 40 percent of registered voters to Davis’ 34 percent, with 25 percent of the voters undecided. In a three-way general election, he would get 40 percent, Davis would get 35 percent and Libertarian Kathie Glass would get 5 percent.

…The spread between those with favorable impressions (of Greg Abbott), now at 36 percent, and unfavorable ones, at 24 percent, remained about the same. The rise of Davis from June to October is evident in the sheer numbers of people who have an impression of her now: 37 percent have a favorable impression, while 24 percent have an unfavorable one. Only 16 percent said they have no opinion or don’t know of her. In the June survey, taken before her 11-hour filibuster of an omnibus abortion bill, 58 percent were in that last category, while 11 percent had favorable impressions and 12 percent had unfavorable ones.

PPP, however, finds a much different landscape for Wendy Davis, and the apples-to-apples trend is not good for Davis:

PPP’s newest poll of next year’s race for Governor of Texas finds Republican Greg Abbott expanding his lead over Democrat Wendy Davis. Abbott now has a 15 point advantage at 50/35. That’s up a good amount from our last poll, conducted the week of Davis’ famous filibuster, when Abbott led just 48/40. But it’s pretty comparable to what we found in January when he had a 46/34 lead.

As Davis has become better known to Texans, her negatives have risen. 36% of voters have a favorable opinion of her to 42% with an unfavorable one. In June it was a positive 39/29 spread, meaning she’s dropped a net 16 points since then. Voters are kind of indifferent toward Abbott, with 35% rating him favorably, 32% unfavorably, and 33% not having an opinion either way.

Given PPP’s record of accuracy, Davis supporters would do well to heed this new poll. If there’s good news to be found in it, it’s that Wendy Davis has huge openings with independent voters, with whom she has a favorable/unfavorable rating of 46%/36%, but with whom she ties Abbott at 44% head-to-head, and Hispanic voters, who view Davis more favorably than they do Abbott, but with whom Abbott still enjoys a five point head-to-head advantage.

A lot can happen in a year, as well, and Wendy Davis does have one significant advantage over other Democrats in lost-cause races: thanks to the national profile she gained during her filibuster, she won’t have to rely on Democratic Party organizations to fund a campaign that they might consider a bad investment. Any way you look at it, though, Sen. Davis has a lot of work to do, and a steep hill to climb.

Polls: Shutdown Puts 48 Republican House Incumbents Behind Generic Democratic Opponent

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The government shutdown continues to be the subject of deadly polling numbers for Republicans, and the news just got worse. A new round of polling by Democratic-leaning (but dead-on accurate) Public Policy Polling shows that a total of 37 out of 65 districts polled would vote for a generic Democratic candidate over the Republican incumbent, sight-unseen. When PPP push-polled about the shutdown, however, that number increased to 49 of 65.

In the first round of polls, commissioned by Moveon.org, PPP polled 24 congressional districts held by Republican incumbents, and found 17 districts in which a generic Democratic opponent led the Republican incumbent before respondents were asked about the shutdown. That number increased to 21 once voters were told about Republican support for the shutdown strategy. Their second poll showed a a 21 point negative shift in the generic congressional ballot among independents, and Republicans being blamed for the shutdown over Democrats by a 48%-42% margin, 51%-37% among independents.

This third round of polling shows even more Republican incumbents in danger:

Incumbent Republicans trail generic Democrats in 15 of the 25 districts we most recently surveyed. This means generic Democrats lead in 37 of 61 districts polled since the beginning of the government shutdown. Democrats only need to net 17 seats in order to retake the House.

And the bad news for Republicans doesn’t stop there, because in the minority of the 61 districts where Republicans lead in the initial head-to-head question, 11 more Republicans fall behind once voters are informed that the Republican supported the government shutdown and 1 race becomes tied. This means that our results indicate Democrats have pickup opportunities in an astounding 49 of the 61 districts surveyed.

Of course, important caveats apply. The 2014 elections are more than a year away, and these surveys were conducted in the midst of a high-profile shutdown debate. Moreover, generic Democratic candidates are not the same as actual candidates. Democrats must recruit strong candidates and run effective campaigns in individual districts if they are to capitalize on the vulnerability revealed by these surveys, and they must maintain a significant national advantage over Republicans.

