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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority


CAP Experts: Demographic, Voting Trends Favor Clinton

In an update to last year’s groundbreaking report, new analysis from demographers Ruy Teixeira, John Halpin, and Rob Griffin released today explores in detail the national and state-level demographic and voting trends as they exist following the first presidential debate. “The Path to 270, Revisited” takes into consideration the possible influence of factors such as a potentially large third-party vote, a widening gender gap, and differentials in campaign effort levels, as well as the basic strategies both parties need to deploy in order to achieve victory.

“Five weeks to go in the campaign and nearly all signs that analysts look at point to a victory for Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in both the popular vote and the Electoral College, while Republican nominee Donald Trump is behind nationally and is trailing on average in nearly all of the major battleground states,” said Ruy Teixeira, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the report. “Things currently favoring Clinton are national and state-level polling, President Barack Obama’s rising favorability, the decent if not great state of the economy, campaign fundraising, and on-the-ground infrastructure.”

Interesting trends observed in the analysis include:

  • Demographics: Nationally, the two biggest demographic trends are: 1) the growth in the Hispanic and Asian/Other communities; and 2) the growth in the white, college-educated population. The specifics of each vary by state, but states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Nevada are undergoing fast changes.
  • Gender gap: While there have always been differences between the voting choices of men and women, some of the polling is showing historically large gender gaps. Based on current polling data, the gender gaps for voters—all voters, white college-educated voters, and white non-college-educated voters—will reach historic highs at 38 percent, 36 percent, and 47 percent, respectively.
  • Third-parties’ influence: Though historically these numbers tend to decline before Election Day as partisan loyalties are activated in the electorate, the third-party vote has remained high in polling, and 2016 may buck this trend.

“The analysis of the national popular vote doesn’t bode well for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump,” said John Halpin, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the report. “The racial and ethnic minority vote is highly likely to increase in every swing state and highly likely to favor Clinton as it favored President Obama in 2012, and it appears highly likely that there will be a significant shift among white, college-educated voters in swing states toward Clinton relative to President Obama’s support among these voters in 2012.”

“The Path to 270, Revisited” considers the following questions, and elaborates on these findings:

  • How much demographic change can we expect to see in the 2016 election? Combining observed change in the demographic structure of the eligible electorate with expected turnout rates, CAP experts anticipate that the total racial and ethnic minority share of voters will rise 2 percentage points above its 2012 level, while the white share of voters should decline by 2 percentage points.
  • Will Clinton’s racial and ethnic minority support be as high in 2016 as Obama’s was in 2012? It seems likely that Clinton will match or exceed Obama’s support among minority voters. Clinton holds overwhelming backing from black voters, while Trump’s support from black voters is vanishingly small in many polls. This is in addition to his extreme unpopularity among Latino voters.
  • Will Clinton’s support among college-educated whites hold up relative to Obama’s in 2012? Not only is Clinton holding her ground among white college-educated voters relative to Obama in 2012, she appears to be exceeding the level of support he was able to gain among this demographic. It is important to note that Democrats have not carried college-educated whites in a presidential election for 60 years.
  • Will Trump’s advantage among white, working-class voters be large enough for him to win? To have a decent chance of winning, Trump needs to generate a huge margin among white, working-class voters, but he has only been running at or slightly above Romney’s performance among these voters in 2012.

Read the full analysis here.

Lux: Democrats Will Win By Taking the High Road

The following article by DNC senior advisor Mike Lux, author of The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be, is cross-posted from HuffPo:

We know exactly what Donald Trump’s strategy is: Take this election straight into the gutter, keep it there, and make voters so disgusted that his diehard fanatics — the only ones he has left — will carry the day. That is his only chance, and we shouldn’t let him bring us down to his level. Democrats win by talking about the issues that matter to the American people, and by giving people a reason to vote for them.

Between the public polling already available before the appalling Access Hollywood tape came out, and the stories that have broken since, it is very clear that suburban, college-educated women that were considered the key swing voters at the beginning of this race are now moving solidly to Hillary Clinton’s camp. The question that remains in this race is whether the Democratic base — people of color, unmarried women, Bernie voters, and millennials — will turn out in big numbers to vote for her and other Democrats. And the way we turn them out and get them to vote for Hillary (as opposed to Johnson or Stein, very few are going to vote for Trump) is to give them strong progressive and populist reasons to do so.

