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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

The State of the Race - the Conservative Perspective

John Mclaughlin, CEO and Partner of Mclaughlin and Associates
New York, NY
November 8, 2016

Date: 11/08/2016 Description: The State of the Race - the Conservative Perspective Special Briefing by John Mclaughlin, CEO and Partner of Mclaughlin and Associates - State Dept Image


MODERATOR: (In progress) – company. Among his clients this year was the Donald Trump campaign, so I’m sure you’ll have lots of good questions for him. Just a few housekeeping items before we get started. After he makes his remarks, which he is also going to be using this PowerPoint presentation, we will open the floor for questions. Today’s briefing is on the record. We have to ask that you wait for the microphone to ask your questions, including your follow-up questions, otherwise we will not be able to get this transcribed on a transcript that we can share with you afterwards. When you get the microphone, please state your name and your media affiliation. And welcome again and thank you for being here.

MR MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you, Daphne. Thank you very much. It’s always good – as pollsters, we like to look – American pollsters, we like to look at slides and pictures. That’s all right. Not loud enough? Is that better? Okay, maybe that’s better still. Good, all right.

So anyway, so there’s something going on today anyway. We have an election today, which is something that we in America like to do a lot because it keeps the pollsters busy, keeps us in business. And I think what you’re going to see is I’m going to show you some slides from national polls and tell you what the trends in the election were. And the good part for the United States today is without a doubt, there may be things that I say here that you might three or four hours from now you’ll say oh, he was wrong, but we will – there will be reasons why I say the things that show that – the first glitch there. Have we lost power? There it is. That’s all right, that’s all right. Well, anyway, I’ll keep going.

But the one thing certain, I think you’re going to have a record turnout in the United States of voters, where four years ago we had 129 million Americans go and vote and about 90 million Americans who are eligible to vote didn’t vote. So out of that 129 million who voted for president, probably most of them are coming back out today, but we’ll probably have a turnout that will be over 140 million, maybe closer to 150 million, based on the early reports that are coming out, and also the reports that the polls were very close.

Just going through some of the trends here, the first – on the first slide you’ll see the direction of the United States. Two-thirds of the Americans consistently through 2014 through the last election have thought our country has been on the wrong track. And for the politicians, for the candidates running for office this year, a lot of the chasing of the public opinion numbers was to attract voters who are in that majority that think it’s on the wrong track. And for those who are in office, particularly Democrats who – with the White House, their job is to make sure that the wrong-track vote didn’t coalesce against their challengers or the Republicans.

And you can see on the second slide as far as people, when they were – if they were voting for Clinton, 51 percent said right direction, 39 wrong track, but the Trump voters 88 to 8 wrong track. Those who were voting for another candidate like the Libertarian Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, 80 percent thought wrong track, and the undecideds thought wrong track 64 to 15. So you’ve heard people talk about there may be a hidden vote for Trump. It’s not hidden. It’s these people who say the country is on the wrong track that weren’t voting for him right away, and there’s probably about 10, 12 percent of the electorate that feels that way.

That’s our president’s job approval. He’s been pretty polarizing. He was upside down until earlier this year until about May, and then as he’s getting closer to retirement his job approval would go up because there’s less that he’s doing. But you can see there going back to the early part of 2014 and going back to November of 2014, he was totally upside down with a 56 disapprove, 41 approve. And all these polls are among likely voters or people who vote on Election Day. And the Republicans – the reason in the midterms we took over the Senate and increased our majority in the House was precisely because the president was – most Americans disagreed with the policies that he was going at the time. And it really – it’s still very polarized. Slightly positive for him.

There was a question we started asking last September, and the last time we asked it publicly and published it, and a lot of these numbers are on our website on The last time we published it was in May, but we’ve been asking this in virtually all the surveys and it really hasn’t changed. But we asked, “Do you want to continue the policies of Barack Obama or do you want to change and move in a different direction?”

And you’ll see there was consistently, when we took an international poll and we published it, the last time it was 56/34 they want change. The first time we asked it in September it was change 57/34. And those of you who are watching American TV and watching the ads from the campaigns and then getting the digital ads and different things, you’ll see that Donald Trump is pushing the message of change quite heavily along with a lot of other Republicans that are running, precisely because the majority of Americans they think the country is on the wrong track, they want to change and move in a different direction. Even within that group though, you’ll get, like during the primaries, the Bernie Sanders voters. They want to go change, but they want to go farther left. But most Americans wanted to – want a change where they go back to more centrist positions.

