Here’s a few things that have been bouncing around in my head as I look at presidential polls and observe the political landscape.
1. TRUMP COULD ACTUALLY WIN – It defies expectations how he got to this point, but now is the time for Democrats to not get cocky. This week’s Quinnipiac poll showed that it’s close between Trump and Clinton in three crucial swings states – Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
In Florida, Clinton leads Trump by only 43%-42%. She leads with women 48-35, but he leads with men 49-36. Both of them have a -20% favorability rating.
In Ohio, Trump leads Clinton 43%-39%. She leads with women 43-36 while he leads with men 51-36. She has -28% favorability rating compared to Trump’s -19%.
In Pennsylvania, Clinton leads Trump 43%-42%. She leads with women 51-32 and he leads with men 54-33, the largest gender gap of the three states. She has a -19% favorability rating compared to his -16%.
Something that should chill Clinton backers: Trump does better with older voters. The older voters vote. The younger voters aren’t as reliable.
I also found it interesting that in the three states, Trump was between 55-58% who view him as dishonest, but Clinton had 66-69% who view her as dishonest.
2. WHAT GOP ESTABLISHMENT? – I’m still hearing people like Rush Limbaugh throw around the term “GOP Establishment.” “The Establishment” is still against Trump. Well, Trump now has the support of Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Jeff Sessions, Bob Corker, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, most of Fox News, and who was the Establishment pick again?
3. PAUL RYAN – The Speaker of the House is playing this smart. You know how? He’s negotiating. Trump can respect that, even if he outwardly acts like he doesn’t. Ryan negotiated terms in order for him to accept the Speakership, and now he’s negotiating on how the GOP convention will go. Besides, while many in the Republican base don’t care if Mitt Romney or the Bushes are #NeverTrump, Paul Ryan is the Speaker. Calling him Paul RINO doesn’t move any needles. And if Ryan feels like Trump’s too unstable, he’ll walk away from the convention. Part of the power of negotiating is being willing to walk away if you can’t get enough of what you want.
4. TED CRUZ TRIES TO TAKE IT BACK – Ted Cruz said he’d unsuspend his campaign if he still wins Nebraska. Whatever, Ted. You already dropped out. You and a few others would “unsuspend” your campaigns if Trump died of a heart attack tomorrow, but his doctor’s note says he’s the healthiest man to ever run for president. Bless the heart of every delegate who votes against Trump at the GOP convention, but no, he’s got this wrapped up now.
For Ted, he has to go back to the Senate. He needs to recognize that his plan to spend every day in the Senate waging war against fellow Republicans didn’t work. He thought he was positioning himself to be the principled outsider, but just enough of his colleagues found a narcissistic authoritarian as more acceptable than him. Ted’s candidacy puts to bed the we-always-knew-it-was-false theory that Mitt Romney lost in 2012 because too many conservatives stayed home. 2016 has taught him that the Republican party doesn’t have as many “true conservatives” as he thought there were. But it does have a surprising amount of online anti-Semites.
5. BERNIE SANDERS CAN’T WIN – Bernie Sanders is plowing ahead to keep Hillary Clinton on the Left as long as he can, but he can’t win. Hillary’s received about 56% of the popular vote from Democratic primaries and caucuses so far. She’s ahead of Bernie by about 300 pledged delegates and about 3 million votes.
6. GARY JOHNSON SHOULD BE ADDED TO GENERAL ELECTION POLLS – A Monmouth poll in March showed that Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson (former governor of New Mexico) got 11% of the vote in a three-way match-up with Hillary Clinton (42%) and Donald Trump (34%). That poll, however, was in March. Johnson needs to be polling at 15% if he wants to be in the presidential debates in the fall, but he can’t get there unless the polls actually include him as an option.