by Robert David Steele
Public Intelligence Blog
The President was upset with Fox for its recent poll as reported in New York Magazine, If This Fox News Poll Is Right, Trump Is a Goner.
I asked my top pollster for his views and he kindly shared them with me, at this time asking not to be acknowledged.
This is his wisdom, not mine, but I know from decades of experience that he is vastly superior to the shit that is generally passed off as polling, so here it is.
Mr. President, you are going to lose unless you start defending the Constitution, put America First, not Israel First, and implement #UNRIG.
The first thing you need to do when asking is a poll credible is to separate the poll itself from the analysis derived from it.
In this case, the polling unit at Fox News is excellent. Its methods are sound including its sampling plan and the questionnaires it develops. It statistical analysis of the collected data is also sound. It is a reliable polling operation and far more so than say a Gallop or Yougov. They are polling “guns for hire” and have been guilty of getting clients the answers they desire. This is generally not the case with the polling units at major news networks. I have experience of ABC, BBC, CNN and Fox poling units and I think they are all reliable.
With regard to the analysis, that is far more subjective and it is very easy to undermine the reliability of a poll with biased analysis and by the use cherrypicked data to support your conclusion and point of view.
In the case of this poll, I think the analysis is sound. This is also born out by who did the analysis, which is experts at a network that is predominantly supportive of the President.
From my objective analysis I have to say the President Trump has an uphill battle to secure reelection. Even though he is the incumbent. Which is usually a huge advantage.
Here is my reasoning.
Trump did not win in 2016 Hillary Clinton lost.
She was the worst candidate that Democrat’s have fielded in a generation.
Many Americans were tired of the Clintons.
The scandals with their foundation and emails did a lot of damage. And the scandal with the confiscated computer and Comey’s letter derailed her late surge.
She was terrible in the debates. Trump was not much better. But she landed no punches on an easily provokable candidate
Most young voters and left leaning voters went for Bernie and they were outraged at the methods the party used to stop him winning the primaries.
Clinton then foolishly failed to make him VP and she lost a lot of disillusioned Bernie supporters. Several million in my view.
Because of her hubris she never campaigned in three key states. Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump took those states and their electoral college voters by a combined total of less than 350,000 votes. Had she even campaigned once in each state and had Bernie been on the ticket nine times out of ten she takes those states.
Trump was really unknown quantity politically and that was enough for moderate Republicans and some independents to be persuaded to vote for him in an “Anybody but Clinton” election.
In 2020 if, and it is a big if, the Dems pick a good candidate, Trump will have none of those advantages. And he is definitely a known entity now. I know of at least ten moderate Republicans in my very limited circle in Florida who have told me either they won’t vote for Trump or worse that if the Dems put up a center left candidate they might vote for that person.
Normally the incumbent has the advantage of not having to campaign in a primary and does not then have chunks taken out of him in that campaign and during the debates. But I think that is a big disadvantage for Trump. A tough Republican primary race in 2016 honed his campaign and made him sharp. He won’t have that in 2020 and he is notoriously lazy preparing himself and has an arrogant belief in his own infallibility. That could be mercilessly exploited by a battle hardened Dem candidate.
Trump was relatively unknown in 2016 and there was not much to attack him on. Now the Dems have his own words and deeds to show in attack ad after attack ad. Just this last week the fat shaming of one of his own supporters is red meat for the spin doctors who the Dems will hire.
We are in 2019 and Trump really has little legislatively to crow about.
Obama care has been rolled back but it’s still around and it’s not been replaced and a lot of people are starting to loose their coverage. Millions by election time.
The North Koreans have given up nothing.
We lost to the Russians and Bashir in Syria
ISIS has gone from Iraq and Syria but it is popping up in many other places.
The Iran deal is gone but Iran is getting more aggressive and they have not collapsed yet. A war with them would be bad. Very bad. They are ten times the foe that Iraq was. But not standing up to their provocations also looks bad and weak. A lose lose scenario.
No infrastructure deal yet.
The tax cuts had a short term benefit for most people but that has largely worn off except for the 1-5%.
The House has been lost.
We are losing in Afghanistan and a precipitous peace deal could quickly backfire and see us lifting our people off the roof of another embassy.
He has very unwisely allowed himself to get painted into a corner over White Supremacy. He looks and sounds like a racist or it can easily be spun that way.
The one big advantage he has today is the economy. However there are worrying signs of a possible recession later this year or worse next year. The trade battles have not helped. But there are also a lot of external factors that he has no control over but could still hurt. Like Brexit and falls in growth in key markets like the EU and BRIC countries. We are an exporting nation and recessions anywhere hurt us. So that advantage could be lost by 2020. Or at lest tarnished. Especially if the Chinese don’t blink and decide to ride it out until after the election. They may think 18 more months of pain is better than loosing face.
The immigration issue may solidify his base but is not likely to win any new voters over from any immigrant population and his policies are more unpopular amongst independents and moderate liberals. Who might otherwise not vote or might even vote for a Republican if the economy is doing well.
If the Dems pick a decent candidate Trumps unpopularity will ensure a high turn out of Dem voters. His polarizing stand and a less favorable economy might also depress the vote amongst moderate Republicans.
Demographics are also moving against the GOP. The base of his base are the Baby Boomers. They are dying by the million each year. The Millennials are already the largest generation now. Immigrant populations in key states like Florida are also increasing and could be a factor in 2020. Ironically Clinton failed to mobilize the female vote. A better candidate could and Trump has done little to improve his image with women voters.
Overall at the moment I only see two things that ensure a Trump victory in 2020. A booming economy and a terrible Dem candidate like Warren or Saunders. If only one of those factors are in play I don’t think it will be enough.
Remember all the Dems really have to do is hold the states they won in 2016 with their worst candidate in a generation. And win 350,000 votes to take Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
You asked for my comment on the NBC piece, Here’s how Trump is underperforming from 2016. My quick analysis:
1. To stand any chance at all in 2020 Trump needs the economy cranking but that still may not be enough.
2. He needs the Dems to select a left wing ideologue like Warren or Sanders. Bidden or another moderate center left candidate will be tough to beat. If the economy dips, a moderate Dem is almost unbeatable
3. He is living in a echo chamber and he is in a feed back loop. He says things and does things that play really well with his white largely older base. He goes to his rallies and he is showered in hero worship and love. He leaves and doubles down on the policies his older white base love. And so on. But these policies are not winning him support anywhere else. And the slow but inexorable shift to the right is beginning to undermine support even with moderate Republicans. The polls shows the trajectory for Trump.
1. First he firms up and expands his opponents base and ensures a large turnout of Demi voters
2. Then he starts to lose moderate Liberals who have some common interests with Republicans – happened already except amongst some working class Dems
3. Next he loses the support of more and more independents – Happening, NBC poll has him down 23% from 2016 with this group
4. Then you outright alienate moderate Republicans, those who share some common interests with Liberals – starting to happen.
5. Finally you are so unpopular and alienate so many people, it becomes an “Anyone But Trump” election. Your base is rock solid but you loose in a landslide. We are not there yet but it could happen.
1. He is not defending the US Constitution, especially 1st, 2nd, and 4th Amendments
2. He is not putting America First, virtually every day sees him putting Israel First.
3. He is ignoring the 73% of the eligible voters that did not vote for him, many of whom could be brought around to create the Mother of All Landslides if he implemented #UNRIG Unity with Integrity Election Reform Act in 12 parts.
I have no doubt the President has multiple rabbits he is planning to pull out of a hat between today and Election Day, but I fear he is not being properly briefed on the true nature of the American political landscape as it has developed these past three years. Here’s my best effort to help the President. I can do no more.