May 4, 2016 3 Comments
I’m sure I’ll have plenty more stuff to say about Trump essentially clinching, but for the moment, I wanted to share Nate Cohn’s analysis for the general election:
Yes, it’s still a long way until Election Day. And Mr. Trump has already upended the conventional wisdom many times. But this is when early horse-race polls start to give a rough sense of the November election, and Mr. Trump trails Mrs. Clinton by around 10 percentage points in early general election surveys, both nationally and in key battleground states.
Could Mr. Trump overtake Mrs. Clinton? Sure. Mrs. Clinton is very unpopular herself. Her polling lead is a snapshot in time, before the barrage of attack ads that are sure to come her way. There have been 10-point shifts over the general election season before, even if it’s uncommon. But there isn’t much of a precedent for huge swings in races with candidates as well known as Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton. A majority of Americans may not like her, but they say they’re scared of him. To have a chance, he’ll need to change that.
Mr. Trump’s biggest problem is that he would be the most unpopular major party nominee in the modern era, with nearly two-thirds saying they have an unfavorable opinion of him. More than half view him “very unfavorably” or say they’re “scared” of his candidacy — figures with no precedent among modern presidential nominees.
Mr. Trump’s ratings are worst with the voters who made up the so-called Obama coalition of young, nonwhite and well-educated voters who propelled President Obama’s re-election four years ago…
Mr. Trump is faring worse than Mr. Romney among white voters in all of the presidential battleground states. Polls even show Mr. Trump losing white voters in states where Mr. Romney won them, like Colorado,Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It’s enough to put him at a big disadvantage in early surveys of diverse battleground states like Florida and Virginia — as well as North Carolina and Arizona, two states Mr. Romney won in 2012…
Part of the problem for Mr. Trump is that the anger that has driven his success in the Republican primaries isn’t seen at the same levels in the general electorate.
A majority of Americans now narrowly approve of Mr. Obama’s performance — a big improvement from his standing in surveys ahead of the midterm elections, when his ratings were decidedly negative. An ABC/Washington Post poll found that just 24 percent of Americans were angry at the federal government.
There also isn’t much evidence that Americans are particularly dissatisfied with the state of the economy. The unemployment rate is at 5 percent, and gas prices are low.Consumer and economic confidence indicators are well within historical norms.
By all of these measures, national political and economic conditions are more favorable to the president’s party than they were at this time in 2012, when Mr. Obama won re-election. [emphasis mine]
Yes! Much of this wisdom was succinctly distilled in a Brendan Nyhan tweet:
Political Scientists like to point out that it is mostly the fundamentals that matter and the specific candidates not all that much. But not all that much is still some. And the evidence is clear that insofar as candidates matter, Democrats have a real advantage. But Hillary’s biggest advantage is Obama’s approval and the generally good state of the economy. Historically, running in the same party as the two-term incumbent is definitely a disadvantage, but I strongly suspect less of a disadvantage than being Donald Trump.
Predictwise has a 70% chance for Hillary right now. Is she a guaranteed win? Nope. But I think 70% is actually a little low, I’d put it more like 80%. Donald Trump has surprised us before; I don’t think he’ll surprise us again.