Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Poll: Clinton holds slim national lead over Trump

Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem in New York, March 30, 2016. (Photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for MSNBC)Over the past couple of weeks, Donald Trump has become the presumptive Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton continues to inch closer to the magic number of delegates she needs to lock up the Democratic contest. Clinton continues to lead Bernie Sanders in our national tracking poll (she is up by 14 points in this week’s results).   
Attention is now rapidly moving to the hypothetical match-up between the leading candidates with an emphasis on a Clinton and Trump contest. In this week’s poll, Americans are nearly split between their choice of Trump or Clinton; her margin over Trump narrows from 5 points last week to 3 points this week to 48 percent to 45 percent.
This early data indicates a very close race right now – though that may change considerably before November. Understanding why the race is close requires a deeper look into how various demographic groups break for either candidate. 
The demographic-based analyses below are from the latest data from the NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll conducted online from May 9 through May 15 among 14,100 adults including 12,507 who say they are registered to vote.
Clinton, who was able to maintain her front-runner status throughout the Democratic primary by winning over black and Hispanic voters, continues to do extremely well among these voters over Trump.  She wins black voters 84 percent to 9 percent – a 75 point gap—and wins Hispanics 65 percent to 28 percent. Trump is the preferred candidate among white voters by 14 points over Clinton—53 percent to 39 percent. This is up slightly from last week’s 11-point margin among white voters.  
There is also a significant gender gap with Clinton beating Trump by 15 points among women, while Trump carries men by a similar 11-percent margin. Gender appears to be critical to this race already with Trump’s controversial comments about Clinton playing the “woman’s card” in order to explain her success over Sanders.  
When examining voters’ preferences by income and education, those with a high school degree or less favor Trump over Clinton by 5 points. Those with college degrees favor Clinton by 7 points. Though there are many narratives that state working-class voters—at least on the Republican side—are one of the main groups responsible for Trump’s success, overall, Americans from households who earn less than $50,000 a year favor Clinton over Trump by 20 points. Those from higher-earning households favor Trump by 5 points. 
While many people are speculating that Republican voters will ultimately end up supporting Trump, and Democrats will line up behind Clinton, a big question is where independents will place their support.      At this moment, independents break for Trump 44 percent to 36 percent. This group will be heavily targeted this summer and fall by campaigns and outside groups as they will be a critical voting bloc in determining the winner.
While political ideology correlates highly with partisanship, it is interesting to note that Clinton does much better than Trump among moderate voters. This group breaks for Clinton 53 percent to 39 percent. While those who say their political leanings are “conservative” solidly support Trump, voters who identify as “very conservative” are slightly less strong in their support of the presumptive nominee.

In a general election, turnout is everything. However, the 2016 election is a bit more unpredictable in that what motivates key groups to support—or cast a vote against their party’s opponent—could be different with a non-traditional candidate like Trump in the race. On the Democratic side, Clinton may need to focus her efforts on overcoming large unfavorable ratings in order to sway unaffiliated voters.   The same would likely to true for Trump who holds even higher unfavorable ratings than Clinton.  Tracking how these various groups break for either candidate helps give early clues into where each candidate needs to focus their campaigns in the coming months. 
The NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking poll was conducted online May 9 through May 15, 2016 among a national sample of 14,100 adults aged 18 and over, including 12,507 who say they are registered to vote. Respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from the nearly three million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Results have an error estimate of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points. A full description of our methodology and the poll can be found..

Actress Beauty-Shamed for Wearing Purple Lipstick at Cannes Film Festival

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is undeniably gorgeous, thanks to her effortlessly classic looks. So it came as a surprise when she showcased a rather fashion-forward lip color at the premiere of her film Sarbjit, at the Cannes Film Festival.

The actress sported a pale purple lip color, which immediately divided opinion online.

