Trump on Hillary's bounce: There's something phony about these polls

Via RCP. If the vote in November is “rigged” and the new round of bad polling for Trump is “phony,” then conveniently there’s no index that shows — or possibly can show — that he’s legitimately behind. If Trump wins, the system is fair. If he doesn’t win, it’s necessarily unfair. That’s Trump’s sense of justice distilled to two sentences.

Even the RNC, his most reliable toady in the GOP power structure, doesn’t want any part of this.

Trump crony Roger Stone, on the other hand, is running around post-convention predicting “bloodbaths”:

“I think we have widespread voter fraud, but the first thing that Trump needs to do is begin talking about it constantly,” Stone said. “He needs to say for example, today would be a perfect example: ‘I am leading in Florida. The polls all show it. If I lose Florida, we will know that there’s voter fraud. If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government.’”

“If you can’t have an honest election, nothing else counts,” he continued. “I think he’s gotta put them on notice that their inauguration will be a rhetorical, and when I mean civil disobedience, not violence, but it will be a bloodbath. The government will be shut down if they attempt to steal this and swear Hillary in. No, we will not stand for it. We will not stand for it.”

Imagine reaction on the right if David Axelrod had said in the summer of 2008 that there’d be civil disobedience leading to a “bloodbath” if Obama ended up losing the election, let alone suggesting that there must be fraud at work if his candidate were to lose a lead in a swing state (of less than half a point!) over the course of three months. I don’t make that comparison idly, either. Compare Trump’s trajectory in the polls compiled by RCP so far this year to McCain’s trajectory against Obama in 2008. In both cases, the Republican trailed consistently for most of the summer, surged ahead in multiple polls after he caught a bounce from the GOP convention, and then fell behind again in short order in the weeks following. In McCain’s case, he led in only two of the dozens of polls taken that year after September 11th; in hindsight, the story of the race was a consistent preference among the electorate for the Democrat over the course of many months interrupted briefly by a second look at the Republican after the party’s big pageant. We’re on track for the same outcome this year so far. Doesn’t mean it’ll happen, but if it does it would be the opposite of some inherently dubious upset victory for Hillary Clinton. If the election were held today, with the polls looking like they do, and Trump won, Team Clinton would have more right to wonder about fraud than Trump would if Clinton won.

But none of this is about logic, I realize. It’s about reassuring Trump fans that they’re part of a “silent majority” even though the guy has hit 50 percent in precisely one national poll this year and couldn’t even muster a majority of Republican primary voters despite Cruz and Kasich having quit the race a month before the final primaries. Even the one poll that he mentions here as proof that he’s still winning isn’t as solid for him as it was 24 hours ago. He describes a four- or five-point lead in the LA Times daily tracking poll, which is accurate — or was accurate, as of two days ago. Last week that poll had him up seven points after his convention bounce, but his lead’s been shrinking ever since. Two days ago it was 4.1 points; yesterday it had dipped to 2.2 points. It’s almost a lock that the lead will be even smaller tomorrow if it hasn’t disappeared entirely as the strongest days of his polling roll out of the poll’s seven-day average and are replaced by numbers showing Hillary’s post-convention bounce. The LA Times tracker is currently the one and only major national poll in which Trump still leads, so once he’s behind in that one, he’ll officially be behind in all of them (for the moment). Roger Stone presumably would have the dimwits among us believe that that’s proof of rigging and not the mundane phenomenon of one candidate’s convention bounce disappearing as another candidate’s bounce asserts itself. Believe what you want.