Media, pollsters on the attack and Trump’s not helping

Hillary Clinton’s post-convention bounce is strong and consistent.

Of course, Reuters have changed their polling methods in the last week to sap Donald Trump’s figures, which were close to Clinton’s or — in Georgia, Missouri and Florida — ahead. Other pollsters are up to their usual tricks.

The media have been having a whale of a time with the Khan Gold Star family controversy. Then there was the crying baby at the Trump rally in Ashburn, Virginia a few days ago. Trump also, for whatever reason, turned down a scheduled interview with the Boston Herald‘s Howie Carr, New England’s most famous conservative columnist.

The latest — and lowest — appeared this weekend in The Telegraph. In one article, Juliet Samuel labelled Trump ‘a monster waiting behind a locked door’. In another, Nick Allen seriously questioned ‘his state of mind’. (Even American media aren’t going this far — yet. Headlines at Real Clear Politics reflect business as usual.)

Samuel is worried. She sees Brexit as a predictor of a Trump presidency. She sees all sorts of horrible things happening if Trump gets elected, too hysterical to be given the oxygen of publicity. Ultimately:

Keys are rattling in the locks of doors we thought had been sealed shut. Be in no doubt, the West’s established democratic and economic systems are in the balance.  

Allen quoted various anti-Trump Democrats and Republicans to notionally prove his introductory paragraph:

Mr Trump’s devastating wounds were mostly self-inflicted and arose from a series of bewildering gaffes, petty feuds, and xenophobic comments that left even some his own supporters questioning his state of mind and wondering if it was too late to replace him.

That said, Trump should have seen the Khan controversy coming: a yuuuge wind-up on the part of Democrats which worked perfectly. One cannot help but wonder how many people advised him how to respond appropriately.

He also didn’t appropriately defuse the baby incident in many people’s minds, mine included. Granted, the media did not even try to find the child’s mother, which was somewhat surprising. However, Trump’s explanations weren’t convincing. He claimed that asking the woman to leave was a joke, but, later at a Des Moines rally, he said he was serious. The crying was distracting him from delivering on his speech.

Regardless, the mother — Devan Cierra Ebert — has a policy of taking her baby out of a venue when he or she (we don’t know which) is crying. She and her family intend to vote for Trump. Her full response is on Red Alert Politics. Excerpts follow:

I fully support Mr. Trump. I thought he responded very graciously to my child crying and he made a lighthearted moment out of what I usually consider to be stressful …

I actually was out of the auditorium before he even made his follow-up comment about my child and even then, when I was informed of his comment, I laughed. I understand he says things jokingly, and I understand no one wants to speak over or struggle to listen over a crying baby. I am in no way offended …

I am in no way offended and I again reiterate, Mr. Trump NEVER kicked me or my child out of the Briar Woods High School, Trump rally. And for the record, while my child and I stood outside of the auditorium, my eleven year old stepdaughter and my Grandmother sat inside the auditorium and continued to support and listen to everything Mr. Trump had to say. We all were so excited to be able to see Mr. Trump so close to home. I didn’t have a babysitter to watch my kids and honestly, to me it was a historical moment that I am happy that my kids were there for. I apologize for the trouble this has caused Mr. Trump. The media has severely blown this out of proportion and made it out to be something that it wasn’t and is clearly using this as political gain for the Democratic party. I hope this message sheds light to what really happened.

Speaking of rallies, many online Trump supporters are wondering how he can be polling so poorly this week yet attract tens of thousands of people wherever he goes. I’ll come to the polling changes in a minute.

But first, I know the past three presidential election cycles like the back of my hand and can tell you that huge rallies do not necessarily translate into massive vote majorities for those candidates. McCain/Palin had tens of thousands, so did Romney/Ryan and so does Trump, with or without Mike Pence.

