Tag Archives: polling

Trump again raises possibility of not accepting election outcome

The long and contentious race for the White House between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump hurtled toward its conclusion on Tuesday as millions of Americans cast ballots, with only hours left to vote.

Clinton led Trump, 44 percent to 39 percent, in the last Reuters/Ipsos national tracking poll before Election Day. A Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation poll gave her a 90 percent chance of defeating Trump and becoming the first U.S. woman president.

In yet another twist to the race, Trump on Tuesday again raised the possibility of not accepting the election’s outcome, saying he had seen reports of voting irregularities. He gave few details and Reuters could not immediately verify the existence of such problems.

The campaign focused on the character of the candidates: Clinton, 69, a former U.S. secretary of state, and Trump, 70, a New York businessman. They often accused each other of being fundamentally unfit to lead the United States as it faces challenges such as an arduous economic recovery, Islamist militants and the rise of China.

Financial markets, betting exchanges and online trading platforms largely predicted a Clinton win, although Trump’s team says he can pull off an upset victory like the June “Brexit” vote to pull Britain out of the European Union.

Trump’s candidacy embodied an attack on America’s political establishment. Clinton represented safeguarding the political order.

A Clinton presidency would likely provide continuity from fellow Democrat Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House, although if Republicans retain control of at least one chamber in Congress more years of political gridlock in Washington could ensue.

A win for Trump could shake some of the basic building blocks of American foreign policy, such as the NATO alliance and free trade, and reverse some of Obama’s domestic achievements such as his 2010 health care law.

Voting ends in some states at 7 p.m. Eastern Time, with the first meaningful results due about an hour later. Television networks called the winner of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections at 11 p.m. or shortly after.

Voting appeared to go smoothly despite allegations in recent weeks from Trump that the electoral system was rigged against him. He told Fox News on Tuesday he had seen reports of voting irregularities.

Asked if believed the election would not be over on Tuesday night, Trump said: “I’m not saying that. I have to look at what’s happening. There are reports that when people vote for Republicans, the entire ticket switches over to Democrats. You’ve seen that. It’s happening at various places.”

Local media in Pennsylvania reported that voters in several counties in the pivotal state had reported that touch-screen voting machines had not been recording their ballots correctly.

Republicans in Pennsylvania also complained that some of their authorized poll watchers were denied access to polling sites in Philadelphia, local media said.

The Pennsylvania secretary of state’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump also sued the registrar of voters in Nevada’s Clark County over a polling place in Las Vegas that remained open on Friday during an early-voting period to accommodate people, many of them Hispanic, who were lined up to cast ballots.

A Nevada judge on Tuesday rejected Trump’s request for records from the polling site. At a court hearing, a county attorney said election officials already preserve records.

Trump has vowed to crack down on illegal immigration and end trade deals he says are harming U.S. workers.

Trump seized the spotlight time and again during the campaign with provocative comments about Muslims and women, attacks against the Republican establishment and bellicose promises to build a wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico to stem illegal immigration.

MARKETS UP

The Dow Jones Industrial Average index ended up 0.4 percent as investors bet on a win for Clinton, who Wall Street sees as more likely to ensure financial and political stability. Mexico’s peso hit a two-month high on Tuesday on the expectation of a loss for Trump, who has vowed to rip up a trade deal with Mexico.

Trump was expected to draw support heavily from white voters without college degrees.

Clinton was likely to draw support from college-educated voters and Hispanic and black voters.

Major bookmakers and online exchanges were confident Clinton would win. Online political stock market PredictIt put her chances on Tuesday of capturing the White House at 80 percent.

Trump advisers say the level of his support is not apparent in opinion polls and point out that the real estate developer has been closing the gap with Clinton in surveys in recent weeks.

An early indicator of who might prevail could come in North Carolina and Florida, two must-win states for Trump that were the subject of frantic last-minute efforts by both candidates.

Races in both those states were shifting from favoring Clinton to being too close to call, according to opinion polls.

Democrats also are seeking to break the Republican lock on control of the U.S. Congress.

A strong turnout of voters for Clinton could influence Republican control of the Senate, as voters choose 34 senators of the 100-member chamber on Tuesday. Democrats needed a net gain of five seats to win control. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are being contested. The House is expected to remain in Republican hands.

