CNN’s latest poll showing Trump with a two-point national lead reinforces the meaningless nature of national polls. If one wants to understand the real state of the presidential race, look at a new roundup of all 50 state polls.
The CNN/ORC poll gave the media the horserace story that the press has been building for weeks. It is no secret that the mainstream press is craving a close election. Close elections mean more viewers, which means more revenue, so after Clinton has been hammered for weeks with negative coverage, it should be a surprise to no one that the CNN poll found the election to be a statistical tie.
Since US presidential elections are decided by 50 elections in the states, there are limits to what national polling can tell voters. National polling can reveal national mood, but it can also be a byproduct of press coverage. There is also the possibility that the CNN poll is an outlier. The national polling average shows Hillary Clinton maintaining a lead of 3.3 points.
One CNN poll will get supporters on both sides emotional and generate a ton of headlines, but it doesn’t tell voters much about where the election is going. It could be the canary in the coal mine, or it could be a bad poll. The truth won’t be revealed until other independent polls are released.
Because of the way US presidential elections are conducted, state polls matter more than the meaningless national popular vote.
At the state level, Hillary Clinton remains firmly in control of this election. When The Washington Post compared the 50 state poll in 2016 with the 2012 election, they found that Trump is in a much worse position than Mitt Romney was four years ago. Hillary Clinton is doing better than President Obama did with Democrats in eight states. Trump is doing better than Romney did with Republicans in two states.
Donald Trump is not flipping any blue states that Obama won into the Republican column, but Hillary Clinton has put several Romney red states in play for Democrats against Trump.
The national polls get all the headlines, but Democrats have nothing to worry about as long as the swing state polls all continue to point towards Hillary Clinton winning in November.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association