It’s entirely up to Republicans if they want to ignore the push-poll question (they shouldn’t, though, because people really, really do blame them for the shutdown), but even without that, 37 seats is more than enough to give Democrats the House in 2014. Answering a telephone survey isn’t the same as actually voting in a non-presidential election, though, which is the lone scrap of security blankie that Republicans can hold to their cheeks. Gerrymandering and low midterm turnout remain their allies.

What this poll does do, however, is ensure that Democratic donors will pour money and resources into these races that they otherwise might not have. Can Democrats figure out a way to translate 48 leads and three near-ties into 17 wins? Stay tuned.

New Poll Finds Congress is Worse Than Hemorrhoids and Hipsters but Better Than Miley Cyrus

This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite

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“How unpopular is Congress?” has quickly become one of the easiest comic set-ups in Washington. And because so many people just really hate Congress, the jokers now have a lot more ammunition to work with, because Congress is now officially less popular than hemorrhoids and hipsters, but at least the institution remains more popular than Miley Cyrus, twerking, and Anthony Weiner. Small victory!

Public Policy Polling conducted a poll [PDF] to get the hard data on exactly how much Congress is hated by the people it’s supposed to represent. Only eight percent of those polled have a favorable opinion of Congress, with older people much more angry at the legislative body than younger people.

Here is a list of things that people favored more than Congress, including the percentages they received when compared to the denizens of the Capitol.

  • Jury duty (73-18)
  • Hemorrhoids (53-31)
  • Dog poop (47-40)
  • The DMV (58-24)
  • The IRS (42-33)*
  • Witches (46-32)
  • Mother-in-law (64-20)
  • Hipsters (42-33)

*As you can probably figure out, this did not hold across party lines, as Republicans still trust Congress far more than they do the IRS.

Thankfully, there are still some things that people consider lower on the rung than Congress. Toenail fungus is only slightly more preferable to Congress, but here are some of the things people unequivocally agreed are far worse than our elected legislators.

  • Vladimir Putin (28-49)
  • Anthony Weiner (23-50)
  • Miley Cyrus (31-46)
  • Ebola (28-47)
  • Charles Manson (18-56)
  • Heroin (24-53)
  • Twerking (33-37)

So GOOD NEWS, Congress. You’re more popular than heroin and twerking. Give yourselves a big hand!

[photo via screengrab]

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Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

Polls: Shutdown Could Give Democrats House in 2014

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Although the mainstream media has done its level best to spread the wealth around, the current government shutdown appears to be taking an electorally deadly toll on House Republicans. According to a raft of new polls by Democratic-leaning (but dead-on accurate) Public Policy Polling, commissioned by MoveOn.org, there are at least 21 districts in which a Republican opponent polls behind a generic Democratic challenger, especially when asked about the shutdown and the debt ceiling.

Republicans seemed to have gerrymandered themselves into invincibility with their 2010 census year tidal wave, retaining their majority in 2012 despite losing the Congressional popular vote by nearly two million votes. However, PPP polled 24 congressional districts held by Republican incumbents, and found 21 districts in which a generic Democratic opponent now leads:

If the 2014 elections were held today, Republicans would be in grave danger of losing control of the House of Representatives, according to a series of 24 surveys conducted by Public Policy Polling in Republican-held House districts over the past few days. The surveys challenge the conventional wisdom that gerrymandering has put the House out of reach for Democrats.

The surveys, commissioned and paid for by MoveOn.org Political Action, show Republican incumbents behind among registered voters in head-to-head contests with generic Democratic challengers in 17 districts. In four other districts, the incumbent Republican falls behind a generic Democratic candidate after respondents are told that the Republican incumbent supported the government shutdown. In only three districts do Republican incumbents best generic Democratic challengers after voters are told the incumbent supported the government shutdown. Democrats must pick up 17 seats to win control of the House.

These poll results make clear that if the election were held today, such a pickup would be well within reach.

Even in the three districts in which the Republican opponent still leads, the Democrats gain points after voters are told about the Republicans’ support for the government shutdown, and one of those incumbents holds only a three point lead.

Even if you feel like the shutdown question is a little too push-poll-ish, these results are hardly encouraging for the GOP. The initial responses likely already have reaction to the shutdown baked into them. In all but two of the districts polled, the Tea Party scored net unfavorable ratings of up to 26 points.

A year is an eternity in politics, especially in today’s microscopic news cycle, which means either that Republicans have a long time to undo the political damage that this fight has inflicted on them, or gives Democrats that much more time to capitalize on it.

