If you’re two weeks out from a national election and still begging members of your own party to support the nominee, you’re not where you want to be. (As Kellyanne Conway admitted this weekend.) This was always Trump’s best play to get to 270, though, given how unpopular he is among the general electorate: Run up the score as high as he can with white voters, most of whom lean Republican, and count on Clinton’s own toxic unpopularity to deny her the numbers she’d need among white Dems, nonwhites, and independents to keep pace. The flaw in that strategy has been that college-educated whites prefer her to Trump, often by double-digit margins in recent polls. That’s supposed to be a Republican group; he can’t win if he’s getting swamped among parts of the white vote. So here’s Pence doing what he can to bring them around:
“I want to submit to all of you, it’s time to reach out to all of our Republican and conservative friends and say with one voice: ‘It’s time to come home and elect Donald Trump as the next president of the United States,'” Pence emphatically told a crowd of several hundred supporters at a Salisbury, North Carolina, campaign stop…
“It’s time to come home and come together and do everything in our power to make sure that Hillary Clinton is never elected president of the United States of America,” he said…
“It’s time to come home and re-elect Republican majorities in the United States House and United States Senate,” Pence drummed up, telling the North Carolinians to send Sen. Richard Burr, Gov. Pat McCrory and U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows back to their respective offices.
There were two interesting polls on this subject in the past 24 hours. One, from NBC/SurveyMonkey, shows Republicans perceive themselves as deeply divided:
That makes sense given all the ink spilled lately about the split between college-educated and working-class Republican voters. But is it true that Republicans are divided, or is it just a perception? If the party were deeply split, you’d expect Clinton to poll much better with Democrats than Trump polls with Republicans. That’s not what CNN is seeing, though:
Clinton leads her party 91/6. Trump leads his 90/6. Where’s the supposed Republican split? One possible answer is tucked away in the “conservative” column. Seventeen percent is a lot of “conservatives” leaning towards Hillary Clinton; by comparison, Trump attracts just seven percent of “liberals.” What’s happened, I assume, is that some anti-Trump conservatives no longer identify as “Republican” and are opposing Trump as independents, shrinking the gap between him and Clinton among indies. This would help explain why the samples in recent polls show a larger Democratic tilt than they have traditionally — some likely voters might have bailed out of the GOP recently and into the independent column, driving down the number of self-identified Republicans in polling samples. But don’t rely too heavily on the CNN data. Another possibility is that this is an outlier in seeing Clinton’s and Trump’s support roughly equal within their respective parties. By comparison, Quinnipiac’s recent national poll sees Clinton winning Dems 91/4 while Trump is winning Republicans 80/7. Eleven points is a big gap in party loyalty.
Clinton leads both the NBC/SurveyMonkey and CNN polls by five, incidentally, a nearly identical margin to the RCP four-way average. An unsurprising finding from CNN: “Trump has gained a bit among white voters, edging up to 54% in the new poll from 49% support in the last poll. That gain is centered largely among white non-college voters, who break for Trump by a 62% to 32% margin, while white college grads continue to lean in Clinton’s direction, favoring the former secretary of state by 11 points.” Once again, Trump’s piling up votes from his white working-class base but not among the more educated whites he needs to really scare Clinton. But let’s not obsess too much about the educational divide. An easier way to understand her lead is through ye olde gender gap, with CNN finding Trump up three points among men versus Clinton up 12 among women. That’s consistent with lots of other national polls lately showing Trump leading men by single digits and Clinton leading women by double digits, a recipe for doom next month unless something changes. The gender gap is also a key difference between the majority of polls showing Hillary ahead comfortably right now and the Rasmussen poll that’s had Trump ahead or barely trailing for weeks. Today Ras has Clinton up one point thanks to a gender gap that’s nearly even — Trump leads by eight among men while Clinton leads by just nine among women. Yesterday Rasmussen actually had Trump leading by a wider margin among men (nine points) than Clinton did among women (six points!). That’s highly unusual in national polling this month, but if Trump pulls the upset, that’s how he’ll do it. Clinton dramatically underperforming among women would be doomsday for Democrats.
Speaking of Republicans coming home to the party instead of slobbering over Hillary Clinton, here’s something fun from shortly after the 2012 election.
Donald Trump basically cutting a campaign ad after the 2008 election for his lifelong friends, the Clintons. Wow. https://t.co/9Q71NaTFOR
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) October 25, 2016