New polls show Clinton is facing a turnout crisis that could hand the White House to Trump
Is the bottom about to fall out for the Clinton campaign?
Hillary is maintaining her lead in both head to head polls and the Electoral College count because of Democrats’ long-standing advantage in voter registration numbers and turnout.
In fact, she’s even gone so far as to predict she will ride into the White House on the back of record-setting turnout.
“I believe that we may have a record-setting turnout this election. Some folks who follow this are saying we could have the biggest turnout we’ve ever had,” Clinton said Tuesday at a rally in North Carolina, which is currently tilted towards Trump.
“[E]arly information is actually quite encouraging,” she added. “We’re seeing spikes in early voting. And we’re seeing voting rates among African-Americans, Latinos, and young people going up.”
But she may be missing the forest for the trees.
Even if there is anecdotal evidence of higher-than-usual early voting by youth and minorities, larger poll numbers reveal she is facing a voter turnout crisis.
A new Gallup poll, released Monday, finds only 65 percent of Democrats says they plan to vote this year, with younger Democrats among the most likely to stay home.
Sixty-five percent may sound like a lot, but it’s a sign of death.
It’s the lowest turnout figure in 16 years, dating back to the 2000 election when another Clinton administration figure, Al Gore, lost to George W. Bush, despite polls showing him with a narrow lead.
Among Republicans, 76 percent say they intend to vote, but that is also a 16-year-low.
“Still, by 76% to 65%, Republicans remain more likely than Democrats to say they will definitely vote — a gap that is similar to 2012, but higher than in previous elections,” Gallup reports. “Further, the 65% of Democrats saying they will definitely vote is well below their average for the prior four presidential elections (77%), whereas the 76% of Republicans saying they will definitely vote is only a bit lower than their prior average (81%).”
“One reason for the decline in Democrats’ intent to vote could be the depressed percentage of young voters this year saying they will definitely vote — now at 47%, down from 58% in 2012 and from a peak of 74% in 2008,” Gallup reports.
Depressed Democrat turnout could hurt Clinton in several key states.
According to poll averages maintained by Real Clear Politics, in states where one candidate holds a commanding lead, Clinton leads Trump by an Electoral College count of 188 to 165. States where one candidate’s lead is less than five percent account for the remaining 185 votes.
That puts Clinton 82 votes short of the 270 needed to win, and Trump 105 votes short.
When you use poll averages to declare a winner, regardless of margin of error, Clinton beats Trump 292-246.
But even a slight downturn in Democrat turnout could throw a monkey-wrench into that.
In Florida, which accounts for 29 votes, Clinton leads by an average of only 0.5 percent.
If a slight drop in Democrat turnout erased Clinton’s 0.5 percent Florida lead, Trump would win the election 275-263.
That’s why Clinton was hammering on youth turnout just 24 hours after the Gallup poll came out.
She knows her commanding lead is balanced on very fragile poll numbers.
Keep an eye on Democrat turnout.
It could determine whether Clinton’s poll leads translate into a win, or whether she joins Al Gore on the list of Clinton associates done-in by Democrats staying home.