Summary: A new report by Mercury Analytics explores a new dimension of Trump’s strength, which continues to defy the experts — his appeal to Democrats. Trump has tapped the suppressed force of American populism, which crosses the lines of our low-legitimacy political parties. It’s too late for complacency; he is only 4 steps from winning. It is not too late for action.
It is far too early to say for certain, but 2016 might become a realignment election (like 1860 and 1932). More likely it might begin a slower realignment process. The two major examples are 1892-1896 (business interests bought the GOP, crushing populism) and 1964-1968 (the New Deal ends when the GOP abandoned its heritage to welcome southern whites angry at Blacks gaining full civil rights).
Now Trump has accidentally tapped the long-suppressed power of American populism by advocating restrictions on immigration (as the foreign-born population reaches the proportions that sparked the restrictive legislation of 1882-1924). It’s a geyser of enthusiasm that so far has overcome Trump’s large negatives as a candidate (e.g., no governing experience and erratic personality) and the united opposition of the major institutions and both parties — defying the predictions of almost everybody (those who read my August post were not surprised).
One feature of populism seldom mentioned is its bipartisan appeal, rare in this politically polarized era. The Democratic Party owned populism after McKinley crushed William Jennings Bryan in 1892, and then lost that lock after Johnson pushed through the great 1964-68 civil rights bills (populism has a racist component).
Now populism has emerged, and its ability to reach across party lines opens the possibility for the long-expected realignment of the stagnant political structure. That’s been visible — if ignored — in the match-up polls of Hillary vs. Donald (see the latest below), and explored in more detail by this new report by Mercury Analytics. If Trump casts himself as a populist candidate it would dash Democrats’ dream of a united Left triumphing over a divided Right in November.
Mercury Analytics, a technology-driven consumer research and political polling firm based in Washington, D.C. conducted a survey and ad “dial-test” of Trump’s first campaign spot among a national sample of n=916 “likely voters”. The results show, that if the election were held today, between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has the edge, but would be facing a very tough competitor.
Almost 20% of likely Democratic voters would today cross parties and vote for Donald Trump, while only 14% of Republicans would cross parties to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Additionally when crossover voters were asked how sure of their votes they were, 63% of Democrats who would crossover to vote for Mr. Trump today were “100% Sure” of their vote while only 39% of Republicans who would crossover to vote for Ms. Clinton today were “100% Sure”, demonstrating that potential Republican defectors to Hillary are significantly less sure of their intention versus Democratic defectors.
Mercury Analytics also dial-tested Trump’s first campaign ad, allowing voters to react to each moment of the commercial, and found that even among a significant segment of Democrats and Independents who are turned-off by Trump’s personality and style, the primary messages of Trump’s campaign ad resonated more than Democratic elites would hope.
Nearly a quarter (25%) of Democrats “agree completely” that the ad raised some good points; nearly half (44%) of Democrats agree “completely” or “somewhat”.
And 21% of Democrats “agree completely” that the ad represents “how I feel”; nearly one-third (32%) of Democrats agree “completely” or “somewhat”.
Ron Howard, CEO of Mercury Analytics and a Democrat himself stated “We expected Trump’s first campaign spot to strongly appeal to Republican Trump supporters, with little impact – or in fact negative impact – on Democratic or Independent voters. However, what we see is that among a segment of Democratic and Independent voters who don’t like the “messenger” of Trump – the issues he is raising (Immigration, Terrorism) are real concerns they share.
… Results are based on an online survey conducted January 6 – 8, 2016. The study has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.
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There are four keys to a possible Trump win in 2016: he builds an effective national campaign organization, he makes deals with America’s elites, he adopts a populist platform, and he gets a lucky break (e.g., a recession in mid-2016).
The odds of Trump making successful deals with our elites is, imo, very high. The odds are probably small of him building an effective organization and adopting an overall populist platform. Multiple these together: the odds of a Trump win are low. But they’re far higher than they were three months ago. Watch the trend. This might be a year of surprises.
Match-up polls: Clinton vs. Trump
The most recent match-up polls of Clinton vs. Trump show Clinton up 7%, up 2%, up 1%, and behind 3%. It’s a trend.
Other posts about the Trump, candidate of new populism
- From August: The Donald Trump revolution, dismissed as all revolts are in the beginning.
- Background: Scary lessons for America from pre-revolutionary France.
- Donald Trump leads us back to the future, to the dark days of US history.
- A New America arises, perhaps with Trump as its first leader.
- Two scary graphs about the rise of Donald. Fear fascism. Act now.
- Look to the Left to see the force powering Trump and Carson.
- The numbers about immigration that fuel Trump’s campaign.
- New York shows how Democrat-run cities & states contribute to the rise of Trump.
- Good news: we begin to see that we are sliding towards fascism.
- Next phase of the Trump revolution: rise of the new populism.
- Important: Trump’s hope: a recession might put him in the White House.
- The four keys to a possible Trump victory.
For More Information
A rare mention (quickly dropped) in the major media that Trump is a populist candidate: “The Great Republican Revolt” by David Frum in The Atlantic — “The GOP planned a dynastic restoration in 2016. Instead, it triggered an internal class war. Can the party reconcile the demands of its donors with the interests of its rank and file?”
See the Wikipedia entries about realignment elections, about populism, and 19thC American populism. Note the small entry about American populism; our educated people don’t consider it important. Also see the Census’ article “The ‘Second Great Wave’ of Immigration: Growth of the Foreign-Born Population Since 1970.”
If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about our economy, and especially my Jan 6 article at Seeking Alpha about the odds of a recession in 2016 — which might put Trump in the White House.