Almost all pundits now assume that Donald Trump is beaten and his corpse of a campaign is already being picked over by media vultures. His recent polls have been dismal, with Clinton in some having up to a 12 point lead. Trump has been besieged with women coming forward to attest to at best boorish behavior, at worst to behavior that could have him facing sexual assault charges in some States. He apparently had no plan about what to do in regard to this, although he should have assumed that something like this, real or fake, would be thrown against him towards the end of the election. (Curious how none of the women came forward during the primaries. All purely coincidental I am sure.) His campaign has been amateurish. His ground game is non-existent. Some polls show him on the verge of losing such die hard Republican states as Arizona and Texas. He seems headed to a defeat of epic proportions. That may well happen in three weeks less a day. However, I am not convinced that events will certainly play out that way.
1. Trump is a brawler. He is not in this race to claim the title of good loser which seemed to be the goal of John McCain, for example, in 2008. He will keep slugging until after the last vote is counted. As in the duel above from Rob Roy, a skilled opponent against a brawler sometimes gets overconfident, and the brawler can seize the initiative in an instant.
2. Trump is slime. Trump is a sleazy guy, to put it charitably, one of endless reasons why I opposed him in the primaries, and why I long refused to support him. The King and Queen of Sleaze in American politics are of course Bill and Hillary. However, Trump is giving them a run for their crowns. Go here to read the Hillary expose from the Trump-supporting National Enquirer. When it comes to throwing filth, Trump is only beginning to fight.
3. Disparate polls. A strange dichotomy has arisen between live phone polls, and internet polls and polls that rely upon robo calls. Trump tends to do much better in the latter polls than in the former. For example, in the Rasmussen poll from yesterday Clinton is up one point over Trump. Go here to look at it. Today Rasmussen has it dead even. Go here to look at it. People’s Pundit Tracking Poll had Trump ahead by one point. Go here to view it. A Cvoter international poll yesterday showed Clinton up two points, although I have not found a link to the it. The Los Angeles Times Daily Tracker Poll has a unique methodology in that it polls the same 3000 people each day. It was the most accurate poll in 2012. Today it shows Trump and Clinton tied. Go here to look at it. In every election cycle there are outlier polls, but it is odd to have such a long lasting split as seen in this election. Is it possible that these polls are catching a hidden Trump vote that will not reveal itself to live pollsters? We will find out in the second Tuesday in November. Although I hate to mention him in the same breath as Trump, I would note that Gallup had Reagan down by eight points at the end of October in 1980 just prior to his one and only debate with Carter. Reagan went on to win by ten points. Polls are amusing, sometimes useful, but rarely should they be accepted as Sacred Writ.
4. Odd election. We have never had a non-politician billionaire run for President before. The closest to our current situation is Wendell Wilkie against FDR in 1940, but that was a far more conventional race. Here we have two deeply unpopular candidates who most people view as lying bottom feeders. I predict a low voter turnout and soft support. That might be helpful to Trump who has a hard core of support that is with him no matter what. Hillary has never been the darling of the leftist activists who are the hard core of the Democrat party.
5. Change election. After two terms in the White House, the American people usually turn to the opposition. The overwhelming majority of the country believes the nation is on the wrong track. Clinton promises more of the same. Trump may be half crazy, but no one can consider him a status quo candidate.
6. Events. This is very much an events driven campaign. A major terrorist strike; a large race riot; damning Wikileaks revelations; fed up FBI agents speaking out against the fixed non-prosecution of Clinton, these and many more events could all have a substantial impact on this election. This is the type of year thus far in which the improbable is all too probable. Stay tuned. I predict a wild conclusion to a wild campaign.
Update: The IDB/TIPP poll is starting its daily tracker today. It shows Trump one point ahead. Go here to look at it. It was among the amost accurate of polls in 2012. Something is definitely screwy with polling this year when we see the types of disparities in polls that we are witnessing.