And you can see there that for those people that wanted change, just to tell you how it drives the vote, if they were voting for Clinton they wanted to continue those policies 62/25. Those who were voting for Trump, they want change 92 to 4. Those who are undecided they want change 55/23.

Those are Hillary Clinton’s – that’s the average – those are Hillary Clinton’s unfavorables there, where you can see she’s upside down with a 41 favorable, 44 unfavorable going into the final month of the – final week of the campaign. And by the way, these numbers are from either our numbers or the RealClearPolitics website. This is not from any of the campaigns internals, but there’s so many polls in the United States that you can pretty much see the same kind of numbers everywhere. And then in an earlier poll you can see just a lot of the election, if they were voting for Trump they were unfavorable to Clinton 92 to 6, but if they were undecided they were unfavorable to her as well 55/15. If they were voting for another candidate she was unfavorable 84 percent, 14 favorable.

And you can see that Donald Trump – and one thing about Secretary Clinton that you knew her kind of campaign, when she was unpopular and she was unpopular for so long, looking at that trend there where she was upside down for certainly all of this year and last year. The one thing she had to do was to drive Donald Trump’s negatives to be slightly higher than hers so she’d have a chance of winning, and most of her campaign was directing character attacks at Donald Trump. So he’s going into the last week, it’s about even with – it actually evened in a lot of the polls this week where they were – they had roughly the same favorable, same unfavorable.

And her – when you’re asked what do you like least about her, the number one answer would come back was dishonest, dishonest and corrupt. And with Trump it would come back that it was his temperament. And a lot of what went on in the last week was if you were asking them which was the more important factor to decide your vote, it used to be two weeks ago Trump’s temperament, now it’s Clinton’s corruption, and that’s what the contest was.

When you look to the generic ballot for Congress, dead heat, so you’re probably not going to see much of a change at all in certainly our Congress. They’re talking about out of the 435 seats maybe 10 change, maybe Republicans lose a handful. But they’ll keep control of the House. And that’s why, because it’s pretty polarized right now and a lot of these districts are gerrymandered or cut in such a way that it certainly helps their incumbents, the majority.

And the same – it’ll probably be – the Senate might be different because you have so many Republican seats up this year. Out of the 34 you’ve 24 Republicans up and so the Democrats have a chance to gain.

If you look at the Affordable Care Act, most Americans think it’s unpopular. But that number where it’s starting to curve down, that was before this month. That was taken before this month when all the premiums have decided to go up and most – a lot of people with their private plans and their own premiums were going up.

Americans, they favor smaller government unless you’re talking about Social Security and Medicare. But when they – when you ask them, “Do you favor smaller government with fewer services, large government with many services,” 5 to 3 they prefer a smaller government.

And these are the average of the media polls. These are not my polls. These are the media polls that – but it gives us a point to talk about. You can see there are times over the past few months times Clinton and Trump were tied. Within the last week there was some momentum and he’s – on the average of these polls he’s within two. I will caution the one thing that could be different right now is knowing that when I was in the office this morning and I was getting reporters driving in, knowing that there’s a higher turnout going on right now, you could see a new coalition where the model changes. Most of these polls here are based on models that have 6 points or greater Democrat affiliation or registration. So like some of the polls that – like ABC News is like 7 to 8 points more Democrat than Republican – if the actual turnout is closer, those polls could be a dead heat right now, and we’ll find out in three hours, like I said. But I think you can see a new coalition.

Here are some of those media polls where – there are actually two that came out today with the Investor’s Business Daily that had Trump ahead, and there was an LA Times poll that had Trump ahead as well. But most of the others, because of the model, had Clinton ahead. And if they win the turnout battle, I mean, one of the things I’ve said to the press is that the Clinton campaign, they truly – and the Democrat operation is truly a machine. It’s a very well-run organization. They’re very good at turnout. The difference is the Trump campaign is more of a mob, and the mob is coming out in places today where people on their own are just from their own passion and enthusiasm are coming out.

