Senin, 31 Agustus 2020

Donald Trump breaks through with message on crime - The Australian

Donald Trump at a rally in Londonderry, New Hampshire, over the weekend. Picture: Getty Images
Donald Trump at a rally in Londonderry, New Hampshire, over the weekend. Picture: Getty Images

Donald Trump has roared back into polling contention after the Republican and Democratic conventions, according to a slew of polls and analytical work in the US.

The RealClearPolitics betting odds now have the contest at almost level, whereas 10 days ago they strongly favoured the President’s Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.

In the national poll average RCP has Biden ahead by a still healthy but declining 6.9 per cent. More importantly, however, in the battleground states Biden’s lead is 2.7 per cent, about two points less than Hillary Clinton’s lead over Trump at this point in the cycle four years ago.

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The same average of polls has Trump’s job approval rating at 44 per cent, whereas the consensus is it needs to be at 46 per cent or above for him to have a good shot at re-election. The latest Rasmussen job approval poll puts Trump’s approval rating at 46 per cent.

The famous 538 website introduces its latest election forecast with the headline: Biden is slightly favoured to win the election. 538 gives Trump a slightly better chance than it gave him at this stage of the cycle four years ago.

Biden seems to have received no significant voter bounce from the Democratic convention two weeks ago, while the Republican convention has focused the national debate on law and order and a couple of other issues that favour Republicans.

A Democrat voter in The Villages, Florida. Picture: AFP
A Democrat voter in The Villages, Florida. Picture: AFP

Trump-backers should not get carried away. Biden remains well ahead and is still the favourite.

All post-convention polls are difficult to judge properly. Very often what seems a trend is just a bounce. Losing candidates have had big post-convention bounces in the past.

However, the Trump figures are perhaps more significant because they are based not on making Trump likeable — whereas making a candidate likeable is often what conventions achieve — but on the policy contrast that Democrats favour a soft-on-crime approach, have taken identity politics too far and are loathe to confront and condemn the murderous riots, violence and looting ripping apart several US cities, while Republicans are tougher on these issues.

The pro-Democrat media’s desire until a couple of days ago to play down this violence is lampooned for headlines like: “People die as city burns in mostly peaceful protests”.

Almost as significant as the polls is the analysis of some of the most sophisticated anti-Trump commentators.

Joe Biden, left, and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris at the Chase Centre in Wilmington, Delaware. Picture: AFP
Joe Biden, left, and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris at the Chase Centre in Wilmington, Delaware. Picture: AFP

Andrew Sullivan, a moderate conservative who is a committed never-Trumper, wrote a powerful essay headed: Dems will lose if this election is about law and order.

George Packer, a distinguished journalist and author, a moderate liberal who is certainly anti-Trump but not especially rabid, wrote a piece in The Atlantic magazine titled: “This is how Biden loses”.

Sullivan and Packer both argued that by failing to mention the city violence at their convention, and then by making condemnations of the violence so hesitant and mealy-mouthed, Biden and the Democrats were ignoring undeniable facts that every voter in America was witnessing.

Hundreds of trucks filled with supporters of US President Donald Trump drove through the city of Portland on August 29, with some reportedly firing paintball guns at protesters. The pro-Trump truck rally came on the same night that a man was shot and killed, a short distance from where confrontations between rival groups had been taking place. The man who was shot was reportedly wearing a hat bearing the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group based in Portland. In this video, a man surrounded by trucks bearing pro-Trump slogans and US flags can be seen firing a paintball gun towards a small group standing next to a car with “black lives matter” written on its rear window in the parking lot of a mall in Happy Valley, a Portland suburb. Credit: @elisa_bleh via Storyful

Nathan Robinson in The Guardian had a piece entitled: “It feels enormously like 2016 all over again”.

As demonstrations have turned into riots, and protester rhetoric has become more extreme, the Black Lives Matter movement has lost a vast amount of voter support.

Most Americans hate racism, and were appalled at the police killing of George Floyd in May, but the riots have turned them against BLM as a movement, and the weak Democratic response has pushed some of them at least into the arms of Trump.

This could be an extremely tight presidential contest.

Foreign Editor


Greg Sheridan, The Australian's foreign editor, is one of the nation's most influential national security commentators, who is active across television and radio and also writes extensively on culture. He has w...

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2020-08-31 20:47:37Z

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