If we aren’t careful, for the next 50 years bored kids in history classes will be told that Donald Trump would have won except for The Video. Let’s take a moment to remember that this is a false narrative.
Across the entire election cycle with exception of about 2 days, Donald Trump underperformed Mitt Romney’s poll numbers and trailed by larger margins than Romney. Here’s a look at his performance against Romney from the Washington Post:
This was never a close election, nor was it ever going to be. But when did it develop into a blowout? Don’t blame the video. America stopped flirting with their low-rent Hitler once they saw him on stage with a credible political figure. Look at the polling averages from 538 and keep in mind that there is always a lag as news starts to impact poll responses:
There are a couple of interesting insights from these numbers. First, look how little difference the video made on this race. A Presidential candidate talked about his habit of sexually assaulting women, followed by a flood of women coming forward to corroborate his own claims. The incident has barely moved the needle. Second, the withdrawal of support from numerous Republican officials has likewise done nothing to change Trump’s support (while wrecking Paul Ryan’s popularity).
Perhaps the biggest story of this election is how little impact the video had on the preferences of the vast majority of American voters. Yuck.