Hillary Clinton made history, but that may not be enough to get her to 270. Some Democrats are still worried that Donald Trump might win, given the level of volatility this election cycle, how Trump deflects media attacks like Teflon, and the high level of Democratic discontent within their own ranks over Clinton’s nomination. Those feelings were intensified when leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee showed staffers trying to find ways to derail Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign. The amount of booing, even during Clinton’s acceptance speech Thursday night just highlighted those divisions within the Democratic Party (via The Hill):
While the Electoral College may give her an advantage, party leaders and strategists say they remain concerned that Clinton is a tough sell when a majority of Americans think the country is on the wrong track and want to shake up Washington.
“The most important thing is there is a bias for change and there’s an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll where people express that bias even when they don’t know what the change is going to be,” said Geoff Garin, a pollster who worked for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and now advises Priorities USA, a pro-Clinton super PAC.
That July survey showed a majority of voters, 56 percent, prefer someone who will bring major changes to government even if they don’t know what those changes will be. Only 46 percent wanted a candidate who would bring a steady approach to government.
It helps explain Trump’s success, and the strong challenge to Clinton in the Democratic primary from Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Away from the hoopla of the Wells Fargo, Democratic officials and strategists say it’s a major concern.
“I feel like we shouldn’t be overly optimistic,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). “Time and time again over this last year we thought Trump was done and he’s not so let’s treat him as an incredibly viable, capable opponent.”
The biggest uncertainty hanging over the election is who will show up to the polls on Nov. 8.
One Democratic strategist said Clinton will win if the Obama coalition of young and minority voters show up in force.
“If it’s the same as 2008 and 2012 we win,” the source said. “If it’s 2004, it’s a different story.”
Over at FiveThirtyEight, Clinton’s chances for winning the presidency dropped over 20 points in the past two weeks. In fact, if the election were held today, Trump would be the next president. Even in the forecasts where historic and economic data is factored in, Clinton’s chances had fallen by 15 points between July 12 and 25, a drop from 73 percent to 59 percent. It’s now 61, so it’s a 12-point dip…in a little over two weeks.
Democratic pollsters are also worried about the phantom white man vote. The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard talked to Celinda Lake, who worries that voters are deliberately misleading pollsters on Clinton and will vote for Trump in the general. So, there’s a guerilla warfare element to this as well.
"I worry that there is a bit of a secret Trump vote," said influential pollster Celinda Lake.
"The pattern is in the online surveys, even if you control for demographics, Trump does three to nine points better than in telephone surveys. So it really does suggest that there is a secret vote for Donald Trump," said Lake.
She also said that the white male, blue collar worker is a ripe target for Trump. "Trump can also mobilize some voters, some white downscale voters who also haven't voted for awhile," she said.
It also doesn’t help that Trump and the Republican National Convention got better ratings on their final night of the convention than the Democrats. Katie wrote that even former Obama adviser David Axelrod thought Clinton’s acceptance speech was not very good. These are both very flawed, and very polarizing candidates. Yet, Trump is trusted more than Clinton, though that’s not to say his numbers in this character test are great—they’re not. But he is seen as more honest than her. When the State Department Inspector General released his report about Clinton’s email system—and how she never sought approval (among other things), despite her claims to the contrary—Trump was viewed as more honest by a two-to-one margin.
There’s also the change factor mentioned in The Hill piece. In key battleground states, most voters see Trump as the main guy who could shake things up in Washington, though that hasn’t been translated into firm definite support for the billionaire. If that moves, there’s definitely going to be a surge in support for Trump, which could spell trouble for Clinton. Right now, the Democratic Party has the grapple with a fractured party, a weak candidate, and a series of hacks into their party apparatus that continues to trip them up—and air dirty laundry in the process. It’s very possible Clinton could lose—and for love of God I hope she does.