Support for Trump among the general public rises and falls in a cycle, roughly a month up and a month down. Up phases are the second half of an even-numbered month and first half of an odd-numbered month. Down phases are the second half of an odd-numbered month and first half of an even-numbered month.
During the last up phase -- beginning in mid-June -- he enjoyed a prolonged rise because of the VP pick and the Convention. I don't think we're going to see a prolonged up phase this time, as the debates are not as galvanizing as the Convention.
Indeed, the daily polls from USC, People's Pundit Daily, and Reuters all show a steady decline over the past four or five days. Trump is still ahead by a few points, but trending downward -- so don't be surprised if he winds up down a few points in early October.
I'm hoping that with each turning of the cycle, people are getting less wishy-washy as Election Day approaches, and as they get to know Trump outside of the media caricatures. Perhaps in this final down phase, they will pull even, rather than Trump being down a few points. But who knows yet.
In the last post, I showed that there was very little to explain the downturn after the Democrat Convention -- he didn't attack the Khans like the media was making it out to be, and the media itself has no influence because they're constantly attacking Trump, yet support rises and falls. If anything, the media jump on the bandwagon -- ingratiating when he's nearing a peak (Morning Joe wanting to make amends last week), and excoriating when he's past it (hysteria over the Khans).
The cycle seems to be a psychological wishy-washy-ness among the voters themselves. They get comfortable, then they think he's still too unfamiliar of a candidate, so they grow uncomfortable. Then they're uncomfortable long enough that they feel they're being unfair, give him the benefit of the doubt, and start supporting him again.
Trump fans do not waver, but remember that the Trump voters will be made up of a large chunk of the electorate for whom Trump still seems like an outside-the-box candidate. They want to vote for Trump / Republicans, or against Obama / Clinton / Democrats, but the highly unusual nature of his candidacy is going to make them go through cycles of ease and unease -- totally regardless of what is going on in the daily news cycle. If they mention something in the news, it will only be a convenient rationalization, as there's always been something to point to, yet their support rises and falls.
As for the major events left in the season, and where they fall in the cycle, here's the prediction from last time:
I trust that, like the other times, this slump will be followed by another rise. If the rhythm holds, I predict that the VP debate and the 1st and 2nd Pres debates will unfortunately fall in relative slumps (late odd month, early even month) -- again, regardless of how he and Pence actually perform. The nervous parts of the electorate will be going through a jittery phase, no matter what is happening.
Luckily, though, the final debate is toward the end of an even month, and the election itself is in an early odd month -- both of them ending on favorable conditions.
Now we can add another possible wrinkle -- if early voting takes place during a relative slump, that'll dampen his surge in the second half of October and early November. We should hold off on encouraging early voting until we're in a clear up phase, unless you know the person is already pro-Trump.
Just one more bump in the road, and then we're in the clear -- don't wuss out if we head down for a couple weeks coming up. It's going to end on an up-swing.