Monday, August 15, 2016
Status of eleven 'swing states.'
Weekly Opinion Editorial
DON’T COUNT TRUMP OUT YET!
by Steve Fair
A USA Today poll this week said that Donald Trump is losing millennial voters by over twenty points to Hillary Clinton. Back in May, an ABC news poll said that Clinton’s support among young voters (ages 18-29) had dropped by 19% and that Trump’s number among that demographic had jumped by 17%. The newest poll shows that a significant number of young voters planning to vote for Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, former two term Governor of New Mexico. Looking at voters by age/gender/education, etc. can be interesting and profitable, but the way we elect a president is by electoral vote (by state). The winner must get 270 electoral votes to be elected president. The states that vote faithfully either D or R give the edge to Clinton- 190 to 162 electoral votes. There are eleven ‘swing’ states this cycle. A swing state is where both major parties have significant support and have enjoyed some electoral success. How those swing states vote often determines the outcome of the presidential election. Trump must win two of the four largest swing states- Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania- to win the presidency. Here is where Trump is at this point in the race in those critical states:
In Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes), Trump is trailing Clinton by nine points and the former Secretary of State is polling just under 50% in the polling averages. Rural Pennsylvania is very conservative (remember Obama’s comment about their clinging to their faith and their guns?) but the heavily populated urban areas are liberal. Winning Pennsylvania is a tough one. No Republican has carried the Keystone state since George H.W. Bush in 1988. Johnson is polling at 9% in the race, with most of his support likely coming from disgruntled Republicans, so the state is still ‘in play.’ A key Senate race has incumbent Pat Toomey trailing his Democrat opponent by 4 percent. Both candidates have historically high negatives- Clinton at 53% and Trump at 56%, so the race is still very fluid in Pennsylvania.
In Florida(29 electoral votes), a CBS News poll conducted last week show Clinton with a five point lead over Trump. That is up from three points a month ago. Only 2% of those polled in the Sunshine State liked their choices. Both candidates had high negatives in Florida- both over 50%. Trump’s challenge in the state will be the 242,000 new Hispanic voters the Democrats have added to the roles since last year. According to Daniel Smith, a University of Florida political science professor, it’s not a slam dunk that Hillary will get those Hispanic voters because Florida Hispanics are different from Hispanics in other parts of the country(country of origin/culture) and Florida Hispanics have been trending Republican in recent years- think Marco Rubio. Trump’s personal attacks on Jeb Bush have kept the popular former Governor from publically endorsing Trump. In a state where every vote counts, Bush’s endorsement could be the difference in winning and losing.
In Ohio(18 electoral votes), an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has Clinton leading Trump by 5 points- 39-35 with Gary Johnson polling 12 percent. A Quinnipiac University poll has Clinton at 49, Trump at 45, and Johnson at 8. Ohio is important because no Republican has ever been elected president without winning the Buckeye state. Ohio has a popular Republican sitting governor- John Kasich- who skipped the GOP convention in his own state and has said he just can’t bring himself to endorse Trump. Kasich did say he wouldn’t vote for Hilliary, so expect at some point he and the Donald to bury the hatchet.
In North Carolina (15 electoral votes), Clinton leads Trump 48-39 with Johnson polling at 9%. The current Republican incumbent in the Senate- Richard Burr- is also trailing his Democrat opponent. North Carolina’s state GOP organization has faced some challenges. Earlier this year, they removed the first black State Chairman after he was accused of exceeding his authority. Former Congressman Robin Hayes stepped in to fill the gap, but the NCGOP is critical to having any success in the Tarheel state.The other battleground states- Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Nevada, Michigan, and Wisconsin all show Trump trailing Hillary, but it’s early and few voters are paying attention at this point. After Labor Day, people start paying attention and this race could change overnight. Trump has been a master at proving the political and media experts wrong and with a deeply flawed opponent who has trouble in her own Party with trustworthiness, it is a certainty the numbers will change. As Election Day looms closer, voters will have to face the fact that one of two people will be president and the vast majority of Americans don’t trust Hilliary. Don’t count Trump out yet.