CBS via YouGov has released a series of battleground polls for New York, Pennsylvania and California (full pdf’s below). Interestingly the polls are not identical questionnaires; instead they appear geographically nuanced, specifically on the Democrat queries.
However, there are some rather interesting trend similarities which are embedding as the campaigns of the three remaining republican candidates take on increased importance:
- The electorate has made up their mind. There is only about 3% of the electorate who might change their vote. There will not be any “surging” per se’.
- Donald Trump’s overall appeal is across all demographics and internal ideologies.
- Donald Trump wins with women voters, and higher information political consumers.
- Very Importantly – Trump is seen as most authentic and capable as a political change agent.
- Trump also leads with Hispanic voters in California, and absolutely crushes the competition with the Asian electorate.
- The most important issue in all three states (NY, PA, CA) are jobs/economy. And economic voters are overwhelmingly Trump voters. (Trump also leads on the alternative issues – second place: security/terrorism)
- Conversely, Ted Cruz is seen as the most “inauthentic” candidate in the race.
In every poll Donald Trump wins the “he-is-who-he-is” factor.
As Lee Atwater would tell you, that’s critically important. Once the broader electorate sense “who you are”, and become comfortable with that sensibility, there is a remarkable shift toward granting the benefit of doubt in policy and change.
[The most recent example of such a benefactor was Bill Clinton in his prime.]
However, in the same polls, Ted Cruz is viewed as the candidate willing to tell you everything you want to hear so long as it benefits him. That’s the “authenticity” issue. Just as there is a long-term benefit in positive authenticity polling, there is a long-term detriment in negative authenticity polling.
Opinions of “authenticity” are almost impossible to change once they embed. The word ‘almost’ is an understatement, because no politician in modern times has ever been able to reverse the authenticity component.
Bernie Sanders also benefits from positive opinions in authenticity, and Hillary Clinton is viewed similarly to Cruz as inherently inauthentic as a matter of mere disposition.
“Lyin’ Ted” and issues with “The System” are linguistic kill shots that candidate Trump has used skillfully. The greater benefit is now becoming easier to see.