Brenda Corpian – June 5, 2016
For much of his nearly year-old presidential campaign, Donald Trump has demonstrated his ability to lead his Republican rivals without hiring a pollster group. With or without a large pollster staff working behind the scenes, Trump continues to widen his lead over Clinton.
Tump is now faced with a realistic but difficult goal: Winning the Democratic-heavy state of New York.
While the Lyin’ Crooked Hillary Clinton campaign sees a map of 10 to 12 battleground states, including some Rust Belt states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, Trump’s campaign has shown that he can be competitive in 15 states.
That includes electorally rich, longtime Democratic strongholds like New York and California.
However contrary to Trump’s vision for winning the election with the support of working-class voters in the Northeast, it’s not clear to some pollsters what exactly will prove to be a winning strategy. And he may, in the end, be hampered by his own campaign apparatus — or lack of pollsters.
So far things are looking more simple than he is making out,” Princeton University professor and polling expert Sam Wang told Business Insider.
Last week, a new series of Bloomberg state polls found that middle-income voters in Rust Belt states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio backed Trump over Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton by 7 points.
The group of voters is a key bloc that represents a large portion of the electorate in northern Rust Belt states — nearly 40% of eligible voters who cast ballots in the three states in recent elections, according to Bloomberg.
Many surveys conducted over the past couple of months have shown Trump with an average of a 2-point lead in states like Michigan and Wisconsin, however the numbers may soon increase in battleground states as well.
Trump’s frequent assertion that he can woo working-class voters has rightfully startled many Democrats, who worry that Crooked Hillary’s high level of unpopularity and prolonged primary contest with Sen. Bernie Sanders has definitely caused damage to the Democratic presidential frontrunner.
Numerous Clinton’s allies are definitely panicking!
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told Business Insider that he “supports” the idea that Trump’s rhetoric and proposals on immigration will help him win Rust Belt states.
“Millennials, younger Americans, even those who are Gen X overwhelmingly support immigration reform, even in the most working class, Midwestern, Rust Belt states,” Garcetti said on a recent conference call.
Garcetti cited the wide spread approval of former California Gov. Pete Wilson’s successful 1994 push to deny public services to immigrants living in the US illegally as proof of conservative support of immigration rhetoric.
“California was the home of Reagan and Nixon, and for many years has been more libertarian than liberal, and has elected conservatives,” Garcetti said.
Indeed, early polls have suggested that Trump may have already scrambled the map in a way that posatively affects his campaign.
Public-opinion surveys in Arizona and Georgia have displayed a largely widening gap between Trump and Clinton, which many experts attribute to Trump’s very favorable immigration rhetoric along the campaign trail.
Analysts say Trump’s candidacy has definitely altered the electoral map so far in the way the real-estate mogul claimed he could.
Wang told Business Insider, in fact, that the electoral map looks very similar to many recent presidential contests.
Campaign Brilliance or Malpractice?
Trump is already promising to campaign hard in the Rust Belt states. However, some political observers say one of his biggest hurdles may be his own seeming unwillingness to embrace modern voter-targeting methods.
In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month, Trump said Obama’s heralded 2008 and 2012 voter-turnout operation was not as meaningful as his message.
“I’ve always felt it was overrated,” Trump said. “Obama got the votes much more so than his data-processing machine. And I think the same is true with me.”
Despite his apparent lack of interest in organizing and sophisticated voter-turnout methods, Trump has reluctantly dedicated some resources to collecting and analyzing data.
However Trump’s campaign operation void of a pollster staff has experienced significant turbulence in the past several days.
Last week, Trump made a decision to fire Rick Wiley, who told The Associated Press earlier this month he was working with the Republican National Committee and was hiring a team to hit the ground in Ohio.
Many top Democratic Party officials, such as Democratic National Committee CEO Amy Dacey, contend that Democrats’ investment in collecting and updating voter information is one of the greatest competitive advantages the party has over Trump.
“We’ve certainly been investing in this much longer than the Republican Party, and I think that that’s been one place where they need to catch up on this,” Dacey told Business Insider in February.
:One political observer, Jeremy Bird pointed out that even Trump’s Republican opponents in some states used data to successfully best Trump didn’t reach the level of sophistication of the Obama campaign in 2008 or Clinton’s campaign in 2016.
“Ted Cruz might have read the books on what we did, but Ted Cruz didn’t do what we did,” Bird said of the Texas senator. “He didn’t even come close to doing what we did — he had less than five offices in Iowa.”
“If he actually read the book about what we did in the campaign, he forgot basically page one to the last page. He didn’t do anything that we did. None of those guys did,” he added.
Still, Bird cautioned against overconfidence that organizing alone can win a campaign.
Bird contended that it was Obama’s message that resonated with voters, and that organizing merely helped the campaign capitalize on a popular message.
Trump is “right that data in and of itself isn’t going to win you an election,” Bird said.
“But I think it’s a huge important piece of the puzzle,” he added. “And it doesn’t make sense not to use everything in your power to reach every last voter with your message and with your candidate.”