WHAT THE HELL IS UP?
For the last several weeks, the pressure has been on Donald Trump to stay on message and stop the free-wheeling he appears to love and has been part of his success in the primaries. His campaign manager was one of those who instigated for Trump to keep it up; “let Trump be Trump” was his war cry.
Things haven’t been going so good for the Trump Train. Money was not being raised, friction with the National Republican Party, a stall in national polls, and the resurgence of the Never Trump movement were the evidence of some bad times in the Trump operation. When that happens in a campaign, somebody has to go. The candidate can’t leave, so the campaign manager gets the ax. This is what happened on Monday. The Trump family had all they could stomach and Corey Lewandowski had to take a walk down the proverbial plank.
Things are about to change in Trump land. The candidate is about to become a candidate under the watchful and learned hand of Paul Manafort. This will be interesting; akin to a cowboy riding a bucking bronco.
Yet, some of this bad news was fabricated; specifically press reports about the public polling data. Several weeks ago, I wrote how Trump had dropped among independent voters and it had cost him several percentage points in the Fox national poll. Then, along came another poll that had Trump behind by 15%; a poll that is normally called an “outlier” in the business because it is at great odds to other polls taken at about the same time. Basically, most public polls are showing Trump 5 to 7 behind. A new Monmouth University says 7 to 8, so there’s been slight slippage but not nearly as much as the national press claims. This is true in public polls. What are private polls showing? I have no clue currently. Stay tuned.
Trump has slipped and the slightest slip is being grabbed by the Never Trump crowd as clear evidence that Trump needs dumping. This is not likely to happen but some momentum has been picked up by this group. This is why the national media is pressing the narrative that Trump is in a free fall. He’s not but the signs of disarray are obvious.
In the meantime, in a disciplined and professional manner, Hillary Clinton’s campaign rolls. Tens of millions of dollars are being spent by the Clinton campaign to repair her image in swing states and even in some strongly Republican states. Rest assured, this spending will have an impact. Slippage in the Trump percentage in swing states is being noted in the Monmouth University poll, although the nation percentages in this poll shows Trump +2 and Hillary Clinton -1 from the same poll in March.
So what the hell does all this mean? It means we are in a presidential campaign where both candidates are unpopular and the press is laying the negatives on the Republican (that’s new!) and, yet, events keep catching up to Hillary Clinton (terrorism, FBI investigation). It means the polls respond to the news coverage. The polls also respond to paid media.
This election is a fluid situation because of the candidates’ unpopularity. The firing of the Trump campaign manager indicates the Trump campaign is responding to this fluidity…changes are coming. The spending of millions on ads by the Clinton campaign demonstrates this campaign is trying to shape this slippery situation into a concrete narrative for her, especially in swing states.
This is what campaigns do. Now, it’s our job to stay up with it all.
More to come… ~Roy Fletcher