At this point, it’s become abundantly clear that Donald Trump’s brazen rhetoric and unorthodox campaign strategy (which primarily involves simply saying whatever pops into his head with no filter whatsoever) isn’t a liability.
In fact, the bellicose billionaire’s style and penchant for controversy has catapulted the real estate mogul to the top of the polls leaving but one serious challenger (Ted Cruz) for the GOP nomination.
Recently, Trump has taken aim at Hillary Clinton, calling her “disgusting,” a “liar”, and insisting that she’s “married to an abuser.” His first television ad opens with a black and white image Obama and Clinton who are referred to only as “the politicians” (a nod to Trump’s contention that he’s trustworthy precisely because he comes from outside the Beltway, so to speak).
Still, few analysts believe Trump could best Clinton in the national election.
A new poll shows that may be a miscalculation.
According to a survey conducted by Washington-based Mercury Analytics, 20% of likely Democratic voters say they'd cross sides and vote for Trump. Here’s more from US News & World Report:
So if Donald Trump proved the political universe wrong and won the Republican presidential nomination, he would be creamed by Hillary Clinton, correct?
A new survey of likely voters might at least raise momentary dyspepsia for Democrats since it suggests why it wouldn't be a cakewalk.
The survey by Washington-based Mercury Analytics is a combination online questionnaire and "dial-test" of Trump's first big campaign ad among 916 self-proclaimed "likely voters" (this video shows the ad and the dial test results). It took place primarily Wednesday and Thursday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.
Nearly 20 percent of likely Democratic voters say they'd cross sides and vote for Trump, while a small number, or 14 percent, of Republicans claim they'd vote for Clinton. When those groups were further broken down, a far higher percentage of the crossover Democrats contend they are "100 percent sure" of switching than the Republicans.
When the firmed showed respondents the Trump ad, and assessed their responses to each moment of it, it found "the primary messages of Trump's ad resonated more than Democratic elites would hope."
About 25 percent of Democrats "agree completely" that it raises some good point, with an additional 19 percent agreeing at least "somewhat."
Mercury CEO Ron Howard, a Democrat whose firm works for candidates in both parties and corporate clients, concedes, "We expected Trump's first campaign spot to strongly appeal to Republican Trump supporters, with little impact – or in fact negative impact – on Democratic or independent voters."
He continues, "The challenge to Hillary, if Trump is the nominee and pivots to the center in the general election as a problem-solving, independent-minded, successful 'get it done' businessman is that Democrats will no longer be able to count on his personality and outrageous sound bites to disqualify him in the voters' minds."
Right. And that's precisely what we've been saying for months. Put more simply: Trump is gaffe proof, which means it isn't about how many outlandish things he says, it's about whether he can craft a coherent narrative.
As the campaign drags on, his message is starting to sound more like an actual policy platform and less like an ad hoc series of soundbites.
And that's a very dangerous thing for the Democrats.