MANSFIELD — Local political party leaders acknowledge the highly unfavorable ratings attached to both of their presidential hopefuls — but they question the polls’ credibility while holding firm to their support for their nominees.
A Real Clear Politics poll shows a 54.9 percent unfavorable rating for democratic presidential nominee Hillary R. Clinton. Donald J. Trump tops Clinton’s unfavorable rating with 57.1 percent.
Both nominees’ favorable ratings are lower than their unfavorable ratings. Trump is behind 18 percentage points and Clinton is under 13 percentage points.
The poll collects data from national media outlets such as The Economist, Reuters, FOX News, CBS News, Quinnipiac, Gallup, CNN, Bloomberg and the Associated Press — among others.
Even so, local party leaders don’t buy the numbers.
“Ninety-three percent of national media journalists are registered democrats,” posited Richland County Republican Party President Marilyn John. “If the media gets off the campaign team, I wonder what the polls would say then.”
John, also a Richland County Commissioner (R), cited the polls during last election season when they indicated the marijuana issue was neck and neck.
“That issue went down by 30 percent. So how accurate are they? I don’t know,” she added.
“I don’t understand the unfavorable situation,” Joseph Mudra, Richland County Democratic Party President said. “There has been, for as long as I can remember, a kind of movement to downgrade the Clintons … talk radio, you know, the right wing has hammered on them for years.”
Their primary reasons for supporting their nominees boil down to two simple reasons.
Trump’s business wisdom
The local Trump camp believes the business mogul has the acumen necessary to shake America up and out of pecuniary slumber.
“Look at what he’s (Trump) done in business. You don't have that by yourself. He pulls some important and smart individuals in to help run his businesses, and it’s been very successful,” John said.
John is hopeful that if Trump wins the presidency, he will elect key leaders to uphold the constitution, like supreme court justices and other leaders on significant cabinet departments.
John also is impressed by Trump’s family life. She cited the time he held a press conference in Ireland during the Brexit stir, for which he received flack, she said.
“He wanted to highlight something his son did. And I was impressed with that. Those are some things we need in office of presidency,” she said, adding there is no room for judgement on his previous two divorces.
“There are lots of people who have been divorced. I don't want to judge him on that. He seems to have a good family who are very supportive of him. I go back to look at the success of the man,” John said.
The local Clinton camp rests easy on the former Secretary of State’s political experience.
“There’s no doubt that Clinton is the most qualified person to hold the highest office in the land,” said Garland John Gates, third ward councilman in Shelby, President of Shelby Area Democratic Club and executive and central committee member of the Richland County Democratic Party.
He and Mudra, who were interviewed by Richland Source simultaneously, listed Clinton’s political record as the First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State.
“She has a record. Trump has a record of bankruptcies, of fraud, of misdeeds. So if voters want to compare records, they certainly have an easy comparison to make,” Gates said.
Gates and Mudra focused on Trump’s behavior, one they said barely compares to a fourth-grade student, let alone that of the president of the United States.
“To compare Trump’s behavior to that of a fourth grader is to demean fourth graders. When I think there's nothing worse he can say he says something else,” Gates said.
Advice to on-the-fence voters
John encourages voters who are still unsure for whom they will vote to dig deep to find information that is unbiased. She warns that most national media outlets have an agenda — and that that agenda does not align with GOP values.
“Find out for yourself by finding the facts and then decide,” she said. “It’s perceived now that sometimes politicians are liars. I don’t lie.
“It’s unfortunate that the good politicians get that label. Clinton lies, the FBI says so. But not all (politicians) do.”
Gates urged local voters to watch the debate on Monday.
“The differences between the two candidates will be so obvious. We will hear someone who has thoughtful ideas, thoughtful comments — versus someone who will bloviate,” he said.
Mudra agreed, but encouraged voters to stop by the Democratic headquarters to meet party workers and volunteers.
“Stop by and get engaged,” he said.
Both party affiliates will amp up their campaigning efforts in the weeks leading up to the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
The Richland County Democratic Party will host a watch party for the presidential debate at their headquarters in downtown Mansfield on Monday, Sept. 26. The event is free and open to the public. The debate airs from 9 to 10:30 p.m.
The party’s headquarters, located at 16 South Park Street in Mansfield, will also host weekly luncheons starting Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 11:30 a.m. For more information, visit their website or call 419-522-0673.
The Richland County Republican Party will hold several events leading up to the general election, including luncheons at Ed Pickens’ Café on Main with state republicans. For a full list of events, visit their website or call 567-333-0034.
Be informed, ready to vote
For a complete article on what to expect when you go to the polls, including new rules, local issues and a list of candidates, click here.
Before heading to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 8 or before for early voting, double check to see if you’re registered by visiting this website. You can also call your county’s board of elections or visit their websites for more information.
Richland County Board of Elections: 419-774-5530.
Ashland County Board of Elections: 419-282-4224
Crawford County Board of Elections: 419-562-8721