And as we came into today, when you look at our Electoral College where you have – where you need 27 to win, entering today there was 164 for Trump and there was – this is an average of media polls based on the states – a lot of these came out in the last week or couple days or over the weekend. Clinton and Kaine were 203. There was 171 pure tossups, 14 states pure tossups which are being decided right now. The early vote was baked and a lot of the early vote in certain places, you see some of the states – they have a tossup in Arizona, but in Arizona the absentee ballots there’s 100,000 Republicans than Democrats. Colorado the Republicans in the early vote, there was 19,000 more of them, 775,000 to 756,000 for the Democrats. Turnout is up in Georgia. There is no party affiliation there, but it looks good for the Republicans. Florida the Republicans trailed in the early vote out of like 6 million votes that were cast by 78,000, which being that close is smaller than the deficit Romney had going into the election, so Florida will be really close and that will be the bellwether to look at tonight. And then you got Iowa – the Republicans have done better than they did four years ago. Nevada they did better than they did four years ago. In North Carolina there’s 115,000 more Republicans votes cast than in 2012 while the Democrats dropped 6 percent. In Ohio the Democrats appear to be off with the turnout is down in the big counties out there. So a lot of these – a lot of these tossup states, basically the turnout in those states is like literally, if you had 50 million people vote nationally already early, you’re having another 100 million people go out today that are deciding these elections. And I think it’ll be over 140 million, but it’ll be – it could be 150 million.

And there’s the Senate seats, and you can see there’s eight pure tossups in the Senate seats out of the 34 that are up and the Republicans are defending most of them. In the House, there’s only 21 tossups in the House, pure tossups, but I’m pretty certain that the Republicans will keep the House because the generic vote is very close and people are definitely coming out and voting today.

So with that I’ll take some questions if anybody has any questions. By the way, did everyone vote here today? (Laughter.) There’s got to be some dual-citizens someplace, right?

QUESTION: Thank you so much. Is this on?


QUESTION: Okay, great. Mr. McLaughlin, two questions. Could you unpack this? You said when you polled many likely voters, they expressed the opinion that the country is on the wrong track.


QUESTION: Could you unpack that a bit? What exactly did you read from that, or what exactly did they mean from that? And just – and two, you said that the Bernie Sanders people, they want to go left, and the Donald Trump people, they want to go more centrist.


QUESTION: Could you kind of like unpack a little bit in terms of what exactly you mean by that?

MR MCLAUGHLIN: Right. What it is – and there’s a lot of media polls out there – not just our polls, our polls are up online when those are in the published monthly polls that we put out. But there’s a lot of media polls ask the same question. It’s a very simple question: Do you think – and you usually ask it right up front in the poll where you say, “Do you think things in the country are heading in the right direction or they’ve seriously gotten off on the wrong track?” And it’s pretty simple. There’s about two-thirds of people saying wrong track. And the Democrats are split on it, but the Republicans it’s like 90 percent wrong track. And independents are usually 2 to 1 wrong track, like the overall whole of the electorate.

But when you ask them why it’s on the wrong track, they’ll tell you the economy is bad, there aren’t jobs. Six out of 10 Americans still think we’re in a recession. They think we never got out of the 2008 recession. And so politicians and then candidates who start saying oh, we’ve recovered and unemployment rate is down, they get laughed at because most Americans know people left the job market. I mean there’s an unemployment statistic U6 which is up. We have the highest level of Americans who are eligible to work that aren’t participating in the workforce right now because of that. So they’ll tell you it’s the economy. They’ll tell you it’s their personal situation. They’ll tell you it’s their health care. And this year – well, since really since the election two years ago, there’s an element of it where people will say it’s national security or terrorism. So all those worries are saying we’ve got to do better, go in a different direction, and they’re in favor of change. So – but there’s pretty strong sentiments that the country’s not in the right place, and there’s really – there’s really three things related to it also where they just don’t think we’re on the wrong track, they think we’re in decline. And they also think their children, when you ask them, are not going to be better off than they were, which is a really bad situation for Americans because we were always optimistic that things would be better, our children – we would leave them a better country and we would leave them a better life than we had. And right now Americans are really worried about that. And then just in their day-to-day lives they just don’t see America as being as strong as it once was and as secure as it once was, and it’s a place in the world where they actually – for those of us who live in New York and have lived here – I’ve lived here all my life, but there’s a 9/11 syndrome that hasn’t gone away that even today you can see the security around town and everything where we’re worried about something bad could happen. And that all merges into that huge wrong-track sentiment for the United States, and they’re really looking for a leader that will make things better.

Does that get to your – the core of your question?

QUESTION: Yes. And Bernie Sanders --

MODERATOR: Wait for the microphone.


QUESTION: Sorry. The Bernie Sanders/Donald Trump dichotomy, could you unpack that please?

MR MCLAUGHLIN: Sure. There’s an element of populism to this where the President is seen as a left-of-center president, that he’s a liberal, and so they look at his policies. And if you happen to be left-of-center or liberal, maybe you don’t think he went far enough, you don’t think ObamaCare has gone far enough, you think it should be single payer, you think there should be more laws to regulate the economy. So there’s a part of his party that doesn’t think he’s gone far enough.

