Clinton 332
image description
Ties 15
Trump 191
image description
Click for Senate
Dem 50
image description
Ties 1
GOP 49
image description
  • Strongly Dem (215)
  • Likely Dem (105)
  • Barely Dem (12)
  • Exactly tied (15)
  • Barely GOP (41)
  • Likely GOP (55)
  • Strongly GOP (95)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
New polls: MI
Dem pickups vs. 2012: (None)
GOP pickups vs. 2012: (None)

Trump's Pitch To Black Voters Is Really to White Voters

Recently, Donald Trump has been making a pitch to black voters by saying essentially: "Your communities are in ruins, your schools don't function, your kids are unemployed. The Democrats really screwed you. What do you have to lose voting for me?" Black leaders, such as Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, are not thrilled to hear what a mess they are in and how nothing works for them. So why is Trump saying this? He may not know it, but his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, who is a pollster, knows very well that if Trump gets even 5% of the black vote nationally, he should clap his hands and yell: "I did it! I did it!." So why is he even trying?

Dara Lind at Vox has a piece explaining this, one that expands upon an observation we've made a couple of times in the last week. Trump is not addressing black voters at all. He is addressing wavering white Republicans who don't mind dog whistles and undercover racism, but when it comes out in the open they become uncomfortable. These are the kinds of people who could vote for someone who might be a racist, but then again might not be. The ambiguity matters a lot to them. But when the candidate makes it unambiguously clear that he is a racist, that is a bridge too far. By talking about how the Democrats have messed up the lives of black people and how he wants to fix things for them, these voters can rationalize a vote for Trump by thinking: "He means well for them, he just isn't so good with words." These voters are looking for "permission" to vote for him without having a gnawing feeling that they are voting for an out-and-out racist.

Similarly, Trump's recent outreach to Latino groups is also intended to soften his image with white Republicans. After all his talk about building walls and what he said about an Indiana-born judge of Mexican heritage, he has little hope of getting more Latinos to vote for him, but convincing white voters that he has nothing against Latinos could get them just far enough that they could vote for him, especially if he reminds them what a terrible racist bigot Hillary Clinton is. (V)

Clinton's Alt-Right Speech Also Aimed at Wavering Republicans

Donald Trump is not the only one taking aim at normally loyal Republicans who can't stomach Trump. In a speech yesterday, she lambasted him for stirring up prejudice and racial hatred, and for making hate groups mainstream. She said: "A man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far reaches of the Internet, should never run our government or command our military."

Then she went on, basically addressing moderate Republicans, telling them that their hatred for Trump was perfectly understandable, and that they could forgive themselves for voting for her because Trump is not a normal Republican. Her pitch is that he is full of hate and the party of Lincoln is not about hate. She pointed out that a week after 9/11, George W. Bush went to a mosque to declare: "Muslims love America as much as I do." She also said that when Bob Dole accepted the Republican nomination in 1996, he pointed to the exits and told any racists to get out. In short, she is trying to convince moderate Republicans that voting for her would not be betraying the Republican Party. It is the Republican candidate who is betraying the Republican Party.

Some Democrats think her strategy is plain stupid. It is as if she is saying: "Except for Trump, the Republican Party is a fine institution, so please vote for me for president, but it is fine if you vote for wonderful Republicans for the Senate, House, governor, and further down ticket." These Democrats would much rather that she say that the Republican Party is rotten to the core for having fostering the racist, xenophobic, sexist ideas that Trump is now saying out loud, instead of using dog whistles (e.g., Jeremiah Wright, Willie Horton, Romney's 47%.) They say she will be sorry if she wins the White House and the Republicans keep the Senate and House and block everything she does, leading to a failed presidency and a Republican knocking her off in 2020, with nothing to show for her four years in office.

