Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

In an interview late Wednesday evening on the tarmac in his private jet in Canton, Ohio, Donald Trump doubled down on history of birtherism. Speaking to The Washington Post's Robert Costa, Trump suggested he is not inclined to soften his pitch of his positions, even as he tries to appeal to voters outside of his base. He also struck a defiant tone, trumpeting his rising poll numbers, attacking CNN's Anderson Cooper and claiming the Clinton campaign had made up the phrase 'alt-right.'

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With the inclusion of this afternoon's Fox Poll, the Polltracker Average is now exactly tied. Clinton 43.8%, Trump 43.8%.

As I mentioned a short while ago, who riffs about "gas chambers" in joking conversations or to illustrate some mundane aspect of the news of the day. There's gallows humor, even about the Holocaust, even among Jews. But this just seemed weird.

Is this how the Trump family talks?

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As I hope I've made clear, bad polls from NYT/CBS, Bloomberg/Selzer, CNN/ORC, etc. - you can't dismiss those. Even if the internals look funny to you. Those are each premium phone polls with strong, national reputations. Emerson, which released another group of polls today, you can dismiss. They are one of the few landline only pollsters around today. And their way of adjusting for that shortcoming ("3 point decrease in Conservative opinion and a 3 point increase in Liberal opinion to offset the bias in land line only telephone polls") just doesn't cut it as a serious way of doing a poll, as I noted a couple weeks ago.

As of this morning, The TPM Electoral Scoreboard stands at Clinton 254, Trump 242. Pretty close to a tie. But beneath those numbers there are major shifts in the electoral landscape that transcend the dynamics of this election.

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We have another premium national phone poll (NYT/CBS) this morning showing a very tight race between Clinton and Trump. In a head to head, it's Clinton 46%, Trump 44%. When third party candidates are added they both drop to a tie at 42%. Two things that jump out to me aside from the near tie at the top are these points. One is that this is first Times/CBS poll with a likely voter screen. Among registered voters, it's Clinton 46%, Trump 41%. Now that doesn't mean it's really a five point spread. But it does suggest that assuming these likely voter screens are accurate, that the race has always been closer than the polls suggested.

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The first perspective to have on the polls is that the polls have been slowly trending in Trump's direction for a few weeks. That is happening. There are various sources of noisiness in the data. But when you step way back the trend in Trump's direction is real and indisputable.

It's particularly disquieting from a Democratic perspective to see Trump now holding apparent leads, albeit small ones, in Florida and Ohio. As we know, from sad history, winning Florida and Ohio (by whatever means) made George W. Bush president twice.

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So we've got two significant polls out today from Ohio, one from Bloomberg/Selzer and another from CNN/ORC. The first shows Trump with a 5 point edge and then second with 4 points, in head to head matchups. CNN also has a Florida poll out which also shows Trump up by 4 in Florida. That pushes Ohio and Florida into the "lean Trump" category and pushes Trump over 200 electoral votes for the first time in The TPM Electoral Scoreboard, which now stands at Clinton 254, Trump 236.

Better news for Democrats, a new national Quinnipiac poll, which has tended to have a GOP house effect of late, gives Clinton a 5 point lead.