Then most Americans, when you ask what their ideology is, most American voters will tell you that they’re either a moderate or they’re right-of-center. And those voters think he’s gone too far – too far in his policies, that they think taxes are too high, they think regulations are too much on the economy, they look – they’re looking for more opportunity and freedom in their lives. So that’s a part of that.

QUESTION: Hi, I’m Anna from the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paolo. Since we are talking about change, Donald Trump is a huge one inside his party. What do you think is going to happen to the GOP regardless if Trump wins or loses?

MR MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it’s significantly different if he wins because then he’s, in theory, in charge of the party. But even if he doesn’t, even if he doesn’t win, he’s changed the Republican Party. But really he – a good part of this, a lot of times leaders arise to be in the right place at the right time, and he beat a field of 17 – he was the top in 17 candidates, major candidates, and they were great candidates. You had senators, you had governors, you had people that were – when the Republicans looked at it, we had a great field of candidates. And a lot of people didn’t expect him to come through.

I’ve known him a long time and I spoke to him early on, but it’s – the one thing that was motivating the Republicans, when I showed you the president’s ratings, his job approval, the Republicans, if you ask them on job approval, it’s 90 percent disapprove, and they blame him for things in the country not going well. So to me, at times Trump was running the most successful campaign because he was challenging the president directly, as well as Secretary Clinton, and he was running the most aggressive campaign. So the Republican grassroots and the Republican primary voters who came out at record levels this year, they responded to his challenge that the country was not good, that immigration was – the system is broken, the trade deals are bad, we’re losing our jobs, we’re weaker. They really responded to that. And a lot of these other candidates that we’re talking about, they got – I don’t live in Washington, but the ones who do, they’ve got a different view of the world where they think things are fine and they’re going to talk about these wonderful, positive policies. And when the average person is hurting around the country, they don’t want to hear that. That’s why Trump is the nominee.

And he’s – a lot of those voters, if he’s not successful, they’re going to be looking to him and saying, “What’s next?” So regardless of what happens on – today, in the next couple hours, he’s going to be seen as the leader of the party.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) Paul Ryan (inaudible)?

MR MCLAUGHLIN: Paul Ryan, he’s elected by the House – he will be – and technically, if Trump doesn’t win, technically he’s the highest-ranking Republican in the government, but he’s not elected by the people. He’s elected by one district and then he’s elected by members of the House. And Paul Ryan is a very good speaker. He’s a very good conservative. He’s very intelligent and forceful. But what the people will be looking for is will Paul Ryan – usually after the election it happens, if Hillary Clinton is successful, which I’m not sure she’s going to be but we’ll find out soon, but the – what the Republican rank and file will be looking for is: Is he going to be strong enough to stop any bad policies she’s going to put in? I mean, the American public for a long time – we were asking that question about change or continuing policies. That was replacing a strategy question which we developed in like 2009 for the House leadership when the Republicans decided the Obama budget was bad, the stimulus was bad, the ObamaCare was bad, and they decided to stand in opposition, which won us the House of Representatives. And I got a feeling that the Republicans are not going to – and that’s why you’re going to see the Republican House re-elected is the fear of if she were to be elected president, then there’d have to be a check and balance on her. So – and that’s going to get a lot of these Republicans re-elected today. They’re in tough races because just precisely like the fear of her being elected and continuing those policies, they want to stop them. So that – Ryan’s – that will be Ryan’s job. That will be his – and to be the – a well-liked, well-regarded leader in our party, he’s going to have that challenge. He’s got to be able to do that.

QUESTION: Hello, Hajime Matsuura of Japan’s Sankei Shimbun. Thanks for coming. Two questions, please. There’s an article that when Mr. Trump entered a polling site today there was a big boo. Why do you think in his hometown he’s – he tends to receive negative coverage? That’s my first question.

The second question, aiding Mr. Trump’s campaign, what was the favorite thing that happened the last two or three months, and what’s the worst thing that happened the past two or thee months?

