Haley rising, but only so much
College grads sticking with Trump, the disappearing incumbency advantage, a new crosstab aggregator, abortion vs. weed in Ohio, and America's favorite Christmas cookie
No. 295 | December 8, 2023
Nate Cohn: Why Haley Is Rising Among the Rivals to Trump (New York Times)
“If you dozed off while following the Republican primary, I wouldn’t blame you. But it might be worth perking up for a moment.
Over the last few months, Nikki Haley has gained enough in the polls that she might be on the verge of surpassing Ron DeSantis as Donald J. Trump’s principal rival in the race.
With Ms. Haley still a full 50 percentage points behind Mr. Trump in national polls, her ascent doesn’t exactly endanger his path to the nomination. If anything, she is a classic factional candidate — someone who’s built a resilient base of support by catering to the wishes of a minority of the party. So if you were reading this only on the off chance that Mr. Trump might be in jeopardy, you can doze off again.”
Kyle Kondik: The GOP Primary: Lowest-Hanging Fruit Remains Out of Reach for Trump Rivals (Sabato’s Crystal Ball)
“Of course, both DeSantis and Haley are well behind Trump essentially everywhere one looks, with Trump near 60% in national polls and around 45%-50% in the key kickoff states, although the polling in those states pre-dates Thanksgiving. There has, however, been some recent national polling, and Trump’s position remains strong. The DeSantis-Haley matchup, which we expect to be contentious once again in the debate tonight, is reminiscent of that meme (maybe you’re familiar with it) in which an athlete is shown celebrating wildly on a medal stand, only for it to be revealed that he did not actually win first place. It’s fair to say that DeSantis and Haley are jockeying for second, but not really for first, at least not at the moment.
This is at least in part because both DeSantis and Haley have thus far been unable to dislodge the piece of the GOP electorate that is hypothetically soft for Trump: college-educated voters. Haley has shown some strength among these voters, but not enough to even surpass Trump with this group—let alone with non-college Republicans, with whom Trump dominates.”
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“But when it comes to the million-dollar question — whether the debate actually helped anyone in the polls — it actually seems like Christie was the winner. When we asked poll respondents (including both debate watchers and non-watchers) whom they were considering voting for (respondents could choose multiple candidates for this question), Christie was the only candidate who had more potential support after the debate (18 percent) than before it (15 percent). Despite that, though, Christie is still mired toward the bottom of the pack, with the least potential support out of the candidates who made the stage.
Ultimately, the debate doesn’t seem to have changed the overall trajectory of the race. In our post-debate poll, former President Donald Trump (who once again skipped the debate) still had the most potential support at 64 percent, and DeSantis and Haley were still his main competition — although, for the first time in four debates, neither made gains in the race for second place. Despite their above-average performances, slightly fewer Republicans said they were considering voting for DeSantis and Haley after the debate.”
“Again, you can cut the data in different ways; whenever we’re analyzing historical election results, we’re unavoidably doomed to jump to conclusions based on small sample sizes. But for what it’s worth, if you plot a linear trend on this data — as in the faint purple line — the incumbency advantage has dipped into negative territory by 2020, meaning you’d rather not be an incumbent than be one.
That’s crazy, right? Don’t incumbents normally have a big advantage? Well, actually I’m not so sure.”
“Over the past few weeks, I’ve put together an aggregate of subgroup margins from crosstabs of national 2024 general election polls conducted in November 2023. I will be repeating this exercise once a month through the end of October 2024 so we can track how subgroups are shifting over the course of the campaign.
Here’s how it works:
I take a flat average of the results of every subgroup from every qualifying poll. I only include subgroups when they appear in 2+ qualifying polls in a given month.
For 2020 baselines, I take a flat average of the results of every available subgroup from the most widely respected estimates of the 2020 election – Catalist, Pew Research’s validated voter analysis, and AP VoteCast – and compare that to the polling average.
For polls of a 3+ candidate race, I’ll only be tracking polls that include candidates that have actually announced prior to when the poll was launched.”
📊 Public Opinion
John Sides: Partisanship is not just negative partisanship (Good Authority)
“The percentage of Americans who call themselves a “strong” Democrat or Republican has increased from 24% in 1976 to 44% in 2020. It would be odd if this increase was only an expression of dislike for the other party. It’s like if people who identify as diehard Yankees fans didn’t really love the Yankees but just hated the Red Sox.
Lee and her co-authors then show that even as of 2020, Americans’ dislike of the other party was not necessarily greater than their affection for their own party. This is based on the measures graphed above.”
“In recent decades, Americans have become less likely to identify with an organized religion. Yet a new Pew Research Center survey shows that belief in spirits or a spiritual realm beyond this world is widespread, even among those who don’t consider themselves religious.”
Monmouth: America's Favorite Christmas Cookie (Monmouth)
“Speaking of holiday baking, nearly half of the country has a favorite Christmas cookie. Among those who can make a single choice, frosted sugar cookies lead the list (32%), with gingerbread (12%) and chocolate chip (11%) rounding out the top three. Snickerdoodles (6%) come in fourth place, followed by butter (4%), peanut butter (4%), and chocolate (4%) tying for fifth. Many other varieties are also represented on the list, although some of those polled simply said something like ‘mom’s cookies.’”
“The economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic put the financial security of U.S. households at risk. The initial shock caused about 25 million workers to lose their jobs within three months, from February to April 2020, and it took about two years for the nation’s employment level to fully recover. Workers’ earnings also took a hit as consumer prices began to increase sharply in 2021.
Even so, American families made strong financial gains during the pandemic. The typical U.S. household saw its wealth increase by 37% from 2019 to 2022, after inflation, according to a recent report from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Wealth, or net worth, is the difference between the value of assets owned by households and their debt level, and it is a key indicator of financial security.”