Why the Panic?

By Jim Ellis

June 23, 2016 — It is clear that most Republican insiders, and many elected delegates preparing for the national convention in Cleveland, appear terror stricken over the Trump campaign’s current status. Now, a long-shot move is underway to attempt to change the GOP convention rules so all delegates would be free to vote as they choose, thus dissing state laws and binding planks in a last-ditch attempt to deny Donald Trump the nomination.

Trump, himself, is being portrayed as showing signs of panic with his abrupt firing of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, but this act is likely a response to the poor fundraising operation that came directly under the departed top staff man’s purview. The Trump campaign reports an embarrassingly low $1,289,507 million cash on hand.

But is there reason for such panic? As often seems the case, the people directly involved in the political process appear to pay more attention to media stories than to numbers and maps because the empirical data is telling quite a different story.

Quinnipiac University just released polls in three key states, all taken between June 8-19. Their new Florida poll (975 registered Florida voters) finds Hillary Clinton leading Trump 47-39 percent, a significant gain in this most important of swing states, but the relatively modest eight point spread is her best showing, by far.

In Ohio, (971 registered Ohio voters), the Q-Poll finds the two candidates tied at 40 percent apiece, with Trump actually performing in an equivalent fashion among Republican voters (76-6 percent) as Clinton draws within the Democratic Party universe (80-9%).

Turning to Pennsylvania (950 registered Pennsylvania voters), which could become a determining state in this race, Quinnipiac finds Clinton holding only a mere one point, 42-41 percent edge.

Nationally, when combining 10 polls from 10 different pollsters all conducted between June 9-20, Clinton averages 45.2 percent in comparison to Trump’s 39.3 percent, hardly an insurmountable margin. These numbers are typical for a presidential race at this point in the election cycle. In almost every case during the modern era, the Democratic nominee jumps out to the early lead and the Republican candidate closes as the campaigns mature.

Though the Florida Q-Poll does show movement for Clinton, earlier in the month Public Policy Polling released a survey (June 2-5; 737 registered Florida voters) that appeared to skew four points Democratic, but still found Trump holding a one-point margin over Clinton, 42-41 percent. Though he may have slipped from this position as the month progressed, the fact that he was doing this well a short time ago suggests a quick rebound is possible.

Utah proved to be Trump’s worst state in the primary/caucus process. Beehive State Republicans gave him only 14 percent of the vote in their nomination caucus procedure. Therefore, concern resonates that he may have a difficult time carrying the state in the general election. Trump failing to carry even one of the 23 bedrock Republican states could well doom his national effort.

But, Dan Jones & Associates, polling for the Utah Policy organization (June 8-17; 614 registered Utah voters), finds Trump now pulling ahead of Clinton within the state, 39-27 percent, with 10 percent going to Libertarian Gary Johnson.

Therefore, with Trump in respectable shape on the key state ballot tests and his Republican loyalty numbers already where they need to be, the apparent panic permeating through the GOP ranks appears unfounded.

With the speed of change that we’ve witnessed throughout this presidential cycle, it is likely that Trump will quickly recover from his latest rough ride and this contest will head to the wire as a toss-up campaign.

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