The polls seem to vary more than usual. An ABC News polls has Hillary Clinton up by 12 points at 50 percent for the first time nationally. A CNN/ORC poll has her up by only five points and short of 50 percent. Despite the different sizes of her leads in the polls, Clinton is spending her time pretty much looking past Donald Trump and propping up Democratic Senate candidates. Not a bad idea if she wants to govern with at least one chamber of Congress on her side. But this is assuming she’s the one who is going to be governing. Overconfidence is a dangerous thing.
Clinton spent Monday in New Hampshire with US Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Democratic candidate for Senate Maggie Hassan, the sitting governor of the state. Hassan is locked in a pitched battle with incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte. Ayotte has been hurt by her on and off connection to Trump.
But the fact that Clinton—and Pres. Obama for that matter—are paying so much attention to down-ticket races is telling. This past weekend Clinton was propping up Democratic Senate challengers Deborah Ross (North Carolina) and Katie McGinty (Pennsylvania). They think a victory Nov. 8th is a fait accompli. That’s dangerous.
With the exception of Pennsylvania, the battleground states are definitely not decided. Trump leads in Ohio. In most generally accepted polls, Clinton leads by a small margin in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and even Arizona. But nothing is certain especially since there is the chance that there are a good number of “secret” Trump voters—those who are voting for Trump but aren’t telling anyone. Sounds far-fetched but so has everything that has happened in this election. Put a big top over it because it’s a circus.
The Clinton people are not the only ones who have concluded she’s already won the White House. Some GOP groups are already running we-need-checks-and-balances ads. The US Chamber of Commerce has launched an ad campaign in New Hampshire that urges votes to back Republican US Sen. Kelly Ayotte as a way to keep Hillary in check. The ad doesn’t mention Clinton but the intention is clear.
If somehow Trump finds a way to 270 electoral votes then the polls, Clinton campaign and even some Republican groups won’t have egg on their faces, they’ll have an entire omelet with cheese and tomatoes on them.
Clinton might be wise to keep her eye on the ball.