The blowout possibility | Arkansas Blog

Friday, August 5, 2016

The blowout possibility

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2016 at 10:31 AM

Hillary Clinton has emerged after the conventions as the clear favorite to win the White House. Could Clinton end up not just winning but trouncing Donald Trump come November? 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is out with a poll today that has Clinton up 4 points in Georgia, where Mitt Romney won by 8 points in 2012. That's the sort of swing that might hint at the possibility of a blowout. States like Georgia and Arizona, once safely red, are now forecasted as tossups in fivethirtyeight's model 

Josh Barro at Business Insider speculates that the numbers in Georgia could portend trouble for Trump in other parts of the South, where his unusual coalition could be particularly vulnerable if his campaign continues to collapse: 

If things get just a little bit worse for Trump nationally, he could start losing a lot of states we normally think of as very safe for Republicans — not just Georgia, but states like Texas, South Carolina, and even Mississippi. ...

In states like Georgia and Texas, white voters already vote overwhelmingly Republican, and Republicans depend on huge margins among whites to overcome the votes of large, heavily Democratic nonwhite populations. So if Trump loses support among college-educated white women in the suburbs of Atlanta and Dallas, not many high-school-educated white men are available for him to pick up, and upscale whites and nonwhite voters could form a majority coalition for Clinton.

Plus, Republican candidates have usually picked up a significant share of the Hispanic vote in Texas, meaning there is room for Trump to do worse than Romney among nonwhites in the state. 

... the flip side of Trump's shakeup of demographic coalitions is what happens if he loses nationally by, say, 12 points — 8 points worse than Romney's loss four years ago. He won't underperform Romney that drastically in states like Pennsylvania, and he might even hold on to Indiana's 10 electoral votes. But he risks defeat by a coalition of minority voters and upscale whites in ordinarily safe Republican states in the South.

Romney won Texas by 16 points in 2012 while losing the whole country by 4, but Clinton does not need to win nationally by 20 points to have an excellent shot of winning Texas. A national margin in the low teens could do it.
Color me skeptical (the Republican party still has some time to coalesce around Hillary hate), but if people like Charlie Collins refuse to vote for Trump, he's going to have trouble getting much more than 43 percent of the electorate. 

Of course, Clinton doesn't have to pull off fan fiction scenarios like winning Mississippi — the point here is that she has at least a shot to pull off one of the biggest margins of victory in decades (yes, it's early, but her polling advantage is substantially larger than presidential candidates have enjoyed in past elections at this stage of the campaign). 

A blowout would likely have a major impact down the ballot. Sean Trende, a GOP-leaning poll forecaster, argues that Democrats could plausibly take back the House and win 55 seats in the Senate if Clinton has a 7-8 point lead on Election Day. 

Here's Nate Cohn at the New York Times Upshot blog on the state of the race: 
The prudent approach is to wait, and see whether Mrs. Clinton’s lead endures for another week or two — after convention bounces usually fade. In the interim, we can cautiously say that there is more reason than usual to think that Mrs. Clinton’s newfound lead represents a meaningful shift in the race, one that would make a comeback for Mr. Trump seem daunting if it holds.
While Clinton has consolidated the support of Democratic-leaning voters, Trump is flailing, Cohn writes: 

His support has plummeted: In fact, he didn’t even breach 40 percent in any of the national surveys that were released on Wednesday or Thursday.

His huge edge among white working-class voters has all but vanished, at least temporarily. In the last four national surveys, he has held just 51.5 percent of white voters without a college degree — worse than the 57 percent he held in June and July polls conducted ahead of the Democratic convention, and even worse than the 55 percent of the vote held by Mitt Romney in pre-election polls in 2012.
The kicker: 

There hasn’t been a presidential candidate with so many poll numbers in the 30s at this stage of the race in a long time.

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