Weeks after the 2016 political conventions, the presidential race has stabilized. With Donald Trump having seemingly daily meltdowns, and #Hillary Clinton mostly staying out of the way, the Democrat has opened up a huge lead in the polls. Going by the Real Clear Politics average, Clinton currently leads every major presidential poll by an average of 6.7 points, and has since the end of the Democratic convention. The Democratic candidate also leads by significant margins in every battleground state, including a double-digit lead in Pennsylvania.
Imagine there weren’t any polls -- it’s easy if you try
So what’s the reaction been in Trump world? Trump’s campaign itself has been pushing the dubious, possibly dangerous talking point that if Trump loses, it’ll be because the Democrats cheated or otherwise committed voter fraud. Among the candidates more unhinged online fans, there are other theories. This is probably my personal favorite:
Imagine polls don't exist. Show me evidence Hillary is winning?— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) August 8, 2016
Imagine the evidence didn't exist. Where's the evidence?
Yes, they’re bringing back the “unskewed polls” conspiracy from 2012, based on all the same arguments, even though it was definitively disproven by, you know, the 2012 election. This implies that every polling company -- including Rasmussen and Fox News -- is more invested in creating the appearance of a Hillary Clinton victory than in their own credibility.
Elections aren’t decided by rally crowd sizes
The latest gambit is to argue that Trump is actually winning because his rallies are so much bigger than Clinton’s. This is done by describing a couple of dozen people meeting Clinton’s plane as a “rally,” or taking pictures of the room before the rally starts and calling it “empty,” or, as this video of Tuesday’s Philadelphia rally does, simply denying what’s in front of one’s own lying eyes:
EMBARRASSINGLY LOW TURNOUT FOR HILLARY IN DEMOCRAT STRONGHOLD PHILADELPHIA pic.twitter.com/WIIPT9qMxt— Jack Posobiec❌ (@AngryGoTFan) August 16, 2016
That “embarrassingly low turnout,” as made plainly obvious by the very attached video, is a completely full room.
Does Trump attract more people to his biggest rallies than Clinton does? Perhaps he does. But that’s about as indicative of eventual election results as the candidates’ relative amount of Twitter followers, which is to say, “not at all.” The vast majority of voters will never attend a rally for any candidate. The most people Trump has had at a rally is probably in the tens of thousands; Barack Obama got 66 million votes in 2012.
Speaking of 2012, remember that in the final days of the campaign, Mitt Romney held a huge rally, with thousands in attendance, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, leading a lot of his supporters to conclude that with all that passion -- and all those lawn signs -- Romney was sure to carry Pennsylvania and win the presidency. Obama won Pennsylvania by five points and, of course, the election itself. #Election 2016 #Hillarysstool