Research and analysis by Democracy Corps and Women’s Voices Women’s Vote Action Fund lay this case out very well, and provide a path for Democrats up and down the ballot to turn this into a Democratic wave election:

Millennials are poised to give Hillary Clinton and Democrats a big margin in November’s election if they are engaged to vote and if progressives are smart in dealing with the third party vote. Millennial voters are in a very different place than they were two weeks ago, according to a new web survey of likely millennial voters in the eleven most competitive battleground states…

Democratic millennials have started to consolidate for Clinton, but their Republican contemporaries have not done the same for Trump. Gary Johnson’s millennial vote is now a repository for most of those anti-Trump Republicans. The biggest, genuine problem is whether millennials will vote. The emerging battle over the economy – centered on taxes, trickle down and corporate responsibility – is getting their attention. Millennials are in an anti-corporate mood and desperate for change, and this new focus may move them to the polls on Election Day.

The message that DCorps and WVWVAF recommends corresponds to the populist progressive economic message Hillary has embraced in the two debates and in her terrific speeches on the economy in Warren, MI and Toledo, OH. DCorps and WVWVAF sum it up:

Clinton wants to end the reign of trickle-down economics and raise taxes on the wealthy that have seen all the new income gains so they pay their fair share and so we can invest in the middle class. Trump will enact the biggest tax cut for the one percent in history, including a $4 billion dollar tax break for his family, and make inequality even worse.

It is clear that the voters we need to turn out — especially young people — are populist and progressive to the max. They want millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share of taxes. They want to end the destructive cycle of student debt. They want good jobs and good wages and dignity in the workplace. They want Wall Street to be held accountable. And that is exactly what Democrats have said they will do, in our party platform, in speeches all over the country, in the legislation our elected officials have introduced in Congress.

If Democrats and progressive movement leaders alike give those voters a reason to turn out, the data tells us they will respond. With Republicans in open and ugly civil war, a lot of their voters either won’t vote for Trump; won’t vote for the GOP candidates who aren’t supporting Trump; or won’t vote at all. Given that circumstance, a big turnout by young and progressive constituencies will give us a big wave election for Democrats, meaning not only that Hillary wins, but that we win the Senate and, yes, the House too.

So to all my Democratic friends, progressive bloggers, social media mavens, and grassroots activists: don’t spend all your time attacking Trump. I know it is impossible to resist responding to his nastiness sometimes, and we should, but Trump makes the case that he is a bad guy every day, and we shouldn’t be spending all our time telling people what they already know. The key to winning this election is to rise up and remind voters why Democrats deserve their votes, what we stand for, who we are, and what we intend to accomplish if they just give us a chance.

Dems Have Ground Game Edge One Month Out

From “Ground Game: Democrats Started Fall with 5-to-1 Paid Staff Advantage” by Alex Seitz-Wald, Didi Martinez and Carrie Dann at NBC News:

Democrats entered the fall campaign with an army of paid staffers close to five times the size of Republicans’ according to an NBC News analysis of Federal Election Commission filings.

At the end of August, the most recent date for which data is available, Democrats employed at least 4,200 people working to elect Hillary Clinton, with about 800 at the Clinton campaign, 400 at the Democratic National Committee, and nearly 3,000 on the payrolls of state parties in 13 battleground states, which typically employ a majority of field organizers.

Republicans, meanwhile, employed about 880 people during the same period, with about 130 at the Donald Trump campaign, another 270 at the Republican National Committee, and roughly 480 at the 13 state parties.

The authors point out that “the disparity is not dissimilar to 2012” and Republicans claim to have “a head start in deploying national field staffers back in 2013, long before Democrats.” However, in 13 battlegound states analyzed  “The tally also does not reflect the activities of allied outside organizations, such as labor unions, political action committees and interest groups,” nor does it specifiy what the staffers and volunteers of both parties actually do.

