Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both stumping for votes today in Florida, with just two weeks left in the 2016 campaign, as polls continue to show an advantage for Clinton, though Trump has argued in recent days that the news media is pushing “phony” polls that are only meant to stop his drive to win the White House.
Let’s take a quick campaign snapshot:
1. Looking at the polls. Remember four years ago at this time? We were being told by Republicans that the polls were “skewed” in favor of the Democrats, and that they were underestimating the support for Mitt Romney. Instead, we found out after all the votes were in that the polls had inflated Romney’s support, and missed on Obama by almost four percent nationwide. Right now, no one knows which way the polls are off. At this point, you can cherry pick a poll that makes you feel good as a Trump supporter, and find a bunch that make you feel good about Hillary Clinton. The averages point to Clinton – we’ll know the results in another two weeks.
2. The race is down to a few states. Yes, it’s the old Jamie Dupree line of, “The schedule tells a story.” But, it does. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both in Florida today, as early voting is now underway in that key state. Trump heads later this week to Ohio – where he has been holding his own – and North Carolina, which has had mixed polls of late for the GOP. Clinton has hit Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Trump will make a detour from the campaign trail tomorrow, to his new hotel here in Washington, D.C. Some campaign veterans might be a bit shocked by this decision:
3. Trying to figure out the early vote. There are all sorts of people doing all sorts of reviews of the numbers from absentee ballots returned and early voting in various states. Democrats seem to have an advantage in North Carolina, Nevada and Virginia, while Republicans are doing better in Ohio and parts of the Midwest. Already, close to 8 million people have voted as of Tuesday morning. The best place to get updates on the hard numbers – a University of Florida professor who tracks this stuff for a living:
4. What about the Congress? You can tell that Democrats are dreaming about a big win on Election Day, as Hillary Clinton and President Obama have been spending large chunks of their campaign trail speeches to verbally smack individual Republicans who are running for the U.S. Senate. Democrats need to pick up four Senate seats – and have Clinton win the White House – in order to control the Senate. The magic number is a five seat gain if Trump wins in November. A number of seats are very close, and could roll either way in these last two weeks.
5. Republicans playing defense in Utah. During the primaries, Donald Trump showed one weakness among Republican voters, and that was in areas with large Mormon populations. Now, with polls showing a very tight race in Utah – thanks to a surge for independent candidate Evan McMullin, the Trump Campaign is sending running mate Mike Pence to Utah for a campaign stop on Wednesday. Utah’s six Electoral Votes should not even be in the discussion at this point in the race, but the polling is obviously worrying Trump officials in a state where Mitt Romney won 73 percent of the vote. Utah last voted for a Democrat for President in 1964.