Sunday, September 11, 2016

Concerned About the Polls? Don't Be.

I know you. You're a Democrat, or at least someone who believes that Donald Trump is a disaster waiting to happen, and you've been very concerned over the past week because the polling seems to indicate that Hillary Clinton's once safe lead is vanishing with every news release. You also wonder how anyone, and I (you) mean ANYONE, could vote for that Trump guy, and it's a travesty that he's even polling in the forties, much less close to Clinton. And you also fear that not only can Trump say anything without being punished in the polls, but that Hillary is losing. LOSING.

With all of this in mind, I have a question for you: Are you daft?

Let's calm down and look at some reality. First of all, Clinton has a lead in every national poll aggregation since, well, the spring and she continues to lead in the RealClearPolitics average of both national and state polls (sorry, but that CNN poll is an outlier. Like Pluto.). She also is ahead in enough states to have more than the 270 electoral votes in RealClear, FiveThirtyEight, Princeton Election Consortium, (where on Sunday Clinton was losing Ohio and Florida, but still winning the election) and..and...and every other reputable polling site in the media ether. Plus, the odds that Hillary Clinton will win the election are above 70% according to most calculations and above 80% in some others. Last week, the Washington Post released polls for each of the 50 states and found that...Hillary is leading in enough states, even Texas and Georgia, to win handily. But that's clearly not enough for you weak-kneed liberals who must have your 90% win projections and a 400+ electoral vote landslide in the bag before Labor Day.

It's not going to happen. Hillary is not popular enough and voters are in a foul mood and the country is locked in at about 45% support for each party, with the middle 10% the deciding voters. It's striking to hear that some Republicans will not vote for Trump, but there are still Bernie voters who won't vote for Hillary. Plus, it's still relatively early. Political junkies have been mainlining the politics cut with baking soda for more than a year now. The pure stuff doesn't arrive until September 26. That's when most of America will pay serious attention.

Which brings me to the most noxious comment that people make about Donald Trump, that he can say anything and not be punished in the polls. He is being punished in the polls. His numbers are terrible and they continue to be terrible even with the race tightening. If you look, you'll see  that Trump is still polling nationally in the low 40% range. The race is getting closer because Clinton's numbers are falling a bit because of the email and Clinton Foundation stories. She also essentially took the summer off to raise money and to let Trump say ridiculous things without competing for air time.

Trump's numbers didn't budge. His supporters remain who they were during the primaries (and by the by, Hillary is essentially right about them). He's doing abominably with women, Hispanics, African-Americans, college-educated people and those with middle and upper middle class incomes, and he's saying nothing that will win them back. To go even further, even with Clinton's troubles, more voters support her for president than Trump. It's terrible that this election seems to be a race to the bottom, but Trump is winning that race convincingly.

Starting this week, Hillary Clinton will be more visible and she will begin to actually run for president. She's clearly the best qualified, and she's the candidate with the answers that most other Americans agree with on the issues of the day. They don't agree with mass deportations or banning Muslims from the country or Trump's view that the country is a cesspool of stagnation, violence and decay run by a president who might still not be a citizen, but is definitely a Muslim. Hillary will make her case and make it forcefully. I also think that the debates will be an eye-opener for Trump because he's going to be called on every one of his contradictory comments and will be forced to actually take a stand on issues he's clearly not studied. Hillary will also have some zingers of her own and she'll show a sense of humor that many voters don't think she has.

And that's ultimately why Hillary Clinton will win the election. She's ahead in the polls now and my take is that she'll still be leading by this time next week and the week after that. She will use the debates to reintroduce herself, her qualifications, her vision for the country and her steady realism and that will enable her to win.

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  1. Ruh-roh...