Democrats have a clear edge in what is quantifiable about their ‘ground game,’ but data on the quality of the field operations is lacking. Further,

“The RNC’s ground game is far ahead of a Clinton ground game that amounts to a cubicle factory,” chief strategist Sean Spicer said in a memo to reporters last month, adding that “the media has fallen for the Clinton camp’s false narrative that equates having a lot of campaign offices with having a superior field organization.”


Mitch Stewart, who ran the battleground states program for Obama in 2012, argues that volunteers are not replacements for staff, saying the roughly 10,000 top-tier volunteers Obama’s campaign recruited four years ago depended on paid organizers to function. And he said the RNC’s recent hires come too late.

“It’s just too late to build a massive volunteer effort,” he said. “The later you hire staff, the less impact you’re going to see on the number of votes they can get.”

…As of the end of August, Democrats had more than five times the number of staffers than Republicans did on the payrolls of their respective state parties in Florida (about 520 to around 100), more than three times as many in Ohio (about 360 to roughly 90), and roughly ten times as many in Virginia (approximately 270 to 30), Pennsylvania (roughly 450 to 40) and North Carolina (300 to 20).

With the GOP’s new infusion of staff, they’ve cut that disparity to roughly 2-to-1 in Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina, though the gap remains wider in Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Michigan, and Virginia.

It certainly looks like the Trump campaign is betting everything on his ability to mobilize and excite  voters independent of minimal Republican GOTV operations. Put that together with the campaign’s relatively small expenditure on ads thus far, and it appears that Trump ’16 will surely be the most minimalist presidential campaign of the modern era.

That’s an awfully big bet on the power of charisma alone, especially for a candidate who may end up mobilizing more votes against him than for him with his every utterance. It looks like Trump’s best hope would be a combination of Democratic defections to the Libertarians and Greens, coupled with complaisancy about voting on the part of regular Democratic voters. The trend at this political moment is in the opposite direction.

Greenberg and Carville: Clinton’s Economic Focus Can Set Stage for Democratic Sweep

The following analysis by Stan Greenberg and James Carville is cross-posted from their article, “CLINTON DEFINES THE ELECTION AS CLEAR CUT ECONOMIC CHOICE AND THOSE ARE THE MARCHING ORDERS FOR A DOWN-BALLOT WAVE at Democracy Corps:

Over the past week, Hillary Clinton’s focus on the economy has given Democrats their marching orders for consolidating Democrats and her vote down-ballot. The powerful economic message she articulated in the debate and in Toledo should unify the Democratic offer in this campaign. Some have toyed with tying the Republican Party and its candidates to an unpopular Donald Trump, but our work for Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund already showed that strategy does not work. It is too indirect and political, and may actually help GOP candidates to show their independence from Trump.

Instead, listen to our potential Democratic voters. They are sending a very clear message about how to win their vote: make this a clear economic choice; show you are angry with corporate excess; and show how you want to make this economy work for everyone, not just those at the top. This is how Clinton put it in Toledo on October 3rd:

It is a clear, powerful critique of how those at the top have used their influence to write the rules of the economy for their benefit – the heart of the economic narrative proposed by the Roosevelt Institute and WVWVAF and tested by Democracy Corps. Clinton’s battle with Trump on taxes puts that choice and “trickle down” economics at the heart of the election.

The dial research conducted for WVWVAF during the first presidential debate shows this is how you win on the economy, creating jobs and being for the middle class. And it is how you consolidate Democrats to vote for Clinton and to get Clinton voters to consolidate behind Democrats down ballot.

Winning on the economy and consolidating Democrats down-ballot

The world has changed with the first debate, the battle over taxes, and Clinton’s new definition of the choice in the election as one centered on the economy.

Trump led on the economy leading into the debate, and our research in the battleground states found even her supporters did not associate her with taking action on the economy or know about any of her policy goals or advocacy for the middle class. The big “change” voters – millennials and white working class voters – were becoming unmoored.

As a result, in our battleground polling for WVWVAF released on the eve of the first major presidential debate, Clinton and down-ballot Democrats were falling short of potential gains: only 87 percent of Democrats were supporting Clinton and only 66 percent of Clinton voters were voting Democrat for Senate.

But this survey also found that what consolidated those voters was a powerful economic message about rewriting the rules. This was confirmed during dial meter testing of the first presidential debate. Clinton’s current economic message will allow Clinton to defeat Trump on the economy and consolidate Democrats around her candidacy and down-ballot.