Clinton has been accused of a lot of things, but stupidity is not one of them. By refusing to take down the entire Republican Party, she is thinking ahead to how she will actually govern if she wins. She will need the help of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (hopefully as minority leader) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to get anything at all done. So her pitch to them is that Republicans are good upstanding folks; it's just that Trump isn't one of them. The left isn't going to like this at all, but Clinton has clearly concluded that rather than desperately trying to get the Bernie-or-bust crowd onto her bandwagon, she is better off trying to scoop up millions of Republicans unhappy with their standard bearer. (V)

More Republicans Are Registering to Vote than Democrats

In the key swing states of Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and North Carolina, there are more registered Democrats than registered Republicans, but Republicans are rapidly closing the gap. In North Carolina, the closest state in 2012, there is a net shift of 2.2% in favor of the Republicans; in Florida the net GOP gain is 1.6%. In Florida, some of the gain for the Republicans came early this year from Democrats who wanted to vote in the closed Florida Republican primary.

Historically, Democrats begin their registration drives after Labor Day so the situation may yet change. In particular, Clinton is awash in money (see below) and is going to spend very heavily in Florida, not only in the air war but also in the ground war. She already has offices all over the state, and their focus will be registering new voters, especially young people and minorities. (V)

Clinton Raised $19 Million in Three Days

Unlike Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who refused to take money from big donors, with Hillary Clinton, the bigger they are, the more she likes them. During a three-day swing through California, Clinton pulled in $19 million, making the occasional million-dollar days other candidates have had from time to time look like small potatoes. She hobnobbed with Hollywood stars and Hall of Fame athletes in Southern California, and tech billionaires in Northern California. All the fundraisers were closed door—media not invited, exactly the same as Trump's. So far this year, she has held 320 fundraisers, clearly disproving Trump's accusation that she doesn't have the stamina to be president. This swing was not even the end of her August fundraising. She is going to New York to raise more money later this month. In all, she, her husband, and her running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) are scheduled to attend another 80 fundraisers in August alone. (V)

Majority of Republicans Say Trump Should Release His Tax Returns

According to a new Quinnipiac University poll, 62% of Republicans think Donald Trump should release his tax returns, while only 31% say he should not. The Chairman of the House Committee on Government Oversight, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), said on Wednesday that he also thinks Trump should make them public. So far, Trump has resolutely refused to do so, ostensibly because he is being audited. However, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue has said that nothing in the law or IRS procedures prohibits anyone from making their tax returns public at any time, even if they are being audited. It's also worth noting that any returns before 2008 would no longer be subject to audit, so Trump could start with those. Hillary Clinton has released all of her tax returns from 1977 to 2015. (V)

Trump Under Attack for Immigration Flip-Flopping

We noted yesterday that Donald Trump's efforts to have it both ways on immigration were not going to work. It took less than 24 hours for the evidence to start piling up, as he's now being slammed for his change of course by a number of high-profile supporters.

For example, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is arguably Congress' most conservative member, and a man who has the ears of many Iowa Republicans. "If Trump should pivot on immigration or try to redefine amnesty, he will begin to lose support from his original core base," he threatened. Similarly, Ann Coulter has been one of Trump's loudest advocates, going so far as to slap together a pro-Donald book entitled In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome! The book was published Monday, and in its pages Coulter declares that the one and only unforgivable sin Trump could commit would be to change course on immigration. Now that he's done so, cutting Coulter off at the knees, she's in the curious position of lambasting Trump on a Pro-Trump book tour. To take another example, Rush Limbaugh—an early, albeit cautious, Trump partisan—was reduced to tears on the Thursday edition of his show, as he laughed heartily about Trump's flip-floppery.

Meanwhile, it has not taken long for people to recognize that Trump's current position on immigration bears a striking resemblance to those of Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), whom he excoriated in the primaries. Bush himself noticed it; in an interview with WABC he declared that, "All the things that Donald Trump railed against, he seems to be morphing into." It's also worth noting that Trump's new program—deport "bad" immigrants; work with "good" immigrants, if they pay taxes—also bears a striking resemblance to the policy being pursued by the Obama administration.

