Monday, September 5, 2016

Can Anxiety Beat Depression in November?

Trump inches up in the polls. Perhaps the reason is not him but Hillary.
By tradition the presidential campaign begins in earnest on Labor Day. This year I questioned that premise. Its assumption is that normal people don’t start paying attention until September. That’s probably been true in the past. But this time normal people have been paying attention all year. Donald Trump’s candidacy was a sensation—you couldn’t not see him or hear him. In another way people have been paying attention for a quarter-century, which is how long Hillary Clinton and Mr. Trump have been famous in America. Everyone knows what they think; everyone knows their impression of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump.
But not everyone knows how they’ll vote—him, her, third- or fourth-party, write-in. The polls are tightening and no one is sure why. A Reuters/Ipsos poll through Aug. 29 had Mrs. Clinton at 40%, Mr. Trump at 38% among likely voters. A Rasmussen poll ending Aug. 31 had Mrs. Clinton at 39%, Mr. Trump at 40%. A Fox News poll ending the same day had Mrs. Clinton at 41% and Mr. Trump at 39%. As to the battleground states, a Marquette University Law School poll out this week had Mrs. Clinton leading Mr. Trump 45% to 42% in Wisconsin among those who said they’ll definitely vote in November. That sounds solid, but three weeks ago Mrs. Clinton had a 15-point lead.
And Mr. Trump’s successful trip to Mexico, in which he stood at separate podiums with a president, trading niceties, seeming comfortable—seeming like a normal political figure—followed by his base-rousing immigration speech in Arizona, came after these polls were taken. A Trump supporter told/spun me that it was a Nixon-to-China moment, which it was not. Nixon knew exactly what he was doing and why, the diplomacy of it had been long and secretly arranged, and it wasn’t driven by immediate political need but by America’s strategic requirements.
But if the polls are right, things are moving, and not in Mrs. Clinton’s direction. I’d thought people’s views of Mr. Trump were by now indelible and unchangeable: He’d been branded, by himself. Maybe that’s true. We’ll know in retrospect. But maybe he can nudge his numbers a little. Can Mrs. Clinton?
Read the rest from Peggy Noonan HERE.

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