Frank Luntz On 2016: 'This Should’ve Been A Slam Dunk for the GOP'

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Oct 24, 2016 2:00 PM
Frank Luntz On 2016: 'This Should’ve Been A Slam Dunk for the GOP'

As news organizations predict total Clinton victory, GOP pollster Frank Luntz isn’t one to offer such projections since there are enough undecideds across the country that can turn this election in Donald Trump’s favor. At the same time, Luntz did note on his appearance on CBS’ Face The Nation that he has never seen so many interparty battles raging at time when the party should be devoting all of their attention to defeating Hillary Clinton.

He added that there are Trump voters who will vote at the top of the ticket, but would refuse to vote down-ballot to send a message to the establishment, while you have independent voters who want to vote Republican down-ticket, but find that those candidates are too aligned with Trump.

Another criticism Luntz lobbed was that Trump’s Gettysburg speech this weekend, where he outlined his agenda for the first 100 days, should have been addressed weeks, or maybe months ago. He noted that when 70 million people watched the third and final debate last week, that’s when the agenda should have been articulated. After all, his own focus group showed that a) Trump dominates on trade; and b) even Hillary-leaning voters were more receptive to Trump’s language on the economy. But they all noted that they were thirsty for more details.

Trump has talked about how Romney lost a winnable election. This very well could be history repeating itself on November 8. Guy mentioned how the attacks on Clinton’s character are working, but it’s proven to be insufficient in terms of beating her. The latest CBS Florida Senate poll showed that 67 percent felt Clinton was dishonest, 56 percent feel she can’t relate to regular people, and a plurality said she served herself while being our top diplomat at the State Department. Maybe a little more detail from Trump and staying focused could have made all the difference and maybe reversed the media narrative we have right now.

Luntz noted that this campaign has prided itself in speaking for the workingman, the forgotten workers of this economy swallowed up by free trade and Obamanomics, but Trump’s attention has been on attacking the media, pushing back against the women accusing him of sexual misconduct (ineffectively), and the Republican Party (i.e. Paul Ryan). In that instance, the voice of the voters he claims to speak for is lost. While he does well about holding people accountable and on budgetary matters, he tanks when he lobs personal attacks on Clinton, especially Bill.

“I have never seen a campaign that has less discipline, less focus, less of an effective vision at a time when more Americans are demanding a change in how their government works. This should have been a slam dunk for the GOP,” said Luntz.

Reuters project Clinton to win 326 electoral votes, but Trump still has a slim path to 270. It is a grim picture. Even if Trump wins Ohio and Florida, he still short of 270. He needs to win Nevada and Colorado, which is a tall order this late in the game. If he loses Nevada and Colorado, he would need to win Pennsylvania, a state that hasn’t gone Republican since 1988, to win the election. Again, another steep hill to climb. ABC News noted other ways Trump could go to get to 270, which include winning New Hampshire. Another state that looks out of reach two weeks out from Election Day.

A perfect combination of states with fewer electoral votes could also place Trump in the White House. Victories in all of the small states in play -- including Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and the second Congressional district of Maine -- would give Trump exactly 270 electoral votes. And although Iowa and Nevada appear within reach, a WMUR/UNH poll shows New Hampshire is leaning toward Clinton -- she’s ahead by a whopping 15 percentage points.

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The wildcard options include: 1) winning Wisconsin, the second Congressional district of Maine, plus either Nevada or Iowa 2) winning Virginia and either Nevada or Iowa or New Hampshire 3) winning Michigan and the second congressional district of Maine and 4) winning Colorado, Iowa and either Nevada or New Hampshire.

There's still a lot of time to go, folks. Trump has a tall hill to climb, but we'll just have to see what happens on November 8.