Trump reveled in the drama of the negative presidential campaign but the spotlight was not always kind to him. The release in October of a 2005 video in which he boasted about groping women damaged his campaign and left him on the defensive for critical weeks

Justice Department to monitor polls in Milwaukee

The Justice Department announced that its Civil Rights Division will deploy more than 500 personnel to 67 jurisdictions, including Milwaukee, on Election Day.

Although state and local governments have primary responsibility for administering elections, Justice’s Civil Rights Division is charged with enforcing the federal voting rights laws that protect the rights of all citizens to access the ballot on Election Day.

Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the department has regularly monitored elections in the field in jurisdictions around the country to protect the rights of voters.

“The bedrock of our democracy is the right to vote, and the Department of Justice works tirelessly to uphold that right not only on Election Day, but every day,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch in a statement.  “We enforce federal statutes related to voting through a range of activities — including filing our own litigation when the facts warrant, submitting statements of interest in private lawsuits to help explain our understanding of these laws, and providing guidance to election officials and the general public about what these laws mean and what they require.

“On Election Day itself, lawyers in the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section will staff a hotline starting in the early hours of the morning, and just as we have sent election monitors in prior elections, we will continue to have a robust election monitors program in place on election day.  As always, our personnel will perform these duties impartially, with one goal in mind: to see to it that every eligible voter can participate in our elections to the full extent that federal law provides.  The department is deeply committed to the fair and unbiased application of our voting rights laws and we will work tirelessly to ensure that every eligible person that wants to do so is able to cast a ballot.”

Leading up to and throughout Election Day, Civil Rights Division staff members will be available by telephone to receive complaints related to possible violations of the federal voting rights laws (Toll free at 1-800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767 or TTY 202-305-0082).

In addition, individuals may also report such complaints by fax to 202-307-3961, by email to   and by a complaint form on the department’s website: www.justice.gov/crt/votercomplaint.

Allegations of election fraud are handled by the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country and the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.

Complaints may be directed to any of the local U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the local FBI offices or the Public Integrity Section at 202-514-1412.

Complaints related to disruption at a polling place should be reported immediately to local election officials (including officials in the polling place).

Complaints related to violence, threats of violence or intimidation at a polling place should be reported immediately to local police authorities by calling 911.

They should also be reported to the department after local authorities have been contacted.

On Election Day, the Civil Rights Division will monitor the election on the ground in 67 jurisdictions for compliance with the federal voting rights laws:

  • Bethel Census Area, Alaska;
  • Dillingham Census Area, Alaska;
  • Kusilvak Census Area, Alaska;
  • Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska;
  • Maricopa County, Arizona;
  • Navajo County, Arizona;
  • Alameda County, California;
  • Napa County, California;
  • Siskiyou County, California;
  • East Hartford, Connecticut;
  • Farmington, Connecticut;
  • Hartford, Connecticut;
  • Middletown, Connecticut;
  • New Britain, Connecticut;
  • Newington, Connecticut;
  • West Hartford, Connecticut;
  • Hillsborough County, Florida;
  • Lee County, Florida;
  • Miami-Dade County, Florida;
  • Orange County, Florida;
  • Palm Beach County, Florida;
  • Fulton County, Georgia;
  • Gwinnett County, Georgia;
  • Hancock County, Georgia;
  • Chicago, Illinois;
  • Cook County, Illinois;
  • Finney County, Kansas;
  • Orleans Parish, Louisiana;
  • Quincy, Massachusetts;
  • Dearborn Heights, Michigan;
  • Detroit, Michigan;
  • Hamtramck, Michigan;
  • St. Louis, Missouri;
  • Douglas County, Nebraska;
  • Mineral County, Nevada;
  • Washoe County, Nevada;
  • Middlesex County, New Jersey;
  • Cibola County, New Mexico;
  • Kings County, New York;
  • Orange County, New York;
  • Queens County, New York;
  • Cumberland County, North Carolina;
  • Forsyth County, North Carolina;
  • Mecklenburg County, North Carolina;
  • Robeson County, North Carolina;
  • Wake County, North Carolina;
  • Benson County, North Dakota;
  • Rolette County, North Dakota;
  • Cuyahoga County, Ohio;
  • Franklin County, Ohio;
  • Hamilton County, Ohio;
  • Allegheny County, Pennsylvania;
  • Lehigh County, Pennsylvania;
  • Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania;
  • Pawtucket, Rhode Island;
  • Providence, Rhode Island;
  • Bennett County, South Dakota;
  • Jackson County, South Dakota;
  • Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota;
  • Shelby County, Tennessee;
  • Dallas County, Texas;
  • Harris County, Texas;
  • Waller County, Texas;
  • San Juan County, Utah;
  • Fairfax County, Virginia;
  • Prince William County, Virginia, and
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The department will gather information on:

