According to a new article in the Washington Post theorizing how a general election matchup of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could reshape the electoral map, the biggest fight may come down to industrial states in the Rust Belt. Trump, they say, has galvanized white, working-class voters, which could peel away states that have gone to Democrats since 1992. But with weak numbers among Hispanics, they report, Trump could struggle to overcome a changing American demographic.
To prop up their position, they cite the polls:
A Washington Post-ABC News poll from earlier this month showed stark divides among those backing Trump and Clinton.
Overall, the former secretary of state led 50 to 41 percent among registered voters. Trump led 49 to 40 percent among white voters, while Clinton led 73 to 19 among non-whites. Trump led by five points among men, and Clinton was up by 21 among women. Trump led by 24 points among whites without college degrees, while Clinton led by 15 among whites with degrees.
That’s all well and good, but it means nothing at this point. Literally nothing. The election is eight months away, and national opinion polls have questionable worth even when they are nearer to the vote. Neither of these two have even won their respective nominations. How that happens, if it happens, could have a significant impact on how Americans view their choices. And Republicans are still musing over the prospect of putting their support behind a third-party challenger.
To be fair, WaPo does acknowledge that this election year is like nothing we’ve ever seen before:
Although polls give Clinton a solid advantage over Trump in a general election, many Democrats remain wary because of what one party strategist called “the unpredictability of Trump.”
That unpredictability is why many Americans can’t remember the last time they went a full day without hearing Trump’s name. The media may despise him and everything he stands for, but they can’t get enough of the ratings. If he gets the nomination, he’s going to continue dominating the press coverage in the months leading up to November. Yeah, most of it will be negative, but what else is new? The more vicious the media gets, the higher Trump’s numbers go.
Last summer, when Trump announced his candidacy, you couldn’t have found a pundit in the country who would have given him a prayer of winning the nomination. Today, that outcome is all but certain. Trump has tapped into a rich vein of political yearning that the Republican Party didn’t even know was out there. Clinton…hasn’t. That growing energy could surprise a great many Democrats when all the votes are counted.