MR MCLAUGHLIN: Well, actually, I’m not sure – I watched some videotapes of that – whether it was a big boo or – I don’t – that gets spun for the other side. I’m sure most people that were there were respectful. And in Manhattan, because it’s all Democrat, I wouldn’t expect him to win that area, but I don’t think he got booed, because I did watch a videotape. Some – there was some protester there who disrobed, but – and it was just typical New York. But anyway, what I can tell is around the country right now is you’ve got tens of millions of people that’s going out and voting for him. And where I live, which is 30 minutes outside of Manhattan, I mean, I’d say oh there’s a headquarters over here, there’s a headquarters over there, I check in with the people in the campaign and it was like, well, you got some money, you guys are playing to win New York, that’s great. And they’re like we didn’t put the headquarters there. They did that on their own. And there’s – that’s happened across the country with the enthusiasm for Donald Trump and his message. So there’s – Manhattan doesn’t represent the country, that’s for sure.

But in the meantime, for me the best things was – the best thing was I’ve known him for years and he’s always been nice to me and gracious, and sitting down with him, helping him to win the primaries, that was the high point for me is like there was a point where I met with him the day after – he called me out of the blue, can you meet tomorrow? He had lost the Wisconsin primary, and we sat and did what we had to do to make sure he won New York and won the other states in the Northeast. And even then I was looking at polls I’d had in Indiana, saying, “You better make sure we win India,” because right now he wasn’t winning – at that point he wasn’t winning Indiana.

So for me that was the – because no one expected him to win. And when he was able to win and seal the nomination, the best part is the idea that – I’m one of those populace who – I don’t like the establishment. I don’t like Washington. I don’t like people telling us what to do, and I like some degree of American freedom. And he’s – for those of us who share that view, he gave us a place where we could cast that vote and make sure that they would hear from us. So that was my – that was the best part for me. But that was a good question.

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: My name is Deepak Arora. I’m diplomatic editor with The Tribune Online from New Delhi, India. Can I ask a question on foreign policy or on the elections?

MR MCLAUGHLIN: Foreign policy?

QUESTION: Or elections. Which one will you prefer?

MR MCLAUGHLIN: I’d prefer the elections because – when you do a foreign policy, you should be talking to the people here. They deal in substance; I deal in politics. That’s substance abuse. So – (laughter).

QUESTION: No, you – you mentioned – okay, question on polls.


QUESTION: You mentioned that many of the pollsters have a wrong leaning, and they’re more Democrat by six points or seven points.

MR MCLAUGHLIN: That’s their model. They’re basing it off of the last election.

QUESTION: Yeah, different models.

MR MCLAUGHLIN: And they may be right.

QUESTION: Right. So – but we saw over a period of time – since I’ve been watching here for the last couple of months – debate one, debate two, debate three, then other events which happened with women, then the picture came of FBI about emails against Clinton, Hillary Clinton. And then came the clean sheet to her and all. See, if we look at all those events, actually the polls were going up and down, and actually Donald Trump actually was – or I would say is – was very close to winning, if you look at those polls. I don’t know what has happened in the last 48 hours since she got the clean sheet, or 72 hours.

MR MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the --

QUESTION: So could it – so keeping this in mind of your other statement, what do you think could have had impact on Hillary Clinton in the last 72 hours since she got the clean sheet, and what makes you think that the leanings are there?

MR MCLAUGHLIN: Well, first of all you could look at the polls and you can see the actual – they’ll ask what your political party. And most of these polls that I show in this chart here, they’ll have a six, seven-point Democrat edge, most of them. And they’re basing it off of the last time we had a national election in 2012. But it doesn’t mean we’re going to have the same one. I mean, in 2000 – you can tell I’m old; I’ve done this for a while – but in 2000, there was a Democratic edge, and it was plus four or five points. And then in the 2004 election that Bush won, the midterms, it wasn’t there, and the midterms the Republicans did really well in 2012 – 2002. And then in 2004, a lot of these polls that had Kerry winning had that same Democrat edge, but it was tied instead, so Bush ended up winning the election by three points in 2004.

So here, what I’m saying is, okay, you’re looking at these polls – most of them are weighted, most of them are brought back to that. They ask them if they’re a voter, if they’re a likely voter. There’s different methodologies, different ways to do the sample. But most of them are six or seven points Democrat. If, when they get the exit polls off and when they count the actual votes, in a lot of these states you’ll have the actual registration. So you can look and you say, oh, the Republicans came out at X and the Democrats came out at X. And if it’s closer than six points, that’s why you would say these polls were reflecting an older model, an older voter coalition. And today you could have a different voter coalition. Trump could be bringing out people, like I said, that didn’t vote four years ago, and really may not have voted since. But they want to come out and vote for him today to have their opinions heard. So if that happens, it’ll be a better night for us, for us and the Trump campaign, and for him. But that’s the point of the campaign.

