Frank Luntz: Rubio would be up eight points against Clinton right now, Kasich would be up 12
Oh please. Hillary may be deeply corrupt and have all the charm of fungus, but she’s well-funded, well-organized, performs well at debates, runs a ruthless oppo shop, and has the sort of ruling-class resume that many voters admire. She’d also be light years ahead of Rubio and Kasich in name recognition, no small thing in a national election.
She wouldn’t lose either race by more than, say, five points, I reckon.
As for the race we have, the polls over the past 24 hours have been a mixed bag for Trump. The highlights were this morning’s Bloomberg survey of Florida showing him up two points and this evening’s Fox News national poll that has him creeping to within three, some of the best results he’s had in weeks. A Monmouth poll of New Hampshire this afternoon has him down just four points there, a surprisingly close margin — especially if you realize that Monmouth polls have tended to be gruesome for Trump this year. Drudge has also been busily highlighting a series of swing-state polls from Remington Research showing him ahead by four in Ohio and down just three in Pennsylvania, a state that’s supposed to be a gimme for Clinton at this point. If you want to believe the race is tightening, you have some data to back that up.
But you also have data pointing the other way. A new New Hampshire poll out this afternoon from NBC has Clinton up nine points, with Trump flatlining at 36 percent. That’s in line with most of the polling there. New Hampshire factors into most hypothetical paths to 270 for Trump; if that state’s off the board after all, he has a problem. A SurveyUSA poll of Florida taken over the same period as the Bloomberg poll has Clinton still ahead by three, which is exactly where most pollsters have had the race over the last few weeks. A new national poll from Suffolk has Clinton up nine, which is wider than Obama’s 2008 margin, with Trump stuck under 40 percent. And a new poll of millennials (the 18-29 group) sees Clinton ahead of Trump by a 34-point margin; Obama won that group by 23 points four years ago, meaning that even if turnout among young adults is down next month, Clinton might keep pace or even outperform O due to the sheer size of her advantage. The early-voting tea leaves from North Carolina, Florida, Colorado, and Nevada aren’t encouraging for Republicans either. Whether you think the race is tightening or not really depends on the question “Tightening since when?” Nine days ago, Clinton had an average lead of 7.1 points; today it’s 5.9, so yeah, it’s tightened a bit. On the other hand, on October 8th — the day the “Access Hollywood” tape dropped — she led by 3.2 points. She’s a couple of very good national polls away from doubling that.
Speaking of Rubio, here’s a fun piece by Politico describing angst within parts of the Democratic leadership that they’re not going all-in to defeat his reelection bid in Florida. Rubio’s still one of the guys they fear most as a national candidate. This was a golden opportunity to end his career before 2020, but Patrick Murphy’s a lame candidate and Rubio’s popularity has been surprisingly durable. He’s led every poll of his race since June. I wouldn’t worry too much if I were the Democrats, though. We’ll probably solve their Rubio problem for them by nominating Ann Coulter or whoever in 2020.
Two clips here, one of Luntz and the other of Mitt Romney half-joking that he often asks himself why he didn’t run this year. If anyone needs me, I’ll be sitting in a dark room mumbling to myself.