Perhaps most importantly, some have begun to game out a Trump vs. Clinton general election contest. They know that dozens of polls have shown Clinton trouncing Trump, often by double digits. But they were struck by a recent George Washington University Battleground Poll that showed Clinton winning by just three points. It’s just one poll, but for some it confirmed the idea that there might be a different dynamic at work in the race once Trump becomes the nominee and the contest is simply Donald vs. Hillary. The fight will become more even.
“Trump does bring a little magic to this in that he could shuffle the traditional battleground map,” one former presidential campaign manager told me. “I haven’t seen any data on that, but I’m just getting a feeling that he’s going to put a couple of Midwestern states in play.”
“I saw Goeas’ poll this week,” the former manager continued, referring to Ed Goeas, the Republican author of the Battleground Poll. “Look, Trump hasn’t even started to take out Hillary yet. He hasn’t even begun taking it to her, and when he does, it’s a two-prong thing. One, it unites the party like no other thing, and two, it will start to damage her. Look at what he’s done to Lyin’ Ted and Little Marco and Low Energy Jeb.”