Photo: James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock
Although we all know purple lips are by no means a new trend, it was all anyone was looking at. Even though Bachchan was also wearing a showstopping floral-embellished Rami Kadi dress.While some may feel taking a style risk at Cannes is a misstep, the red carpet at big events has become a parade of neutral looks, so we’re on board for this look, which adds an edge to her ladylike gown.  
People on Twitter immediately sunk their teeth into the beauty look, with one user tweeting, “Did Aishwarya kiss a Smurf?” and another asking for a petition to fire her makeup artist. Seems a tad dramatic, no?

Egypt president backs French proposal for Mideast talks

CAIRO (AP) — President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said Tuesday that Egypt's relations with Israel, rooted in a landmark 1979 peace treaty, can only be "warmer" if his country's former enemy reached a settlement with the Palestinians and pledged that Cairo would "make every effort" toward a solution.
The Egyptian leader also declared his support for a French proposal to hold a Mideast peace conference, an idea already rejected by Israel, citing it along with U.S. efforts, a 2002 Arab peace plan and the international Mideast peace quartet as possible avenues to such a settlement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed el-Sissi's "willingness to invest every effort to advance a future of peace and security between us and the Palestinians."
Israel, he said in a statement, was ready to join Egypt and other Arab states in "advancing the peace process and stability in the region."
Netanyahu has rejected the French initiative, saying direct negotiations were the only way to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians and is on record as saying the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative has some positive aspects but could not be the basis for negotiations.
The Arab peace plan offers Israel full recognition by Arab states in exchange for Israel's withdrawal from territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
In one of his most detailed public comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since taking office nearly two years ago, el-Sissi called on Israel and the Palestinians to seize what he described as a "realistic" and "great" opportunity to reach a peaceful settlement to their decades-old conflict, saying they need look no farther than the Egypt-Israel accord to see the positive outcome of peacemaking.
He said the "trust" that exists between Egypt and Israel nearly 40 years after their peace accord is demonstrated in Israel's consent to the deployment of Egyptian troops backed by warplanes and armor in a section of the Sinai Peninsula that borders Israel and should be demilitarized under the provisions of their peace accord. The deployment is part of Cairo's fight against Islamic militants.
Egypt and Israel fought four, full-fledged wars between 1948 and 1973 before the two neighbors signed the 1979 treaty, the first between Israel and an Arab state.
Acknowledging the widely held assessment that his country's peace with Israel has been "cool," the Egyptian leader said: "There will be no warmer peace without a solution for our Palestinian brothers. If we do that (reach an Israeli-Palestinian settlement), we will have changed a very difficult era ... I have genuine hope."
France plans to host a ministerial meeting of 20 countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, as a first step ahead of an international conference tentatively scheduled for next month and aimed at reviving the dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Addressing Israelis and their government, el-Sissi said there was a "real opportunity" for peacemaking although some in Israel did not think peace is now necessary given the turmoil in the region. An Israeli-Palestinian deal, he added, would "give safety and stability to both sides. If this is achieved, we will enter a new phase that perhaps no one can imagine now."
"I want to say to all those listening, Palestinians and Israelis: Please, there is now a great opportunity for a better future and life and greater hope and stability," he said. "Should not we seize the chance and move in that framework?"

America is freaking out over a cartoon of Michelle Obama

If you're not upset about this Michelle Obama cartoon, you're part of the problemAt this point in the 2016 presidential election coverage, it is no longer surprising to hear of racism, sexism or any other vitriol coming from the Trump camp or his supporters. Though he has not specifically endorsed Trump, political cartoonist Ben Garrison has an affinity for cartoons espousing conservative views, and his latest falls right in line with being sexist and racist.

Garrison says the cartoon — which appeared on his website Grrrgraphics.com — meant to "express our outrage at the growing tyranny of Big Government."

More: There's no going back after you realize someone you love is racist

Featuring our first lady, Michelle Obama, and Donald Trump's wife, Melania Trump, it misses the mark in regard to addressing government tyranny and instead expresses racism, sexism and transantagonism. And while the reasons it is offensive are many in number, an age-old message reads loud and clear: black women are held to a different standard of "greatness" than white women.

