New York: Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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Beyond the Polls, Trump is Sitting Pretty Good

A Commentary by Brian C. Joondeph

Labor Day is in the rear-view mirror meaning that the presidential campaign is in full swing. With less than two months until the big day, the electoral winds appear to be blowing in President Trump’s direction.

Many view public opinion polls with well-deserved skepticism. Most polls aim to influence rather than reflect public opinion. Instead of surveying likely voters, many query whoever answers the phone, whether or not they are registered or likely voters. Many polls over-sample Democrats, skewing poll results in favor of the Democrat candidate.

Rasmussen Reports, the most accurate poll ahead of the 2016 presidential election, in their Daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows Trump with a total approval of 52 percent on September 16, two points ahead of Barack Obama eight years ago when he was cruising to reelection.

This week Rasmussen Reports released a national survey of 2,500 US likely voters and despite a four-point over sampling of Democrats, Trump now has a one-point lead, 47-46 percent, over Biden when those surveyed were asked who they would vote for. This was the first time Trump topped Biden in this poll.

Interestingly, 22 percent of surveyed blacks said they are voting for Trump. In 2016, Trump received 8.4 percent of the black vote. Imagine if he was to double or triple that percentage. Black voters are part of the traditional Democrat base, and Trump is chipping away at them.

Within his own base, Trump is at 87 percent approval among Republicans, higher than Reagan or either of the Bushes, only Eisenhower scoring one point higher back in the 1950s.

Lastly, Hillary Clinton led Donald Trump in competitive swing states by far larger margins than Biden leads Trump during this electoral cycle. And we know how the election turned out despite her so-called polling advantage.

Other metrics beyond polls should also be noted as they cast a favorable glow on Trump’s chances of reelection. How about crowds and enthusiasm?

Trump rallies are back, attendees lining up the day before, the venue full and many more watching from the overflow area. In contrast, Biden “rallies” consist of a half-dozen reporters sitting widely spaced apart in painted circles.

Biden’s cognition remains problematic. Trump can speak for over an hour, on or off the teleprompter, serious then funny, humble then poking the media, all highly entertaining while connecting with his audience. Biden in contrast needs a teleprompter even to answer prearranged interview questions.

Biden is only asked softball questions, given to questioners ahead of time. Trump holds “chopper pressers” before boarding Marine One almost daily, most questions hostile and certainly nothing prearranged or scripted.

Biden has baggage, too, despite efforts by the media to ignore or downplay these nagging issues. Senator Ron Johnson plans on soon releasing a report on Joe and son Hunter’s Ukraine corruption. His role in Spygate is still to be determined, awaiting a report or indictments from the Durham investigation.

Democrats and the media have been hurling October surprises at Trump for four years. Recent ones include The Atlantic story, unverified, and now walked back by the editor. Bob Woodward’s book is a dud, occupying the news cycle for a few days then being tossed into the same closet where Stormy, Avenatti and Omarosa sit in crumpled piles of yesterday’s news.

Hit pieces and bogus stories are nothing new. Neither are ridiculous claims of collusion and treason. Trump dealt with those before the 2016 presidential election. The biggest difference between 2016 and 2020 is that now Trump is president, on the inside looking out, rather than on the outside looking in.

In 2016, the Obama administration used the judicial and intelligence might of the federal government to spy on Trump and his campaign. That won’t happen again as he is now in control of these agencies. At least one would hope so, despite an anti-Trump deep state at many of these agencies.

Democrats and the media undoubtedly have more surprises lined up. But Trump being the current president will see these surprises coming from a mile away as he sits atop the full power of the same agencies that four years ago tried to destroy him. Incumbency has huge advantages, and it takes special effort for an incumbent to lose reelection, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush as two recent examples.

From the virus and shutdowns to riots and now fires, Trump and his inner circle are far more prepared for such curveballs compared to 2016 when he was a complete outsider with only a skeleton campaign staff. He has likely gamed out every scenario from mail-in ballots to civil unrest to a contested election result to Biden dropping out of the race at the last minute.

He also knows the stakes for him, his family and the country if he loses on November 3 as his political enemies attempt scorched earth annihilation of anyone connected to or supportive of Trump. Trump is a fighter and a student of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” He understands how revenge is a dish best served cold.

Despite media histrionics and predictions of his electoral demise, betting against Trump is a losing bet, as the last five years have illustrated. Polls can never measure this “cold anger,”,but it may be the biggest predictor of his upcoming reelection.

Brian C. Joondeph, MD, is a Denver-based physician and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in American Thinker, Daily Caller, Rasmussen Reports and other publications.

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