Trump campain tanking in key swing states

Leo Castell, Staff

With the chaos of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions behind us, post-convention polling fluctuations have stabilized and the numbers do not look good for Donald Trump. According to RealClearPolitics’ aggregate polling data, the Republican nominee is behind Hillary Clinton in national polls by six percentage points. He is trailing by double-digit percentage points in several key swing states.

The primary season was defined by Trump’s outrageous comments and his immunity to scandal, but now that the general election is upon us, that same attitude is hurting him. Political primary seasons are won by getting as much attention as possible, but all campaigns must “pivot” to the general. Where focus is more on policy and substance than attention garnering. Trump has failed in this category, only recently has his campaign even become aware of the problem and it might be too late to fix.

In the past week, Trump has apologized for “hurtful words,” and has, once again, decided to shake up the hierarchy of his campaign in an unprecedented move for a presidential candidate this close to the general. Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News, is chief executive officer of Trump’s campaign, and former Fox News executive-turned-sex-offender Roger Ailes was recently hired as an adviser.

Trump’s poor poll numbers look even worse in the greater historical context of presidential elections in the United States. According to political scientists Christopher Wlezien and Robert S. Erikson in their book “The Timeline of Presidential Elections,” a pattern has emerged over the last sixty years where every presidential candidate must come out ahead in polling two weeks after the conventions in order to win the popular vote. Clinton is polling better than Trump in every single swing state.

To many students at the University of New Orleans, Trump’s poor polling numbers come as both a surprise and a relief. “I thought he’d be doing better since he’s the Republican nominee,” said senior Jordan Blackmore. “I didn’t think he would be doing this bad, but I’m glad because if he was elected then he would be a dictator.”

Even opponents of the Republican nominee expected him to be doing better. “The depression vote is real,” said Bernie-fan-turned-lukewarm-Hillary-supporter Mackenzie Guillory, “I thought that no matter what he said his supporters would vote for him. And now Bernie supporters are voting for Hillary even after they felt betrayed by the DNC. Not because we want to, but because we have to.” The fear induced by a potential Trump presidency seems to be Clinton’s greatest ally in swaying former Bernie voters.

Many GOP leaders are starting to think about calling it quits on Trump and focusing efforts on winning congressional seats, Republicans are in serious danger of losing the senate. More and more, the question is less “Who will win the election?” and more “How badly will Trump lose?” His unconventional campaign is finally starting to catch up to him.