Is it worth posting this? Normally I’d say no, but on a day when the news is slow enough that Drudge spent the morning leading with that nothingburger video about Trump needing 1,100 delegates to win, I’ll allow it.
Consider this a complement to last night’s Survey Monkey poll suggesting that Cruz not only wouldn’t be a tougher match-up for Hillary in the general election, he might actually be easier for her to beat. Just don’t look too closely at Morning Consult’s actual numbers as you might end up concluding that, er, this doesn’t tell us much about anything. For starters, while it’s true that MC has Trump doing better against Hillary than Cruz, it’s “better” in the sense that losing a basketball game by 20 points is better than losing by 25 points. Against Trump, Hillary wins 328-210. Against Cruz, it’s 332-206. Cruz’s map is exactly the same as Romney’s was against Obama in 2012 whereas Trump’s is almost exactly the same: He wins Maine whereas Cruz loses it. The idea that neither Trump nor Cruz will improve meaningfully on Romney’s take four years ago is ominous and plausible, especially if the next three months are as bitter as everyone expects and the party is cleaved in two in Cleveland.
That’s Cruz’s map based on a 50-state sample of more than 44,000(!) respondents. So why do I say that MC’s data doesn’t tell us much (apart from the fact that we’re still seven months out from the general election)? Move your cursor around on their map and you’ll see. Many states that show up as solid blue here have Clinton barely leading amid large numbers of undecideds, a … sub-optimal result for Democrats given that all of the blue states above voted for Obama in 2012 and that Trump and Cruz are both viewed unfavorably by the general electorate. Hillary leads Cruz in Michigan, for instance, by just four points with 18 percent undecided. Florida? Less than four points with nearly 16 percent undecided. Colorado? Less than 1.5 points with 16 percent undecided. Virginia? Slightly more than two points with 16 percent undecided. Ohio? Just three-tenths of a point with 17 percent undecided. Even Minnesota and Oregon are, for the moment, in play with Clinton leading by less than four points in each. And Trump’s margins are similar in many of those states. He’s not as competitive as Cruz in some, but he’s within two-tenths of a point in Florida and within two points in Pennsylvania, in each case with around 14 percent undecided.
The question, I guess, is who are the undecideds? Are they Bernie bros who are butthurt over the primary and will come home in due time to replicate the 2012 map? Or are they centrists who feel they can’t trust Hillary, whose own favorable rating among general-election voters is comparable in many polls to Cruz’s? In particular, how is there anyone who’s undecided in an election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? I can understand people who answer that way about a Clinton/Cruz race for the simple reason that they’re not paying attention to the primaries and don’t know who Cruz is yet. But everyone knows Trump. And everyone knows Hillary. They’ve been two of the most famous people in America for 25 years. Which voters are still making up their minds?
By the way, Kasich destroys Hillary in this poll, winning 304-234, which I’m treating as proof that if the left simply found a more likable centrist Democrat to nominate, they’d be unbeatable. Exit question: Do you suppose the fact that Kasich has barely faced an attack ad from anyone all year might have something to do with his lofty poll numbers?