This Week in Polls: Trump & Hannity

Donald Trump continues to destroy everything in his wake. For those Republicans begging for him to pivot to a general election campaign, they just had their teeth kicked in, and the polls aren’t going to get friendlier. The Trump & Hannity town hall tonight should demonstrate that.

by John English
by John English

Corey Lewandowski was Doug Stanhope-level loyal, and he helped Trump win the GOP primary, but he was set aside for the allegedly more grown-up Paul Manafort, who would use his experience to pull off a successful convention. Manafort helped amplify Trump’s bizarre crush on Vladimir Putin, but he could never get Trump to stay on message for longer than 6 hours. Since Manafort’s role in setting up the Crimean invasion has been exposed, Trump has pivoted once again.

By hiring Breitbart News CEO Steve K. Bannon (previously best-known as the director of the pro-Sarah Palin documentary The Undefeated), Trump has demonstrated he plans to fully embrace white nationalism and a post-truth campaign. He has Roger Ailes (fired from Fox News for systemic sexual harrassment) advising him, and he has a free hour on “Baghdad Sean” Hannity whenever he wants. Trump desires to be surrounded by yes-men and just have fun being himself, and he got his wish.

The Breitbart site was founded by Andrew Breitbart, and it was a place for Tea Party conservatives to vent their frustration, but it also attacked the liberal media and tried to expose hypocrisy. People can argue how effective it was before Andrew’s death, but it’s taken a different tone since, and it’s taken a more jarringly obvious tone since Donald Trump announced his candidacy. There’s a reason a Trumpbart parody account has existed for a year. As former Breitbart contributor Ben Shapiro put it: “Former Breitbart Chairman Steven Bannon’s elevation to the ‘CEO’ of the Trump campaign marks a ‘shark jump’ moment for Republican nominee Donald Trump. More specifically, it marks the moment when Trump strapped on a rocket pack, lined up his water skis, and leapt 1,000 Katy Perry left sharks, landing in a pit of scorpions that he set on fire using his dragon breath, escaping with his life but not his dignity.”

It’s strange to watch a major party nominee give up in August. And he has. Some of his people, deep down, know it. Why else has Hannity decided to start now and blame “The Establishment” for Trump’s loss in three months? Oh, and he’s naming names. John Kasich, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Ben Sasse, Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Bill Kristol, National Review, etc., are all shedding non-existent tears over joining Trumpity’s blacklist.

Now I can understand why conservative talk-show hosts like Hugh Hewitt are supporting Trump, given their principles. Hewitt’s #1 concern is the Supreme Court. I can respect that. Hannity’s #1 concern is ratings, and he’s contradicted everything he said he believes in order to prop up and spoonfeed talking points to Trump. He shouldn’t be labelled a conservative talk-show host. He’s more of an “alt-right talk-show host,” and Laura Ingraham has become his most frequent first guest to tell him how right he is. Maybe when Trump & Hannity debuts on the Trump Channel in January 2017, Ingraham can be the announcer.

Donald Trump is winning in one category. He’s on pace to have the highest margin of non-college educated white men since 1984. Trump is losing everywhere else. He’s losing college-educated whites, which a Republican hasn’t done in 60 years.

Let’s look at how he’s doing in some states and compare to how Romney did in them.

2012 Romney +9%
2016 Trump +2%

2012 Romney -5%
2016 Trump -8%

2012 Romney -1%
2016 Trump -5%

2012 Romney +8%
2016 Trump +2%

2012 Romney -6%
2016 Trump +1%

2012 Romney +21%
2016 Trump +5%

2012 Romney +9%
2016 Trump +2%

2012 Romney -6%
2016 Trump -2%

2012 Romney -5.5%
2016 Trump -15%

2012 Romney +2%
2016 Trump -9%

2012 Romney -3%
2016 Trump -4%

2012 Romney -5%
2016 Trump -9%

2012 Romney +10%
2016 Trump +2%

2012 Romney +16%
2016 Trump +6%

2012 Romney +48%
2016 Trump +12%

2012 Romney -4%
2016 Trump -12%

2012 Romney -7%
2016 Trump -15%

If the election were held today, Trump would flip Iowa but lose North Carolina, and the rest of the map would look like 2012. That would mean Trump would win a total of 197 electoral votes. And with margins the way they are, the popular vote count spread could closer to Obama-McCain than Obama-Romney. At this point in August 2012, Mitt Romney was down by 3.5%. He ultimately lost by 3.9%. At this point in 2008, John McCain was down by 3.2%, and he lost by 7.3%. Donald Trump is down by 5%.

This doesn’t mean Hillary will get 69 million votes. Conceivably she could tie Romney’s 2012 votes but still win handily because Johnson and Stein combine to get double-digits in most states. In the past, third-party candidates always poll better in summer than November, but there’s never been an election like this one, with two historically unpopular candidates.

Tying this back to Utah, just compare the op-eds that were published this month in the Deseret News. Hillary Clinton (and the committee that helped her) focussed on common ground, and she referenced everyone from Lillian Boggs to Rosemary Wixom. Even if you don’t believe what she said, you have to admire the effort. Donald Trump, meanwhile, slapped together a couple Utah references on a stump speech he could have given anywhere, painting America as a hellhole (“Lawlessness has run rampant”) where he is the strongman who will save us.

Tell me more about this “Evan McMullin” of which you speak…

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