• whether voters are subject to different voting qualifications or procedures on the basis of race, color or membership in a language minority group;

• whether jurisdictions are complying with the minority language provisions of the Voting Rights Act; whether jurisdictions permit voters to receive assistance by a person of his or her choice if the voter is blind, has a disability or is unable to read or write;

• whether jurisdictions provide polling locations and voting systems allowing voters with disabilities to cast a private and independent ballot;

• whether jurisdictions comply with the voter registration list requirements of the National Voter Registration Act;

• whether jurisdictions comply with the provisional ballot requirements of the Help America Vote Act.

Last month, the Justice Department announced efforts to ensure that all qualified voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots and have their votes counted free of discrimination, intimidation or fraud in the election process.

Earlier this fall, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan and Ron Kind sent a letter to the Justice Department asking for monitoring of the election in Wisconsin.

Moore and Pocan issued statement on Nov. 7:

“I take great comfort in knowing that personnel from the U.S. Justice Department will be on the ground in Milwaukee during this historic election,” said Moore. “Too many Wisconsinites, especially those in communities of color, face a host of unnecessary obstacles in their efforts exercise their constitutional right to vote. This is simply unacceptable. My colleagues and I in Wisconsin’s Democratic congressional delegation would like to thank the DOJ for ensuring that all voters, regardless of party affiliation or political ideology, have the right to take part in our democracy, free of discrimination or intimidation.”

Pocan said, “The decision by the Department of Justice, while welcome, is a bittersweet victory for those of us who want to ensure voting rights are upheld. Although the DOJ’s efforts to enforce federal voting-rights laws is essential to fending off the worst aspects of this relentless attack on the right to vote, my colleagues and I will fight to end the suppression and intimidation that have become normalized in this election. The bedrock of democracy is the robust participation of all of us in the political process—this has always been a core Wisconsin value. We cannot and will not tolerate the continued threat of disenfranchisement against hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites.”

Democrats urge DOJ to assist in overseeing Wisconsin elections

Dear Attorney General Lynch: As you are aware, Wisconsin, which we represent, is among 14 states that have adopted new voter restrictions in advance of the November 8 election.

The state’s 2011 voter identification law, one of the strictest in the country, has been repeatedly challenged in federal court due to its discriminatory effects on vulnerable populations’ voting rights.  Due to the law’s contentious nature and poor implementation, coupled with a political environment that is becoming increasingly intimidating, we are requesting the Department of Justice’s assistance in overseeing the state’s monitoring of the election, including by providing poll-monitoring services in Wisconsin.

In 2014, a U.S. district court noted that more than 300,000 Wisconsinites lacked the newly requisite form of identification, and that this population disproportionately included persons of color. Judge Lynn Adelman further observed that state officials “could not point to a single instance of known voter impersonation occurring in Wisconsin at any time in the recent past,” casting serious doubt on the official rationale for the policy.

A second federal court determined earlier this summer that even the “safety net” built into the law to help voters who have trouble obtaining ID was a “wretched failure” that “disenfranchised citizens” who are “overwhelmingly African American and Latino.”

Deeming the provision unconstitutional, Judge James Peterson mandated changes in practice and public education to ensure that that process better serves all Wisconsinites with documentation challenges in obtaining identification so they can vote. Concurring with Judge Adelman, Judge Peterson also expressed “misgivings about whether the law actually promotes confidence and integrity,” and observed that prior to 2011, “Wisconsin had an exemplary election system that produced high levels of voter participation without significant irregularities.”

Unfortunately, since that court order in late July, we have continued to see how Wisconsin’s voter ID law puts the franchise of many Wisconsinites, particularly people of color, in real jeopardy. Over the last month, press reports have revealed that on numerous occasions, Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicle employees provided erroneous and incomplete information to potential voters who are unable to obtain IDs due to a lack of required documentation (like a birth certificate), despite their eligibility for alternative credentials.

