The Takeaway: N.J., Va. Races Near the Finish Line

The Takeaway: N.J., Va. Races Near the Finish Line
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Intriguing tidbits from the week in election surveys and public opinion polls.

Judgment Day Cometh: The final round of polls is trickling in for the two gubernatorial elections next Tuesday. In New Jersey, the RealClearPolitics poll average shows Democrat Phil Murphy with a commanding 15.5 percentage-point lead over Republican Kim Guadagno. In Virginia, Democrat Ralph Northam’s lead over Republican Ed Gillespie has shrunk to 3.6 points.

Free Speech for Me, But Not for Thee? New polling from the Cato Institute and YouGov shows that, as with everything else in America these days, Democrats and Republicans have vastly divergent views around the issues of free speech and tolerance. For example, 70 percent of Republicans “strongly agree” with the statement that “a big problem this country has is being politically correct.” Only 21 percent of Democrats feel the same way. And 73 percent of Republicans agree that the “political climate these days prevents me from saying things I believe because others might find them offensive.” Only 46 percent of Democrats feel the same way. Read the full survey details here.

The Manafort Files: ABC News and the Washington Post released new data yesterday gauging public reaction to Robert Mueller’s indictment of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on Monday.  Overall, 58 percent of those surveyed approve of the way Mueller is handling the investigation, although far more Democrats approve (78 percent) versus Republicans (38 percent).  Respondents are even more split on the question of whether Trump may have committed a crime. Seventy-four percent of Democrats believe it is likely he did; 82 percent of Republicans believe it’s unlikely.

Maverick Without a Home? A poll this week from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal  shows that Democrats now hold a more favorable view of John McCain than Republicans. Fifty-two percent of Democrats had a positive view of the senior senator from Arizona while just 35 percent of Republicans felt the same. Forty-four percent of Republicans had a negative opinion of their party’s standard-bearer in the 2008 presidential race.

Can Dems Catch a Wave? Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg released a second batch of polls this week that combines traditional phone surveys with data from online panels of key Democratic base voters. They show that President Trump and Republicans are potentially vulnerable in 2018 for “not keeping their promises.” Greenberg argues that Democratic voters can be motivated by candidates with a populist message declaring they are “fed up” with the status quo and that “the economy and politics are rigged against the hard-working middle class.” Where have we heard that before?

Turn the Other GOP Cheek: A new poll from CBS News shows that Republicans want Trump and members of Congress to get along better. Eighty-three percent say the president should ignore Republican members of Congress when they criticize him, and 90 percent think GOP members should do the same when Trump criticizes them. One problem: Nearly half of Republican voters think Congress does not have the same policy goals as the president, and most believe the GOP is getting in the way of his agenda.

Tom Bevan is the Co-Founder & Publisher of RealClearPolitics and the co-author of Election 2012: A Time for Choosing. Email:, Twitter: @TomBevanRCP

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