Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump debated Monday night.
Tuesday morning's conventional wisdom says the debate was long on losers -- Lester Holt, Chicago, the truth -- and produced only one winner: Barron Trump, 10, who is reputed to be "so good with these computers, it's unbelievable."
Ignore the spin. Let's pay closer attention to something tangible, something real. Like this tangible, really bad poll paid for by Breitbart News and believed by no one.
Trump and Clinton are in a dead heat in Minnesota, tied 43 percent to 43 percent, according to an "EXCLUSIVE" poll conducted this past weekend. Simultaneous polls in Pennsylvania and North Carolina found Trump tightening on Clinton's leads, with her tiny advantages in both states falling inside the margin of error.
"Minnesota is the perfect example" of Trump's nationwide surge, says pollster Pat Cadell, the spooky-looking pundit Fox News often wheels out after applying shoe polish to his head. Cadell continued: “Minnesota has been a close state in past elections, even though the Democrats always seem to win it, it was close in 2000 and 2004."
This would be a good point. If it weren't a bad point. Those old elections reveal that Democratic candidates, even lame ones, tend to overperform their national average in Minnesota. In 2000, George W. Bush lost the national popular vote, 47.9 percent to Al Gore's 48.4; in Minnesota, Bush got 45.5 percent to Gore's 47.9 percent. (More than 5 percent of Minnesotans voted Ralph Nader.)
In 2004, John Kerry won Minnesota with 51 percent to Bush's 47.6. Nationwide, Bush won by 50.7 percent to Kerry's 48.3 percent.
Point is: If a Republican managed to win Minnesota, it won't matter, because he'll have won the rest of the country in a landslide.
Here are some fun stories about Gravis Marketing, the polling company that inked an exclusive -- "EXCLUSIVE" -- deal to do Breitbart's polling this campaign season.
It seems Gravis has a history of shading results just a liiiiitle bit in favor of flamboyant, Tea Party-style outsiders challenging inside-the-Beltway incumbents. (Scenario sound familiar?) In Kentucky, Gravis had GOP U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell at 48 percent, and his wacky Republican primary opponent at 34 percent; McConnell won 60 percent to 35 percent. In Texas, GOP U.S. Sen. John Cornyn had a 43-28 lead over a fringe-right candidate, whom Gravis described as "gaining." Cornyn won 59-19.
Those blown calls had Slate calling Gravis "the worst poll in America." It gets worse.
This year, in Maryland, Gravis conducted a Congressional poll for yet another conservative outsider, and found the right-wing challenger winning 58 percent to the incumbent's 29 percent; in fact, the incumbent won, 78 percent to 11 percent, a difference of 96 percent from what Gravis had.
Probably, Hillary's ahead of Trump by something by something like the results in a recent Star Tribune poll (44 percent to 38 percent) or this week's Survey USA/KSTP results (Clinton 46 percent, Trump 39).
But if Gravis is as wrong as they've been in the past... maybe Clinton's ahead 75-25. Or 92-8! 95-25?
Trying to adjust for numbers collected by the wiz kids at Gravis for the mouthbreathers at Breitbart is virtually impossible. Not the sort of math you can do in your head.
Quickly, Barron! To the computer!
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