These revelations led Judge Peterson to remark on October 12, “I’m very disappointed to see that the state really did nothing in response to my order,” noting that voters are “at the mercy of the DMV, and its staff wasn’t trained well enough to guide people through it.” We are deeply troubled by the prospect of such misinformation contributing to voter disenfranchisement in this election. While further scrutiny by the federal court has prompted state officials to institute additional training and public education efforts at the DMV, there is entirely too much at stake in the limited time left before the election to let this continue without additional oversight.

In addition to misinformation, we are also concerned about potential voter intimidation at the polling places, particularly in light of recent, high-profile rhetoric that alleges “election rigging.” National figures have suggested that there is widespread voter fraud in our country and have encouraged private citizens to monitor the voting behaviors of certain communities for potential misconduct.

Given the flawed efforts thus far by state officials to properly implement this law, with proof of demonstrably false information having been disseminated to voters just days before the election, we fear that irreparable harm may result—particularly to voters of color, who disproportionately bear the brunt of these policies and any Election Day intimidation efforts.

We ask the Department to provide any resources or assistance it can in order to help our state navigate these unsettling circumstances.  For example, the Department has historically provided poll monitors on Election Day to help ensure that all eligible voters will be permitted to register and exercise their fundamental right to participate in our democracy. We therefore urge the Department of Justice to utilize any available election monitoring resources to ensure voters in Wisconsin are able to safely access the polls.

The right to elect our public representatives is unrivaled in its importance to a fully functioning democracy.  With few days remaining until the election, it is imperative that we do everything in our power to limit the amount of harm caused to our state’s voters.

Thank you for your consideration of this request and for the Department of Justice’s ongoing efforts to ensure the fairness of all elections in our country.

Poll: Bernie Sanders most popular U.S. senator

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is the most popular U.S. senator, according to data from Morning Consult.

The polling shows 69 of 100 U.S. senators with approval ratings better than 50 percent, and Sanders, an independent from Vermont, is at the top of the ratings chart with 83 percent.

His disapproval rating is only 13 percent.

Republican Susan Collins of Maine has the second highest approval rating at 78 percent, followed by Republican John Barrasso of Wyoming and then Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy.

Polling in the 60s are John Hoeven of North Dakota, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Angus King of Maine, John Thune of South Dakota, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Al Franken of Minnesota, Tom Carper of Delaware, Chuck Schumer of New York, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Ron Wyden of Oregon.

Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin’s approval rating was 45 and disapproval rating was 35.

Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson’s approval rating was 38 percent and his disapproval was at 35 percent.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s disapproval rating was highest at 52 percent. Arizona Republican John McCain was in second with a 41 percent disapproval rating.

Morning Consult surveyed more than 75,000 voters in 50 states over several months.

Vermont voters have the highest opinion of their senators — Sanders, the presidential candidate, and Leahy, the longest-serving member of the Senate.

Poll: Donald Trump most likely candidate to spoil Thanksgiving

Donald Trump is the candidate most likely to spoil a Thanksgiving dinner agree 46 percent of Americans in the recent holiday-themed poll by Public Policy Polling.

His number is higher than all the other candidates combined — Democratic and Republican.

Hillary Clinton came in second at 22 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders at 7 percent, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson at 6 percent, Ted Cruz at 4 percent and Marco Rubio at 1 percent.

When asked about the candidate they’d most like to have Thanksgiving dinner with, Clinton was the favorite. About 24 percent would like to dine with Clinton. Carson was second at 18 percent, then Trump at 17 percent, Sanders at 11 percent, Cruz at 8 percent and Bush and Rubio at 6 percent.

In other questions, Republican voters are still annoyed with President Barack Obama’s decision to pardon two turkeys instead of the customary one turkey last Thanksgiving. PPP said, “That’s a pretty clear sign that if you put Obama’s name on something, GOP voters are going to oppose it pretty much no matter what.”

Democrats by a strong majority favored the double pardon.

The poll also revealed a partisan divide over Starbucks, in the news for a minimalist design — red – on seasonal coffee cups. Democrats have a positive view of the company and Republicans have a slightly negative view. Still, only 21 percent of Republicans think Starbucks has enlisted in a “War on Christmas.”

A majority of U.S. voters agreed that it is too early to hear Christmas music. Men more then women say it is too early.

PPP also found pumpkin pie wins the preferred dessert of choice at Thanksgiving dinner but with only 27 percent, followed by apple pie, sweet potato pie, chocolate pie, blueberry pie, then cherry pie.

Mashed potatoes, of course, are more popular than sweet potatoes and only 30 percent of those polled like marshmallows on sweet potatoes.

