What fuels Trump’s rise? Anger and fear

… A month ago, Trump’s standing among Republican presidential candidates appeared to be eroding, especially in Iowa, where Ben Carson was gaining support. But since the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, Trump has seized the center of the GOP’s stage and bolstered his lead in both national and state polls. The horrors inflicted by Islamic State have given his campaign a lift. …

An ABC-Washington Post poll released this week found that 42% of Republicans named Trump as the candidate they trusted most to handle terrorism, far ahead of any of his competitors.

The public’s heightened fear may not last until next year’s general election, but it will surely remain fresh until the Iowa caucuses in January. CONT.

Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

Why one political scientist thinks Donald Trump might actually win

In an exchange with Paul Krugman, political scientist Alan Abramowitz made one of the best cases I’ve heard for, as Krugman put it, “thinking the Trumpthinkable.” At some point, Abramowitz argued, pundits need to admit that Trump has a good chance of winning the Republican presidential nomination.

But that remains a minority viewpoint. Nate Silver, for instance, published a piece arguing that analysts extrapolating forward from Trump’s current (and impressively durable) poll lead are likely to be disappointed. So I called Abramowitz and asked him to walk me through his argument in more detail. CONT.

Ezra Klein, Vox

Recent polls: GOP presidential preference

Polling Matters: The U.S. presidential race, with Stan Greenberg

On this week’s episode of the PB / Polling Matters podcast Keiran discusses the 2016 US Presidential race with Democratic pollster and strategist Stan Greenberg. CONT.

Polling Matters

The Limits of Donald Trump’s ‘Outsider’ Appeal

… We conducted two focus groups with likely 2016 voters in Columbus, Ohio, this month. Most certainly, these voters are sick of the same old gridlock and partisan infighting in Washington. Yet while they are looking for a unifier and consensus-builder, most have not discounted the importance of experience. Many agree that the “devil they know” is better than the devil they don’t know. CONT.

Peter D. Hart & Corrie Hunt (Hart Research), Wall Street Journal

Consumer sentiment strong thanks to middle- and lower-income households

The continued strength in consumer sentiment during the past two months has been due to gains among middle- and lower-income households, while confidence retreated among households with incomes in the upper third of the distribution, according to the University of Michigan (U-M) Surveys of Consumers. …

The Sentiment Index was 91.3 in the November 2015 survey, up from 90.0 in October and the 2015 low of 87.2 in September. CONT.

University of Michigan

Paris and the Presidential Election

The Paris attacks — as well as developments in Brussels, Egypt and Mali — may have improved Republican prospects in 2016.

Daily surveys conducted by Reuters/Ispos ask voters to identify the “most important problem facing the United States today.” The accompanying chart covers the period from Nov. 7 to Nov. 24 and shows the abrupt increase in public concern about terrorism immediately following the Nov. 13 assaults in Paris. …

The Republican advantage on this topic has been substantial for some time. CONT.

Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times

Race and Reality in America: Five key findings

… CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation partnered to survey Americans on issues relating to race and ethnicity. The poll explores how things have changed in the last 20 years and what race means now. The survey also examines how different groups of Americans experience race day-to-day, and what they think about racism and the racial divisions that are so pervasive in our economic and political lives.

Here are five key findings from the CNN/Kaiser Family Foundation survey on race and reality. CONT.

Jennifer Agiesta, CNN

How racism explains Republicans’ rise in the South

… Democrats began losing the support of white voters after World War II, particularly in the South. During the civil rights movement, white Southerners left the Democratic Party in droves.

Some scholars have argued that changes in the South’s economy caused the party’s decline there. Since wealthier voters tend to be more conservative, it’s plausible that Southerners’ move to the Republican Party is a reflection of the region’s economic growth.

Other historians, though, have long argued that civil rights legislation supported by President Kennedy and other Washington Democrats led to the party’s loss of power in the South. And a study published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research, based on more than half a century of newly available polling data, supports that interpretation. CONT.

Max Ehrenfreund, Washington Post

Forget the 2016 Polls: Nobody Knows Anything Yet

Imagine interviewing for a top-level job where the hiring committee hasn’t gotten around to reading your resume, but HR keeps polling its members anyway to see if you should be brought back for the next round of interviews—and all the while, you’re sinking toward bankruptcy.

Even worse, imagine that the hiring committee is instead leaning toward a TV game show host and a motivational speaker, neither of whom has any obvious relevant experience for the job.

A dozen Republican presidential candidates don’t need to imagine any of this. They’ve been living it most of this year—the potential victims of surveys that shouldn’t actually matter yet. CONT.

S.V. Dáte, National Journal

Americans Evenly Split on Sending Troops to Fight Islamic State Group

Since the Islamic State terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, Americans’ reaction to sending U.S. ground troops to assist groups fighting Islamic militants has shifted from majority opposition to an even divide. Forty-seven percent of Americans now favor committing U.S. ground troops to Iraq and Syria for this purpose, while 46% are opposed. CONT.

Lydia Saad, Gallup