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Quotes tagged “FiveThirtyEight”
Speaking of which, I often see reporters speculating or predicting that the Clinton campaign is sitting on one or two major pieces of opposition research about Trump, which they’ll leak to the press at a time of maximum strategic advantage. There’s reason to be skeptical of these claims: If the Clinton campaign had something great, wouldn’t they have released it already, especially given that people are already voting in many states?
But the FBI news may slightly increase the chance that we’ll see counter-attacks against Trump. Especially if the polls do tighten, the usually risk-averse Clinton campaign may become more willing to push a story that has some risk of backfiring (say, a serious accusation against Trump that isn’t backed up by more than one source). News organizations and their potential sources may also become more willing to run with these stories if the election becomes closer, taking on more legal and reputational risk, whereas they’d bypass them if Clinton seemed to have the election in the bag.”
This is the opposite of strategy No. 1. Here the Clinton campaign lays low after calculating that the story will die of its own accord. And it may be what we see if the campaign doesn’t see much impact from the FBI news in public and internal polls by early next week. The Clinton campaign woke up Friday morning with a lead of 5 or 6 percentage points nationally. The campaign could afford to lose a point or two, especially if it expects the impact to fade by Election Day.
It can be easy to underestimate how quickly the media can turn from one story to the next. Many stories that seem major at the time wind up garnering no more than two or three days of coverage, provided there’s nothing further to perpetuate them — or if there’s something else that pre-empts them.”
While Clinton herself hasn’t yet attacked Comey’s motivations, her top surrogates and advisors like John Podesta are already doing so. There’s the risk of hypocrisy here given that some of these same Clinton surrogates were praising and defending Comey after the FBI chose not to charge Clinton in July. But the target for arguments like these is not undecided voters who are looking for logical consistency, so much as Democratic partisans who are looking for reasons to feel aggrieved.”
This was Clinton’s initial strategy during her brief press conference on Friday, where she said that ‘the American people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately.’
This approach carries a couple of advantages. First, Clinton may reasonably believe that the details of the case aren’t as bad as the headlines. Voters may fill in the blanks when words like ‘FBI,’ ‘Clinton’ and ‘investigation’ appear in the same headline, even if there’s more smoke than fire to the case. But as more information about the case has come to light, the implications seem less severe for Clinton than they did at first.”
And Trump has succeeded in overperforming among a certain slice of white voters, those without a college degree. But overall, the strategy isn’t working. Trump has a smaller lead among white voters than Mitt Romney did in 2012, and Trump’s margin seems to be falling from where it was when the general election began.”
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