By a 17-point margin, Americans say it’s “stuffing,” not “dressing.”

Poll: Veterans reject Koch brother’s push to privatize VA health care

A poll released just before Veterans Day shows veterans don’t support the push by Concerned Veterans for America, a Koch brothers front group, to private the VA health care.

CVA is pressing the Republican candidates for president to take up its call to replace the VA health care system with a voucher system.

The poll released on Nov. 10 and published in the Military Times shows two-thirds of veterans surveyed oppose a voucher system.

The poll also showed that 57 percent of veterans surveyed would be less likely to support a candidate who backed “privatizing the VA health care system.”

The poll was conducted for Vet Voice Foundation by Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting, with a goal of having bipartisan results.

The survey found a majority of veterans opposed to privatization, regardless of party, age, or branch of military.

Walker Watch: The one where he polled 1st in Iowa

Walker polls 1st in Iowa

A late April survey of Iowa voters from Public Policy Polling finds Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker well ahead of the rest of the field of Republican presidential hopefuls.

Walker has 23 percent of the GOP vote, followed by Marco Rubio with 13 percent, Jeb Bush with 12 percent and Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul at 10 percent. Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Chris Christie and Rick Perry are in the single digits.

Walker’s favorability is the highest in the GOP field at 59 percent. Huckabee is in second.

Walker is running strong with voters concerned about electability in the general election and those concerned about conservative credentials.

Security costs tripled under Walker

Security costs last year for Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch totaled more than three times what it cost to protect Walker’s Democratic predecessor in 2010, according to records released to The Associated Press.

Walker provided the security detail costs in response to an open records request. They came a day after his political committee Our American Revival said it would pick up the tab for Walker’s security detail when it travels with him to purely political events, such as a gathering of likely Republican presidential candidates in Iowa.

Taxpayers will continue to pay for trips categorized as state business, such as Walker’s recent trade missions to Europe, said Our American Revival spokeswoman AshLee Strong. 

In 2014, when Walker was traveling in Wisconsin while running for re-election, security costs for him, first lady Tonette Walker and Kleefisch totaled $2.3 million. That was up 47 percent from Walker’s first year in office, when costs were nearly $1.6 million.

The 2011 costs were more than double what it took to protect Walker’s predecessor Jim Doyle in 2010, before the lieutenant governor also had protection. That year, taxpayers spent $657,000 on security for Doyle.

Security costs for Walker were more than quadrupled since 2009.

“He’s buying an entourage and the taxpayers are paying for it,” said Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach, of Middleton.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie had no comment on the increase in costs.

In other news …

WALKER URGES HOSPITALS TO HIRE VETERANS, DISABLED: Walker is encouraging hospitals to hire veterans as well as people with disabilities. Walker made the pitch during a speech to more than 1,000 people at the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s Advocacy Day event in Madison. Walker says as the state’s unemployment rate drops, it becomes harder to fill vacant positions. He says hospitals should do the patriotic thing and hire veterans, who he says are loyal workers, and people with mental and physical disabilities. “We can’t afford to have anybody on the sidelines,” he said.

WALKER BLAMES DOYLE FOR STATE’S LAGGING ECONOMY: Visiting with Minnesota Republicans, Walker blamed Wisconsin’s lagging economy on former Gov. Jim Doyle. On the other hand, he credited Minnesota’s booming economy to former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who preceded Democrat Mark Dayton. “You’ve had the advantage of other than a two-year period of having Republicans in charge of at least one part of government for some time. Before we came into office for many years, there was a Democrat governor, a Democrat assembly and a Democrat Senate,” Walker told reporters after the closed-door meeting. POLITIFACT Wisconsin rated that statement as “false.”

Walker takes lead in national GOP presidential poll

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker jumped to the lead in the latest national poll on GOP presidential candidates.

In the poll released on Feb. 24 by Public Policy Polling, Walker was at 25 percent, with Ben Carson at 18 percent, Jeb Bush at 17 percent and Mike Huckabee at 10 percent. Rounding out the field of contenders are Chris Christie and Ted Cruz at 5 percent, Rand Paul at 4 percent and Rick Perry and Marco Rubio at 3 percent.

PPP said Walker more than doubled his support since his 11 percent standing in the January national poll and Carson moved up three points. Bush, Huckabee, Paul and Perry mostly stayed in place, while Cruz dropped four points and Christie dropped two points.

