Clinton 2811
Sanders 1879
 Needed   2383
Trump 1542
Cruz 559
Rubio 165
Kasich 161
Needed 1237
TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Poll: Clinton Trouncing Trump in Swing States
      •  Are Polls Biased Against Trump?
      •  The Clinton and Obama Show Will Soon Hit the Road
      •  Silver Makes His First Projection
      •  Trump Hustling to Raise Funds in Europe
      •  The Trump Dirt Just Keeps Piling Up
      •  Trump "Not a Credible Candidate"

Poll: Clinton Trouncing Trump in Swing States

On Wednesday, Ballotpedia released the results of an extensive poll of likely presidential voters in seven swing states. The news was grim for Donald Trump, as Hillary Clinton outpaced him in all seven, largely by very comfortable margins. The only "close" states were Iowa (Clinton +4) and Virginia (Clinton +7). She was up by 9 points in Ohio, 10 in North Carolina, 14 in both Pennsylvania and Florida, and 17 in Michigan.

It is hard to say which of these results is the worst news for The Donald. He's been entertaining the idea that he can flip Pennsylvania—the only part of the Democrats' "blue wall" that he has a chance of breaching. It certainly looks like that's not going to be happening; even this early in general election season, 14 points is an awful lot. Meanwhile, as political junkies know, no Republican has ever won the White House without taking Ohio, so that number is worrisome for the GOP's presumptive nominee, as well. Of course, there is no plausible path to victory for him that does not include winning Florida. And losing Virginia + North Carolina would be equally fatal.

Helpfully, the pollsters also asked respondents about other potential Republican candidates. Their numbers say that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) would also be trailing Clinton in Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, but that he would be leading her in Iowa and Ohio, and he would turn Virginia and North Carolina into tossups. Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) would also be trailing in Florida, but would be ahead in Iowa, Ohio, and Virginia, while turning Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Michigan into tossups. An aide for Kasich promptly sent out a mass email gleefully announcing the news. (Translation: Gov. Kasich is still available if the GOP wants to throw Trump overboard). Mitt Romney also chose to share the news that his family still wants him to run for president this year, but that he just doesn't think it's worthwhile without the full support of the GOP. (Translation: Former Gov. Romney is also still available). A few more ghastly polls like this, and it's entirely possible that the NeverTrump movement roars back to life. (Z)

Are Polls Biased Against Trump?

Needless to say, if Donald Trump wants to keep his campaign afloat (and to keep the donations rolling—well, trickling—in), he has to explain away his consistently bad poll numbers. Not surprisingly, he has chosen to argue that the polls are biased against him, and are understating his level of support.

The basic theory here is actually sound. The idea is that certain ways of voting are "embarrassing," and so poll respondents lie when human pollsters ask them about their intentions. The formal term for this is "social-desirability bias," but it is known more commonly as the "Bradley effect" (after liberal Californians who were embarrassed to admit they were voting against a black man) or the "Shy Tory effect" (after Britons who were embarrassed to admit to being conservative).

In primary season, there was some evidence that this could have been happening with Trump, as he tended to do better in online polls (no human, so no need to lie) than he did in phone polls. But, as Politico's Steven Shepard observes, Trump did not tend to outperform his phone poll numbers, so a "Shy Trump" effect did not actually present itself. And now, The Donald actually does better in phone polls than he does in online polls, so even if there was a bias, it has disappeared. In other words, when it comes to his pedestrian polling numbers, Trump will have to find a different explanation to peddle. (Z)

The Clinton and Obama Show Will Soon Hit the Road

Hillary Clinton and President Obama were supposed to make their first joint campaign appearance two weeks ago, but those plans were scotched by the Orlando shootings. And so, the debut of the dynamic Democratic duo has been rescheduled to next Tuesday, in North Carolina.

The most interesting thing about the story, at least at the moment, is that the original joint appearance was scheduled for Wisconsin, a very safe state for Clinton. The change to North Carolina suggests a great deal about how Team Clinton's thinking has changed in the last two weeks. Quite clearly, she now believes she has a real chance to take a state that Obama lost by two points in 2012 but won by 0.3 points in 2008. More significantly, it seems she's no longer content to merely defend the Democrats' blue wall, and that she (and Obama) are going to go on the offensive. They are no longer thinking about just winning; they are thinking "landslide." This is not merely arrogance; a landslide gives the president a mandate (think: Obamacare), and it also increases the odds that the blue team retakes the Senate and maybe even the House. As they say, you have to reach for the stars if you want to achieve greatness. Of course, that's also the best way to suffer a terrible fall. (Z)

Silver Makes His First Projection

Nate Silver, founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, is one of America's best psephologists, and is certainly its most famous. He's done his first serious number-crunching of the general election season, and his reading of the tea leaves says that Donald Trump has about a 20% chance of becoming President (19% by one method, 26% by another).

The essay is characteristically thorough and thoughtful, but it is hard to know what this number really means. Surely, Silver is not suggesting that if the election was held tomorrow, there is a 1-in-5 chance Trump would win. The Donald's current fundamentals are just too poor for that. What Silver presumably means is that if we started today and played out the next 131 days five times, Hillary Clinton would take the White House four times, and Trump would take it once.

