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A different take on the enthusiasm gap/likelihood of voting in the contest between Trump and Clinton

by | Sep 19, 2016

By Dave Andrusko

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Let’s take a look at the lay of the presidential land, one week from the first debate between pro-life Donald Trump and pro-abortion Hillary Clinton.

Everyone–even the Clinton campaign–concedes the race is much, much tighter than it was a few weeks ago. Trump has not only reached parity in the national polls, he is ahead in most recent polls in the states he must almost certainly need to carry, such as Florida and Ohio, to name two.

His lead in the daily USC Dornsife/L.A. Times Presidential Election “Daybreak” poll is the largest ever, nearly 7 points.

The Los Angeles Times’s David Lauter, who will never be confused with a Trump supporter, offers an interesting overview today.

Let’s break the opening sentence into two parts.


Donald Trump is enjoying his strongest position in the presidential race since immediately after his nominating convention and, for the first time, has started to significantly close the gap with Hillary Clinton on the question of which candidate voters expect will win

This is at least as significant as Trump’s nearly 7 point margin, probably more for the “trend line.” A mere week ago Clinton led by a whopping 13 points.

The difference now “on the question of which candidate people expect will win” is just five points, 50% to 45%, Lauter reports.

We needn’t rehash the impact of what everyone knows–the Clinton health scare about which her campaign was far from candid and the now near-legendary slur that “half of Trump’s supporters fit into what she termed a ‘basket of deplorables’ who display sexism, racism, homophobia and other negative motivations.”

Lauter notes [impishly?], “Clinton apologized for the word ‘half.’”

Lauter’s point is that might account for some Trump supporters’ “increased likelihood of voting.” That group (and this is important) along with “moderate independents, those who support Trump showed an increased likelihood to vote, the poll found.”

Conversely, he noted, “Among the groups showing the biggest declines in likelihood of voting over the last week have been moderate Democrats and liberal independents. Both groups might be expected to include less motivated supporters of Clinton. ”

The second half of that opening sentence is something we already quoted Lauter on–with both sides thinking it is more possible Trump might win

“that may get more people to vote.”

But is it likely true?

Obviously (or so it would seem), Trump supporters and Trump leaners would be encouraging by the tightening of the poll numbers which would only encourage them to not only vote themselves, but also to encourage others to do likewise.

But there has been a deluge of articles over the past week all making the same point. To quote the New York Times, “Those who back the Democratic nominee seem overwhelmed by a tsunami of unease, exacerbated by Mrs. Clinton’s illness and a slow footed acknowledgment of it.”

After reading about a free-fall in polling numbers and increased confidence on the Republican side, is it: more likely that there will be no effect; more likely to increase turn out November 8; or more likely that some Clinton supporters will sit the election out?

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Categories: Politics Polling