And what could’ve happened? In this day, in an age of instant communications – like literally I know right now he’s doing Facebook posts to tell people to go out and vote. And 70 percent of the American voters are on Facebook. And 90 percent are on the internet. So like, the first time when Comey put out his letter, the first time two weeks ago saying that they’re reopening the investigation, within – it was already happening because of the WikiLeaks stuff that the race was already closing, the anti-Clinton vote was coming in, and when he put that out, that weekend she went down and he went up, and it just happens in 24, 48 hours. Then during the week it’s about the same, and then he puts out a statement on Sunday where – Sunday he says it’s closed again, or the – they’ve not changed their findings from July. Well, all of the sudden she gets a little bit of a boost, where you can see like in those polls, he’s – she’s holding him off. But – and that’s because of the instantaneous nature of our communications.

And when you think about it, it’s not just now, but even in 2000, when you had – in 2000, when you had Bush and Gore winning, Bush was ahead by five points nationally and in Florida, then on Thursday a story came out about Bush had been arrested for drunk driving when he was a younger man. Our polls that night went from up five for Bush to dead even nationally and dead even in Florida. I had a poll 44-44 that night in Florida.

So these things – and a lot – I not only work in the United States, but I work overseas in democracies when I can. But I’ve seen – I worked in Israel in the last election there, and we were losing on Wednesday, we went ahead on Sunday, and we kept the lead on Tuesday. And people change. They – we have a lot more in common than we have different, people around the world, and we people’s opinions – one thing happens is they change. And polls can be proven wrong; you guys saw it with the Brexit situation in Britain. Whether they’re Americans or whether they’re British or whether they’re Israelis, whomever, in India, they love making fools of pollsters. (Laughter.) And the election gives them that chance to do that. So it’s a good thing.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MODERATOR: Nope. Sorry.


QUESTION: Hi. Elena Molinari with the Italian newspaper Avvenire. A lot of the people who didn’t vote four years ago are Latinos. Do you see these – resurge in the Latino vote? Can you interpret it? And do you think that Republicans should tap into it if they don’t want to see their base shrink?

MR MCLAUGHLIN: Did you say Latinos?

QUESTION: The Latinos, yeah.

MR MCLAUGHLIN: The Latinos. Yeah, the Republicans should tap into the – we have a Spanish-speaking polling called Opinas Latinas. And for those of us who are in New York – I grew up in the Bronx, I – my – Latinos are – that are Americans, they’ve absolutely fit into the country, and like a lot of people, if you’re from New York, the leading Hispanic group is Puerto Rican. They’re American citizens. They come and go – their economy is bad, so a lot of them are coming into New York, Florida, New Jersey, getting jobs. But they’re part of America, and there’s definitely a place for Hispanics in America, and they’re an important part of the country already.

So it’s – as far as the vote goes, I work for – I was on the phone with Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart when I was driving down here, and he’ll be re-elected today, and he’s a Republican from Miami Dade, and we do work for Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and other Republicans. And they’re – they get a lot of Hispanic votes. And I think as Republicans, if we can get more of that vote, it’s only – it only serves to make us a better majority party for the country, and that’s what we really should aspire to be, is to become the majority party so that there aren’t more Democrats voting, that there’s more Republicans. So the answer I guess is yes.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) now? I mean, why are they voting in droves exactly at this election?


QUESTION: Because some people are interpreting it as a reaction to what Mr. Trump said.

MR MCLAUGHLIN: I don’t think that was a surprise. And it’s like if you – because they’re growing in the population of the United States. And like, when President – when George W. Bush was president, we used to do polls for the Latino coalition, and at some point we said, “At some point they’re going to be a bigger voting group than the African American vote in the United States.”

And it’s not a monolithic vote, either. Like, you have voters in New Mexico who’ve been there for generations, since – they’re not just new immigrants. They’ve been there forever. And you get the new immigrants. One of the strategies for George W. Bush was – that helped him win in ’04 was if you were a newer immigrant, it was more likely that we would get the vote. And Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of my clients who, when we won the recall in California, we were running against a Democrat, happened to be Hispanic – Bustamante was the lieutenant governor. And we got the larger share of the Hispanic vote. We got 49 percent.

But it’s not a monolithic vote. And it’s – they vote for jobs, they vote for schools, for better education – they – you’ve got to give them reasons to vote for you. And there was stories out today, there was a poll – I’m trying to think who did it, but I think Michael Barone wrote about it – about – there was a poll out there that Hispanic voters want the immigration system fixed and tightened up. And that came as news to some people. And it’s like – but it’s – if you’re a citizen and you’re a voter, they’ll – most people play by the rules and they want to – those rules fixed and repaired. And create a lot of dissension about how it gets done, but at some point, the one thing that I think most Americans agree on, we got to fix that system so that everybody feels it’s fair and it’s good and we’re a pro-immigration country. So that’s how most of us got here, so.