The problem—which, to his credit, Silver acknowledges—is that this is a very unusual election. How can we really have confidence that data from 2008 or 1996 or 1984 are actually predictive for 2016? At the same time, this election is particularly likely to have the kind of "October surprise" (or July surprise, or August surprise, or September surprise) that no pollster can account for. Trump dropping out? Possible. Or being cast aside? Also possible. One of the two candidates having a health scare? Maybe. An indictment? Could happen. This is why this site won't be offering any sort of projections until after the conventions; there are just too many variables to be able to speak in anything other than very general terms. (Z)

Trump Hustling to Raise Funds in Europe

It is now well known that Trump 2016 has virtually no money in the bank (especially when compared to the pile of gold that Clinton 2016 is hoarding). So, his staff is leaving no stone unturned. This week, they have unleashed a veritable torrent of fundraising emails upon lawmakers in the United Kingdom, Iceland, Australia, and other countries.

There is just one small problem with this effort: It's illegal. U.S law forbids foreign nationals from donating money to American political campaigns. Already, several complaints have been filed with the Federal Election Commission, which could lead to sanctions for the Trump campaign. And even if that does not happen, it's yet another black eye for Trump. There is little chance that the emails were an accident, since they only targeted officeholders, and—at least in the UK—were only sent to members of the Conservative Party. This suggests that the Trump campaign is not only unaware of federal election law, but also that they think that "conservative" means that same thing in the UK that it does in the U.S., which it does not. See, for example, the Brexit. (Z)

The Trump Dirt Just Keeps Piling Up

The saga of Trump University is, by now, well known. The students there, at least the ones not on Trump's payroll, say it was a scam. Trump says it wasn't, and also that he wants a white judge to hear the case.

Now, enterprising reporters from the New York Times have learned that Trump U. was not The Donald's first foray into the realm of for-profit education. He first got his feet wet with the Trump Institute, licensing his name and likeness to Irene and Mike Milin, a pair of shady characters whose get-rich-quick schemes often put them on the wrong side of the law. They offered seminars at $2,000 a pop that promised to teach Trump's "wealth-creating secrets and strategies." Needless to say, Trump had little involvement with the project, and "students" of the Institute did not learn anything that came from him. In fact, much of the curriculum was plagiarized, something that real educators generally tend to frown upon. One attendee said that the speakers were more like used-car salesmen than teachers, and that, "It was like I was in sleaze America."

So, Hillary Clinton now has another pool of people she can call upon for her campaign commercials. Meanwhile, we can only guess what the next skeleton in Trump's closet to be uncovered will be. (Z)

Trump "Not a Credible Candidate"

One of the local stations in New York City scored an interview with one of the leading members of Congress on Wednesday. Among the thoughts shared in that interview were that Donald Trump "clearly needs to change" and that he is "not a credible candidate." Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, was described as "an intelligent and capable person." Given such verbiage, one could imagine that the interview subject was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), perhaps, or maybe Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). But, of course, if it had been them, the interview would not be news. The reason that the interview is making headlines is that it was conducted with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

This is not the first time that McConnell has spoken disparagingly of Trump. It's not even the first time this week. The question is exactly what McConnell is doing. One possibility is that he is hoping to somehow shame Trump into acting like a real politician and a real Republican. This seems unlikely, however—McConnell is too sharp to think that this would work at this point. Much more likely is that McConnell is trying to save his Senate majority (and thus his job) by building as big a wall as possible [sorry], with himself and the "real" Republicans on one side and the faux Republican Trump on the other. It's a high-stakes game, and one that must be handled carefully to avoid the appearance of disloyalty to the GOP (along with charges of being a RINO). But, desperate times call for desperate measures. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jun29 Trump Hires Top Staffers
Jun29 Trump Appeals to Conservative Christian Leaders
Jun29 Trump Discovers Data
Jun29 Clinton Rolls Out Data Initiative
Jun29 Benghazi Report Tells Us Nothing New
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Jun29 Colorado Senate Seat Safe for Democrats
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Jun28 Oh, Those Bernie Supporters
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Jun28 Trump's Failed Baja Condo Project Left Buyers Angry
Jun28 Dueling Benghazi Reports Coming Tuesday
Jun27 Support for Trump is Cratering
Jun27 Trump's Donor List is Grim
Jun27 Trump's Economic Plan Would Explode National Debt
Jun27 Rubio Faces a Wealthy Challenger on the Right
Jun27 O'Malley Is Back
Jun27 McConnell Won't Say If Trump Is Fit To Be President
Jun27 Sanders Will Continue the Platform Fight
Jun27 SCOTUS Abortion Ruling Coming on Monday
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Jun26 Republicans Alarmed by Trump's Lack of Money
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Jun26 Dobson Justifies Support for Trump
Jun26 Lewandowski's Head Rolled Due to Attacks on Federal Judge
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Jun25 Dump Trump Probably Doesn't Have the Votes on RNC Rules Committee
Jun25 Sanders Sorta, Kinda, for Clinton
Jun25 Sanders Getting Much of What He Wants
Jun25 Clinton Picks Up Two High-Profile Republicans
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Jun25 Polling the Veepstakes
Jun25 Potential Clinton Donors Are Afraid of Scaring Trump
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Jun25 Duckworth Dodges a Bullet
Jun25 Striking Parallels between Brexit and U.S. Politics
Jun25 Dump Trump Doesn't Have the Votes on RNC Rules Committee
Jun25 Sanders Sorta, Kinda, for Clinton
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