A populist economic choice: centered on taxes

The focus on taxes has allowed Clinton and Democrats to present a big economic choice about trickle-down economics, and this choice is also powerfully personalized by Trump. They should say what voters have long known and think as they learn about Donald Trump’s taxes – “It is wrong that corporations and the super wealthy play by a different set of rules” – declare “It’s time to rewrite the rules and make this economy work for everyone” and articulate an empowering, positive, and patriotic plan for a better future.

Our dial meter testing of the first debate on behalf of WVWVAF revealed the tremendous advantage Clinton earns when she is heard offering such a populist economic message. Most of Clinton’s strongest moments during the debate came during her new critique of Reaganomics (“Trumped up trickle down”) and when she laid out her specific plans to build “an economy that works for everyone.

This really struck a chord with the voters in our online dial meters. Post-debate, she shifted voters’ perceptions of her on such key personal attributes as looking out for the middle class (+18) and having good plans for the economy (+14). She improved her margin over Trump on the economy (+9), creating more jobs (+8), standing up for America (+6) and being for the middle class (+6). There was also a huge shift in her overall favorability (+33 points) and as we have seen in public polls over the past few days, Clinton’s vote has risen post-debate.

Embracing Clinton’s economic message in all races

Democratic candidates would do well to follow Clinton’s lead and embrace her economic narrative, choice and agenda.

In their written comments after the debate, the participants in our groups said it felt like Hillary Clinton was speaking directly to them when they brought up “taxes and the economy,” “increasing and decreasing taxes,” “how taxes should be spent and that the millionaires should be paying more of their fair share.” They say that “Hillary was right about trickle-down economics not working and Donald helping himself, not the American middle class” and remember her calls for “equal pay for women and helping the middle class by creating good jobs.”

Such an economic message from the down-ballot Democrats reinforced gains at the top of the ticket and shifted votes in the Senate races in our September battleground survey.


When Hillary Clinton and Democrats offer a powerful economic critique and way forward, as she did at the debate and yesterday in Toledo, it puts them on the side of change and a better future. With Clinton doubling down on this message and if Democrats follow her lead, there is a chance for a reform mandate led from the White House, a Democratic Senate and more in 2017.

Stan Greenberg
James Carville

Democracy Corps is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to making the government of the United States more responsive to the American people. It was founded in 1999 by James Carville and Stanley Greenberg. Democracy Corps provides public opinion research and strategic advice to those dedicated to a more responsive Congress and Presidency. Learn more at www.democracycorps.com

Tomasky: Dems Must Question Policies of Johnson and Stein

Some polls show that Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson may be losing some support in the wake of his “Where is Aleppo?” and other gaffes. But what matters most for Democrats is how much support he and Green Party nominee Jill Stein draw from potential Clinton supporters in key swing states, like FL or NC. There have been some good articles revealing Johnson’s right-wing positions on environmental and economic issues recently (see here, here and here, for example).

Michael Tomasky adds to the critique of third party candidacies in his recent Dail Beast post, “Why No One Should Vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein,” in which he observes:

Libertarianism in recent years has developed a kind of hipster cred. It seems to be against the man. Libertarians are anti-war, usually (the cred narrative started with Ron Paul’s scathing attacks on the Bush/Cheney crowd). They support abortion rights and gay rights. Live and let live. And most of all, libertarians want to legalize pot. I think that’s the big one, for young people especially. I readily concede it would have seemed pretty appealing to the me of 30 years ago.

But here’s the catch. The libertarian live-and-let-live credo doesn’t apply just to young people who’d like to blow a doob in a public park (that’s how we put it back in my day, sonny, and I’m not going to make any phony attempt to be hip). It applies to polluting corporations. It applies to corporations and individuals who want to make unlimited dark money contributions to political campaigns. It applies to the forces pushing free trade. It applies to employers who don’t want to be nickel-and-dimed over paying their workers a minimum wage. It applies to gun manufacturers, and to the National Rifle Association. Still hip?

