May sentiment remains high amid partisanship

Consumer sentiment has continued to move along the high plateau established following Donald Trump’s election. The May 2017 figure was virtually unchanged from the April reading, and nearly identical with the December to May average of 97.3, according to the University of Michigan (U-M) Surveys of Consumers. CONT.

U. of Michigan

What to Make of Montana?

… Clinton lost Montana by 20 points last year, and musician Rob Quist, the Democratic nominee, lost by six points on Thursday, a 14-point net improvement. It’s another example of this trend and is probably a sign of increased Democratic engagement after the party took a nap in special elections and midterms during the Obama years, as can be typical for the president’s party. …

Thursday’s results provide both parties with a little bit of mental reinforcement. Republicans avoided a loss that could have further upset their jittery battleground members, and Democrats can point to overall special election trends that suggest the opportunity for significant gains next year if they can be replicated on a nationalized scale. CONT.

Kyle Kondik, Sabato’s Crystal Ball

Americans Give Military Branches Similar High Marks

Heading into Memorial Day, the five branches of the U.S. military earn high marks from the public they defend and protect. Strong majorities of Americans who are familiar with the branches give them similar, high favorable ratings. CONT.

Jim Norman, Gallup

The more a poll mentions Republicans, the less popular the party’s health care bill

It’s clear enough that the American Health Care Act, the Republican bill that would overhaul Obamacare that passed the House earlier this month, isn’t very popular. It’s unpopular enough, for example, that a candidate for the House in Montana would rather face criminal charges than answer a question about it.

Recent polling, though, makes it a bit tricky to suss out just how unpopular it is. CONT.

Philip Bump, Washington Post

Fox News Poll Shows Trump in Trouble

It’s hard for Democrats not to be gloating right now. After last fall’s election, they’re entitled to a bit of schadenfreude. Notwithstanding President Trump’s so far uneventful but largely favorable foreign trip, his poll numbers, even in Fox News polls, are in the toilet. …

Many on the conservative side are rejecting any news that presents Trump in an unfavorable light, which is why a Fox News poll that is consistent with other polling data should convince conservatives that something has gone terribly wrong. CONT.

Charlie Cook

Nonretirees to Rely More on Social Security

Since 2001, nonretired Americans have become somewhat more likely to say Social Security will be “a major source” of income in their retirement. CONT.

Frank Newport, Gallup

Fox News Poll: Is Russia friend or foe? Voters say foe, think Trump says friend

By a 36-point margin, American voters consider Russia an enemy of the U.S. rather than an ally. In contrast, by a 53-point spread, most think President Trump sees it the other way around. CONT.

Victoria Balara, Fox News

Hard-working taxpayers don’t support big cuts to food stamps, it turns out

Large-scale cuts to social safety net programs have emerged as one of the more controversial parts of the budget proposal the Trump administration released Wednesday, which Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney called “a taxpayer first budget.” …

Mulvaney argued in an op-ed that the cuts mark a shift from past budgets that “focused on how we can help Americans receive taxpayer-funded assistance” and previous administrations that “mistreated and disrespected those hard-working taxpayers.”

The argument suggests a transaction-based split of the country into hard-working taxpayers and nonworking beneficiaries of government assistance, with working people presumably supporting cuts to such programs that don’t benefit them. But how well does that picture match up to reality? CONT.

Scott Clement, Washington Post

Who’s Winning the TV Ad Messaging Wars on Health Care Reform?

The fight for Obamacare repeal is moving on two separate, but parallel tracks. One is a legislative track to a future and final Republican health care reform bill; a bill that can make it through the Senate, reconciliation with the House and onto the president’s desk to be signed into law. That path is full of lots of twists and turns – both expected and unexpected.

The other track is the messaging surrounding the bill we do have – the Republican legislation (AHCA) that passed the House in early May. While the AHCA sits in legislative limbo, trying to move its way down the legislative track, both sides are attempting to define it/spin it to their benefit. CONT.

Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

To Impeach or Not to Impeach

In September of 2006, nearly six years into the presidency of George W. Bush, 29 percent of voters — nearly all Democrats — thought that he should be impeached.

Similarly, in November, 2014, six years after Barack Obama won office, 30 percent of voters — mostly Republicans — thought that he, too, deserved that fate.

President Trump, reached the 30 percent level in February 2017, one month into his presidency, the Public Religion Research Institute found. CONT.

Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times