PPP said Walker is climbing fast because of his appeal to the most conservative elements of the Republican electorate. Among “very conservative” voters he leads with 37 percent. Next in line is Carson, then Bush and then Huckabee.

Bush holds a large lead over Walker among moderates. However, there are two times more GOP primary voters who identify as “very conservative” than there are ones who identify as moderates.

Bush is struggling with conservative voters, according to the survey. Among “very conservative” voters , just 37 percent rate Bush favorably and 43 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him. By comparison, among the very conservative, Carson has a favorability rating of 73 and Walker has a rating of 68.

Among GOP primary voters who believe in global warming, 37 percent support Bush and 2 percent favor Walker.

However, PPP said only 25 percent of GOP voters say they do believe in global warming, and among the 66 percent who don’t, Walker has a big advantage over Bush.

Among voters who believe in evolution, Walker and Bush run pretty much even. But that’s just 37 percent of GOP primary voters. The 49 percent who don’t believe in evolution favor Walker over Bush at 28/13.

Poll: No public support for resisting a court order on marriage equality

A new survey shows support for marriage equality continues to expand and that there is virtually no public support for the opponents of marriage equality who have encouraged the public to resist a U.S. Supreme Court ruling — even among voters who oppose marriage equality.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights group, released the results from the national poll commissioned to gauge voter attitudes ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality.

“This poll is another conclusive sign that support for marriage equality and LGBT people overall continues to grow. The reality is that eight out of ten Americans now know someone who is LGBT and nearly half of our country knows an LGBT person who is married or in a committed relationship,” said Fred Sainz, HRC’s vice president for communications. “The violent rhetoric of some of the so-called leaders in the dwindling anti-marriage minority leave them isolated and out touch, even with voters who otherwise support traditional definitions of marriage.” 

This year, the Supreme Court will hear the consolidated case of Obergefell v. Hodges from Ohio, DeBoer v. Snyder from Michigan, Tanco v. Haslam from Tennessee Bourke v. Beshear from Kentucky. With oral arguments set to take place this spring, a ruling is anticipated in late June.

The new polling data comes as the Human Rights Campaign launched The “People’s Brief,” a campaign that allows any American who has read the brief and agrees with its contents to sign on and to show their support for marriage equality directly to the Supreme Court.

Highlights from the poll, which was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner show:

• 60 percent of likely voters support marriage equality, a new high point.

• Nearly half of Americans know an LGBT couple that has gotten married.

• A clear majority of voters favor marriage equality, regardless of where they live.

• Even traditional opponents of marriage equality are becoming more supportive.

• Voters overwhelmingly reject the extreme rhetoric used by Tony Perkins and his allies.

Overall, the survey of likely 2016 voters showed support for marriage equality hits a 60 percent majority.  This number reflects further growth in support and is up from 55 percent support that HRC recorded in a poll taken nearly a year ago and 56 percent support in an ABC News/Washington Post Poll from October 2014.

These findings chronicle a sea change in attitudes: In 1988, only 12 percent of the country believed “homosexual couples had the right to marry one another.”

What’s more, a majority of voters support marriage across the country, regardless of the region they call home. Voters in the Northeast supported marriage equality 72 percent to 25 percent. In the Central states support was 57 percent to 38 percent. Southern state voters supported marriage equality 50 percent to 47 percent, while support in Western states was 70 percent to 28 percent.

Democrats and Independent voters overwhelmingly support marriage equality (Democrats 77 percent to 22 percent; Independents by 63 percent to 31 percent). Republican voters also show significant change. Overall, 35 percent of Republican voters support marriage equality, while 61 percent are opposed. Still, that shows a significant increase in support. In 2011, 70 percent of Republican opposed marriage equality and 19 percent supported.

The anti-marriage margin among Republicans has been cut in half in four years — from 51 points to 26 points. Change is especially pronounced among younger voters — among Republicans under age 50, support grows to 42 percent. 

Similarly, the poll shows massive change among seniors — from 30 percent favor, 60 percent oppose in 2011 to 48 percent favor, 50 percent oppose currently, a 28-point swing.

Polling literature has long recorded the number of voters who “know someone gay” and the rise in this number — 78 percent in this survey — and increased exposure and familiarity with the LGBT community has played a direct role in voters’ growing support for marriage, according to HRC’s interpretation of the survey.

