The biggest political news in recent days has been Donald Trump’s abysmal performance in the polls. Most every national survey of voters has him losing the election.
His unfavorable rating has reached 70 percent.
His numbers are “at a low that no one, Republican or Democrat, has seen in the past three election cycles,” Phillip Bump explained in the Washington Post. “Looking at the window of time between 200 and 100 days before each of those elections, you can see that Trump has consistently polled worse than George W. Bush in 2004, John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012...The margin by which he trails Hillary Clinton now mirrors McCain's deficit to Barack Obama in 2008.”
Perhaps the polls will change. At this early date, I’d certainly caution Democrats and other Trump opponents against overconfidence. Many underestimated the candidate before. Future swing-state polls may tell a different story than recent national polls. And Democrats chose a nominee with many vulnerabilities to exploit.
Still, Trump’s numbers are awful right now. So I wondered how Rush Limbaugh was explaining that. Back in 2008, when Sarah Palin was the unqualified populist on the Republican ticket, there was a whole epistemically closed universe of conservative media sites that totally failed to grapple with her flaws or Barack Obama’s strengths. In 2012, many in the conservative media were convinced right up until election day that Americans would choose Mitt Romney rather than reelect Obama, never mind the polls.