…He supports the Citizens United decision and thinks donors should be able to spend “as much money as they want.” He backs the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which I would think most young people oppose strongly, after listening to Bernie Sanders inveigh against it for a year. Speaking of Bernie, Johnson opposes tuition-free college. He’s against a federal minimum wage—that’s right, any federal minimum wage (although sometimes his answers are so wandering and circumlocutory that it can be hard to tell). And as for guns, he told Slate in 2011: “I don’t believe there should be any restrictions when it comes to firearms. None.”

On Green party candidate Jill Stein, Tomasky adds:

..The weirdest thing about Stein is her apparent affinity for Vladimir Putin. You read that right. She went to Moscow and met with Putin, and was even seated at his table. Russian Green Party activists rebuked her for not even mentioning human rights and LGBT rights when she met with Putin.

I don’t know Stein, so I can’t say why, but I can tell you that in general terms, there is within the far left of Stein’s generation (she’s 66) an idea inherited from the Cold War that holds that to be too critical of Russia is on some level to endorse the presumptions and priorities of the American war machine. It’s for reasons related to this that you see a fair amount of quasi-apologetics for Putin on the American far left. Her own website boasts—actually boasts—that after Putin listened to her speech in Moscow, he responded: “What I would like to say, something really unexpected, when I was watching this material. When I was listening to your comments, politicians from other countries, you know what I caught myself thinking about? I agree with them, on many issues.”

Imagine the oily smile that lit across her face as Putin spoke these words, and please give some thought to the question of this being your progressive alternative.

You can read more about Stein’s Putin-coddling right here. But I would worry more About Johnson drawing potential voters from Democrats, since he is polling a lot better than Stein.

It’s quite possible that Johnson and Stein will take very few votes away from Clinton when all of the results are tallied. But Democrats would be guilty of political negligence, if they didn’t alert voters to the largely hidden agendas of these two third party candidates.

Trump’s Flip-Floppage Perfectly Captured in Video

‘Weathervane’-style political spots depicting candidate flip-flops on various issues have been among the most frequently deployed ad motifs in presidential and down-ballot campaigns since the 1960s. But it has never been done as well as the video below, owing in large part to Trump’s unique tendency to rant incessantly with no regard for anything he said before. This video should do nicely for your crazy uncle/friend, who insists that “at least Trump is a straight shooter”:

Creamer: Why Progressives Should Vote Democratic, Not Third Party — Especially in 2016

The following article by Democratic strategist Robert Creamer, author of Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, is cross-posted from HuffPo:

A small but significant group of Americans is considering casting their vote this fall for a third- party “protest” candidate. Some are thinking they may not vote at all. They say they don’t like any candidate enough to vote so they will “sit this election out.”

I realize many of the Americans considering a third-party vote — or sitting out the election — have sincere, deeply-held feelings that are driving their actions. Some are just disgusted by what they think is a vitriolic tone of the campaign.

Unfortunately the media encourages that kind of cynicism and disgust by presenting the attacks mounted by each side in the campaign as equally credible.

But while it is easy to understand the reasons that some people might be inclined to choose a “protest” vote — or decide to sit on their hands — the fact is that either of these actions will have one and only one result: putting Donald Trump into the White House.

DCorps: Debate Dial Meter Test Reveals New Trend for Clinton

The following article by Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps and Page Gardner of Women’s Voices and Women Vote Action Fund is cross-posted from Democracy Corps:

Hillary Clinton won the first debate against Donald Trump and likely produced electoral shifts, according to participants in a live dial meter focus group organized by Democracy Corps and commissioned by Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund. These participants, comprised of voter blocs critical to the outcome of this election, watched a Democratic candidate lay out a broad economic vision that spoke to their lives, show strength that reassured on security, speak to our nation’s racial divisions in a way that engaged voters and most of all, reassure them on trust and honesty.

View Dial Presentation.
Read Dial Report.

Trump’s performance, with some exceptional moments, lacked the bombast of previous efforts, but did little to reassure voters about the prospect of a Trump presidency, particularly when it comes to security. Dials showed that Trump really struggled with both his tax plan and his own taxes, his contempt for women and above all, when he talked about his favorite subject: himself. The only area where he made gains was on having the right approach to trade agreements.

