Remember back in August when Politico authors were gleefully reporting that Donald Trump’s campaign was so hopeless that “insiders” were pressuring him to drop out?
Well, the times – and the polls – have changed.
As the drip, drip, drip of stories about Hillary Clinton’s corruption continues, and in the wake of the Clinton camp’s botching of the “pneumonia” story (a story that some, present author included, have called into question), the esteemed former first lady has been collapsing precipitously in the polls.
A month ago, when “analysts” were scrambling to call the race “over,” Hillary was schlonging Trump in the national polls by a margin of 6%- 47.2 % to 41.2%.
One of the concerns for Trump’s candidacy has been his ability to break his perceived ceiling of 43%. Before September 11, Trump had only hit 43% twice – once in late May, and once during the post-convention surge where he temporarily flirted with 47% (according to RealClearPolitics).
However, as Hillary continues to falter, Trump has slowly been gaining ground. In the past week, he has taken a wrecking ball to Hillary’s 3.1% lead on September 10, reducing it to a paltry 0.9% at press time, with the two most recent polls showing him leading by 1% and 7%.
Is this important? Yes, it is important, because it quantifies what many commentators have been admitting: Trump has all of the momentum and energy right now. But being behind by 0.9% is obviously not the same as being in the lead, so assuming these polls are accurate, Trump would narrowly lose the popular vote.
An astute political observer (or anyone old enough to pay attention in 2000) would remind you that it is not the popular vote that decides the election, it is the electoral college. As Politico snarkily noted only a week ago, conventional wisdom suggests that Clinton has an advantage in the swing states.
The path to “President Trump”
Unfortunately for the analysts who dismissed Trump, a recent batch of polling is taking their analysis to the woodshed – if the election were held today, Donald Trump would win the electoral college by a margin of 283 to 255.
How is this possible? By rejecting conventional wisdom and running a campaign appealing to voters in all 50 states, not just a select 8.
Trump’s surge to the top of the electoral college scrum is due to his ability to turn non-battleground states into a full-scale electoral D-Day.
Take, for example, the traditional Democratic stronghold of New Mexico. Democrats invested very little in New Mexico this cycle, predicting that Trump’s tough talk on immigration would keep the largely-Hispanic state voting blue. The latest polling, however, spells trouble for Hillary: Trump is within the margin of error or leading in the usually blue state.
Even if New Mexico stayed blue, according to the polling coming out of other swing and non-swing states, President Trump would be a reality if the election were held today.
If Trump takes all of the above states, he wins the election. There are even more states where Trump might make a play, as well – take, for example, Minnesota. He has cut Hillary’s lead in half in the lake-blessed state. The recent terrorist attack committed by one of the state’s many Muslim residents may heighten concerns about terrorism and refugee policy – an area where Trump has taken a strong stance.
Recent national and state-by-state polls have been encouraging for Trump and his supporters. What should also be encouraging is the presence of what some have called the “hidden Trump vote.”
While some in the media scoff at the idea that voters may lie when they are polled, this would not be the first time such a thing has occurred.
Hidden Trump vote or not, if the election were held today, Donald J. Trump would be the winner – and, if he continues to flip blue states red and hold them, he will win on November 8 as well.