Roy Fletcher’s Presidential Race Blog, Episode 3: “Indies NOT Pleased”

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INDIES NOT PLEASED

Recently, I wrote that Independents will have a very large say in the 2016 Presidential election.  If I am right, the new Fox News poll released on Thursday, June 9th has an  important message for Donald Trump:  Independents do not like all the controversy centered around the judge in the Trump University case.  So, stop it!

What I am about to write may come as a surprise to many.  Given all the carping and whining by Republican politicians, you would think this controversy would have hit Trump the hardest among Republican voters but not so.  Comparing the Fox News Poll taken between May 14 and 17 (a poll which found Trump leading by 45% to 42%) to the latest Fox News Poll (showing Clinton ahead 42% to 39%), the most noticeable number is the 6% drop among Trump supporters.  So, given the lambasting Ryan, McConnell, Newt, and others gave Trump, it must have been the Republicans falling away, right?  No, the Republicans held firm.  In the prior poll, Trump received 82% of the Republican vote and in the most recent poll he received 79%; basically, the same % of Republicans.  Among Democratic voters, Trump was also relatively the same at 5% prior poll and 8% the latest.

In spite of the backlash from heavyweight Republicans, Trump maintained a very high percentage of Republicans.

So, why did Trump fall 6% from 45% to 39%?  Independents provide the answer.  In the May poll, Trump was beating Clinton 46% to 30% among Independents; a very nice lead.  Now, Trump only leads Clinton 35% to 30%; a drop of 11 points among Independents by Trump.  Independent voters are sending Trump a message; stay on message.  We like what you were saying before and not what you said over the past 7 or 8 days.  Independents love Trump the outsider but the controversy moves them away from Trump.

Now, I am blaming most of this on the controversy around the judge.  It may not be.  Correlation does not prove causation as the great Scottish philosopher, David Hume, once said.  It may be a combination of factors, but the reality is that Trump fell by 11% among Independent voters and this created most of his 6% drop in the overall numbers.

For Trump, this is bad news.  However, this is NOT good news for Hillary.  Let me explain.

In the May Fox Poll, Hillary received 30% of the Independents.  Even with all the commotion around Trump and his 11% decline, Clinton still received 30% of the Independents in the latest poll.  In short, Trump fell but she did not grow.  It is not hard to imagine the Independents returning to Trump if the campaign gets back on message and restores its balance.

Moreover, note that Hillary stayed at 42% overall in both polls while Trump was dropping 6%.  No movement for Hillary and plenty downward movement for Trump.  No doubt, Clinton will have a bump from winning enough delegates to receive the nomination and the endorsement of President Obama.  Look for that next.  The question is how much will it be.

It’s been a good few days for Clinton, and, more importantly, several bad days for Trump.  Trump paid the price, but Clinton didn’t receive the benefit.

More to come…

~Roy Fletcher

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