As any reader of this blog certainly knows, I am very skeptical of political polls – especially when they include controversial figures (like President Trump, for example) whose supporters might be averse to voicing their support to others, pollsters very much included. But I do place a good deal more stock in the movement of poll numbers from one wave to the next, on the grounds that, however flawed, the same circumstances obtain each time.
With the above in mind, please read the following excerpt from Julia Manchester’s article at thehill.com:
In a head-to-head matchup with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), 49 percent of independents backed Trump, while 43 percent threw their support behind the senator in the poll, which was released on Monday.
A 4-point gap separated Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Trump, with the president receiving 48 percent support among independents and Sanders garnering 44 percent.
Warren led Trump with independents by 2 points in the September poll, while Sanders led the president by 9 points
If I were a Democrat strategist, those data would be more than a little troubling to me. Why? Because independents are most likely to be “swingometric” voters – i.e. voters with the least resistance to moving from one party to the other in a general election.
Lots of history, combined with some basic common sense, tells us that a huge majority of Democrats and Republicans will be voting for their parties’ candidates in 2020. Yes, there are party members who sometimes stray, but in the absence of a major abberation (e.g. right wing fringer Roy Moore in Alabama) the preponderance of those votes stay with their candidates on election day.
Independents, therefore, tend to be the key to winning or losing national – that is, presidential – elections. And if independents are moving toward a specific presidential candidate, that is very, very bad news for his/her opponents.
In terms of next year’s presidential election, is it far too early to make anything of this?
Yep, it is. There’s a long way to go to November, 2020.
But is the fact that, even as the impeachment “inquiry” (or whatever it is) continues, independents gravitate to President Trump, a reason for Democrats to be worried?
I know I’d be.