WASHINGTON, November 8, 2016 — Almost every poll suggests that Hillary Clinton will win the U.S. presidency tomorrow. But what if Donald Trump wins? While polls say the popular vote is close, the math of the Electoral College favors Clinton. Does Trump have a chance?
Some analysts say Clinton’s Electoral College lead is insurmountable; Clinton could get as many as 325 electoral votes, far more than the 270 needed for victory.
Clinton will certainly win California and New York; she will win solidly Democratic states like Massachusetts. But in other states, the sampling data may not truly reflect the current population. Polls are reported at a confidence level of 95 percent within plus or minus some percentage range. That means the actual results will fall within that confidence band 95 percent of the time. But this year, that 95-percent confidence range encompasses dramatically different outcomes, creating the “statistical dead heats” that make it difficult to decide which way the state will fall.
One way that pollsters try to minimize polling errors is by taking an average of all available polls. According to statistical theory, the average of the polls is more likely to represent the true voting pattern of the population. That’s why the Real Clear Politics data, which averages all the major polls, is so closely followed.
This year, however, it seems that there are voters who plan to vote for Trump, but who are reluctant to say so when polled. The media have portrayed Trump as a sexist, racist, misogynist bigot. His supporters claim this is not true, but merely reflects Trump’s disdain for political correctness and his blunt New York style of telling it like it is. It is this characteristic, in fact, that actually draws many of his supporters.
Clinton’s campaign was negative from the outset, focusing on reasons why voters should not support Trump. As negative campaigning often does, this approach worked well for Clinton. Many rational people who support Trump’s policies will not vote for him because Clinton’s legion of media allies has convinced them that Trump is a terrible human being and unfit to be president. At the same time, the major media have also convinced them that Clinton’s negatives should be ignored.
But when election day arrives, and when voters enter the voting booth to decide the future of the country, will they vote “not Trump,” or will they look past the media’s Trump caricature to vote for policies that they actually support?
Clinton has been quiet about policy. She says she will cure injustices like the low minimum wage, lack of universally available health care, gender-biased salary structures, the burden of student debt and the under-taxation of the rich.
On foreign policy she will continue the Obama/Clinton policies that have failed so spectacularly in Syria, Libya, Russia and Iran. These include refraining from the use of direct force, ignoring declared enemies and deploying diplomacy to punt problems. They include providing resources to known enemies in the hope that, handed an olive branch, implacable enemies like Iran will stop sponsoring terrorism and building nukes.
Trump offers policies that do not give primacy to vague ideas of social injustice, but rather are geared to economic growth, fully recognizing that annual U.S. economic growth has not exceeded 3 percent since 2005, the longest slow-growth period in American history.
Trump offers tax cuts for all Americans, as well as policies aimed at reducing burdensome and counterproductive regulations, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act and creating an environment for economic growth that will raise all wages, provide opportunity for all Americans and restore the free market principles that made this country great.
On foreign policy Trump will defer to the country’s top military leaders, tasking them with planning a consistent course of action and using all possible resources to defeat our real enemies and restore peace. He will cancel Obama’s likely illegal agreement with Iran, which was not approved by the Senate, and will take actions that will prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
On the issues, most Americans favor Trump. On character, most seem to lean toward Clinton, in spite of her continuing and obvious character flaws: less than truthful, careless with confidential information, and probable corruption. This has consistently caused questions to be raised concerning her her character.
Tuesday’s election surprise may unfold as American voters enter the voting booth and finally decide that policy is more important than personality. Voters may decide that it really is time to clear the swamp that our federal government has become in recent decades. They may also decide that it is time for a new direction for our country, steering both the government and numerous institutions away from the disastrous, near-socialist policies pursued by Obama and likely to be continued by Clinton.
It is, in fact, American voters who may provide the biggest November surprise since November 3, 1948, when the Chicago Daily Tribune declared that “Dewey defeats Truman.” We only have one more day to wait.