Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton start the race to November 8 on essentially even ground, with Trump edging Clinton by ... two points among likely voters....The poll has its critics:
Among the broader pool of registered voters, Clinton edges Trump by 3 points. The shift among these voters since the convention is largely due to a rebound in Trump's numbers rather than a slide in Clinton's. He's gone from 37% support then to 41% among registered voters now.
CNN Poll projects share of white vote increasing from 72% in 2012 to 74% in 2016.— Armando (@armandodkos) September 6, 2016
If I was writing the CNN Poll story, I lead with the key finding - CNN Poll expects historic surge of white uneducated voters.— Armando (@armandodkos) September 6, 2016
And another new poll shows a reasonably solid Clinton lead:
Hillary Clinton's national lead over Donald Trump remains steady at 6 points, according to the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll....But Clinton hasn't put the race away by any means. Many polls are tightening. We're down to a 3.3% Clinton lead in the Real Clear Politics average of the two-candidate race, and a 2.4% lead for Clinton in a four-candidate race.
In a four-way general election match-up, Clinton leads Trump by a slightly narrower 4-point margin -- 41 percent to 37 percent.
What's happening? I'd say it's because the press is continuing to normalize Trump. Consider the report on the Trump campaign that aired on NPR this morning. It's starts at 2:43 in the clip below:
NPR'S SCOTT DETROW: Trump's Labor Day schedule illustrates just how, well, traditional Trump has seemed lately, filled with the types of events that Hillary Clinton has been doing all year: tightly controlled roundtables with just a handful of voters, meet-and-greets at the fair and a diner outside of Cleveland.A quick review: Detrow says of Trump, "in the last few weeks he's been staying on message." He says Trump's campaign has been "traditional" in that time. Really? Have we already forgotten last week's manic surprise trip to Mexico, which was followed by a feral immigration speech, a speech the candidate toughened in response to a tweet from the Mexican president? That's Detrow's idea of a candidate who's "been staying ... away from the off-the-cuff remarks that have gotten him in so much trouble"?
... in the last few weeks he's been staying on message, and away from the off-the-cuff remarks that have gotten him in so much trouble.
One thing Trump's expected to keep focusing on: his promise to restore America's strength in the world. Speaking to about a dozen people in an American Legion hall outside Cleveland, Trump pointed to the recent dust-up White House staffers had with Chinese officials over what stairs to use when Air Force One landed in China this past weekend. He said the scuffle was a symbol of how China pushes the United States around.
DONALD TRUMP: If that were me, I'd say, "You know what, folks? I respect you a lot, but close the doors, let's get out of here."
Then we get Detrow paraphrasing a Trump campaign slogan ("his promise to restore America's strength in the world"), followed by a Trump soundbite in which he argues that President Obama should have responded to the airplane kerfuffle by blowing off the G-20 summit. This is a candidate who's become safe and respectable?
But Trump now has competent professional handlers. These handlers tell the press what's supposed to be happening in the Trump campaign, and the press responds by writing as if that's what is happening. Trump is moderating on immigration! Trump is doing sincere outreach to black voters! Trump is staying on message!
So of course he's still in the race.
There's another poll out today -- a state-by-state poll, also from Survey Monkey, this time in collaboration with The Washington Post. This poll shows Clinton with a solid Electoral College lead:
In a two-way competition between the major-party candidates, Clinton leads by four points or more in 20 states plus the District of Columbia. Together they add up to 244 electoral votes, 26 shy of the 270 needed to win.Here's a question: Could this race tighten to the point where Clinton retains an Electoral College lead but trails in the popular vote? What happens if that's the outcome in November? And what about the opposite --Trump ekes out wins in Florida and Ohio and a few other close ones, but trails in the popular vote? Do we have a bigger constitutional crisis than 2000, because Americans now have less respect for the system, and because the candidates are more disliked than Bush and Gore? How do rumors of election "rigging" play into this?
Trump leads by at least four points in 20 states as well, but those add up to just 126 electoral votes. In the 10 remaining states, which hold 168 electoral votes, neither candidate has a lead of four percentage points or better.
How crazy does it all get? If Clinton wins while losing the popular vote, do goateed, beer-gutted guys take to the streets with their AR-15s? Does the GOP establishment issue a call for unfaithful electors? And if Trump wins this way, what happens? Will our side muster more of a response than a lot of angry tweets?
This all seems unlikely, but it doesn't seem impossible. More likely, I think, is a narrow popular-vote victory for Clinton, accompanied by a solid but not spectacular Electoral College win. That alone will stir up cries of "Fraud!" I'm not worried if they come from Alex Jones and a few militia guys -- I worry if they come from the GOP Congress. I fear those bastards are cynical enough to play that card.