What in the hell is going on with our presidential polls? One day, we have a Washington Post-ABC poll that shows Hillary Clinton with an astounding 12-point lead over Donald Trump. The next day, we have a WaPo-NBC poll that shows her leading by eight. And now we have a weekly Rasmussen Reports poll that shows Trump leading Clinton 43-39. Do any of these polling agencies actually know what they’re doing? Public opinion cannot possibly be shifting back and forth with this kind of rapidity.
Only a week ago, Rasmussen themselves reported that Clinton was leading Trump by 5 percentage points. So even if you throw all the other polls out the window, there’s something weird happening.
Perhaps the American people really are jumping back and forth like indecisive customers at a donut shop. They hear a speech from Clinton and they say, “Hey, that sounds good.” Then they hear a speech from Trump and say, “Oh damn, he’s my guy.” It’s odd that so many Americans would be so fickle, but then again, it wouldn’t be the oddest thing about this election season.
Perhaps Trump’s presidential pivot is helping. After firing campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Trump has dropped a number of his bad habits, replacing them with a more disciplined approach to the campaign. He has given a couple of extraordinarily-potent speeches regarding trade and Hillary herself, and he is the candidate of strength at a time when Islamic terrorism has once again reared its ugly head in bloody fashion.
Or maybe the new report on Benghazi has hurt Clinton, despite the media’s concerted effort to paint the report in a positive light for the Democratic nominee. It is now a matter of undisputed public record that Clinton and Obama lied about the cause of the Benghazi attack, and there is plenty of reason to think that it was her botched security protocol that allowed the attack to happen.
Then again, maybe we’ve reached the point where landline surveys no longer give us an accurate view of public opinion.
Either way, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. One, the general election has only just begun; neither Hillary nor Trump have officially been crowned their party’s respective nominees. There’s still a solid four months to go until the election, and there’s no telling what might happen between now and then. For all we know, the NeverTrump movement will pull off a shocking coup at the convention and doom Republicans’ chances of winning back the White House.
Two, our presidential elections are not decided by national referendum. Widespread population polls are interesting, but the election will be decided based on only a handful of states.
Still, the shifting numbers prove that doomsday conservatives need not panic. Trump still has a chance, and it’s a good one. If he can stay on message, avoid needless controversy, and reach out to the enormous swaths of voters who desperately want serious change in Washington, he may very well be the next President of the United States.