About 46 percent of Americans already know an LGBT couple that’s gotten married or held a commitment ceremony. Those who do know a married LGBT couple support marriage equality 75 to 22 percent.

HRC said the poll also reveals “there is simply no appetite anywhere in this country for the kind of violent, extreme message peddled by those who oppose marriage equality. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and his allies has long predicted that marriage equality could lead to “a revolution.” However, voters soundly rejected his arguments and even among opponents of marriage equality, Perkins’ rhetoric alienates nearly half his base. 

Voters were asked to react to the following statement from Perkins: “I think if the court steps in at this moment and says that we are redefining marriage and that same sex marriage will be the law in every land, I think you will create a firestorm of opposition. This will be the straw that broke the camel’s back. When you look at a nation that is so divided along these moral and cultural issues, you could have a revolt or revolution. I think you could see Americans saying, ‘You know what? Enough of this.’ And I think it could explode and just break this nation apart.”

Only 27 percent agreed with him, while 70 percent disagreed. Voters of all parties disagreed. Only 40 percent of Republicans agreed, while 57 percent disagreed with Perkins. Even among those voters who oppose marriage equality — now just 37 percent of the electorate — more voters disagree with Perkins than agree with him.

The data is based on a national survey conducted in late January among likely voters in the 2016 presidential election.

Polling shows differing hopes, expectations for female leaders

Four in 10 adults say they hope to see a woman elected to the presidency in their lifetime, while 57 percent say it doesn’t matter whether they say, “Madam President” or “Mr. President.”

Those percentages should work in favor of Hillary Rodham Clinton if she decides to seek the Democratic nomination in 2016. And if not Clinton, then perhaps U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who repeatedly has said she isn’t running but is the focus of a draft campaign in New Hampshire.

The voters most interested in seeing a woman elected president in their lifetime are Democrats — 69 percent of the women in the party and 46 percent of the men, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center focused on women in leadership.

The percentages drop considerably for Republicans — just 20 percent of the women in the Grand Old Party and 16 percent of the men. Do these numbers indicate trouble for Carly Fiorina, the former California U.S. Senate candidate who appears to be readying to announce a bid for the Republican nomination? No, the analysts say. More likely the diminished interest among Republicans is Clinton herself: The views of many Republicans may have more to do with the prospect of a Clinton presidency than with a major milestone for women.

Among independents, 45 percent of women and 32 percent of men say they “personally hope the United States will elect a female president” in their lifetime.

Double standard

In 2013, EMILY’s List, a group dedicated to electing Democratic women to office, launched “Madam President,” a campaign to shatter the glass ceiling in the Oval Office in 2016.

Americans need to “create a nation where women’s leadership isn’t the exception, it’s the rule,” EMILY’s List president Stephanie Schriock said at the time.

That’s currently far from the case. The Pew poll found that Americans claim to find women indistinguishable from men in key leadership traits. But women still hold a small share of top leadership posts: 20 percent of the U.S. Senate, 19.3 percent of the U.S. House; 10 percent of governorships; 24 percent of state legislative offices; 5.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs and 26.4 percent of college presidencies. And in most cases, those low percentages are record highs.

The Pew poll, a survey of 1,835 people, found that four in 10 Americans think the reason more women don’t hold top posts is not about work-life balance, education or skill sets but instead a double standard: women have to do more than their male counterparts to prove themselves.

Ready for Clinton

Two weeks ago, EMILY’s List announced that its 30th anniversary gala in March would honor Clinton for dedicating her life to “bettering the lives of women and families and (inspiring) the next generation with a focus on increasing economic empowerment across the country and around the world,” according to Schriock.

The PAC has backed Clinton since her U.S. Senate election in New York in 2000.

Of late, EMILY’s List has been laying the groundwork for another, bigger Clinton candidacy, organizing special events promoting the idea of electing the first female commander-in-chief.

When EMILY’s List launched the “Madam President” effort nearly two years ago, the first polls showed that 86 percent of Americans said the nation is ready to elect a woman president. And 72 percent said it is likely that America will elect a woman in 2016.

The Pew poll also asked about expectations: “Do you think the United States will elect a female president in your lifetime, or not?” About 73 percent answered yes — 12 points less than in 2008 but 21 points over 1996. 

That year, with Bill Clinton running for re-election, then-first lady Hillary Clinton delivered her first prime-time speech, at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. 

“One thing we know for sure is that change is certain,” she said. “Progress is not.”