McCain lost energy by October and actually told a voter at one of his rallies, ‘Don’t worry, Senator Obama will make a very good president’. My better half and I saw it on the early morning ITV news in late October or early November 2008. Four years later, Romney choked after the first debate, which he won. He went on to be cowed by Candy Crowley at a subsequent debate and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. His huge rally at Red Rocks Canyon in Colorado couldn’t save his campaign.

Neither McCain nor Romney had a GOTV — Get Out The Vote — strategy. It doesn’t seem as if Trump has one, either. As Hot Air‘s Ed Morrissey points out:

general-election campaigns require major-party candidates to expand their reach, not just keep attracting the same voters over and over again. That isn’t measured by crowd sizes, but (until Election Day at least) by polling, no matter how imperfectly that may happen. That’s the reason it pays to rely more on polling aggregation, too.

Perhaps it is not too late to start one after Labor Day, the first Monday in September. In fact, I would start that weekend. Paul Manafort needs to get a plan together pronto.

No Quarter’s Larry Johnson, an ex-Hillary supporter who has worked in the Beltway most of his career, says that Trump has loads of things to attack in Washington, especially involving Obama and Hillary, however, all we see are verbal dust-ups:

Trump needs to show some charm and, to use another tired metaphor, catch flies with honey. So far he is showing a complete tin ear on this front …

Trump still has time to turn this around. It is still early in the process of the final lap and Hillary is such a shrill, screeching liar that, given the staggering lies she spewed on Fox News Sunday, that she could still self-destruct. My money is betting that Trump will not do what a smart guy would do confronted with this facts. It appears he is just too self-absorbed to stop stabbing himself in the face. I would love to be proved wrong. A Hillary Presidency will ruin America.

If Trump loses, his personality will become one explicative narrative. Another one which will take root is that he never wanted to win and acted as an enabler so that his friend Hillary could become the 45th president.

I’m disappointed to find out that there is no GOTV by now. I read during the primaries that Trump’s people were setting one up. I’m neither hopeful nor pessimistic at this point, merely neutral.

Freak Out Nation, not a pro-Trump site, makes the following salient points about his flawed campaign:

1/ Where Trump relies on his Schedule page, which shows where his rallies are being held, Clinton’s equivalent has ‘organising events and fundraisers’, much more important in accumulating votes. However, Trump does not see the value in data mining or local activities.

2/ Clinton is ahead in nearly all states, including Florida:

… because she is blessed with an opponent who actively refuses to do any GOTV work, these ‘purple’ states now become realistic targets for her campaign to pick off, further complicating the electoral math for Trump.

The Trump campaign was way behind the curve in staffing both its national and state offices before the convention, and there is only a very small window for them to catch up now — literally days.

3/ With all the controversies past and present, are state-wide Republican candidates going to ask Trump to campaign with them? We’ll know after the upcoming state and local primaries, but many running for governor, the Senate or Congress might decide to go it alone. By contrast, Democratic candidates want to be seen with Hillary Clinton by their side.

Contrary to what everyone from voters to pundits say, money isn’t the issue. Trump received a total of $80m from everyday supporters in July, so, spent wisely as in primary season, that could go a long way. No doubt, he will receive many more small donations. One or two more seasoned media-savvy campaign workers at Trump Tower would be helpful in fielding questions from reporters. A more active local and statewide operation is the overriding essential, however. If that doesn’t materialise, then it’s Republican Presidential Loss No. 3, and that spells disaster for American democracy.

Boston Herald‘s Howie Carr gave his advice after Trump not only stood him up post-rally in Portland, Maine but also reneged on another previously scheduled engagement, one with the city’s biggest talk radio station. Carr, by the way, has spoken at at least one Trump rally in New England:

He’s got to step it up here. He’s got to pay more attention to what’s going on. Too many people are counting on him …

I would have told Trump, think of the media as that police car tailing you. You’re in a speed trap, they’re looking for an excuse to turn on the blue lights. Don’t give them one.

