Veteran pollster and political analyst Pat Caddell, a regular on the Fox News Sunday night show “Political Insiders,” joined Breitbart’s Washington Political Editor Matthew Boyle on Monday’s edition of Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM to break down the latest Breitbart News/Gravis national poll, which showed a significant tightening of the presidential race, placing Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump by a statistically insignificant 1 point.
“This poll, if anything, is somewhat more Democratic, because of the samples, than it ought to be,” Caddell noted, suggesting the news might be even better for Trump than it appeared.
“The race has tightened,” he argued. “We see that in a number of polls over the last several days, that the race is tightening. There was a poll yesterday, the Morning Consult poll, where the margin had been cut from 6 to 3 in one week, in their tracking poll.”
“Clearly the post-convention boomlet, and the Trump August problem – which some believe, in August, was as bad as any challenger, any candidate has had – seems to have now dissipated back to where we basically were 5 to 6 weeks ago,” he said.
“This is a tight race. The reason it’s a tight race for the most part is that not only both candidates have problems, but that voters particularly, when they look at what’s been happening in the world and the country, believe that the country continues to be severely on the wrong track,” Caddell explained, citing a “rather significant 4-point decline in those who thought the country was going in the right direction.”
“There clearly is a real change going on here,” he judged.
Boyle quoted from a Politico op-ed in which Eli Stokols argued that the election had essentially been decided, and it was already too late for Donald Trump to “turn this campaign around” because his negative perception among many voters is set in stone.
Caddell cited the exceptionally long 2016 post-convention period as one reason it was premature to declare Trump’s campaign a lost cause. Furthermore, he said we have a “very volatile electorate” looking at “two candidates with high negatives, both of them.”
“Let me just point this out: Politico being, sort of along with the Washington Post, they are ground zero for the conventional political wisdom and for the political class. And they just assume the election’s over. They thought it’s over for a long time. The people who don’t think it’s over are the Clinton people,” Caddell said. “They’re very nervous, because they don’t have control of the dynamics. They’re doing everything they can to keep this a candidate-to-candidate election, which is their best grounds.”
“If this moves to any kind of referendum issue, which is where the country is – how it’s going, what the future looks like, and really what has been the uprising this year of the American people against the political class, across the board – the election becomes a whole different dynamic,” he predicted. “This is a relatively very close election, and the way they talk, you’d think that Clinton was ahead by 14 or 15 points.”
Caddell contended this is a “new paradigm” election, difficult to compare to previous contests, but offered the comparison of Hubert Humphrey emerging from the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago down 15 points to Richard Nixon, but Nixon was able to squeeze out only the most narrow of victories in the end.
“This election has not yet settled into whether it’s an election about Donald Trump, or it’s an election about Hillary Clinton as the candidate of the political class – plus, all this stuff going on with the emails, all the other information coming out about the Foundation, reconfirm the idea that Hillary Clinton is dishonest. Many people think she is corrupt. I think this is going to be an ongoing dynamic,” Caddell predicted.
He pointed to the latest Clinton Foundation story, in which it was discovered billionaire Foundation donor Gilbert Chagoury was denied entry into the United States last year, due to his connections with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
“There’s a lot more coming out, and of course the big deal is, they have to debate in late September, which will probably have as much impact on the election as any debate we’ve ever had,” Caddell predicted.
On the question of whether Trump had a realistic chance of flipping some states traditionally thought of as Democrat turf, Caddell repeated that 2016 was an abnormal election year.
“Everyone assumes the map is static, the electoral map. That’s not the case,” he contended. “We see Clinton doing much better in Virginia, partly because of the Washington suburbs. You remember we were talking about the political class – that is the one place where the political class, I guess, has popularity. Meanwhile, in Nevada, Trump has been running amazingly well, and doing well with Hispanics in that state, according to some of the state polls out there.”
“The reason is that, when this election moves, it moves across the board… so that when the national polls are moving, many states are moving at the same time. The volatility that we talk about nationally is there in all of the states. It’s not predictable. Once it moves, it will move everywhere at once,” he said.
“What we don’t have yet is an established – and this is why I find the Politico article so laughable – what we don’t have yet is a determined definition of how voters intend to vote. There’s a lot of conflict going on, and as I said, this is also inherently a change election. That’s what the Clinton people worry about, and it’s the thing they should worry about,” Caddell said.
Boyle noted that recent Breitbart News polls have also tracked the decline of public trust in major media institutions, particularly their ability to fairly cover the presidential race. Caddell said these polls are showing “the mainstream media is basically being rejected by the American people.”
He noted poll respondents viewed the media as “being overwhelmingly positive to Hillary Clinton, and overwhelmingly negative to Donald Trump,” a conclusion so obvious that “you would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind” not to see it.
“I’ve never seen the press on such a jihad,” Caddell marveled.
He said it was even more significant that voters viewed the mainstream media as supportive of the entrenched political class, by a nearly 2 to 1 margin.
“The job of the media historically, in terms of the First Amendment – what I call the unspoken compact in the First Amendment – is that the free press, without restraint, without checks and balances, is there in order to protect the people from power,” said Caddell. “Its job is to be a check on government, and those who rule the country, and not to be their lapdogs, and their support system. That’s what we’re seeing in this election.”
“There is an argument to make that the major news media in this country, the mainstream media, is essentially serving against the people’s interest,” he charged. “They have made themselves an open ally of protecting a political order that the American people are rejecting, by three quarters or more of the American people. That makes them a legitimate issue, in a sense they never have been before, if Trump takes advantage of it.”
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