QUESTION: Hi. Yashwant from Hindustan Times, India. I know somebody who has worked with Mr. Trump before. You may not want to consider the prospect of him losing, now three hours before, but what if he was to – if he were to lose, and he asked you to do a post-mortem, and what went wrong? One. And two, you spoke about the hidden vote that Mr. Trump has spoken about. But you said there is no hidden vote. I mean, is this 12 percent people who are – there was a context in which you mentioned this 12 percent figure. So if you could elaborate on that second --

MR MCLAUGHLIN: On the first question, I don’t want to consider it right now because I want to – we’re thinking we’re going to win, and hopefully the – when the polls close and the votes are counted, that we do win. There’ll be plenty of – the bad part about when you lose, if you lose, you figure out why you lost and then you try to fix it, and you learn from it. So usually the best candidates are people that have lost before. I’d rather be a happy idiot who just keeps winning. (Laughter.) But right now, I – it was interesting, I was on the phone with another colleague, who’s a Democrat pollster I work with on non-political things; we do corporate polling at times. And he called me up, and he says, “There’s a lot of my colleagues are very nervous right now.”

We don’t know. The election – we don’t know, but hopefully we win and we’ll go from there. What was the second part of your question?

QUESTION: The hidden voters –

MR MCLAUGHLIN: The hidden vote. It’s not really hidden. It’s basically – the undecided vote, you’ll notice in these polls, the one thing I’m pretty sure of, Hillary Clinton’s not going to get a majority of the American vote today. She’s going to get under 50 percent. Most Americans did not want to vote for her. Now, her campaign was to make – drive negatives on Trump so that they would go to a third-party candidate, whether it’s Johnson or somebody else, Evan McMullin or somebody else, or even walk away from the election, like they did Romney four years ago, where 90 million eligible voters didn’t vote.

So she’s not going to get over 50 percent of the vote, and so – our challenge is if we’ve succeeded today, if we drove the change message hard enough over the past couple months, we will get the plurality of voter – I don’t think we’ll get a majority either, but we’ll get the plurality of the vote, that we can win the election today. So that’s – that was our challenge. So --

QUESTION: Thank you for this briefing. I’m Natasha Israni with Times Now; it’s an Indian television network. Two questions. One, Ohio. Obama carried Ohio the last time around, but it is in play this time. If you can just talk a little bit more about the dynamics of or how, when, what even gives Donald Trump a chance there. And the second is if you can talk about Democratic – traditionally Democrat states that might flip, and Republican states that might flip too. If you can just give us a broad viewpoint on those states and what we should watch out for in the next few hours. Thanks.

MR MCLAUGHLIN: In the next couple hours. I think – and the tricky part for the United States is you try not to call the election, but at 7 o’clock, polls are going to close in certain places, and the media likes to call states, and everybody knows about that historic wrong call that they made on Florida for Gore – CBS made it. Well, the polls were still open in the panhandle. But as far as Ohio goes, Ohio is – I think Donald Trump’s going to win Ohio. And the reason is it’s mainly jobs. It’s mainly about the economy there, that he appeals to a working-class voter – and this is the irony of – America’s a great country, but it’s like the irony of it, these working-class voters, literally millions of them have sent $50, $25 to this billionaire, and they’re voting for him to make things in their lives better. Because they just feel that their lives are being controlled by forces that they have no influence on.

So in Ohio you get a lot of that where although the economy’s fairly good compared to some other states, it really hasn’t been what it once was. And those working-class voters feel the worst of it when their premiums go up for health care, when their car breaks down, when they lose a paycheck. So they’re looking for him to improve their economy, improve their lives there. And I think what you’re going to see today is you’re going to see that the voting’s going to be down in the bigger counties, the urban counties – Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, I think the voting will be down there. And you’ll see an ex-urban vote that’ll increase from the rural areas like George W. Bush saw in 2004, because in 2004 the media pegged that state as a must-win for him, and they thought Kerry was going to win, and Kerry didn’t win that state. And I think you’re going to see that kind of a turnout where Trump does win that state.

