“The polls indicate Trump is trying to hit all the whack-a-moles at once, while more and more early voting states are closing the door to improvement.
If that’s true, Trump may have already lost.”
There’s a saying in aviation, “it’s bad to run out of altitude, airspeed, and ideas at the same time,” and Donald Trump is approaching this sad confluence.
Getting a statistician to commit to an actual result is like asking a physicist if Schrödinger’s cat is dead. We are 33 days from knowing for sure. Nate Silver gives Hillary Clinton anywhere between a 69 and 72 percent chance of winning right now. The trends remain in Clinton’s favor.
Trump is behind and falling further behind in almost every must-win swing state: Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida, North Carolina, and Colorado. His leads in Iowa and Ohio won’t win the election. Even if Trump loses by the smallest of electoral margins, a loss is a loss (ask Al Gore). The path that Trump sought to take to the White House is becoming difficult to the point of hopelessness.
Early voting has already started in Minnesota, Nebraska and a few other states–and Ohio will start on the 12th. By the 17th, over 20 states will have polls open. Nationwide, Trump is decidedly behind, and Americans may have begun making their final decisions on him.
The problem is no longer whether Trump can keep the race close, and win at the last minute. It’s now a question of whether there are enough undecided voters who can be swayed by events to vote for Trump versus any other option.
The first debate decidedly gave Clinton a boost. The VP debate may help Trump recover a bit. The next debate on October 9 is a town hall format, which should also favor Trump, who does well with crowds. But the polls indicate Trump is trying to hit all the whack-a-moles at once, while more and more early voting states are closing the door to improvement.
If that’s true, Trump may have already lost.
Silver at FiveThirtyEight:
Out of 20 post-debate polls in swing states, she’s led in 18, trailed in only one (today’s Quinnipiac poll of Ohio) and was tied in one other.2 Overall, the post-debate polls look a lot like the results that President Obama had against Mitt Romney in the 2012 election, although with Ohio and North Carolina flipping sides. (Iowa is a good candidate for Trump also, but it hasn’t been polled since the debate.) That isn’t a coincidence, since Obama beat Romney by 3.9 percentage points in 2012 — right about where our model has the Clinton-Trump gap now.
It’s possible Tim Kaine’s blow-up in the VP debate last night was part of a plan. You see, Hillary Clinton can’t really be more disliked than she is. Even her supporters have to hold their noses. Trump, on the other hand, seems to have a cap in how many people love him no matter what. Clinton’s game could be to keep Trump below his cap even when she is at her lowest.
Just like Trump has, for the past year, inoculated Americans to his awfulness, Clinton could be pursuing a compressed version of that strategy. That way, no matter what Julian Assange and his America-hating hackers throw out, it won’t sink her because she’s hit her perigee.
What’s clear is that we have not seen Donald Trump fighting from a corner. If the past is any indication, we can expect one thing. If Trump thinks he’s got nothing to lose and everything to gain, he will take ugliness to a new dimension. We haven’t seen anything yet.