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Friday, August 5, 2016

Clinton Surges Trump Crashes

Following the two Conventions, Hillary Clinton has surged into a solid lead against Donald Trump. Nationally, Clinton is up nearly 7% over Trump.  Several prominent Republicans have endorsed Clinton, fearing the disaster that is the Trump Campaign.

Trump's big stumbling block for the last week has been his attacks on gold star parents.the Khans who criticized Trump at the Democratic Convention.  Trump has come along way by attacking anyone who dares to criticize him and by never apologizing.  So perhaps he is surprised that this strategy is beginning to cause problems.  That said, attacking the parents of a fallen war hero seems to be a bridge too far for even some of his strongest supporters.

Trump has also taken heat for reports that he asked military advisers why the US should not use nuclear weapons.  Now normally a provocative question like that could be taken as a way of just going over the reasons why the use of nukes are a bad idea.  But the comments fit so well into the narrative of Trump as a foreign policy neophyte and a dangerously unstable person, that he is not going to get any slack on this.

In addition Trump has failed to unify the Republican establishment.  Several have endorsed Clinton, including Meg Whitman of California, Former Bush Treasury Sec. Hank Paulson, and Con. Richard Hanna (R-NY).  Major Republican fundraisers like the Koch brothers are refusing to spend on the Trump campaign.  Even Sheldon Adelson, who backed Trump during the primary season, seems to be hesitating on spending more money now.

Of course, all the political pundits (and me) thought Trump would never win the nomination with his lack of organization, endorsements, and funding.  He proved us all wrong on that one.  Now we are saying the same thing about the general election.  Trump certainly has his hard core supporters who as the candidate himself said, would continue to support him even if he gunned down someone in the street.

Polls however are showing that what worked for Trump in the primaries may not work for him in the General Election.  Clinton is surging ahead.  If the election were held today, based on state by state polling, this is what the outcome would look like.

Of course, there is still plenty of time for things to change.  Clinton's negatives remain high.  If Trump can just convince people that he is relatively sane, things could change quickly.  Even so, even if we only give Clinton every State where she is up by 5% or more, and say Trump can win back those other swing states, Clinton would still win the electoral college by a slight margin:

Earlier in the race, it looked as if Trump might have a chance at turning Pennsylvania.  The state is full of socially conservative working class whites who support protectionism and seemed ripe for Trump's message.  But Clinton is now nearly 10 points ahead of Trump in that State.

Everything appears to be going Clinton's way at this point.  But as we saw during the Primaries, Trump has a way of turning things around when we least expect it.