And then as far as other states go that I think that – I mean, early on, where you look at it where Romney really lost the last election, it was three states – losing Virginia, Ohio, and Florida. And Trump has already cut – from these early voting statistics you can see that Trump has already cut the early voting stats in Florida. In Florida, instead of 8 million voters like you had four years ago, we may have 9 million voters come out in Florida. Because you’ve had about 6 million early votes. And if the – if we get that higher turnout, we’re going to win Florida. We win Florida, then we’re on our way, because you can win Ohio, you can win Iowa, you can win – and that’ll be another state that we turn that President Obama had won.

And what I found most interesting was Donald Trump went to Michigan and he went to Pennsylvania over the weekend and yesterday, and Hillary Clinton went with him. And if you’re – and now the Clinton campaign, from what I’ve read about the way they ran the Obama campaign, they have three pollsters in every battleground state, and they report numbers back every night, and they do their analytics. And for her to go to finish in Philadelphia and to go to Michigan on the same day as Donald Trump, which is the last day – they were playing defense. They’re trying to hold onto those states, and that’s where you could really see a surprise – if this new coalition comes out today, those are two states where most of the votes, the overwhelming vast majority of the votes in Michigan and Pennsylvania, are cast today. So --

QUESTION: (Inaudible) red states that might go blue?


QUESTION: Yeah, just in terms of, like, flipping. So you talked about the blue states that might flip red. What about blue states any chance of – any blue states --

MR MCLAUGHLIN: No, I don’t think we’re going to lose any of them. I do a lot of work in Georgia for the – I know they were playing for the governor. I’ve been having to do a lot of work in Georgia for the governor down there, and Trump’s going to win Georgia. Trump’s going to win Arizona. So they may have tried to get some of those states, but they’re not going to get them. And instead what they’re – what we’re looking for is: Do we have enough electoral votes to win today. So that’s what I think we’re looking at.

QUESTION: My name is Veeka Dikisheet (ph). I come from India, The Week Magazine (ph). We keep hearing this from everybody, that whichever way the results will turn out, the GOP has to do a lot of introspection, the GOP will really need to reinvent itself to be a relevant party whether in opposition or in power. Can you comment on that, please?

MR MCLAUGHLIN: It’s mostly Democrat spin, because we have the majority of the House of Representatives, we have the majority of governors, we have the majority of state legislators, we have a majority in the Senate that’s up for battle. If we lose it today, we’ll get it back two years from now. We’re ally on track to be the majority party. It’s the Democrats that ought to think about it, because if Donald Trump wins today – which you can tell I really hope he does – the Democrats ought to be the ones asking about their party, where they went wrong. And even still, even if it – even if we lose, it’s going to be close, and they’re going to lose lots of major parts, and they’re going to be, like – like Hillary Clinton had that one video clip, where she says, “I don’t know why I’m not up by 51 points”? I think they really need to ask themselves why they’re in the position that they’re in.

And a lot of it is they’ve had the White House, and we had the Senate and Congress, and there was no willingness to compromise on a lot of things. And there’s good things that – Ronald Reagan, those of us older still remember, we always bring back – there were plenty of times where he went and compromised with the Democrats in Congress to get things done. And right now they make a lot about doing things by executive order and not having to go to Congress and stuff – that’s not a good way to run a country. So we’d be better off if they could get together and do things, but hopefully if Donald Trump’s president and we have the Republicans in the Senate and Congress, we’ll get a lot done.

So they should ask that question themselves.

Just one more question, then I’m going to have to – unfortunately I have to go back on duty.

QUESTION: Okay. Good afternoon. As we all await results, there are – I’m Kanwal, the special correspondent from Pakistan. I represent Metro One News. My question to you is about Nevada. There are stories that two hours polling booth were closed, so Trump campaign has decided to file lawsuits against that early polling – early voting polls process. So what’s your comment about Nevada?

MR MCLAUGHLIN: Was that in Nevada?

QUESTION: Yeah, yeah.

MR MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I saw the news reports on that. I don’t have any inside knowledge of that. I just think everybody should be allowed to vote fairly, and when the polls are closed, they should be kept closed. I mean, it’s like if there’s something that there’s a malfunction, there’s – there were also reports that people in Pennsylvania and they were going in and they were voting for Trump, and their – the electronic machine was switching it to Clinton. So the local officials that are in charge of it, statewide and local officials in charge of their local elections – we just need to make sure that they’re fair and honest. That’s it. Everybody just wants a fair and honest election.

So – that’s it. All right. Thank you very much.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. We really appreciate it. Today’s briefing was on the record. As long as you signed in in the back, we will send you the transcript via email, and it will also be posted on our website. Thank you very much.

MR MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you, Daphne. Appreciate it. Thank you.

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