Clinton produced impressive gains in the vote, squeezing the third party candidates and raising intensity of support with white unmarried women and white working class voters.That alone would be a big night. But just as important, she shifted these voters’ perceptions of her as a person on such key attributes as trustworthiness, having good plans for the economy, jobs, and looking out for the middle class. There was also a huge shift in her overall favorability (+33 points).

The white working class story is almost as impressive. Their lines spiked all through the debate and their favorability towards Clinton also shifted 33 points. The 2-way vote margin shifted 16 points as the 3rd party vote got squeezed. And at the end of the debate she won her biggest gains with these working class voters on the economy, keeping America strong and having the right approach to taxes. Clinton could not have hoped for better.

Millennials also responded very positively to key parts of Clinton’s performance, though their favorability shift was not as great as other groups and Clinton lost a little ground on the vote. We will watch what happens in the real world.

Overall, this was a very good night for Hillary Clinton.

Trumped-up trickle down economics 

Some of the Secretary’s strongest moments, particularly among unmarried women, came at the inception of the debate when the two candidates laid out their economic vision. Clinton’s narrative of an “economy that works for everyone,” and her new criticism of Reaganomics (“Trumped up trickle down”) struck a chord with these voters, including non-college white voters who have moved away from Clinton and Democrats in recent elections.

The biggest increase in Clinton’s attributes (+18 points) concerned whether she “looks out for the middle class.” In the post-debate breakout groups among those who shifted over the course of the evening, people talked about how she would help the middle class and cared about them.

  • She was positive in pledging to lead each American and build the middle class. (Shifter, towards Clinton)
  • She really seemed to care about middle class Americans and African Americans. (Shifter, towards Clinton)

Trump’s focus on trade moved the dials up sharply but not far north of 50 percent at this point. Later, his attacks on trade did get one of his strongest responses, and he was considered to have the better approach on trade at the end of the night. That did not translate, though, to any gains in whether he has good plans for the economy.

The exchanges around trickle-down economics got their strongest response from the white working class voters, and their lines soared above all others in the groups. At the end, they shifted 22 points on who has the better approach to taxes.

At the 30 minute mark, the moderator opened a dialog about Trump’s failure to release his taxes, leading to the worst moments from the Republican. When Trump crowed about the $694 million dollars he made last year, among other boasts, he quickly lost the people in our focus group. Clinton seized the opportunity to successfully highlight Trump’s history of stiffing workers and baited Trump into bragging about his business. Trump did not disappoint, further undermining his standing among participants. It reinforced the impression that he was only about making the economy work for him.

  • Trump seemed to think it was fine that he didn’t pay taxes because they would just be wasted. (Shifter, towards Clinton)
  • [He would be a president] that would destroy the middle class so he and [is]e friends can get wealthier. (Shifter, towards Clinton)
  • I realize that he is proud of his business accomplishments, but not everything can be related back to that… he relies on his one area of expertise, and I’m not convinced he runs that with integrity. (Shifter, towards Clinton)
  • He also is pompous and arrogant. He is rich and only wants the rich to get richer. (Shifter, towards Clinton)

Race and crime 
Trump did not commit any racial gaffes in this debate, but neither did he reassure voters.  And he needed too.  Moreover, his commitment to “Stop and Frisk” and his repeated lying about New York’s crime rate did not convince voters in a country increasingly divided over race to embrace him as a figure of national unity.  His insistence on “law and order” did not impress these voters.

Hillary Clinton’s strongest moments among millennial voters—a group that has so far failed to embrace her candidacy with much enthusiasm came during the discussion of race and criminal justice reform.  Her strongest moment among these voters came during her condemnation of Trump’s racist “birther” attack on President Obama.

Clinton also scored points with voters of all stripes, including non-college whites, when embracing common-sense policies to reduce gun violence, producing one of the sharpest dial spikes in the evening. Trump wisely did not walk off the cliff with the gun lobby on the “no-buy, no fly” list but these voters seemed otherwise unimpressed with his NRA endorsement.

Making our country safe
Donald Trump came into this debate needing to reassure a fretful nation that he could be trusted to be Commander in Chief.   While Trump avoided comments about “loving war,” his argument that we need a “businessman” failed to convince these voters.  Participants conferred a huge 60 to 40 percent Clinton advantage over Trump before the debate on who would keep America safe and Trump was not able to do anything to chip in to her lead, with Clinton still holding a 60 to 40 percent lead after the debate.

