For the last several weeks, this blog has observed that Donald Trump was gaining momentum in his battle for the presidency. Well, over the last several days, the fruits of this momentum have been seen as Trump pulled even with Clinton in North Carolina, Florida, and ahead +5 in Ohio. Moreover, Trump has cut HRC’s lead in half in Michigan to about +5 or less. These are the battleground states and this is good news for those on the Trump Train.
While good news, there is even better news in unlikely places. Colorado has become very competitive with Trump in almost a dead head, Nevada with Trump +4, Maine even, New Hampshire even, Iowa +5 or more for Trump, Wisconsin even, New Mexico +4 for Trump and even Virginia is in a statistical dead heat. These are important because some are states Obama won in 2012 or 2008.
The big surprise, however, is Trump’s relative competitiveness among Hispanic voters. According to many of these polls, Trump is doing as well, if not better, with Hispanic Americans than Romney in 2012. This is nothing to brag about because Romney performed much less well among these voters than Bush. Yet, where the slightest deviation can make the difference between carrying a state and winning its’ electoral votes, Trump is outperforming Romney by 6 to 10%. This means Trump is getting beat by 33% instead of 40%.
Trump also finds his image improving. In a recent Fox Poll, on the issue of the economy, Trump beat Clinton 51/44%; that’s a 7 point advantage on the most important issue in the election. Two weeks prior, it was 48/48% on this critical issue. Thus, there’s been a 7 point swing in Trump’s favor.
In considering what’s happening in a campaign, my rule of thumb is not the polls, although any campaign lives and dies by poll numbers. I focus on who is controlling the message of the campaign. Trump’s unforced errors in mid summer prevented him from doing this. Now, however, the signs are beginning to appear that Trump is truly starting to control the message of this campaign.
Due to the most recent terrorist attacks in Minnesota and New York, Clinton suddenly adopted Trump’s call for very tight vetting of people coming into our nation. This was a complete turnaround for her since she had before been an open borders candidate. Trump had been pounding this issue since the day he announced. Clinton had to adopt. Advantage Trump!
Moreover, in recent days, Trump has done a series of policy speeches from child care, immigration, to the economy. Clinton started the campaign as the policy wonk, the one with policy experience. Suddenly, Trump has flipped this on her and is being seen as a candidate with policy; in short, Trump has a message.
Things can and will change so have no doubt. There are valleys and plateaus for each campaign over the next 7 weeks, but, for now, the Trump Train keeps rolling.
More to come… Fletcher