Much has been recently about the recent trio of surveys released by Quinnipiac University showing (results here) showing a tight race in the battleground states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
While it certainly does help to generate attention (and clicks) to highlight these curious results, it should be noted that this was only one poll. Trends, I assert, are more important that a single datapoint.
There are two recent polls that also show an upending of the traditional political landscape, but this is only a point in time. As with the Quinnipiac results, it will take more polling to see if this is a trend.
In March of this year, Deseret News ran a poll (article here) that asked 500 likely voters who they would cast their vote for in a hypothetical contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. With a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points, this poll shows Clinton topping Trump by 2 points by a margin of 38-36.
For background, you should know that since 1988 (the last seven American presidential elections), the Republican Party nominee has won the state. In fact, since 1992 (the last four elections), the average margin of victory for the Republican nominee has been 43.01 percentage points.
Utah is about as safe and as solid a Republican state that a state in the American union can be. For a poll to show that the presidential nominee from the Democratic Party could even come close, much less surpass, a Republican nominee is a political earthquake on a cosmic scale.
But it’s only one poll.
The second poll for today’s post comes from Arizona.
Again, for background, I will point out that since 1988, the state of Arizona has given its votes in the Electoral College to the Republican Party six out of the seven past elections. The only Republican loss was then Bill Clinton defeated Bob Dole in 1996 by a margin of 46-44. In the last four elections, the average margin of victory by the Republican Party has been 8.8 percentage points. In my tally of American states, I list Arizona as “Mostly” Republican. This means it is fairly certain to vote for that party, but that it is not impossible (although improbable) for the state to flip to the other party.
My “Mostly” ranking could be in peril courtesy of this poll from the Behavioral Research Center. Taken in April of this year, 564 registered voters were asked their preference of presidential candidates given the options of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (results here). Clinton wins by 7 percentage points by a lead of 42-35. The margin of error in this survey is 4.2 percentage points so it is conceivable that this survey shows a Trump victory by a margin of 39.2-37.8. That hypothetical Trump win by only 1.4 percentage points is far below the four-election average of 8.8 percentage points for the Republicans. A Democratic Party victory of 7 percentage points (and with the margin of error taken into effect, it could be as high as 15.4 percentage points) is also far below the Republican average since 1992.
But it’s only one poll.