Tuesday, September 06, 2016


I know, I know -- I'm not supposed to be upset about the new CNN poll:
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....

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.
The poll has its critics:

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....

In a four-way general election match-up, Clinton leads Trump by a slightly narrower 4-point margin -- 41 percent to 37 percent.
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.

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.

... 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."
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"?

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.

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.
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?

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.


Victor said...

Hillary is playing not to lose.

Not a good strategy.
Just ask any teams in sports with clocks, how well playing not to lose works?

Often, they lose.
Not always.
But often enough.

I'm waiting for t-RUMP's "October Surprise," which I'm sure is coming, and will be down-right malicious and evil.

main street liberal said...

It's not dramatic, sexy, or pithy, but accurate: when a professional sports team plays not to lose, it wins. For example, it was the strategy followed by Bill Parcells' New York Giants when, with unspectacular personnel, they twice went on to win the NFL championship. Playing not to lose makes fans nervous, but a team's objective (like that of a candidate) must be to win, not to spare its fans discomfort.

This is not to suggest that the Clinton campaign should have, as MSNBC did, assume Clinton would win in November because she was ahead in June. Presidential elections are won in the fall, not in the summer- consider Romney slamming Obama in the first presidential primary, then going on to lose. Unfortunately, we have to consider not only a Grump October Surprise, but also one from friends Putin or ISIL.

Robert said...

It's hard to believe Clinton's pivot to the center (and away from the Left) isn't paying dividends.

The New York Crank said...

I suspect it will come down to the debates. That's where Clinton can tie Trump in knots. The teleprompter won't be there, and the right zingers are likely to launch him into Bizarro Land.

But yes, if Mr. Putin actually has an October surprise of sufficient magnitude, Clinton could be screwed, and us along with her, as Trump steps into the White House and upsets the economic apple cart.

Another possibility that gives me the chills: Clinton kills Trump in the first debate, whereupon Trump finds some pretext not to participate in any more debates. Given that the American electorate has a memory and attention span of about seven seconds, Trumps would then read from his teleprompter all the way to the White House.

I don't know about you, but my knuckles are looking kind of white.

Yours crankily,
The New York Crannk

Lit3Bolt said...


It's almost as if Clinton considered moderate Republicans who live in Florida and Georgia easier and more meaningful votes to pick up than the True Leftist Believers who live in NYC and SF and who wouldn't vote for her anyway because they think Republican/Russian media narratives about the Clintons are yummy and believable.

Unknown said...

the one thing is that political campaigns are not football games especially in this case as here, the Refs are trying to keep things close.

Yastreblyansky said...

Weird side note to the CNN poll: for subgroups "with a sampling error larger than +/-8.5 percentage points are not displayed and instead are denoted with "NA"."

What's denoted with NA is all the numbers for the 18-34 age group.

Robert said...

True that.
Based on some of Clinton's political judgements, it does seem she sometimes has more in common with Florida and Georgia Republicans, than with Liberals in NYC and SF.
Democrats always lose (votes, if not elections outright) when they run to the Right. So does the citizenry.

AllieG said...

The actual Hillary Clinton has not run to the right. Only the Hillary Clinton who lives in the minds of too many people on the Internet has done that. She hasn't moderated stance the first to appeal to Republicans, only pointed out that Trump is a demented bigot.

Unknown said...

The media are trying to keep things close. This translates to more interest and more viewers.

KenRight said...

The actual Clinton has not run to the right? Absolutely, she is already so far to the right
on intervening in Crimea, Ukraine and Syria, she did not have to veer one iota on defeating the softie who said "emails?" "who cares?" Thankfully Jill Stein has more gonads than Bernie on this very meaningful issue.

Dark Avenger said...

What are you going to do after Hillary wins, Ken (fruit)Loops, go back to Mother Russia once again a failure?