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The real significance of the (first) Trump tape

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frankenstein

The LA Times does a daily poll tracking the presidential general election. This poll has had a very strong house effect in Trump’s favor for the entire campaign, and it’s been a big outlier from just about every other poll, so I think it’s predictive value is probably close to nil.

But I think the latest edition, which was taken yesterday, is interesting for another reason, which it’s the first general election poll done after Friday’s tape imbroglio, and it was taken even as many high-ranking Republicans (although as Scott points out none of the party leadership) abandoned Trump.

What this poll at least suggests is that, among the electorate, collapsing support for Trump among GOP elites may well have no discernible effect whatsoever. And really, this makes sense: if you were willing to vote for Trump before Friday, despite everything, why would this tape (and indeed whatever bombshells the Clinton campaign has got in the hopper, which I assume include some stuff that’s even more damning) change your mind?

At best I can see the tape and whatever else is in the pipeline costing Trump a percentage point or two among his softest/least likely to vote support, which would of course be very significant in a close election, which this isn’t. And I suppose this kind of stuff makes the odds of some sort of last-minute turnaround longer.

But the real significance, I think, is that it’s causing an open rupture between many GOP elites and some candidates on the one hand, and the vast, vast majority of GOP voters on the other. In other words, this fiasco could well cost the GOP dearly down ballot, while Trump still gets 45.8% of the vote or whatever.

In this way, the whole affair is a perfect encapsulation of the Frankenstein’s Monster aspect of the Trump phenomenon. The modern GOP created him, and now the party (in the sense of The Party Decides thesis) wants to escape him, but it can’t and it won’t.

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