At this point, Trump would seem to have two options. One is to backtrack, which would not be the first time for him, of course. The other is to stick to his guns, and to hope somehow that the angry white men tell themselves "he doesn't really mean it," while the fence-sitting moderates and independents (see above) tell themselves "yes, he does." (Z)

Trump Still Ignoring Data Operation

Hillary Clinton inherited access to Barack Obama's enormous data operation, with information about almost every voter in the country. She also inherited the culture that data are probably the campaign's most valuable resource, since the massive database makes it possible to target individual voters with emails and flyers tailored to their specific concerns. If a voter is an environmentalist, the email or flyer will be about how she wants to save the planet, but if the voter is known to be concerned about racial justice, the email or flyer will emphasize her longstanding commitment to racial justice. The database contributed enormously to Obama's victories.

In contrast, Donald Trump thinks data are overrated. Yesterday, Chris Wilson, who ran data analytics for the primary campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), came out and said that Trump's attitude toward data is hurting the party up and down the ticket, something Wilson clearly regrets. David Carney, who ran Rick Perry's 2012 campaign, seconded this view yesterday when he mocked Trump by saying: "His digital effort will be cost-efficient. Money spent on digital and data per vote will be a record low." (V)

Bannon Once Charged with Domestic Violence

The thoroughness of vice-presidential vetting has become somewhat legendary (or notorious). For example, among other things, Tim Kaine and his entire family had to turn over the passwords to all of their social media accounts, so Democratic operatives could make sure there was nothing embarrassing that might come to light. The time may have come for campaign management to get the same treatment, because it turns out that yet another Trump campaign leader has some serious dirt in his background.

With the recently-deposed Paul Manafort, the problem was his extensive ties to Russia and the Ukraine, along with potentially questionable cash payments he received for his work there. For the newly-installed Stephen Bannon, the problem is a domestic violence arrest back in the 1990s. The case was dismissed when Bannon's then-wife refused to testify, so he was never convicted. However, as anyone familiar with this particular crime knows, perpetrators often avoid punishment for this exact reason—the victim fears reprisal, loss of financial support, harm to her children, or all of the above. Ergo, "charges dismissed" doesn't mean quite as much here as it would if the issue were tax evasion or trespassing. And certainly, this isn't going to help a candidate who already has issues with women voters. (Z)

Facebook Targets Users Based on Their Political Views

Facebook has developed an algorithm to determine each user's political views from his or her behavior on the social network, and uses this information to deliver ads to users with specific views. Not surprisingly, advertisers will pay good money to run an ad aimed only at liberals or only at conservatives. This allows the advertiser to say nasty things about one candidate or party without inflaming the candidate's or party's supporters, who don't see the ad. Often the ads are about getting donations.

A study from Florida Atlantic University found that the more information people collected online, the more extreme their views became. If Facebook has labeled you as a conservative, for example, and then you get fed a diet of red meat, telling you every day about three more gigantic lies Hillary Clinton has told, you are likely to become more conservative. Liberals get to hear about how many puppies Donald Trump ran over in his limo yesterday. The conclusion of the study is that while online advertising is good for fundraising and making partisans hate the other side even more, it isn't very good for getting independents off the fence. (V)

Trump Makes Minnesota Ballot

As of noon Wednesday, Donald Trump's name was not set to appear on the Minnesota ballot in November. If that is a surprise to readers, well, it was a surprise to Trump, too. Minnesota law requires that candidates submit a slate of 10 electors and 10 alternate electors before they can be placed on the ballot, and nobody from the Trump campaign had taken care of this little item of bookkeeping. On Thursday, the Minnesota GOP hastily put together the necessary paperwork, so the crisis has been averted.

Now, given that Minnesota has not gone Republican since the 1970s, this will likely be a non-story. However, we would be remiss if we did not remind readers of the potential for faithless electors, those who vote for some candidate other than the one to whom they are pledged. This subject was again in the news on Thursday, as a Texas elector announced that he might not cast his vote for Trump. If the election is close, and if Minnesota did go for Trump, well, 10 people who happened to answer their phones when the Minnesota GOP called may not be the most loyal of Trump partisans. (Z)

McMullin on the Ballot in Six States

Independent conservative candidate Evan McMullin, who is running to provide conservatives someone to vote for other than Donald Trump, has now qualified to be on the ballot in six states: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Utah. Colorado and Iowa are swing states, and if he draws a few percent from Trump in these states, it could tip the state to Clinton. Utah is a special case. McMullin is a Mormon, and between him and Libertarian Gary Johnson, it is at least conceivable (but not likely) that they could pull enough votes from Trump to flip the Beehive State to Clinton. In the other states, he will have no effect. We hereby bravely predict that McMullin will get exactly zero electoral votes. (V)

Today's Presidential Polls

Donald Trump has repeatedly said that the way he will win the election is by doing well in the Rust Belt. Well, states don't come any rustier than Michigan, and yet another poll shows Trump's bandwagon there is a broken-down jalopy. (V)

State Clinton Trump Johnson Start End Pollster
Michigan 44% 37% 5% Aug 22 Aug 24 Suffolk U.

