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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

“Five days before Election Day, the margin between the candidates is narrow, with 45 percent of likely voters supporting Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic candidate, to 42 percent for Mr. Trump, the Republican nominee. The difference is within the poll’s margin of sampling error…Fewer than one in 10 likely voters say they may still change their minds about whom they will support on Tuesday, and both candidates have about equal support among their party’s voters. Political independents, who backed President Obama in 2008 and Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, in 2012, are currently split…At this point in the 2012 campaign, Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney were deadlocked in polling averages, and Mr. Obama went on to win the election by a four-point margin.” — from “Hillary Clinton Still Leads a Tighter Race, Times/CBS News Poll Shows” by Megan Thee-Brenan.

At The Upshot Nate Cohn explains why “Early Vote in North Carolina Seems Consistent With a Clinton Lead.” Cohn observes, “So far, nearly 600 of our respondents have voted early — basically a full poll’s worth of early voters. For this analysis, we’ve weighted this subsample of validated early voters to match the demographic characteristics of early voters by age, race, party, sex and 2014 vote history…Over all, Mrs. Clinton leads among these early votes by 51 percent to 39 percent in the three-way race, and by 53-39 in the two-way race.”

More evidence that Clinton’s batleground states ground game gives her an edge: “Mrs. Clinton has a considerable lead over Mr. Trump among newly registered voters in Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina combined, 47 percent to 31 percent,” writes Cohn in another Upshot post exploring why “Donald Trump Can’t Count on Those ‘Missing White Voters” Cohn adds “Democrats have a modest advantage among voters who registered since 2012, 34 percent to 28 percent…But the newly registered voters nonetheless solidly lean toward Mrs. Clinton, based on our polling data and voter records. They’re disproportionately young and nonwhite…Newly registered voters who aren’t affiliated with a major party lean to Mrs. Clinton over Mr. Trump by 42 percent to 21 percent; Gary Johnson runs a close third, with 20 percent.”

Watch the Nevada Senate race, where one of the most impressive Democratic candidates Catherine Cortez Masto, is running against Rep. Joe Heck, who outgoing Sen. Harry Reid calls “an absolute stooge for these right-wing nut cases.” The Koch brothers are heavily bankrolling Heck’s campaign, and a win by Cortez Masto would signal a strong pro-Democratic trend in the west and launch the first Latina U.S. senator. The New York Times editorial board has a good update on this key race.

James Hohman argues that “College-educated white women are Hillary Clinton’s firewall” at The Daily 202: “One in five voters in 2012 were college-educated white women. Mitt Romney won them by 6 points, according to exit polls…Our fresh Washington Post-ABC News Tracking Poll, which has Hillary Clinton ahead by just 2 points among all likely voters nationally, finds that Donald Trump is losing college-educated white women by 27 points…If the Republican nominee was anywhere close to Romney’s 52 percent support level among this traditionally Republican-leaning constituency, he would likely win the election. But drilling into the crosstabs of our polling and reviewing credible, state-level data demonstrates how highly unlikely it is that this constituency will waver in the final days. It is one of the reasons that, even though the race has tightened pretty dramatically, Clinton retains a significant structural advantage.”

Regarding the so-called ‘enthusiasm gap’ cited in recent polling, Hohman also notes, “In The Post/ABC tracking poll, enthusiasm for Clinton is back on par with enthusiasm for Trump after a drop off. Over the weekend, after the FBI announcement, 43 percent of Clinton supporters in our tracking poll said they were “very enthusiastic,” below Trump’s 53 percent. Trump’s advantage in enthusiasm has shrunk to only two points in the last two days of interviewing. Now 48 percent of Clinton supporters call themselves “very enthusiastic,” compared to 50 percent for Trump.”

Philip Bump writes in his polling update at The Fix: “Polls, as we say again and again, are snapshots — and belated ones at that. Like a Polaroid of a horse race taken in the home stretch that we would have to wait to see develop. The race has moved on, but we can make guesses about where it’s going from where it was. The short version is that Clinton is still poised to win. The medium-length version is that the race seems as of it will be a lot closer than it looked two weeks ago. The long version, implied above, is that continued movement away from Clinton and toward Trump nationally could solidify those 265 electoral votes for Trump — and maybe open up some options for those other five he needs.” In other words, Trump has some closing momentum, but time may be on Clinton’s side. And, of course, no polling can gauge GOTV prep, and by all accounts, Clinton’s team has bigger groud game.

It pains me to admit that Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s ad is very well-done, even though he is more likely to cost Ohio jobs with his economic policies, than protect them. Here Portman projects his understanding of Trump’s strongest messaging issue “protect American jobs,” tweaks it for Ohio, shows concern for working people at their workplace and wraps the whole damn thing in the flag. Dems could do worse:


The Democratic ad that is getting the most positive buzz has to be Missouri senate candidate Jason Kander’s “blindfold” spot. In the ad, Kander confidently assembles an AR-15 assaul rifle blindfolded, while touting his military experience, patriotic service and his support of background checks, all the while demonstrating his energetic persona. The ad has been credited with giving Kander a solid boost in the race and may bring another potential Democratic rising star:

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