Beneath the Top Line Poll Numbers

4 mins read



(Steven Hayward)

The first thing to understand about the Democratic Party today is that its shift to the left has occurred chiefly among white Democrats. This may be the hidden weakness that delivers the election to Trump. Let’s start with a new chart from Zach Goldberg, who notes survey data from the spring about Democratic voters in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Texas. What it shows is revealing: white Democrats are the most hostile group to increased security along the U.S.—Mexico border, while black Democrats favor increased security more than white Democrats by a two-to-one margin. Even hispanic Democrats favor stronger border security than white Democrats do. No wonder polls show Trump running better than Republican nominees usually do with hispanics.

From here, turn your gaze to a long piece in today’s New York Times in which Thomas B. Edsall makes the case for Democrats to be very nervous:

One thing continues to stand out, even in the polls these pieces describe, which is that white Democrats, who remain the majority in their party, have been moving leftward for nearly a decade, particularly on racial and moral issues, and that shift has pushed the party further away from the nation’s median voter. This gap has damaged Democratic prospects in the past, but the ultimate outcome of Trump’s determined efforts to capitalize on it has not yet been revealed.

Here are some of the things causing anxiety among Democratic partisans, particularly political professionals. One way to measure voter enthusiasm is to compare voter registration trends for each party. A Democratic strategist who closely follows the data on a day-to-day basis wrote in a privately circulated newsletter:

“Since last week, the share of white non-college over 30 registrations in the battleground states has increased by 10 points compared to September 2016, and the Democratic margin dropped 10 points to just 6 points. And there are serious signs of political engagement by white non-college voters who had not cast ballots in previous elections.”

David Wasserman, House editor for The Cook Political Report, wrote on Oct. 1 that voter registration patterns over a longer period in key battleground states show that “Republicans have swamped Democrats in adding new voters to the rolls, a dramatic GOP improvement over 2016.”

Comment: This has been a deliberate strategy of the Trump campaign for the last three years. You don’t think those huge rallies in places like Minnesota are just for fun, do you?

More:

Four of the six states Trump won by fewer than five points in 2016 allow voters to register by party: Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. In recent months, there have been substantially more Republicans added to the rolls than Democrats in each of them except for Arizona.

Wasserman’s data:

Florida, since the state’s March primary, added 195,652 Republicans and 98,362 Democrats.

Pennsylvania, since June, Republicans plus 135,619, Democrats up 57,985.

North Carolina, since March, Republicans up 83,785 to Democrats 38,137.

In Arizona, the exception, “Democrats out-registered Republicans 31,139 to 29,667” in recent months.

Think any of those new Republican voters are being fully captured in polls run by CNN and NBC?





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