Democrats for Trump
We've seen a few high-profile Republicans say they intend to vote for Hillary Clinton. But what about rank-and-file Democrats who intend to vote for Donald Trump? Yes, they exist, and they are this year's wild card:
Paul Sracic, a Youngstown State University political scientist, believes there are two categories of voters rallying to support Trump. “First, there are people who don’t normally vote,” he said. “Nearly half the voting-age population was either not registered to vote, or was registered and decided not to vote in 2012. And if even 10 percent of that group was to show up and vote this year, it could easily change the outcome in the important swing states.”
Sracic—who frankly admits he obsesses over opinion polls—wonders whether these voters are even represented in the endless presidential surveys: “If people aren’t registered voters, they won’t be picked up by most polls. If they are registered voters but don’t normally vote, they may be eliminated by ‘likely voter’ screens pollsters use.” Romney lost Pennsylvania in 2012 by about 300,000 votes out of about 5.5 million cast; in Ohio, he lost by less than 200,000. “So bringing new people in can make a difference,” Sracic said.
Potentially more significant, however, are those voters who “flip”—Sracic’s second category. “Remember,” he said, “taking a Democratic voter and having them vote Republican is both a +1 and a -1. In other words, if Romney lost Pennsylvania by 300,000 voters, all you have to do [this time] is flip slightly more than 150,000 votes.” Between Ohio and Pennsylvania, if approximately 225,000 voters (out of the 11 million who are expected on Election Day) switch parties, they could tip the entire election.
We remain agnostic on Trump's chances in Pennsylvania, which hasn't voted for a GOP presidential candidate since 1988.
But Ohio? No Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio. And polls out this week show Trump ahead in the state.
He needs another swing state to make it over the 270 electoral votes required to win the presidency, but trails in the larger ones like Colorado and Virginia. That could change over the next month or so. But for now, those lifelong Democrats who are turning their backs on Hillary could be the folks who make the difference.