Much has been made recently over Donald Trump’s once declining poll numbers bouncing back to a level where he’s close to or leading Hillary Clinton in several swing state polls. To be fair, it is true that Trump’s numbers have improved quite a bit over what they were just a few weeks ago when Clinton enjoyed some of her biggest leads over him of the entire 2016 election.
Naturally, much of the left-wing political world went into full spin mode trying to poke holes in some of the polls, claim that they were skewed and pretty much do what many in the conservative media do when the polls aren’t working out for Republicans. As I’ve said before, hypocrites are found on both sides.
Now, I personally cautioned people to not panic over a few polls that were conducted during a horrible stretch of days for Clinton when she had a coughing spell just a few days before she was seen on video nearly collapsing in New York City, followed by the revelation that she had pneumonia. Obviously those were uncertain days when a lot of people were concerned about her health, which means her numbers were destined to take a hit.
Furthermore, the polls were obviously going to tighten the closer we got to the general election. Even as popular as Barack Obama was in 2008 — and as bad as the GOP looked with a crumbling economy headed toward the worst economic crash in nearly a century — it wasn’t as if he led Sen. John McCain by massive numbers in every poll.
In fact, in the vast majority of the last polls taken before the 2008 election, President Obama led McCain by single-digits with an average lead of 7 points.
There are many varying factors as to why the poll numbers have trended down for Clinton while improving for Trump, but there’s one very simple reason that the vast majority of people aren’t discussing: Donald Trump isn’t being Donald Trump.
Since he switched campaign managers, most of the speeches he’s given have been written for him. While that’s nothing new for a politician, it’s a big difference from the Trump we saw for most of his campaign where everything he said was from his own mind using his own words and temperament. And the few times he has attracted some negative national attention are from moments where he wasn’t reading something that was clearly written by someone else.
Such as when he suggested that Clinton should give up her security protection to “see what happens” — that was Trump being Trump. When Trump played the media by staging a “press conference” to address the birther conspiracy he pushed against the president, only for him to spend a total of 27 seconds reading a bland and prepared statement saying he believes that Barack Obama is an American citizen, but Hillary Clinton was the one who started the birther conspiracies (which isn’t remotely true) — that was Trump being Trump. When he advocated for committing war crimes during the Commander-in-Chief forum — that was Trump being Trump.
However, for the last few weeks, Trump has mostly been “following the script” and doing his best to not be exactly who he is.
Fun fact: As of the publication of this article, it’s been 56 days since Trump held a press conference. While I’m not claiming that it’s been too long (I’m well aware that he’s held many more than Clinton has), it’s the timing that matters.
It’s not a coincidence that Trump’s numbers have improved the less he’s put himself out there to, well — speak for himself. Most of his public appearances have been him reading prepared speeches and doing softball interviews with people like Fox News’ Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly.
Basically, Trump’s poll numbers have improved in large part because he’s been doing his best (clearly at the order of his new campaign manager) to not be exactly who he is. While there have been some negative issues pertaining to Clinton that have clearly helped, for the most part, his effort to follow his campaign’s script and “hide” who he really is over the last several weeks is what’s led to his improving standing in most polls.
My stance on polls has basically been this: I’m not going to put too much importance on any of them until after the first debate.
Right now, Trump has gotten by largely because the GOP presidential debates were often such a mess that no one candidate was ever really pressed on specifics and Trump was allowed to hide his incompetence among the chaos. That’s why he quickly stopped participating in debates once it got down to only three candidates. It’s also why he’s been whining for weeks about the upcoming debates, claiming that they’re going to be “rigged against him” so he can say, “See! I told you they were going to go after me!” when he gets exposed on national television for being an absolute idiot and completely unqualified to be president.
So, until the first debate airs on September 26th, I’m not taking any of these polls too seriously. That will be the first moment in over a year of Trump campaigning where he can’t hide exactly who he is and how woefully unfit he is to be our next president.
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