The Brian Mudd Show

The Brian Mudd Show

There are two sides to stories and one side to facts. That's Brian's mantra and what drives him to get beyond the headlines.Full Bio


Q&A of the Day – Could Donald Trump Win the Biggest Landslide Since Reagan?

Q&A of the Day – Could Donald Trump Win the Biggest Landslide Since Reagan? 

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.   


Social: @brianmuddradio   

iHeartRadio: Use the Talkback feature – the microphone button on our station’s page in the iHeart app.      

Today’s entry: @brianmuddradio We’re only four months out now and the polls have never been better for Trump or any Republican that I can remember. How big could a Trump win be? Could it be the biggest since Reagan in ‘84? 

Bottom Line: I’m entertaining this question today for one reason. Actually two... 1) I’m not superstitious. 2) I know a lot of people are in a holiday frame of mind looking to have fun today with an extended Independence Day weekend. Warning...If you’re a Trump supporter this exercise will be fun. Maybe not as much fun as watching Trump’s subtle reactions to Joe Biden at the debate – you know with the occasional glance over by Trump where you know he was thinking wow...this guy is even further out to lunch than I realized? Seriously, the greatest exercise in restraint by any politician any of us have ever seen happened with Trump on that debate stage last week. In any event it is July 5th and sure enough Election Day is November 5th making it preciously four months away...There is light on the horizon... For this exercise I’m going to use my Anatomy of a Swing State model as the basis for this analysis as that’s the model I use to estimate an Electoral College outcome. Before diving into the view of the possible for Trump, let’s look at the size of the presidential wins since Reagan’s historic 49 state victory in 1984 (reflected in electoral college votes).  

This exercise paints an interesting picture. There are several trivia questions that pop up within this comparison. For example, did you know that despite losing the national popular vote Trump’s electoral college victory was larger than Biden’s? Did you know that George W. Bush’s total margin of victory in his two election wins (40 votes) is the smallest by a two-term president in American history? But back to the question at hand... 

Many may not associate George H.W. Bush with having won the biggest election win since Reagan because he lost his reelection bid four years later but that’s the case with an extremely high bar that’s set for any presidential candidate to clear. So how is Trump currently pacing and how many states could he win? 

Using the RealClear Politics average of polls Trump is currently performing 10.1% better head-to-head against Joe Biden today compared to Election Day and 11.4% better when 3rd party candidates are factored in.  

These are the states that Joe Biden won by 11.4% or less in 2020:                 

  • Arizona, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia         

Based on what we’re seeing nationally, all of those states are potentially in play if the election were today. That provides the view of the possible. As for the here and now using the RealClear average of state polls shows...                 

  • Biden leads in: Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Virginia        
  • Trump leads in: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin                 

That currently projects to an 86 electoral college vote victory for Donald Trump which would be larger than his 2016 victory but obviously not close to touching Bush’s win in ‘88. But there are a couple of other considerations that are worth considering. First, Donald Trump has outperformed his polling in each of his prior two election cycles. If he were to do so again by margins similar to the average of what we saw in the prior two presidential election cycles he’d likely pick up at least two additional states. But then there’s the current view of the possible.  

If this election turned out to be a wave election result, and with Donald Trump currently performing double-digit percentages better than his close loss four years ago, it is possible, you’d expect that he would carry just about every state that’s potentially in play. So, about that. Let’s say that Trump ran the table on the states that are currently in play. Donald Trump would win 36 states in route to a 346 to 192 electoral college victory – or a win by a margin of 154 votes. If that were to happen it’d still well short of Bush’s ‘88 victory but it would be the biggest win since Obama’s wave election win in 2008. So, in answer to today’s question...  

No, Donald Trump is not currently on track to win the largest election since Reagan, but he is on track to win the biggest victory since Obama’s 2012 performance conservatively and Obama’s 2008 landslide if everything broke right for Trump figuratively and literally. Now, if Trump could add another 5 points or so to his advantage between now and Election Day...then just about all other states not named California, Hawaii, Maryland and Rhode Island could potentially be in play. For now, I’m sure Trump supporters would be thrilled if he simply ends this cycle with 270 electoral college votes. I know I would be. 

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