But she also demonstrated strength throughout the debate.  Despite some cheap and poorly received “stamina” shots from Trump, a 66 percent majority of participants described Clinton as a “strong leader” at the conclusion of the groups

Two big wins and losers
Clinton accomplished some important things, most notably in terms of positive improvement on personal favorability, on trust, on being for the middle class and on the economy and jobs. That cannot help but shift the vote.

The first of the biggest wins was the consolidation of unmarried women.  It was as if Clinton had rehearsed with unmarried women as her audience.  Their dials responded as if she was speaking to them directly. This debate shifted their vote, their excitement and their intensity of support.  They are poised to help Clinton reach a victory.

The second win was the shocking response of white working class persuadable voters.  They responded as if they too were the main target.  They warmed to her dramatically, responding strongly to her on the economy, jobs and taxes. This debate may have shaken up the voters that were to give Donald Trump his path to competitiveness.

The losers are Donald Trump, for obvious reasons, but perhaps also Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. Among the 50 swing persuadable voters, the 3rd party vote and number of undecideds dropped 12 points – that is, by almost 50 percent. Among the white unmarried women, that bloc dropped 12 points and 6 points among the white working class. Obviously, the debate is an artificial environment, but it is also the way this election will look to most voters in the weeks ahead. This debate shows them too to be among the big losers.

The implications for the vote will become apparent pretty quickly, and we expect there to be an increase in Clinton’s margin.

Democracy Corps conducted online dial meter research among 100 likely voters nationally: 50 persuadable voters, 25 white unmarried women, and 25 millennials during the presidential debate. Surveys were administered before and after the live dial meter session. An online breakout focus group among those who changed their vote or become more certain of the vote was conducted after the debate. This research is qualitative in nature and involves 100 total participants.  Results are not statistically projectable onto a larger population. 
Democracy Corps is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to making the government of the United States more responsive to the American people. It was founded in 1999 by James Carville and Stanley Greenberg. Democracy Corps provides public opinion research and strategic advice to those dedicated to a more responsive Congress and Presidency. Learn more at www.democracycorps.com
Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund (WVWVAF) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501 (c)(4) organization founded in 2005 and dedicated to increasing the voting participation and issue advocacy of unmarried women. Learn more at www.wvwvaf.org.

More Polls Show ‘Clinton Trounced Trump’

At Rolling Stone, Tim Dickinson’s “The (Real) Polls Prove It: Clinton Trounced Trump in the Debate” includes an update on some of the latest polling:

…We now have the results of five scientific polls, and each shows Clinton scoring a commanding victory over Trump on the debate stage.

Clinton got her highest marks in a CNN poll that showed her beating Trump 66 to 27 percent. Trump’s best showing came in a PPP poll – in which Clinton still beat him by 11 points, 51 to 40. Polls by YouGov (57/30) Politico/Morning Consult (49/26) and Echelon Insights (48/22) complete the picture of a debate dominated by the woman in the red suit.

…The YouGov poll did not measure electoral leaning, but Clinton walloped Trump among independents, 33 to 17, and even bested him among men, 27 to 24.

How bad was Trump’s night? Even a poll commissioned by the GOP nominee’s favorite propaganda outlet, Breitbart, had him losing to Clinton by five points, 48 to 43.

So how much of a game-changer was the debate? Dickinson adds:

…In the CNN poll, 34 percent of respondents said the debate made them more likely to vote for Clinton. In PPP’s survey, that number was 40 percent, with 39 percent saying they were less likely to vote for Trump. Forty-one percent of Eschelon respondents said they are now more likely to cast a ballot for Clinton.

Each of the polls asked slightly different questions. In the Politico/Morning Consult poll, 23 percent came away with a “much more favorable” view of Clinton, while 26 percent emerged with a “much less favorable” view of Trump.

Dickinson concludes by noting that Trump claimed he won in a CBS News post-debate poll. But CBS responded that “we did not conduct a post-debate poll.” As Dickinson adds, “Despite his crushing defeat, Trump did score one huge debate poll win – in his mind.”