Election season is now in full swing, and Realtors® got some first-hand insight on the electoral state-of-play from two of the country’s premier political pollsters.
Peter Hart of Hart Research and Associates and Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies told attendees at the 2016 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo that Americans have real concerns about the state of the political landscape. But like always, the economy is still sharply in focus.
“It always comes back around to the economy, one way or another,” said Hart.
The forum, entitled “Public Opinions: Congressional Impact and the 2016 Elections,” gave Realtors® a peek behind the curtain on the upcoming presidential and congressional elections, including possible outcomes in the 2016 election.
Both Hart and McInturff cited challenges for Republican contender Donald Trump as he struggles to gain a foothold with key demographics. As an example, Bill McInturff highlighted female voters and their importance in the path to victory for any 2016 presidential contenders.
“Romney lost women by 11 points. Trump is currently losing women by 23 points,” said McInturff.
But Hart wasn’t ready to discount some advantages for Trump, citing the country’s desire for “change” over “experience.” He noted that over 60 percent of the country says they value change over experience and continuity.
“Obviously, if you’re Hillary Clinton, you’re going uphill against a country that wants change,” said Hart.
Hart and McInturff also honed in on the role of the “outsider” in the 2016 elections, noting the surprising success of presidential candidates like Donald Trump and also Senator Bernie Sanders [D-VT].
Among the reasons why, Hart pointed to the “hollowing out” of America and a shrinking middle class, citing, “a basic unhappiness with where we’re at and what we’re going through.”
Interestingly, McInturff said that this year’s electorate considers itself better informed than in the past.
According to recent polls, he said, Americans feel they have more information about candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton than they did about President Barack Obama during the 2012 election, a full four years into his term. That may have implications for both candidates’ ability to reshape the race moving forward.
If the Republican and Democratic pollsters agreed on anything, it was the electorate’s continued frustration with the political system.
“The American public keeps trying to give [politicians] a message,” said McInturff. “And somehow, they keep missing it.”
As the founder of Hart Research, Peter Hart has represented more than 55 U.S. senators and 40 governors. Bill McInturff is partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies, and his firm has completed more than 8 million interviews with voters and consumers in all 50 states since its founding in 1991.
Copyright NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.