We want to provide a very explicit disclaimer that we in no way mean any disrespect to Melania Trump. Really and truly. We have zero qualms with the fact that she has chosen to pose for nude photographs and is an immigrant in the United States (something Trump himself is not in agreement with, as his “build a wall”/ “Mexican immigrants are rapists” rhetoric makes clear).

But Michelle Obama is the pinnacle for conventional respectability (which, admittedly tends to be problematic) — she is Ivy League-educated from both Princeton University and Harvard Law School. She is happily married, a devoted mother, a snazzy dresser and an incredibly competent FLOTUS.

More: It may be 2016, but marriages like mine are still under attack

None of that, however, is enough to protect her. The cartoon clearly shows her stylized as a man, her real-life curves replaced by male features, including a penis bulge. It portrays her with a scowl as though she never smiles, perpetuating the "angry black woman" stereotype.

The critiques of the uber-successful tennis player Serena Williams also accuse her obviously female-professional-athlete-21-time-grand-slam body of looking manly to denigrate her. Black women are often not even seen as people, let alone attractive, so any defense that this cartoon was just a joke will never be enough. This is harmful stuff.

That Michelle Obama is still not considered “great” despite her extensive list of accomplishments is questionable enough. Add to it the fact that the woman they compare her to has literally none of the same accomplishments, save being an attractive white woman and former model, is telling.

We cannot imagine a world where the xenophobia that Obama has faced from conservatives, despite not even being foreign-born, would suddenly be acceptable in our black FLOTUS. And we certainly cannot imagine a news station that would not flock to devalue Michelle and what she's done because she chose to pose nude. Quite simply: These things are unacceptable in a black woman and especially would not be acceptable (to conservatives, the public, the media) in our first lady.

More: I pulled my kid out of school when Bernie Sanders came to town

That we accept and celebrate in Melania Trump things we often shame and chastise women for, while also using problematic stereotypes and imagery to say that Michelle Obama is somehow short of greatness definitely comes from a racist and misogynistic place. It is shameful that this is still happening but not at all surprising.

Donald Trump fumes after Hillary Clinton allies unload on him in new ads

Donald Trump fumes after Hillary Clinton allies unload on him in new adsDonald Trump lashed out at one of Hillary Clinton's top super PACs over new advertisements that used Trump's own statements against him.
In a series of Tuesday-morning tweets, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee criticized the ads released by the group, Priorities USA, on Monday. One of the ads spliced together derogatory statements that Trump had made about women's bodies.

Trump accused the super PAC of taking a quote from a New Hampshire speech in which he said China and Mexico could "go f--- themselves" out of context.

"The pathetic new hit ad against me misrepresents the final line," Trump wrote. "'You can tell them to go BLANK themselves' — was about China, NOT WOMEN!"

The real-estate magnate also reiterated his attempt to brand former President Bill Clinton, an admitted friend of Trump, as an "abuser" of women because of decades-old infidelities.

One of the ads, titled "Speak," showed men and women mouthing many of Trump's most infamous opinions about women's bodies from public interviews with radio host Howard Stern.

The 30-second spot included the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's assertion that "a person who is flat-chested is very hard to be a 10," as well as his judgment that reality-television star Kim Kardashian does not have a good body but "absolutely" has a "fat a--."

While Clinton is still waging a Democratic presidential primary fight with Sen. Bernie Sanders, her campaign and her allied super PACs have largely turned their fire on Trump.

Both the Clinton campaign and Priorities USA have launched digital video campaigns against Trump.

Earlier this month, Clinton's campaign released a one-minute montage of top Republican leaders slamming Trump during the Republican presidential primary.

Priorities USA's ads Monday represented the first of a reported $130 million ad campaign designed to help turn out female, black, and Latino voters, many of whom polls have shown to be turned off by Trump's inflammatory rhetoric.