Saturday, August 6, 2016

You Have to Step Back to Appreciate How Bad Trump's Campaign Has Been

Huffington Post points this out.

"Trump has always been an asymmetrical candidate, flouting conventional wisdom in favor of a political style befitting a free-wheeling TV showman. But his past week has been a show featuring mainly self-immolation. He suggested that a Gold Star mother was not allowed to speak because of her Muslim faith, refused to endorse the speaker of the House ― a member of his own party ― for re-election, placed the onus on resolving the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace on the recipient of the harassment, and concocted, apparently out of whole cloth, a video of money being airlifted to Iran."

"David Plouffe, Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, called these moments “being in the barrel”: a point in a campaign where a candidate simply cannot get beyond a cascade of bad press and controversy."

"But to apply that aphorism to Trump’s past week might not do the barrel justice, veterans of past campaigns argue. Stuart Stevens, a top aide to Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign and a frequent Trump critic, noted that other candidates have imploded before. No one, he argues, has done it quite as spectacularly and with such a large potential for damage as Trump."

“Donald Trump is Todd Akin. He is Richard Mourdock and Sharron Angle,” he said, referring to three infamous Republican Senate candidates who committed fatal verbal miscues. “But that is really not fair to Akin, Mourdock and Angle. They weren’t nuts. They had political views and others that made them unelectable. With Donald Trump, it is instability. He is an absurd candidate for president. He is a neutron bomb that has gone off in the Republican Party that is destroying anyone near him.”

The media has actually concocted this narrative that Trump is Teflon or the very unconventional nature of his campaign somehow makes him really tough.

The same Beltway that wrongly didn't take him seriously as a threat to win the GOP nomination until very late, now has been way too bullish on him in the general.

Often you'll hear Beltway pundits say, 'But it's still a tied race or almost a tied race.' This is false. It's not been close to a tied race.

Ok, it was a tied race right after he locked up the nomination in early May. He had a month lag where he was the presumptive nominee and Hillary still had to finish off Bernie.

What was interesting is that he did almost nothing with this 5 week lag-much as John McCain failed to do the same while Obama finished off Hillary in 2008.

The only other time Trump tied Hillary was right after the RNC. Earlier in July what had been a 6 to 7 point Hillary lead, became a 3 to 4 point lead thanks to James Comey's politicization in his press conference.

So that's just two fleeting moments Trump has been at parity. This is similar to the trajectory of John McCain, 2008.

But Trump's average polls have lagged McCain's polls in 2008.
Trump in a slump

Not only is he sinking rapidly in the polls — he's losing by a larger margin than the past two Republican also-rans.

Read more:

Again, the race has not been tied, nor has it been as close as 2012 and 2008-where the actual election results were not too close. 

"Average poll results in 2004: Bush, 46.3; Kerry, 45.2"

"In 2008: Obama, 47.9; McCain, 43.5"
"In 2012: Obama, 47.5; Romney, 45"
"In 2016: Clinton, 45.6; Trump 40.7"

Exactly. Not close. Note that in Obama's two wins, the poll averages actually underestimated his margin of victory: he won by 7 in 2008 and 5 in 2012.

You often hear pundits assume this race is similar to 2012. That assumes that Trump is a generic Republican when nothing could be further from the truth. As Bruce Bartlett said on Twitter, this should be worse as the GOP was totally unified in 2008 and 2012.

And you see it is worse. Maybe Obama's final margin over Romney was 5 points but his polling average was only 2.5. Hillary's average has been 5.

If the pattern of the Obama elections holds, you would expect her to win by an even larger margin.

Again: a real pet peeve when the media says this is a really close race or talk about it like it's Romney-Obama.

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