Hillary Clinton also has a police car behind her, of course, but hers isn’t looking to bag her for a moving violation. Hers is a police escort. Her media protect her, at all costs. Not only will they not hit her with a surchargeable offense, if somebody gets too close to her, they’re the crash car for her. They’re running interference for her.

Carr is absolutely right. I can imagine the hype that probably preceded Trump’s interview at the radio station. People all over Maine were no doubt tuning in only to be met with yuge disappointment.

It is a big deal, because the Maine caucus voted overwhelmingly for Ted Cruz. Rumour had it at the time that Trump spent too little time there.

Speaking of Cruz, he is maintaining a very low profile these days.

Back to Howie Carr. He spoke to Maine’s governor Paul LePage after the Portland rally:

I asked him if he’d said anything to The Donald backstage when he had his ear.

“I said one word to him: ‘Discipline.’ ”

“What was Trump’s reply?” I asked LePage.

“He said, ‘What do you mean?’ ”

Uh-oh, that’s not good, either, is it? Whenever you have a problem, the first step to correcting it is admitting that you do, indeed, have a problem.

“And he’s got to stop tweeting all the time,” LePage said.

Still, the ex-Hillary stalwarts — including Big Pink and Larry Johnson — remain hopeful. Johnson has this advice:

Trump’s goal going forward should be simple–make sure Hillary gets as much TV time as possible. The more people watch her the more concerned they will become about her mental and physical health. This is not a stable person.

The Democrats better calm down in celebrating the death of Donald Trump’s political career. He is still very much alive, he still has time to reassure folks that he is not crazy and Hillary, a congenital liar, continues to demonstrate that she cannot tell the truth about anything, especially emails.

In closing, political polling pioneer Pat Caddell spoke with Breitbart on July 30. He is incandescent about Reuters rejigging their polling methods:

Pat Caddell said the Reuters news service was guilty of an unprecedented act of professional malpractice after it announced Friday it has dropped the “Neither” option from their presidential campaign tracking polls and then went back and reconfigured previously released polls to present different results with a reinterpretation of the “Neither” responses in those polls.

“This comes as close as I have ever seen to cooking the results,” said the legendary pollster and political consultant. “I suppose you can get away with it in polling because there are no laws. But, if this was accounting, they would put them in jail” …

“This idea of ‘We need a poll to give the result we want’ to fit either our ideological or political needs is beyond dangerous,” he said.

“It is dangerous because it drives the news coverage and it is all by design now, which is why everyone is in such shock at what Reuters did.”

Oddly enough, it did not matter, since their latest results show Clinton with only a 4-point lead between July 30 and August 3.

Although McClatchy/Marist show her 15-points ahead right now, the latest LA Times poll has her leading by only one point!

That’s encouraging news for Trump. And so is a poll for North Carolina which came out this week. The Civitas Institute showed him with a 46-42 lead over Clinton. Not only that, but it revealed that 32% of black voters in that state back the Donald.

All of this just goes to show once again that a week is a long time in politics.

Let’s hope the coming week is better for Donald Trump.

4 comments for “Media, pollsters on the attack and Trump’s not helping

  1. Errol
    August 7, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    “…established democratic and economic systems are in the balance. …” yes, and they’re tipping toward free markets and capitalism! All the better for it!

    • August 9, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Let’s hope they will be allowed to do so in November.

  2. August 7, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Another thorough job, heaps in there. People are so fickle in their voting, aren’t they?

    • August 9, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      Thank you, James!

      It’s not so much the fickleness as it is adding to the set-in-stone Trump voters.

      He is going to need as many votes as possible.

      This is not helped by the new independent CIA-UN-Goldman Sachs candidate from, guess where, Utah. He could easily sap 2% to 3% of Trump’s lukewarm supporters, especially if Ted Cruz is paraded out to endorse this guy. I predict that’s part of the plan. Heidi works for GS. What’s more, as we know, Cruz wants to survive politically and stick it to the Donald.

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