Saturday, September 17, 2016

September Update

What an August! Donald Trump experienced a near free fall in the polls, both nationally and in key swing states. Hillary Clinton appeared to be in cruise control as a result of Trump's unforced errors. However, Trumps slide seems to have stabilized and has reversed in the past month.

Trump has had a successive number of misfires since the close of the GOP Convention beginning with the poorly managed battle with the father of a Muslim US soldier who fell in battle in Iraq. This has been compounded by racial misfires and a seemingly uncoordinated policy on immigration. These along with yet another campaign shakeup, very little campaign ground game had his campaign in free fall.

Hover, things stabilized with a combination of more policy clarity on immigration (he has gone hardcore) and some unfortunate news on the Hillary Clinton email front has breathed a bit of life back into the Trump campaign. And to top it off, her recent health scare has been at the news forefront in recent days.

Polling has tightened in both national, and more importantly, in the swing states, Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Iowa, and North Carolina are all essentially tied. What looked like an easy victory for Clinton a month ago, now seems to be a down to the wire election. But I would be remiss to ignore several variables that are still in play:

  • The three presidential debates - This is where the two candidates (Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Jill Stein are not invited) will have the opportunity to square off one on one. Clinton is by far more versed on policy, Trump will benefit if he can appear competent as expectations for him are rock bottom. 
  • Events over the next several weeks - a terrorist strike, poor economic news, a late scandal, the dreaded October surprise all can affect the course of this election.
  • Gaffes by either candidate; with Trump verbal mishaps are somewhat expected, but Clinton needs to maintain discipline on messaging.

This is going to be a base election - the candidate that can drive out their base by using fear/dislike of the other candidate will likely win.

My next post will focus on the electoral college physics that will drive this contest.