The Takeaway, 4-19-17

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The Takeaway: Polls and Insights 

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Daily Data Point: Takeaways from the Georgia Special Election 
by Sean Trende  Early Wednesday morning, Fulton County officials worked out a ballot processing issue and finished counting the votes in the special election for Georgia’s 6thCongressional  District.  Democrat Jon Ossoff just missed winning the race outright, with 48.1 percent of the tally, and will head toward a runoff in June against Republican Karen Handel.  Here are five thoughts on what this means: 1. This isn’t a win, and it isn’t a loss. It is a “to be continued."  So summarized one of my twitter followers, and I think it’s the right way to look at this.  Republicans on my timeline are mocking Democrats for their “moral victory," while some analysts are noting that Democrats will have to win districts like this to take back the House in 2018. But this could well be an outright victory in six weeks.  To the extent victory or defeat is crucial to your analysis – and it probably shouldn’t be here – we can’t really game this one out yet. 2. Ossoff will have a reasonable chance of winning in June. So Ossoff is going to end this first voting stage with (a) an awful lot of money, (b) momentum and (c) a combined Democratic vote share that is right at 49 percent. For him to take the district, all it would take is a slightly increased Democratic tailwind combined with some sour grapes from Republican supporters of unsuccessful primary candidates. With that said, this isn’t a done deal for Ossoff, either.  He’s had the advantage of multiple opponents beating each other up for the past few weeks, and Republican money got into the game reasonably late.  He was hit by a late-breaking suggestion that he didn’t live in the district.  A female Republican politician probably wasn’t his preferred choice for the runoff. But all told, this next stage is probably going to be harder for him, rather than easier. 3. This is not a great result for Republicans. Moral victories are a myth, but they can tell us things about other, similarly situated contests. It’s the reason the NCAA selection committee takes strength of schedule into account when seeding postseason tournaments. All other things being equal, Republicans weren’t neutral on the outcome here.  They would have preferred that Ossoff wind up in the low 40s or even the 30s, instead of taking them to the wire. This district is, at its core, a Republican one, which a Republican should have won easily.  As I put it Tuesday, there was a continuum of concern among Republicans from hardly any at all if Ossoff won 40 percent of the vote to panic if he won the district outright, with genuine concern starting in at around 45 percent.  I still think that’s correct, and this outcome was closer to panic than “meh."

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Daily Polls
 Congressional Approval 
According to an Economist/YouGov poll:

 Direction of Country 
According to an Economist/YouGov poll:

 Presidential Approval 
According to Gallup:

  • 42% of Americans approve of President Trump’s job performance, while
  • 52% disapprove

According to Rasmussen Reports:

  • 48% of Americans approve of President Trump’s job performance, while
  • 52% disapprove

According to an Economist/YouGov poll:

  • 44% of Americans approve of President Trump’s job performance, while
  • 50% disapprove

According to a Quinnipiac poll:

  • 40% of Americans approve of President Trump’s job performance, while
  • 56% disapprove


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