Everyone is as Smart as the Polls. And That’s Pretty Dumb.

I get a kick out of so-called experts calling the U.S. presidential election while we are still in August, nearly a month away from the first debate, with an already unprecedented, topsy-turvy primary season behind us.

I heard someone say basically this yesterday: “Oh, look at the polls! Clinton is going to win. It’s over.”

I suppose that same person would also predict a Cubs World Series victory if they looked at the current MLB standings. But people who understand that nothing is taken for granted when talking about the Cubs will also understand that we have no idea who will win the presidential election. At least not yet.

It was just a month ago that Trump’s campaign was riding high in the polls with a post-convention bounce which vaulted him ahead of the Democratic challenger. Clinton got her bounce, then Trump’s mouth seemed to self-implode again, causing leaks in his shoddy-planned campaign wall.

But does anyone really think they know what’s going to happen next? Really, in this year? You can’t predict this stuff. Not any year, and especially not this year. The odds-makers still have to settle on a number, and they currently give Clinton nearly a 4-1 chance to be president, but my goodness, let’s wait and see. Here’s a few things which need to be settled first.

  1. In my mind, the debates will be begin to tell the tale and start to settle the field a little. It’s one thing hearing daily sound bites from the campaign trail, but it’s a completely different beast when you see the candidates stand next to each other, go at each other, and see who can punch out a little momentum. I’ll start checking the polls after this. I think it will mean much more.
  2. Will Trump’s “softer” approach make a difference to voters? He’s been consciously reaching out to black voters. I read an interesting article yesterday written by a Latino as to why Latinos should vote for Trump. This might all be too little too late to overcome the bombastic mistakes he’s made because of his inability to censor himself. But we shall see.
  3. Clinton is not having an easy go of it. She is continually dogged with questions about her past, most recently about the Clinton foundation and whether influence was being peddled.  The Republicans really must be kicking themselves because Clinton feels like the most inept Democratic presidential candidate in decades. She seems very beatable if there wasn’t a Republican challenger beating himself.
  4. Wikileaks. More threats from Jullian Assange regarding Clinton-related documents to be released before the election. Who knows what’s in the documents and if he will actually do what he says. But he no doubt is causing a lot of consternation inside the Democratic campaign machine.
  5. The economy. It continues to struggle – the most recent quarter at an anemic 1% GDP growth.
  6. People are not happy. I can’t think of anyone on either side of the political spectrum who is happy right now. And there may be a ground-swell of “sweep out the existing regime” which might yet catch Clinton in its crossfire.
  7. A major event. I certainly hope this one doesn’t happen, but a major terrorist attack, whether in the US or one of the US allies, could affect perceptions of voters before the election.
  8. Trump himself. He remains predictably unpredictable. He was a clear underdog in the Republican primary and it still remains unclear how he will finish this thing out. He’s proved before that he shouldn’t be underestimated.

There are 8 reasons why I think it’s much too early to be calling the election for Clinton. There is so much time which remains and way to many things can happen. It will be, I believe, one of the most entertaining and gripping presidential campaigns in history. So sit back and enjoy the ride.

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