The New York Times on July 19 published an article by an expert on electoral dynamics that has alarming implications for Democrat in the 2020 elections. After an extensive review of recent polling data and voting patterns, the author, Nate Cohn, concluded:
Trump has “a distinct chance to win re-election while losing the popular vote by more than he did in 2016, when he lost it by 2.1 percentage points.” It is even possible, Cohn says, that Trump could win while losing the national vote by as much as five percentage points.
In the article, Trump’s Electoral College Edge Could Grow in 2020, Rewarding Polarizing Campaign, Cohn says that Trump’s advantage in the Electoral College, relative to the national popular vote, may be even larger than it was in 2016.
“That persistent edge leaves him closer to re-election than one would think based on national polls, and it might blunt any electoral cost of actions like his recent tweets attacking four minority congresswomen.”
Cohn’s conclusions gained added credibility when they were echoed the next day by Rich Thau in an interview with the CNN TV newscaster, Smerconish. Thau is an expert on public opinion and messaging, and has conducted groundbreaking research in public policy, financial communications, insurance, trial consulting, and infomercials.
Thau discussed the results of his extensive research of swing voters, those who are not single-mindedly committed to one party or ideology. He has conducted focus group interviews with swing voters all across the country. Thau’s main message:
Swing voters support Trump’s hardline immigration policies far more than is generally recognized. It is not simply the Republican base that rallies behind Trump.
Smerconish showed a clip of Michigan swing voters in one of the focus groups. They were people who had voted for Obama and then Trump.
- There was strong sentiment in favor of Trump’s immigration stand and against letting “too many” immigrants into the country at one time.
- Many of the voters wanted to build a wall, send people back.
- They think that giving people food and shelter only encourages more people to come here, and the only thing standing between them and those migrants coming to their communities is Donald Trump.
Thau said it might be counterintuitive, but Trump benefitted politically from having all those migrants massed at the border.
Smerconish asked Thau if the Michigan swing voters were unique among the voters Thau had interviewed across the country. Thau said they were not unique at all. They are people who think Americans are not being put first. Among the Obama-Trump voters, more of them are now in the Trump camp rather than Obama’s.
Smerconish then quoted from Cohn’s NYT article: “The president’s views on immigration play to…pivotal Obama-Trump voters.” Smerconish noted that Cohn stated there is an argument to be made that Trump might lose the popular vote by 5 million and still win the Electoral College “because of the issues you (Thau) are discerning and uncovering in your focus groups.”
Thau replied: Yes. Because people like the president stylistically. They like what he is saying and arguing for. Specifically on the immigration issue. Thau noted that these same people had also liked Obama’s style. “Some people like Coke and Pepsi at the same time.”
Smerconish than put up his survey question. “True or False: This week, politically speaking, was a disaster for President Trump.” He asked Thau for his answer.
Thau replied “It’s false. Among the voters who matter most, the swing voters in the upper Midwest, this was a great week, because the president reinforced what he is doing to protect them.”