Much of the mainstream media spent last week speculating that Donald Trump has already lost the election.
Two weeks after Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination in Cleveland, political operatives are talking about his campaign as if he has already lost. — The Guardian – August 5, 2016
Polls that just two weeks ago showed Trump pulling even with Hillary Clinton now have Trump losing by double digits. The Real Clear Politics poll average has Clinton ahead by +7 points. The New York Times headlined an article Could Donald Trump Drop Out? Some Bettors Seem to Think So.
"Amid widespread chatter that Donald Trump could drop out of the presidential race before Election Day, Republican insiders in key battleground states have a message for The Donald: Get out. "— Politico – August 5, 2016
The view from Trump Tower is serene
While Republicans are wringing their hands and Democrats are jumping for joy, the view from Trump Towers is much more serene. Trump is dominating the news coverage just as he did while winning the GOP primaries.
The press jumped all over Trump last week for having the audacity to ask a mother to remove a crying baby from a rally. Twitter erupted over Trump’s insensitivity towards children. But, there was likely a quieter and more positive reaction from everyone who has gone to a movie and had to listen to a baby crying during the show. Those folks may not take to Twitter to express their support for Trump saying that it’s not OK when parents allow their children to disrupt the activities of others, but they likely nodded in approval.
A number of key Republicans, such as Sen. John McCain Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Speaker Paul Ryan, to name a few sharply criticized Trump’s reaction to the speech that Khizr Khan gave at the Democratic convention. In Trump’s mind, at least, it seems there may be a double standard at play. It’s acceptable for Republicans to criticize Trump and, in some cases worked hard to deny him the nomination, but not OK for Trump to withhold his endorsement to those that disagree with him.
Trump initially refused to endorse Speaker Paul Ryan in his Wisconsin primary race by saying, “I’m just not there yet.” Trump used language that was similar in tone and content to Mr. Ryan’s refusal to endorse Donald Trump after he’d clinched the GOP nomination last May when Speaker Ryan said, “I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now.” On Friday, Trump did endorse Speaker Ryan and Sen. McCain.
Trump’s poll number are climbing again
There is conflicting evidence as to how voters are reacting to Trump. As noted earlier Trump’s poll approval ratings appear to have nosedived in the past two weeks, but not all polls are current or equal. For any given poll, there are some who claim it is golden while others argue that the same poll is biased. There are two respected daily tracking polls that show that, at least in this news cycle, the worst is behind for Trump. The Reuters/Ipsos daily rolling poll showed that on Friday Hillary Clinton was ahead by less than three points (41.5% to 39.1%), whereas a week ago the same poll showed Hillary ahead by 9 points (43.8% to 34.2%). The LA Times/USC daily tracking poll showed as of August 7 Hillary was leading Trump by only 0.7% (44.7% to 44.0%).
This pattern has repeated itself several times in the past few months. Trump creates a controversy and his poll numbers drop, but after a few days/weeks, they improve again. The implication is that after voters digest Trump’s latest controversy, they modify their initial adverse reaction and his support increases. While it may stretch the imagination to find a ‘sympathy vote’ for Donald Trump, that may indeed be what is happening. President Obama last week said that Trump is “unfit to serve as president.” Politicians from both parties are highly critical of Trump and his stands, and Americans like an underdog.
Voters want someone who will change things
What Donald Trump is betting on is that his image of being against political correctness and that he alone can ‘make America great again’ is resonating better outside of Washington D.C. than it does inside the beltway. A July 13 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that 73% of voters believe the country is heading in the wrong direction, and those numbers are encouraging for Trump.
"The same survey found 56% favor someone for president “who will bring major changes to the way government operates even if it is not possible to predict what the changes may be." — The Wall Street Journal – July 28, 2016
Fifteen months ago, the odds that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for President were at zero. Today, somewhere between 40 to 45 percent of American’s feel that Trump would be the best person to lead the country for the next four years. Trump may or may not become the next President, but it’s far too early to bury his campaign.
Donald Trump is controversial, says things that are politically incorrect, and sometimes speaks ahead of the facts, but far too many people agree with his message to label him ‘crazy.’