[photo via Wikimedia]

Poll-I-Buster: Ted Cruz Snatches GOP Primary Lead From Rand Paul

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Although it’s still early, polling on the 2016 Republican primaries has been a seesaw affair that is trending in the direction of people who bring up Nazis on the floor of the U.S. Senate. In a poll taken after his epic 21-hour Sillibuster™, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has taken the GOP primary lead from Sen. Rand Paul (R-TX), who took that lead following a filibuster of now-CIA Director John Brennan‘s nomination.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) better start practicing the TENA Twist. After holding a slim lead in several polls earlier this year, the filibuster-free legislator has been left in the dust in the latest poll from Democratic-leaning (but dead-on accurate) Public Policy Polling, even falling behind establishment picks former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ):

PPP’s newest national poll finds Ted Cruz is now the top choice of Republican primary voters to be their candidate for President in 2016. He leads the way with 20% to 17% for Rand Paul, 14% for Chris Christie, 11% for Jeb Bush, 10% each for Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan, 4% for Bobby Jindal, and 3% each for Rick Santorum and Scott Walker.

Cruz has gained 8 points since our last national 2016 poll in July while everyone else has more or less stayed in place. He’s made himself the face of a government shutdown over Obamacare, and the Republican base supports that by a 64/20 margin. It’s not surprising that Republicans identifying as ‘very conservative’ support a shutdown 75/10, but even the moderate wing of the party supports it by a 46/36 margin.

At this rate, Christie and Bush are going to have to figure out some way to get on the Senate floor, since Cruz has at least lowered the bar to include quasi-filibusters.

The poll also found that Sen. Cruz crushes Republican leaders when it comes to trust among the GOP base:

Our numbers also suggest that Cruz is now viewed more broadly as the leader of the Republican Party. When asked whether they trust Cruz or GOP leader Mitch McConnell more, Cruz wins out 49/13. When it comes to who’s more trusted between Cruz and Speaker John Boehner, Cruz has a 51/20 advantage. And when it comes to Cruz and 2008 GOP nominee and Senate colleague John McCain, Cruz wins out 52/31. He now has more crecredibility with the GOP base than the folks who have been leading the party for years.

The emergence of the filibuster-esque speech as a ticket to the top of the polls doesn’t portend well for a Congress that already can’t get anything done, but it will surely be a boon to cable news producers and late-night comedians. How long can it be before C-Span 2 viewers are treated to a 20-hour version of Dueling Filibustering Banjos?

[photos via screengrab]

Paula Deen More Popular Than Martin Luther King Among Georgia Republicans, Poll Finds

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Paula Deen may have lost support from her sponsors, the Food Network, and much of the public but, according to a recent poll, there’s one area in which she’s still going strong: among Georgia Republicans.

According to Public Policy Polling, the embattled Southern cooking mogul has a whopping 73% favorability rating with Georgia Republicans, even following her recent and well-publicized “fall from grace” involving her past use of racist language.

Deen previously admitted to using the “n-word” during a suit filed by a former employee alleging “violent, sexist, and racist” behavior from both the chef and her brother “Bubba.” She also received strong criticism for her expressed desire to have a “Southern plantation-style” theme wedding for her brother complete with all-black waitstaff, apparently harkening back to the days of slavery in the American South. Following this admission, and the ensuing controversy, the Food Network (which airs her show Paula’s Home Cooking) and numerous other businesses have ceased relations with the chef.

The real kicker here is that, according to the PPP, her favorability is markedly higher than another famous southerner –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He garnered 59% favorability among self-identified Republicans in the state.

Apparently, the Georgia GOP values incredibly caloric comfort food served with a sheen of modern prejudice over acknowledging a man who was shot in the course of his lifelong, peaceful fight for racial equality.

However, it remains to be seen whether the Republicans polled were compelled to compare the two.

[h/t TPM]

Rand Paul Pulls Ahead In National GOP Primary Poll, Still Gets Crushed By Hillary

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Early polling for the 2016 election has shown a trend, among Republicans, of favoring candidates who have the best chance of being clobbered by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the latest from Democratic-leaning (but dead-on accurate) Public Policy Polling continues that pattern. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has surged to the lead in PPP’s national Republican primary poll, holding a three-point lead over his nearest competitors, but still trailing Hillary by eight points in head-to-head general election matchups.

