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Op-Ed

Bob Ehrlich: Polls Won't Tell the Whole Story in 2020

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History shows that the vast majority of public opinion polls taken during the campaign of 2016 underweighted the strength of candidate Donald J. Trump.

The phenomenon was exacerbated by the anti-Trump, left-leaning media, whose worst moments may have been typified by the following headline in the Oct. 24, 2016, Washington Post: “Donald Trump’s chances of winning are approaching zero.”

This and other similar polling results constituted daily fodder for the Hillary sycophants and lefty pundits who sought to reassure the country candidate Trump could never win. Indeed, the looks on the faces of the assembled at the Javits Center in New York City on the evening of Nov. 8, 2016, show that they, too, believed those polls.

Now fast-forward to the present wherein weekly polling shows top-tier Democratic contenders either leading or within the margin of error in match-ups against the President in the highly competitive, all-important states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida.

With a national approval rating that never exceeds 50 percent, the president can rest assured 2020’s campaign polls will again reflect a dangerous vulnerability — to the delight of Trump haters everywhere.

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I was reminded of this narrative while reading about the president’s impressive cash haul ($46 million) during the final quarter of 2019. Call it the “Deplorables strike back” syndrome.

You know the theory: The opposition piles on your guy so much that you feel compelled to defend — really act out — in response to the endless piling on. In this case, the reflective defense is to write a check. Here, the full-speed “gotta get it done before Christmas” impeachment sham led to an awful lot of people deciding to reach for their checkbooks.

To boot, in addition to the re-election campaign’s $46 million raised, the GOP’s “WinRed” joint fundraising platform (included are the Republican National Committee, every state Republican party and most House and Senate campaigns) brought in $101 million in the second half of 2019, most of it since the day of the party line impeachment vote and most of it in small-dollar denominations.

Other acts of conservative resistance are also at play during the Trump era, and they are often far more subtle than writing a check.

Do you think Trump will be re-elected?

It can be as simple as a secret fist pump or a knowing glance with a fellow conservative whenever the left oversteps its bounds — a daily occurrence in this era of progressive lunacy.

It can also be that angry feeling you get when you read about a restaurant requesting (contrary to our freedoms) Trump staffers leave the premises, or when you watch many of the Democratic presidential contenders express their support for free health care for illegal aliens, or see those same candidates enthusiastically manifest their intent to eliminate high-paying, blue-collar energy jobs in natural gas and coal, or when your religious values (especially Christian values) are regularly dismissed as “phobic” at best, mere “dogma” at worst.

But it is not the oft-demonized deplorables alone who react so negatively to the daily assaults on their belief and value systems. Today’s progressives fail to comprehend the impact of their over-the-top policies on moderates as well.

Yes — those all-important middle of the roaders. The ones who may not belong to the NRA but understand how fast-thinking, gun-toting good people saved a whole lot of lives in a Texas church a few weeks ago; the ones who oppose discrimination but believe that only girls should be allowed to compete in female athletic contests; the ones who support Roe v. Wade but oppose late-term abortion and most certainly afterbirth abortion.

Recall these are the voters supposedly up for grabs — the unhappy folks (who voted for the disruptor/outsider) that progressives only three years ago promised to engage in dialogue.

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Those conversations never did take place. Far from it. Anti-Trump rage replaced the scheduled “listening tours.” The party’s leaders instead made a sharp left turn — further left than ever before. So far left that Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg are now said to be the “moderate” alternatives to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

As a result, you can expect more than a few of these important “gettables” to break for Mr. Trump at the end of the day.

The message here is a simple one. The next time you see or hear that the president is four points down in Pennsylvania, do yourself a favor. Read it as “lean Trump” — at least you will be the one living in the real world.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Robert Ehrlich is a former governor of Maryland as well as a former U.S. congressman and state legislator. He is the author of “Bet You Didn’t See That One Coming: Obama, Trump, and the End of Washington’s Regular Order,” in addition to “Turn This Car Around,” “America: Hope for Change" and “Turning Point.” Ehrlich is currently a counsel at the firm of King & Spalding in Washington, D.C.




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