Reports of Trump’s Demise Are Premature

The New York Times, with schadenfreude so thick you could cut it with a knife, says Donald Trump is a dead duck whose corpse is being abandoned by down-ticket Republicans:

After a disastrous week of feuds and plummeting poll numbers, Republican leaders have concluded that Donald J. Trump is a threat to the party’s fortunes and have begun discussing how soon their endangered candidates should explicitly distance themselves from the presidential nominee.

For Republicans in close races, top strategists say, the issue is no longer in doubt. One House Republican has already started airing an ad vowing to stand up to Mr. Trump if he is elected president, and others are expected to press similar themes in the weeks ahead.

In the world of Republican “super PACs,” strategists are going even farther: discussing advertisements that would treat Mr. Trump’s defeat as a given and urge voters to send Republicans to Congress as a check on a Hillary Clinton White House.

Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune reprinted the Times article with this headline:

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But it looks as though the Democrats may be counting their chickens a little too soon. Take a look at recent polling, as collected at Real Clear Politics (click to enlarge):

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Two things stand out. First, while Trump did have a horrible week beginning with the Democratic Convention, he is now bouncing back. The most recent polls, while not great for Trump, are better than the ones sampled during the height of the Khan fiasco. Second, Trump does considerably better in likely voter polls than in registered voter polls. None of the recent likely voter polls has shown Clinton with a big lead, and the most recent one, with over 2,200 respondents, has Hillary up by only a single point.

So it’s far too early to count Trump out. As usual, the election will come down to turnout. The most accurate polls will be the ones that correctly predict who will show up. And at this point, we really don’t know whether the anti-Hillary voters (like me) will be more or less likely to turn out than the anti-Trump voters.

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