72° Good Afternoon
72° Good Afternoon
Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

One more day to wonder how another matchup would have gone

With Election Day just a day away, there's

With Election Day just a day away, there's still time to what might have happened if the presidential primaries had turned out differently. Would Hillary Clinton have a chance facing an opponent more agreeable than Donald Trump? Would Trump today poll as well as he does against some without her baggage? Credit: Ed Betz

One more day before the storm, the song goes.

Take a moment to wonder what might have been.

In the primaries months ago, polls showed Sen. Bernie Sanders with better numbers in a one-on-one election against Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton.

Other polls suggested Ohio Gov. John Kasich had a better head-to-head chance against Clinton than Trump did.

These surveys mean little now, if they ever meant anything. Clinton staved off a party rebellion to win the nomination, while Trump led his own revolt to win his nomination.

But both candidates got low popularity ratings.

Questions simmer. Would Clinton have had a chance against an opponent more agreeable than Trump? Would Trump today poll as well as he does against a candidate without Clinton's baggage?

A clue to the answer might lie in a blast from the recent past.

The last Gallup Poll before the election four years ago reported 50 percent for Mitt Romney and 49 percent for President Barack Obama.

This suggests a couple of possibilities. One is that the results this year could reflect a remarkable similarity to 2012 despite the stark difference in candidates on both sides.

Another is that personalities will break the mold by shifting the subtotals between Democrats and Republicans among African-Americans, blue-collar whites and women.

Either way, it seems the Republican-Democratic presidential divide only changed so much.

As it happened, Kasich — who stayed away from the Republicans’ Cleveland convention — announced he was casting a protest vote for Sen. John McCain, the 2008 candidate.

Sanders, meanwhile, has stumped for Clinton.

There’s also the question of how the prospects for either candidate might look had a stronger third-party candidacy materialized.

Polls last week showed Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson’s numbers declining across key battleground states last month and Green Party candidate Jill Stein remaining below 5 percent.

What if fewer candidates had come forward on the Republican side and more stepped in on the Democratic side? Would that have altered the shape of what we face Tuesday?

We’ll never know.


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