The Crystal Ball of Sabato gives its update of the Presidential race and goes at why Clinton is leading….But why is Trump having climbing poll numbers….
And it isn’t just the candidates….
Some of has to do with polling itself….
First of all, Florida, Nevada, and North Carolina, three diverse, growing states, move from Leans Democratic to Toss-up. Polls have been close in all three for months….
Clinton disappeared for long stretches before Labor Day to do fundraising and failed to define any overriding positive message about what a Hillary Clinton presidency would mean. Then came the “basket of deplorables” gaffe (which some believe might actually help Clinton with her party base) and the lie by omission about her pneumonia, a serious condition that deserves scrutiny. Instead of transparency, there was a bold gambit by Clinton to avoid any health disclosure that might give credence to longtime, far-right theories that she was at death’s door. This ill-advised error reinforced the public’s view that Clinton is secretive and untruthful.
At the same time, two other developments helped Trump. His new (third) campaign team, especially Kellyanne Conway, seems to have been able to force some discipline on the unpredictable billionaire. The number of middle-of-the-night tweets has diminished, the use of scripts and the teleprompter is up, and Trump is doing events other than giant rallies filled with true believers who encourage his worst instincts — though he continues to make outrageous statements with some frequency, such as Friday’s suggestion that Clinton’s Secret Service team should be disarmed. (Almost any other candidate would be disqualified by the kinds of remarks Trump has offered. In this sense, there truly is a double standard in media coverage that benefits Trump.)
Second, and as important as anything else we’ve mentioned, the pollsters have switched from highlighting the trial heats of all registered voters to a more select group they themselves define, called likely voters. The composition of this group is influenced by the response rates of partisans and their enthusiasm, or lack of it, to vote in this election. It will surprise no one following this contest to learn that Trump supporters, and Republicans generally, are more committed just now. Clinton has not lit a fire under her supporters, and to the contrary, her missteps have disheartened them a bit. It is also true that Democrats frequently get engaged later in the campaign season, and as a result, we might expect the enthusiasm gap to decline somewhat in the seven weeks remaining until Nov. 8. Clinton’s best surrogates (Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, etc.) can help, but only Hillary Clinton herself can provide enough incentive for many voters to show up.
The third-party candidates aren’t helping Clinton either. Put together, Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Jill Stein seem to be hurting Clinton more than Trump, particularly among the youngest voters — voters who have little use for Trump but also are hardly inspired by Clinton. Politico’s Steve Shepard found that one survey, from Fox News, showed about a quarter of voters under 35 backing Johnson or Stein. Another, from Quinnipiac, pegged third-party support amongst millennials at an eye-popping 44%.
Clinton tends to do a little better in most surveys with the one-on-one matchup with Trump than in the four-way polls, and it’s easy to see why…..
Sabato and company joins us in offering that there IS a ‘Double Standard’ in Media coverage of Trump…
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