Actually, they’re already off the air in Virginia. Why spend precious dollars in battlegrounds if they’re not really battlegrounds?
So, @prioritiesUSA confirms: They've already stopped airing ads in VA; On 9/3 they'll stop airing ads in CO/PA. They'll resume ads on 9/20.
— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) August 15, 2016
Resuming on September 20th is conditional, I assume. If any of those states have narrowed, the ads will go up. If they haven’t, the money is better spent in competitive states like Georgia, Arizona, and, er, maybe Utah. It’s conceivable that Priorities won’t air a single ad for the last two months of the race in three of the biggest purple-state targets for the GOP this year.
How tough is Virginia for Trump right now? Ed already mentioned today’s WaPo poll in passing in his earlier post, noting that Clinton leads there among active-duty and former military(!). That seems implausible and is contradicted by other polls, but the topline number here is consistent with other surveys: Clinton 51, Trump 43 among likely voters, double Obama’s margin of victory in 2012. In the three post-convention polls taken of the state, she leads by an average of 11 points. And of course her running mate is a Virginian. It’s pointless, really, for either campaign to waste more time or money there.
Clinton leads among all the usual suspects — women, suburbanites (among whom she’s destroying Trump), and her own cohort of Democrats, where she’s 12 points better than he is among Republicans. Trump’s only meaningful advantage is in voter enthusiasm, with almost nine in 10 of his supporters saying they’re eager to vote versus fewer than eight in 10 of Hillary’s who say the same. In a close race, that might well be enough to tilt the state red. In a race like this, it’s more about shrinking the losing margin. And even then, who knows how much of the enthusiasm gap might be eliminated on Election Day by Clinton’s turnout operation. The whole point of building a sophisticated ground game is to get less enthusiastic voters to the polls. Democrats outperformed Republicans on turning voters out the last two elections. This year, the Republican nominee publicly questions the entire premise that voters need to be turned out. Good luck.
There’s a national poll out this morning too, although this one’s of registered voters. The topline number in this case is less notable than the trendline. In the first NBC/SurveyMonkey poll after the convention, Clinton led by eight; in the next one, she led by 10; and in this one, she leads by nine, 50/41. She’s not falling off, as you’d expect by now if her surge was a post-convention bounce. Something has changed, seemingly durably. Maybe this is a clue:
Hillary’s numbers are comparable on every metric except the first one, temperament, where she scores 42 percent. Trump’s in the toilet at 17 percent. People just don’t trust the guy not to be a loose cannon as president. Something to bear in mind the next time Sean Hannity tries to convince you that the Weekly Standard and its #NeverTrump co-conspirators have somehow unfairly soured 30 million swing voters on Trump.
Exit question via The Week, per Priorities USA going dark in swing states: Clinton’s campaign has spent $61 million in ads so far, Jill Stein has spent $189,000, and Gary Johnson has spent, er, $15,000. As best as anyone can tell, Team Trump has spent … nothing, despite raising $80 million jointly with the RNC last month. Where’s the money going? Are they hoarding it for a last-minute ad bonanza in October? If so, why haven’t they reserved TV ad time yet for that month?