Today's Senate Polls

Consistent with earlier polls, Marco Rubio seems on track to defeat Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) and get a second term. Murphy still has to win the Aug. 31 primary, but he is the favorite. (V)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Florida Patrick Murphy 43% Marco Rubio* 46% Aug 22 Aug 24 Mason Dixon

* Denotes incumbent

Email a link to a friend or share:

---The Votemaster and Zenger
Aug25 New Feature: State Polling Averages in One Page
Aug25 Trump Is Pulling a Wright
Aug25 Trump Is Making Red States More Competitive
Aug25 Republican Culture vs. Democratic Culture
Aug25 Trump's Position on Immigration Keeps Evolving
Aug25 Are There Really a Large Number of New Republican Voters?
Aug25 Sanders' New Group Is Fighting with Itself
Aug25 What Is the Deal with the Clinton Foundation?
Aug25 Ninety-nine Senators Incensed About EpiPen Price Jump
Aug25 New Feature: State Pollong Averages in One Page
Aug25 Trump Is Pulling a Wright
Aug25 Trump Is Making Red States More Competitive
Aug25 Republican Culture vs. Democratic Culture
Aug25 Trump's Position on Immigration Keeps Evolving
Aug25 Are There Really a Large Number of New Republican Voters?
Aug25 Sanders' New Group Is Fighting with Itself
Aug25 What Is the Deal with the Clinton Foundation?
Aug25 Ninety-nine Senators Incensed About EpiPen Price Jump
Aug24 New Clinton Email Dump Shows That Clinton Foundation Donors Bought Access
Aug24 Assessing Trump's New I'm Not a Racist Strategy
Aug24 Trump Emphasizes the Supreme Court in His Campaign Speeches
Aug24 Appeals Court Rules for the Republicans in Voting Case
Aug24 California May Scrap In-Person Voting
Aug24 Both Candidates' Health a Mystery
Aug24 Get Ready for a Decade of Divided Government
Aug24 Priebus Predicts Trump Will Catch Clinton in Two Weeks
Aug24 Could Trump Start a TV Network If He Loses?
Aug24 Trump's Latest FEC Filing Has Some Interesting Items
Aug24 Jill Stein: The Trump of the Progressive Movement?
Aug23 More Clinton Emails Discovered
Aug23 Trump's Immigration Speech Postponed
Aug23 Will the Presidential Winner Have Coattails?
Aug23 Top RNC Strategist Will Help Trump
Aug23 Both Candidates Prefer Secret Fundraisers
Aug23 Clinton Goes to California
Aug23 Blue Wall Is Getting Taller
Aug23 Trump May Not Concede If He Loses
Aug23 Trump Goes Where He Won't Be Outfoxed
Aug23 Twelve-year-old Boy Running Trump's Campaign in Key Colorado County
Aug23 Melania Trump Threatens to Sue Ten News Outlets
Aug22 The Next President Will Make Nearly 100 Backlogged Judicial Appointments
Aug22 Trump about to Flip-Flop on Immigration
Aug22 Trump Could Cost the GOP a Generation of Voters
Aug22 Clinton Has Raised Half a Billion Dollars
Aug22 Trump's July Net Haul Was Not as Large as Initially Reported
Aug22 New Republican Theme: Clinton Is Too Sick To Be President
Aug22 WIRED Endorses Clinton
Aug22 Trump Has Stopped Tweeting about the Polls
Aug22 Super PAC to Spend $10 Million to Save the House for GOP
Aug21 Republicans Prepare to Cut Trump Loose