May 8, 2018

President Trump has said he will announce Tuesday afternoon whether he is unilaterally pulling the U.S. out of a deal with Iran, China, Russia, and European allies that prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons at least through 2030, and Trump is widely expected to scrap the deal. A CNN poll out Tuesday shows that to be an unpopular choice, with 63 percent of Americans preferring to stay in the deal and only 29 percent saying the U.S. should pull out.

There is a partisan divide, with 51 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of conservatives, and 46 percent of people who think Trump is doing a good job as president favoring scrapping the deal, while Democrats and independents strongly favor staying with the deal. Interestingly, a 62 percent majority of respondents said they don't think Iran is living up to the terms of the deal — despite the International Atomic Energy Agency and even the Trump administration saying Iran has been in compliance. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they approve Trump's handling of Iran, while 46 percent disapprove and 17 percent have no opinion.

The CNN poll was conducted over the phone by SSRS from May 2-5 among 1,015 randomly sampled adults nationwide, and it has a margin of sampling error of ±3.6 percentage points. If you want to learn more about the Iran deal and Trump's options, The Associated Press has a good explainer, or you can watch David Sanger run through the pros and cons on CNN's New Day. Peter Weber

April 26, 2018
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Democrats have a real shot to pick off three Republican Senate seats in November, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll that shows the Democrat beating all three Republicans vying for an open seat in Arizona, ousting Sen. Dean Heller (R) in Nevada by 6 percentage points, and leading the GOP candidate in Tennessee, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R), by a statistically insignificant 1 point. "The poll provides new evidence that Republicans' hold on the Senate may not be as solid as it once looked," Axios notes, though "the overall Senate map in this election still favors the GOP."

Democrats need to pick up two seats to gain control of the Senate in November, and a previous Axios/SurveyMonkey poll showed five Democrats at risk of losing their seats to Republican challengers. At the same time, Axios warns, "Democrats have been clearly outperforming in the special elections since Trump became president." On the issues, Republicans may be buoyed by the economy, but half of all voters in the three states surveyed want to fix the Affordable Care Act while only about 30 percent want to repeal it, and 64 percent of voters support protecting DREAMers and 71 percent favor a path to citizenship for immigrants rather than deportation.

The poll was conducted online April 2-23 with 1,667 registered voters in Arizona, 1,332 in Nevada, and 1,639 in Tennessee. The modeled error estimate is 4 percentage points for Arizona and Tennessee and 5 points for Nevada. Peter Weber

April 18, 2018
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Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) Democratic challenger, Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), has made stunning gains in the polls in recent weeks, with the race now officially "too close to call," Quinnipiac University reported Wednesday. Cruz has a slight lead of 47 percent to O'Rourke's 44 percent, with a margin of error of 3.6 points.

Importantly, Quinnipiac University's poll surveyed 1,029 registered Texans. Other recent polls, such as Gallup's, have similarly found Cruz in a spot of trouble, but "the group of people Gallup is polling is the entire adult population, rather than registered or likely voters," FiveThirtyEight explains. "And in Texas, there's a big partisan gap between the adult population and the electorate. Nationally, voters, as a group, typically lean a bit more Republican than the adult population.But Texas is a special case: The electorate tends to be way more GOP-leaning than adults overall are."

While Texas is a deep red state — the last time a Democrat was elected to the Senate was 1988 — O'Rourke has additionally out-fundraised Cruz in three of the last four reporting periods, raking in a stunning $6.7 million in the first quarter of 2018.

"Democrats have had a target on Sen. Ted Cruz's back, and they may be hitting the mark," said the assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, Peter A. Brown. "Once expected to 'cruise' to re-election, the incumbent is in a tight race with Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke." Read the full results via Quinnipiac here, and read why The Week's Ryan Cooper thinks Democrats should go after Cruz despite the uphill battle here. Jeva Lange

March 27, 2018

Recent polls confirm what many Republican lawmakers probably already suspected: President Trump is a net drag on Republicans heading into the 2018 midterms, especially in this year's battleground — upper middle class suburbs — but he's also crucial to turning out their base. "It's a political catch-22," Virginia GOP strategist J. Tucker Martin tells The New York Times. "Candidates can't win without their base. But what it takes to satisfy a pro-Trump base in 2018 will make Republican candidates in many states unacceptable to large swaths of the electorate." Or, as Homer Simpson phrases that dilemma (regarding alcohol, not Trump):

With GOP electoral chances hanging so heavily on Trump, there's some good news in a new CNN-SRSS poll: Trump's approval rating is at an 11-month high of 42 percent. "Buried in that poll, though, is a detail that won't be reassuring to his party," says Philip Bump at The Washington Post. "Among those who say they're very enthusiastic about voting in November, he's at only 38 percent support, with 60 percent saying they disapprove. Among those less enthusiastic about voting, as many people view Trump with approval as with disapproval." Why does that matter? Bump explains:

Well, in theory, because it means that the people most motivated to vote are also those least supportive of Trump. Which suggests that the people they're going to vote for in November are not Republicans. A recent Fox News poll shows that Democrats are indeed the group that's more enthusiastic about voting. [The Washington Post]

