Time to take the idea of President Trump seriously

Time to take the idea of President Trump seriously

Real Clear Politics

The Donald is close to being back in the race

What a busy three weeks it’s been. You could almost have forgotten that there was an election on in the most powerful country in the world. However, there is and the Republican Party convention begins on Monday.

Donald Trump hasn’t had the best of build-ups, after his narrow deficit against Hillary in the national polls back in May – after he’d secured the nomination – widened out to around 7% at the back end of last month. That trend’s reversed now though and Clinton holds just a three-point advantage according to the Huffington Post average. That’s not far off the final gap between Obama and Romney, which resulted in a comfortable enough Democrat win.

What’s striking about those averages is that the raw figures are 43-40: 17% are either undecided or are backing some ‘other’ option, figures highly indicative of deep unease about both candidates.

Such a surmise would be entirely accurate. Hillary’s net favourability average rating stands at a record low of -17, with her ‘favourable’ score dropping below 40% for the first time this month. Donald Trump’s net figure is an even worse -25 but has been broadly stable for a month or more, which is why the gap has moved in his direction and, consequently, why Hillary’s lead in the VI polls has dropped.

Those national figures are reflected in the key swing states. The two candidates have traded leads in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, though Clinton tends to have the better of them and again there are high levels of undecideds and supporters of undefined others.

If the election was held today, Hillary would probably win on a low turnout but the election won’t be held for nearly four months and much can change in that time. The domestic and international situation, the vice-presidential nominations, the conventions, the debates, interviews and general campaigning: all will make a difference and of the two, Trump has been the more dynamic but also the more divisive (albeit that that’s a close contest).

Trump has proven himself a highly effective negative campaigner and with Hillary he has a lot of material to work with. As such, his odds – typically about 2/1, but 12/5 with 188bet – still offer value.

David Herdson

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