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12 days to go until November 3rd. What do we know?

by | Oct 22, 2020

By Dave Andrusko

As I write these remarks, we are just hours away from the 9:00 start of the second and final presidential debate which will take place at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. The moderator will be NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker. Without taking up your time with a lot of details, President Trump has criticized her selection.

But, of course, none of that matters. The deck is already stacked. Here’s how one opinion writer for USA Today put it a typically question begging manner this morning:

Moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News must be tough and in command from start to finish.

Get it? Being “tough and in command” is simply not-so-subtle advice that Welker can be as unfair as she wishes and will be applauded by her media cohorts for her “courage,” no matter how the President responds.

It’s easier said than done, of course, but we can hope President Trump not only understands the plan (how could he not, by now?), but coolly answers even her most biased and most loaded questions.

As we have the last two weeks, here are some representative headlines and some followup observations.

*“The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows that 52% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Forty-eight percent (48%) disapprove”Rasmussen Reports

*“KSTP/SurveyUSA: Smith, Lewis Senate race now a dead heat”A survey which shows pro-abortion Minnesota Senator Tina Smith is just one point ahead of Jason Lewis, her pro-life Republican challenger.

*“Poll: President Trump, Joe Biden Deadlocked in Wisconsin”Hanna Bleau

*“Trump’s objective [in tonight’s debate] is more complicated for a variety of reasons. He is the incumbent. The tech giants that will livestream the debate, such as Twitter and Facebook, are on a censor-and-purge binge that is openly hostile toward him and conservatives. Much of the national press has forsaken its objective role, miserably failing to scrutinize Biden with the same vigor with which they scrutinize Trump”Salena Zito

*“In the 13 reelection events since returning to the campaign trail following his COVID-19 diagnosis, President Trump has attracted more than 167,000 rally goers, many of them first-time voters and even more who are not Republicans. According to GOP rally data posted by Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, the Trump airport campaign events strongly suggest that he is building out his base and that media reports the president is only talking to his core constituency are wrong”Paul Bedard

*“The Trump Campaign’s Voter Registration Drive May Be the President’s Secret Weapon”Stacey Lennox

And

*“Can We Trust the Polls?”Sue Halpern

The last quote from a New Yorker article, comes from a no-doubt-about-it anti-Trump writer. But Halpern does a nice job of explaining why Democrats and their flotilla of media sympathizers are nervous and growing more so by the day. Summarizing the difficulties of any poll

When pollsters rely on landlines, they tend to get older voters. A reliance on mobile-phone numbers might miss rural voters who don’t have cell service. People whose candidate is losing may not respond to pollsters, but people who are civically engaged—and research shows that those people tend to be Democrats—do. Polls are based on models, and models are built on assumptions about who is likely to vote and how much weight to afford each demographic cohort in that universe of likely voters

It is only to state the obvious: all polls are based on models which are based on a batch of assumptions. For example, if there really is a “hidden” ( or “shy”) Trump voter—and that would be hard to deny—how large is it?

We’ve written before about Robert Cahaly, chief pollster for the Trafalgar group, and why his predictions are so different than almost any other pollster. For example of why they are more accurate is an one extremely clever way of getting around this reluctance: ask how they think their neighbor is voting.

In Hanna Bleau’s story about the deadlock in Wisconsin, she writes

The survey [taken by Susquehanna Polling and Research] also asked respondents who they believe their neighbors are voting for. Voters who guessed their neighbors are voting for Trump led by a double-digit margin, 43 percent to the 26 percent who guessed Biden.

Besides also being in a deadlock, why do I mention the Minnesota race between pro-abortion incumbent Sen. Tina Smith and pro-life challenger Jason Lewis? It’s not simple because (as KSTP explained) “Smith led by our KSTP/SurveyUSA poll 47% to 36% in September and 44% to 37% earlier this month.”

Rather it’s the massive switch in party self-identification:

The respondents include 38% who self-describe as Republicans, 35% as Democrats and 23% as independents.

Those are the numbers we native Minnesotans would never have expected. And although this survey did not ask about the presidential race, you would strongly expect that President Trump is now highly competitive.

Finally, let me summarize several of the headlines.

1. Gallup reports more self-identified Republican [28%] than Democrats [27%]. “Democrats have lost five points in a short period of time,” Stacey Lennox writes. “They enjoyed a seven-point advantage over Republicans in June of this year. At the beginning of September, Democrats were still up five points. Now, most of that lead has moved to Independents with a point shifting to Republicans.”

2. Cynics (and those genuinely afraid the momentum has switched) laugh off President Trump’s massive rallies. Just “talking to the base,” they say derisively.

That is not true, and even if it were, people motivated enough to drive long distances and stand in long lines are far likely to vote.

If we believe the huge numbers (167,000)—and these are figures from the Republican Party—in the last 13 Trump rallies, 25% of the attendees were new voters and 30% were not even Republicans. However, this is backed by stories from non-partisan sources that they are picking up “low frequency” (or no-frequency) voters who are now saying Trump is their man.
And as for Democrats, let’s return to Minnesota for second. It was a seismic event at the end of August when six Democrat mayors from towns in Northern Minnesota which formerly were Democrat strongholds came out in favor of Trump’s re-election.

I could go on and on but I hope the message is clear. The momentum is undeniably moving in the President’s direction, no matter what the Trump-hating media tells you.

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