Here’s the latest Quinnipiac poll.  Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia voters on the 2016 Presidential race.  It’s so early in the election cycle that it could be meaningless.  Or  detecting a whiff of something.

Clinton supporters are denouncing it.  Sanders supporters find it encouraging.  And prefer not to imagine the jubilation among partisan Republicans, particularly Jeb(!), Marco, and Scott supporters.
Is it an outlier?  Compared to other national polls that have Clinton decimating her potential GOP opponents?   Absolutely.  Compared to Q’s April poll of these three “swing states,” it’s well within the MOE and normal bounces seen from one poll to the next.  It’s also being noted that Q’s 2012 Presidential polling sucked.

That is one factor in why I flubbed poll reading in 2014.  I too heavily discounted Q’s polliing trendlines in Senate races.  So, I’m not inclined to discount Q’s April and July “swing state” polling. There’s  Internal consistency in these two polls.  
Another reason not to discount Q’s polling is a component of polling external validation.  None of the recent polls have her performing well on that honest/trustworthy or not ratio.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that voters reject candidates that they view as dishonest.  (Of that 60.7% of people that cast their vote for Nixon in 1972, most knew that he was a “crook.”)  OTOH, Democratic pols aren’t so good at exploiting an opponent’s untrustworthiness and Republican pols are quite good at this if they have even a shred of substance to work with.  (Wish the poll had included honest/dishonest for Trump, but his net fav/unfav suggests that he’s too lame to make it across the finish line.)

A second form of external validation for Q’s poll is the 2014 Senate election in these states.  We’re only just over nine months out from the  “voter mood” that  elected Gardner and Ernst and came very close to tossing out the oh-so-popular Mark Warner.    Never a good idea to discount discernable “voter mood” sixteen months before the next general election.  It was a guide to the general election results from 2006 through 2014.  However, a pronounced “mood” is not currently evident at the national level and these three states are swingy enough that they have yet to recover from their 2014 hangover.

Sanders’ supporters would be unwise to read much in this poll as evidence that he would be a stronger DEM candidate than Clinton.  At best it suggests that he wouldn’t be a complete disaster.  I’m not confident that if Clinton is deprived of the nomination, that a high percentage of her female supporters wouldn’t act like many of the conservative Democrats did in 1972.  Sit on their hands harboring the fantasy that if nominated, Clinton would win.

Bottom line, the electoral map is still ugly for the GOP, but becoming a little less ugly might be in progress.   And if it’s an underlying “mood” trend, Clinton will be hard pressed to do more than slow it way down.          

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