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Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Trump expands his base

Jonathan Chait of the New York magazine and Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner are worlds apart politically. The former hates President Donald John Trump; the latter does not. But they agree on one thing: a year away from Election Day, President Trump is in the driver's seat.

Chait wrote, "A new batch of swing state polls from the New York Times ought to deliver a bracing shock to Democrats. The polls find that, in six swing states — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona — Trump is highly competitive. He trails Joe Biden there by the narrowest of margins, and leads Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren."

Well, who believes in polls?

Not so fast said Chait.

He wrote, "This case is different. To see why, you need to understand two interrelated flaws in the 2016 polling. First, they tended to under-sample white voters without college degrees. And this made them especially vulnerable to polling misses in a handful of states with disproportionately large numbers of white non-college voters. The Times found several months ago that Trump might well win 270 Electoral College votes even in the face of a larger national vote defeat than he suffered in 2016."

The midterms went as expected. The outside party gained control of the House. Chait said this was by running as moderates. But four moderate incumbent Democrat senators lost, which was the bloodiest midterm for the outside party since 1934 when FDR's party defeated 8 incumbent Republicans. Most notably, Harry S. Truman ousted Roscoe C. Patterson in Missouri.

In Obama's first midterm, Democrats lost the House and had a net loss of 7 seats in the Senate. Yet he won re-election.

Trump lost the House and had a net gain of 2 seats in the Senate.

And the Chait and Bedard stories are encouraging.

Chait wrote, "The primary has not doomed Democrats. Warren and Sanders are still close enough to Trump that they can compete, and new events, like a recession or another scandal, could erode Trump’s base. But the party should look at its position a year before the election with real fear. The party’s presidential field has lost the plot."

By plot, he means storyline.

Bedard meanwhile wrote, "At a time when the conventional wisdom in Washington, especially among Democrats, is that Trump is headed toward an easy and well-earned defeat in 2020, a collection of polls and contrarian views from critics who took Trump seriously early in the 2016 election suggest that he is in a good position.

"Zogby Analytics pollster Jonathan Zogby told us that Trump is making solid inroads with new voters who feel good about the economy, including those in urban areas and the poor, traditionally part of the Democratic base."

And what Democrats should dread is the Walk Away movement in which black people leave Democrats for taking them for granted. Obama's failure to help black people stands in stark contrast to President Trump lowering black unemployment to an all-time low.

Zogby told Bedard, "Trump could skim support of young, Hispanic, and women voters in addition to new groups he has appealed to."

Four years ago, a year away from the 2016 election, the McClatchy/Marist poll showed Hillary with a 15-point lead over Donald Trump.

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