Trump Campaign Skeptical of Polling

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Orlando Sanford International Airport in Sanford, Fla., October 12, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Here is how the Trump camp is looking at things.

All the data slipped the wrong way when Trump went to the hospital but has picked back up since. The Trump team feels the race is much closer than the media are depicting it.

The early vote is obviously higher than ever before, while the president has been encouraging Republicans to vote on Election Day. The campaign doesn’t think that Democrats are turning out new voters yet but getting turn out from their “power voters.” Also, there’s a cost to mail-in voting. It exacts a 2-percent price in discarded ballots, a little like an extra fee when paying with a credit card rather than cash.

Without many undecideds, obviously turn-out will be absolutely crucial.

The Trump team believes it is investing shrewdly in door-to-door canvassing and phone calls, in contrast to Democrats who are spending on TV to the exclusion of traditional GOTV operations.

In general, Trump needs to juice his rural turnout while dampening his urban and suburban loses. But there’s such a big divide in the country that both might be swinging in different directions — people on the ground in Wisconsin, for instance, apparently think Trump’s rural numbers are going to be higher than in 2016, while he’s even further behind in the suburbs.

In 2016, there was a lot of alarm about suburban Republicans being disaffected by Trump, but they came home at the end. The Trump team is hoping the same happens again and is trying to regain support among independent seniors, another trouble spot. (On the other hand, indications are that he’s picked up among black and Hispanic males.)

The Trump team is skeptical of the traditional model of polling, and believes it is giving a distorted picture of the race. It feels good about Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, and thinks Arizona is close and could break Trump’s way. Then, assuming Trump has held the rest of his 2016 states, it’s a matter of picking off one of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania.

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