As I predicted, Sen. Rand Paul’s defense of Lincoln-hating secessionist staffer Jack “The Southern Avenger” Hunter hasn’t hurt him, and has in fact helped him slightly extend his lead over the rest of the more electable field. In PPP’s May poll, Sen. Paul surged from single digits to a close third on the strength of his much-ballyhooed filibuster. The Southern Avenger seems to have done even better for him:

Rand Paul sits ahead of the field at 16%, his highest numbers since April, and the first time he has held sole possession of first place. Behind him are Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Paul Ryan, all at 13%. This is a slight drop for Bush and Christie, who last month had both led with 15%. Just after that is Ted Cruz with 12%, a huge increase from 7% in May. Rounding out the frontrunners is Marco Rubio, who continues to slide in the polls, pulling in 10%. This is less than half of the 21% of the vote he received back in April.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that Rand Paul’s Southen Avenger-fueled surge happens to correspond to that disastrous slide for Sen. Marco Rubio, whose party seems to have abandoned the idea of appealing to anyone but fearful white voters. All of this is great news for Hillary Clinton, who does better against Rand Paul than any of the rest, including Rubio, and whose margins against the non-Rand field have been narrowing:

In the general election, Hillary Clinton still leads her competitors, though the number of close races is growing. Chris Christie was once again within the margin of error in his head-to-head matchup, down 43% to 42%. So did Paul Ryan, who trails Clinton 46% to 44%, and Jeb Bush, who trails 44% to 41%. All three of the Republican candidates were able to pull in at least 10% of Democrats and lead by at least 5% with independents. Rand Paul is doing considerably worse, down 47% to 39%, due to the fact that he would only have the guaranteed support of 78% of his own party. Marco Rubio has rebounded considerably against Hillary, down 45% to 40%, compared to an 11% deficit last month.

There are three Republicans who are polling within three points of Hillary Clinton, and they’re all losing to Rand Paul. Republicans auditioned a lot of base favorites before settling on “electable” eventual loser Mitt Romney, and early indications are they won’t make the same mistake again, now that it might actually be helpful to them.

Plane Stupid: 30% Of Republicans Want Passenger’s Guns Allowed On Planes

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Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, besides being  dead-on accurate, is also known for the occasional offbeat survey question, and in their newest travel poll, the firm produced a truly disturbing one. While chasing down Americans’ travel habits and preferences, PPP asked if passengers should be allowed to carry guns aboard airplanes. Shockingly, more than zero percent of Americans said they should, and perhaps less shockingly, a full 30% of Republicans want to be able to stand their ground even when they’re off the ground.

At first blush, PPP’s new poll seems like a feather-light waste of time, ranking the approval ratings of various airlines, and taking a “Mile High Club” census, but the question about guns was revealing:

16% of Americans think you should be able to bring your gun onto a plane. There’s a large partisan divide on the issue with 30% of Republicans but only 6% of Democrats supportive of guns on planes. We also asked about expanded background checks on this poll and a plurality of the people opposed to them also think you should be able to bring your gun on the plane.

Furthermore, only 3% of people who voted for President Obama in 2012 thought guns should be allowed on planes, versus 27% of Romney voters, and another 8% who weren’t sure. That means more than a third of people who voted for Mitt Romney* are open to the idea of armed airline passengers.

What the poll forgot to ask is how many people actually think guns are already allowed on planes. Judging from the TSA’s armory of confiscated weapons, there are a lot of them:

Years after the 9/11 attacks prompted such serious crackdowns on airplane security that you can’t take a regular bottle of shampoo on board, the T.S.A. found 1,549 firearms on passengers attempting to go through screening in 2012.

According to The AP, this year alone screeners have “found 894 guns on passengers or in their carry-on bags, a 30 percent increase over the same period last year.” In one week in May, screeners seized a record 65 firearms, “45 of them loaded and 15 with bullets in the chamber and ready to be fired.” The previous record was set two weeks earlier when they found 50 guns.

The TSA has recently decided to allow passengers to carry small knives onto airplanes, so who knows?

I was also surprised to learn that 46% of Americans have flown first-class, which seems like a high number, especially given that 75% of the people surveyed fly infrequently, or not at all. Also amusing is the fact that 1% of Republicans responded that they were “not sure” if they’d ever flown first-class, no doubt replying ” Is there any other way?”

Gun policy is back in the news these days, by virtue of the Stand Your Ground debate that the Zimmerman verdict has sparked. Poll results like these should give Americans an unsubtle hint about whom they should listen to.

*Mitt Romney was the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.