Jul. 26

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Democratic Convention, Day 1: Hillary Can Sleep Well Tonight

Hillary Clinton had to be nervous when the Democratic Convention was gaveled to order Monday afternoon, as there was potential for all kinds of trouble. As it turns out, however, all's well that ends well in Philadelphia:

Speaking of Bill Clinton, he'll be the star attraction on Tuesday. Will he give us one last high-profile display of his legendary political skill? Or are his best days behind him? We shall soon find out. (Z)

Trump Gets a Big Bounce

In the CBS poll, Donald Trump got only a 2% convention bounce, but in the new CNN/ORC poll the bounce is 6 points, propelling Trump into the lead nationally, 48% to 45%. The poll also shows that the country is engaged in class warfare. Trump expanded his lead with white working-class voters from a 20% margin to an astonishing 39% margin. Among college-educated voters, Clinton actually gained a little ground and now has a 5-point edge. The poll also showed that Ted Cruz's speech may have backfired. Before the convention, 60% of Republican voters had a favorable impression of him; now that is down to 33%.

The crosstabs of the poll reveal more of the class war. One of the questions was:

Regardless of how you plan to vote, do you think Trump's speech reflected the way you, personally, feel about things in the United States today or not?

About 45% said his "midnight in America" speech reflected how they felt and 48% said it did not. But the breakdown is telling. Whites felt his speech reflected their feelings by 52% to 41%. Non-college whites said it reflected their feelings 60% to 34% White evangelicals felt things were awful by a margin of 73% to 22%. But white college graduates felt that his speech did not reflect how they felt, by a margin of 53% to 39%. So once again we see a real split between college graduates, who think things are pretty good, and working-class whites and evangelicals, who think things are pretty bad, but for different reasons. The working-class whites are worried about jobs and the economy whereas the evangelicals see that they are losing ground on abortion and same-sex marriage. The poll strongly suggests Clinton needs to make a very strong pitch to college-educated voters to move them permanently from the Republican column to the Democratic column. Maybe she could give a speech in Latin (read from a teleprompter, of course). (V)

FBI Investigating DNC Email Hack

It seems that the FBI spends all its time studying emails. First it was Hillary's, now it is the DNC's. The FBI is concerned that the hacking and timing of the release suggests that a foreign government is trying to influence a U.S. election. Evidence the FBI already has points to groups that have been known to do hacking for the Russian government in the past, which would be disconcerting. The FBI believes the hackers may have been inside the DNC system for a year and no doubt have a lot more data, which could be released as an October surprise, just before the election, in order to get Trump elected. (V)

DNC Vice Chair Apologizes to Sanders

Donna Brazile, who will take over as interim DNC chair later this week, apologized to Bernie Sanders for the "salacious, very mean spirited emails" in the WikiLeaks dump. She also said that some of the leaked emails had been tampered with. This raises even more issues, if the emails that were released were edited to make them even more damaging than they were. She also said that the process was not rigged. (V)

Sanders Can't Control His Supporters

Bernie Sanders spoke to his supporters in Philadelphia on Monday and while he talked about the revolution he wanted, how many votes he got, and how much they had helped him, they all cheered. But when he got to the part of the story about how they had to unite the Democratic Party in order to defeat Donald Trump, the cheers turned into boos. The supporters want their revolution right now and are not interested in delaying it just to win an election. Sanders was at a loss. Although both he and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are on Clinton's bandwagon now, a substantial number of his supporters are not going along for the ride. If Trump narrowly wins, a lot of Democrats are going to blame them and they will absolutely reject any blame. Welcome to 2000 all over again.

Sanders wasn't the only person unable to control a crowd yesterday. When Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried speaking to the Florida delegation, many of them jeered and booed her. She tried to talk about the election and the need for Clinton to beat Trump in Florida, but to little avail. Only after she left the room and Cory Booker took the stage did the crowd quiet down. (V)

Bill Clinton Will Campaign in Utah

As a sign that Democrats think that Utah is in play, Bill Clinton is scheduled campaign In the Beehive State on August 11. Utah is one of the reddest states in the nation, having gone for the Republican candidate in 12 straight presidential elections (and 15 of the last 16). But this year could be different on account of the largely Mormon population's aversion to Donald Trump, a foul-mouthed, twice-divorced casino owner who persecutes people based on their religion, something Mormons know all about. At the very least, Trump will have to devote some effort to saving a state that should be an easy hold. (V)

Clinton Hires Wasserman Schultz

Sometimes it seems that the normally ultra-cautious Hillary Clinton is completely tone deaf. After Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign her position as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee for taking sides in the primary, Hillary Clinton immediately hired her as honorary chair of Clinton's 50-state program. Even if that job has no duties and doesn't pay anything, the optics are terrible. The Bernie-or-bust people are furious with Wasserman Schultz and might have calmed down with her forced departure, but Clinton's hiring her brings back all the fury—just when Clinton wants to run a peaceful convention without a lot of fighting. This was a completely unforced error. (V)

Big Money Didn't Do So Well This Year

Buying a nomination is not quite the sinecure it used to be. A lot of big money donors are scratching their heads now and wondering: What happened? Jeb Bush raised $100 million for his primary campaign and it did him no good at all. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) raised tens of millions of dollars, much of it from billionaires, but he didn't make it either. Hillary Clinton had both large and small donors, but she was matched financially by Bernie Sanders, who raised money in small donations averaging $27 each. Most amazing of all, Donald Trump hardly spent any money and won the Republican nomination without much difficulty.

As we enter the general-election phase, we are in uncharted territory. Hillary Clinton is following the old playbook and will try to raise and spend $1 billion. Donald Trump doesn't seem terribly interested in raising or spending money. Whether the primary scenario will play out the same way in the general election remains to be seen, though. (V)

Today's Presidential Polls

The post-convention bounce, plus Rasmussen's house effect seem to have given us an unexpectedly uneven result in swing-state Nevada. Believe it once there are four or five more polls showing the same thing. (Z)

State Clinton Trump Johnson Start End Pollster
Nevada 38% 43%   Jul 22 Jul 24 Rasmussen
Ohio 39% 42% 06% Jul 22 Jul 24 PPP

Today's Senate Polls

Again, it seems unlikely that the Nevada senate race is truly that lopsided. (Z)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Nevada Catherine Cortez-Masto 37% Joe Heck 46% Jul 22 Jul 24 Rasmussen
Ohio Ted Strickland 38% Rob Portman* 43% Jul 22 Jul 24 PPP

* Denotes incumbent

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