But as Trump's popularity ticks up, the Democrats' enthusiasm advantage narrows, Bump notes. And because of gerrymandering, Democrats have a surprisingly narrow path to control of Congress; a new Brennan Center for Justice report suggests that Democrats must win nationally by 11 percentage points to get the 24 seats they need to pick up to win the House. That conclusion met resistance from some Democratic and Republican strategists, but few observers think electoral waves are inevitable. Peter Weber

March 14, 2018
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Health care was the top issue for Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district voters, who seemingly elected Democrat Conor Lamb over Republican Rick Saccone in a dramatically close special election on Tuesday, Public Policy Polling found. Fifty-two percent of voters said health care was a top issue in their decision and "among voters who said health care was the most important issue for them, Lamb beat Rick Saccone 64-36, and among a broader group of voters who said it was either the most important or a very important issue, Lamb beat Saccone 62-38," PPP writes.

The heavily Republican PA-18, which President Trump won by 20 points in 2016, additionally disapproved of the GOP's efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act by a margin of 14 points, 53 percent to 39 percent. Almost half of voters, 48 percent, believe "Republicans are now trying to undermine and sabotage [the Affordable Care Act] since they failed to repeal it," and over half, 59 percent, believe the ACA should be kept in place following certain fixes. Just 38 percent believe a full repeal is the best decision.

The Pennsylvania race is being viewed as a bellwether for the 2018 midterm elections, when Democrats are hoping to flip the House. Topher Spiro, the vice president for health policy at the liberal-leaning American Progress, reacted to PPP's poll by tweeting: "BOOM. This is it. Any vulnerable Republican who voted to repeal health care is toast."

The PPP poll reached 567 PA-18 voters on election day, March 13. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.1 percent. Read the full results here. Jeva Lange

March 8, 2018
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President Trump's national approval rating is still historically low — 39.8 percent in the RealClearPolitics average and 40.2 percent at FiveThirtyEight — but "as state-by-state polling of Trump's approval rating shows, the national mood really isn't so national," Nathaniel Rakich notes at FiveThirtyEight. "Voters in different corners of the country differ in how deep their anger runs — and at whom it's directed. ... To take control of the Senate, it doesn't much matter how Democrats perform elsewhere if they can't win both Nevada and Arizona and defend red-state Democrats in places like Missouri and Indiana." According to a new poll by Axios and SurveyMonkey, that could be very difficult for Democrats to pull off.

"Five Senate Democrats would lose to a Republican candidate if the election were held today and three have approval ratings under 50 percent," Axios says. Moreover, out of the 10 states Trump won and where a Senate Democrat is up for re-election, Trump's approval rating tops 50 percent in six of them — West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, Indiana, Missouri, and Ohio. The most vulnerable Democrats, according to the survey, are Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Jon Tester (Mont.), and Claire McCaskill (Mo.).

"With the election many months away and final Republican opponents not set, these numbers are likely to change as real GOP challengers get involved in the race," Axios says, but they "underscore how hard it will be for Democrats to pick up the two seats needed to win the majority despite Trump's troubles." SurveyMonkey and Axios conducted the online poll Feb. 12-March 5 among 17,289 registered voters in the six states above plus Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Axios did not provide a margin of error. Peter Weber

February 26, 2018
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President Trump's approval rating has dipped back down to match its lowest level ever, a new CNN poll has found. Just 35 percent of Americans now approve of Trump, a 5-point plunge since January that follows reports about White House security clearances and during the president's recent gun legislation proposals, which tend to be out of step with what many voters want to see. Many polls, including CNN's, saw Trump with a higher rating in January primarily due to the economy.

In late February, though, Trump's rating looks more like his dismal December numbers, which were his lowest since taking office. Trump is also approved of by 80 percent of Republicans, which represents a new low for him.

President Barack Obama also had an approval rating below 50 percent at this point in his presidency, at 49 percent. Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter shared the previous record for the modern lowest approval rating at this point in their presidencies, 47 percent, which is 12 points higher than Trump's current approval rating.

USA Today and Suffolk University's Political Research Center likewise found Trump back down at his lowest job approval rating since becoming president. CNN's poll, conducted by SSRS, reached 1,016 adults on cell phones or landlines between Feb. 20 and Feb. 23. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.7 percent, and you can read more of the results here. Jeva Lange

February 23, 2018

President Trump has made a determined push for arming school teachers after the Parkland, Florida, shooting last week, but voters appear divided on the issue, a new CBS News poll reveals. Half of Americans, 50 percent, are opposed to arming teachers, while 44 percent are in favor of the plan, the poll found.

"If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly," the president said during a listening session at the White House on Wednesday. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten blasted the idea: "Teachers don't want to be armed, we want to teach," she said.

Sixty-five percent of Americans say gun laws should be stricter, up 8 points since December due to mounting support by Republicans and independents. Forty-one percent of Republicans said they would follow Trump's lead if he called for stricter laws, as he has suggested.

Overall, 87 percent of Americans want the country to spend more money on mental health screenings, 75 percent want to strengthen background checks, 56 want to ban bump stocks, and 53 percent want a nationwide ban on the AR-15, making arming teachers the least popular of the ideas being mulled.

The poll reached 1,012 adults nationwide between Feb. 20 and 22. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 points. See the full results here. Jeva Lange

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