The business of the polling industry is very strong these days, with polls flying around each day. While the trend appears to be a Clinton lead at this time, some sampling errors in 2012 should serve as a lesson for the polling industry. In 2012, compared to the average of polls and the actual results on election day, an under-representation of minority and ethnic voters accounted for a 3.3% difference in favor of President Obama over challenger Mitt Romney. While the Romney Campaign felt a sense of confidence, the polls they chose to embrace under-represented minority and ethnic voters even more so than the average of polls that had President Obama narrowly ahead with about a 0.7% polling advantage.
But, some trends do remain clear here. Ethnic and minority voters do vote in higher numbers than the polls ever seem to count and that Donald Trump is also polling far worse than Mitt Romney did among both ethnic and minority voter groups. As one example, Mitt Romney was able to capture 30% of Jewish voters in 2012, while Clinton is so far polling a much stronger 69% to 19% margin with Gary Johnson factored in. Further, Trump is also likely to do less well among Muslim voters, Hispanic voters, African American voters as well as Asian voters than Romney did in 2012, in addition to their numbers being under-represented in the polls as well.
It also must be remembered that both Gary Johnson and Jill Stein ran as independent candidates in 2012, where Johnson only polled just 0.99% of the vote, and not the 10% he appears to be polling at now. Equally, Stein’s 4% she’s pulling in current polls are also 10 times the numbers she actually earned in 2012, so expect these high numbers to fall, and supporters to fall back to mostly support of the major party candidates.
With Donald Trump unlikely to match the 2012 numbers that Mitt Romney was able to pull in 2012, plus the numbers of ethnic and minority voters being under-represented in the current polls, the actual current Clinton lead may be as great as a staggering 16% advantage in favor of Clinton. A margin anywhere near these numbers would like pull a lot of states along with it, and an electoral college landslide.
But, there’s important electoral tactical mistakes that both campaigns may be making. While the Clinton Campaign as well as her independent support campaigns are spending around $90 million a month on advertising, the official Trump Campaign has yet to run their campaign ads with the pro-gun NRA and other groups running ads in support of Trump. In addition, the Trump Campaign is wasting time and money with campaign events in some states in which he probably has little to no chance of winning in November. And, in a sign of over-confidence, the Clinton Campaign has suspended advertising in Colorado and Virginia, which some polls have suggested could be close toss-up states. But, both campaigns do agree the industrial Midwest states will decide this election, where both will expend their efforts there. But, in these states, blocks of African American voters and others could be the winning margins in close states like Ohio, where Clinton could have an advantage with strong targeted get out the vote efforts. While the Democratic Party has made a real science of get out the vote efforts, with workers in other states who study registration, etc., the often disorganized seeming Trump Campaign may be at another disadvantage here, but having to rely on many motivated voters to vote instead.
Both the Clinton Campaign as well as the Trump Campaign have more than a few tactical mistakes they may be making and blow this election. And, failing to make inroads with ethnic or minority voters or taking their votes for granted could spell a defeat in critical close states like Ohio where the the true meaning of political science will be put to the test.