July 23, 2016
Donald Trump Tied With Hillary Clinton In Ohio, According To New Poll

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are supposedly tied in the state of Ohio, with each presidential candidate sharing 44 percent of the vote, and with 11 percent still undecided.

This deadlock emerged even before Trump's acceptance speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, a Suffolk University poll indicates.

The Suffolk data was gathered from a telephone survey of 500 likely voters from July 18 through July 20. Among other things contained in these findings, Ohioans are roughly divided about Trump's proposal to temporarily ban Muslim immigration and whether Clinton, the Democratic standard-bearer, should have been criminally charged in the email/private server scandal.

Both candidates still have high unfavorables, as other polling data has also shown.

Clinton does a little better with Suffolk when third-party candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson are included in the mix. Traditionally, and this is far from a traditional election, third-party support dwindles as Election Day nears.

Ohio governor and unsuccessful presidential hopeful John Kasich, a Republican who is not on the Trump train and didn't even attend the convention, even though it was in his backyard, claims that his party's nominee "will have a hard time winning Ohio" because his message is too divisive, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Kasich said he won't vote for Clinton, either.

The Thursday night acceptance speech seemed to benefit Trump, however, with a CNN/ORC instant poll suggesting that 56 percent of the viewers were more likely to vote for the New York real estate mogul after the presentation.

Recent polls have shown Donald Trump gaining ground in other battleground or swing states in addition to Ohio, such as Florida and Pennsylvania, that could go either way in the presidential election.

Why are these states so significant? "Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida are generally considered the three most important swing states for winning the electoral college. No candidate has won the presidency without winning at least two of them since 1960," Fortune detailed.

The Real Clear Politics average of 10 national polls indicates that Hillary Clinton now only has a two percentage point edge over Trump, with three of the 10 now giving Trump a narrow lead. At this stage, national polls are far less meaningful since the presidential contest is fought on a state-by-state basis in the Electoral College.

Rasmussen's weekly poll, which predated the Trump speech, now gives Donald Trump a two-point lead over Clinton, a drop from his six-point lead a week ago. "This is the fourth week in a row that Trump has been statistically ahead."

Since the beginning of the primary season, pundits and political insiders were dismissive of Trump's chances to capture the GOP nomination, let alone winning the general election.

Although most media outlets continue to insist that Trump trails Clinton by quite a lot in finding a path to the required 270 electoral votes to win the White House, the Trump campaign apparently is outperforming in some areas. "[A] pollster for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz...identified bellwether counties in seven battleground states that have correctly predicted the statewide outcome in each of the last four elections. Entering the convention, Mr. Trump had the lead in six—in Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Mrs. Clinton posted her only advantage in Loudon County, Va. And Mr. Trump's lead had grown this month in five of those counties, compared with the June survey," the Wall Street Journal explained.

The Suffolk poll numbers, moreover, preceded the Wikileaks revelations of how the Democratic National Committee apparently sought to undermine the Bernie Sanders candidacy in favor of Hillary Clinton. Against the backdrop of thousands of Bernie-Or-Bust advocates descending upon Philadelphia this week for the DNC convention, it remains to be seen if the #DNCLeaks will move the poll numbers further in Trump's direction, or away from Clinton to undecided.

Hillary Clinton may get some positive traction out of her convention, which starts Monday. Reacting to Donald Trump's acceptance speech, GOP pollster Frank Luntz, the chap who often conducts focus groups that are aired on the Fox News Channel, tweeted that "Mark my words: This speech will put Trump even or ahead of Hillary in polls by Monday, when the Democratic convention begins."

Polls generally have a so-called margin of error of about three to four percent. That being said, it is an open question as to whether in the current highly politicized/polarized environment, a voter would share his or her true feelings with a stranger on the telephone, to a "machine" of some kind, or even (to a lesser extent) via the internet.

Parenthetically, Newsmax claims that an unpublished poll "shows Trump tied with Clinton — each with 43 percent — in heavily Democratic Connecticut."

It's worth mentioning, moreover, that pollsters have been way off in some recent elections, such as Brexit in the U.K., so as the cliché goes, the only poll that matters is on Election Day in November. Information consumers should also be aware that some polling firms have an ideological and/or financial stake in adjusting methodology to arrive at a particular outcome.

Pro-Trump websites such as Gateway Pundit and Zero Hedge have suggested that some polling data is skewed in Hillary Clinton's favor by oversampling Democrats.

Separately, given that disruptions from protesters that failed to materialize outside the Cleveland convention in any significant way, Donald Trump called Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams while he was meeting with his officers outside the Quicken Loans Arena to thank the chief and his department for a job well done.

"He just wanted to thank us, the Cleveland Division of Police and law enforcement here, for a nice safe week for everybody," said Chief Williams. "That it wasn't like people predicted. Even not like he predicted."

"You should all be very, very proud of yourselves and Calvin has done amazing," Donald Trump asserted to the group of officers who listening to the conversation on speakerphone. "So I just want to thank all of you for the great job you've done."

[Photo by Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx/AP]