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Inside Intelligence: About Those Trump Course Corrections...

For this week’s nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked about Donald Trump's recent course corrections.

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For this week’s nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked about Donald Trump's recent course corrections.

With the first question, we asked which of the Trump campaign's new tactics stand to benefit the GOP presidential nominee the most. By far, the most popular new approach was ditching his off the cuff speaking style in favor of greater use of the teleprompter. That was named by 43 percent of the insiders.

Next on the list was the modification of certain core positions, such as on immigration, listed by 12 percent. Following closely behind was his admission that he's said the wrong things at times (9 percent) and replacing key staff with more conservative voices (7 percent).

A hefty 30 percent, though, didn't think any of these new tactics would benefit Trump much.

We then asked if a reboot would indeed benefit Trump. On this, 55 percent said that he would benefit while 37 percent said no.

Trump also made headlines this week for holding campaign events in Texas and Mississippi, where he is virtually certain to win, in lieu of travels to battleground states. We asked the insiders to evaluate the campaign strategy.

Fully 44 percent said they agreed with Trump's decision for both fundraising and for attracting headlines. Another 26 percent thought the travel was a good idea but for fundraising purposes alone. Just 5 percent thought Trump's choice of travel destinations was good just for the publicity.

Another 22 percent didn't think the Trump campaign made the right decision in focusing their attentions on red states this week.

A new opinion poll out last week got attention for its finding that Trump was leading Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by just 6 points. We closed the survey by asking the insiders to evaluate the relative accuracy of the results.

More than half, or 53 percent, thought Trump is leading by 6 to 9 points with another 20 percent pegging Trump's advantage at 10 to 12 points. Sixteen percent thought Trump's lead is less than 6 points with just 3 percent saying Trump leads by more than 12 points. 

We collected comments along the way, and a full set of those is attached.


Which of these tactics gives Donald Trump the best chance to regain momentum?

• "Needs to keep focus on HRC email and Foundation scandals. Outreach to disaffected GOP would only be modestly successful at this late point."

• "Trump can't regain the momentum. I don't even think he wants it. He wants to go down as a colorful martyr. The Presidency is a bitch of a job. It's way less fun than game shows."

• "It's too late and the only momentum he would regain is with white, over 50 men. There aren't enough of them to get him elected."

• "Time has run out for Trump. What got him the nomination will not win the election. If he becomes more presidential now, he could disappoint his base — the very people that got us into this mess and are responsible for the election of Hillary Clinton."

• "If he modifies positions, then he'll likely lose confidence of early supporters and still won't gain new support. He's worthless when scripted. Staff ain't the problem — the candidate's the problem. Tall Tale Trump probably regrets nothing he's said — ever."


Does Trump benefit from a reboot?

• "He will benefit from limiting his daily rants to maybe two per week. Doing so, will leave the media with no choice than to cover the Clinton scandals."

• "He might as well go down swinging. Changing now wouldn't gain new support, just lose his current enthusiasts."

• "Trump needs the support of true conservatives. He's never been one, so he must reach out to us, starting with the Cruz family."

• "You only get one chance to reset. If he tries to reset now, it will be the second or third? It's hard to keep up with them."

• "Reality is he can keep saying what he wants and win. The little people are pissed and there are more of them than the elites. Let's start with a key political indicator, Brexit..."


Was the choice by Trump to travel to reliably red states like Texas and Mississippi this week a good gambit?

• "He left Texas with more money, more votes, and more press than Hillary had this week."

• "Three million dollars"

• "Ground game is important, but the candidate's appearances are national. As long as one is having a fundraiser, why not go meet the troops? The concept of a candidate limiting his or her travels to 'battleground' states, at least in August or September of an election year, seems outmoded to me."

• "Smart to pick up as much cash as possible in friendly states, assuming he plans to be in the swing states in the fall."

• "Unconventional strategy for an unconventional candidate."


A recent survey by Public Policy Polling puts Trump's lead in Texas at 6 points. Where would you put it?

• "If Trump can't win Texas, the GOP is in for its worst defeat in the modern era. And this is to the biggest liar the Democrats have nominated in my lifetime."

• "I believe there is a large percentage of voters that want Trump on that wall, that need Trump on that wall, but refuse to admit in public they are voting for him."

• "Trump's margin over Clinton in Texas is less than six points right now, but it seems reasonable to assume that the margin will increase a bit before voting begins. However, that assumes that Trump doesn't do too many more phenomenally stupid things, so I'm not giving odds."

• "Someone I respect said, 'If I lived in a swing state, I may have to vote for Trump. In Texas, I do not.'"

• "He'll win Texas, but the Libertarian candidate is likely to get significant support."

Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Clyde Alexander, Jay Arnold, Dave Beckwith, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Chris Britton, Kerry Cammack, Elna Christopher, Kevin Cooper, Randy Cubriel, Beth Cubriel, Curtis Culwell, Denise Davis, June Deadrick, Tom Duffy, David Dunn, Richard Dyer, Jack Erskine, Jon Fisher, Tom Forbes, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Eric Glenn, Kinnan Golemon, Daniel Gonzalez, Clint Hackney, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Deborah Ingersoll, Jason Johnson, Mark Jones, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Sandy Kress, Dale Laine, Pete Laney, Dick Lavine, James LeBas, Luke Legate, Ruben Longoria, Vilma Luna, Matt Mackowiak, Jason McElvaney, Steve Minick, Bee Moorhead, Mike Moses, Steve Murdock, Nef Partida, Gardner Pate, Robert Peeler, Jerry Philips, Tom Phillips, Wayne Pierce, Allen Place, Gary Polland, Jay Pritchard, Jay Propes, Ted Melina Raab, Patrick Reinhart, David Reynolds, Carl Richie, A.J. Rodriguez, Grant Ruckel, Tyler Ruud, Jason Sabo, Andy Sansom, Barbara Schlief, Stan Schlueter, Robert Scott, Bruce Scott, Steve Scurlock, Ben Sebree, Nancy Sims, Jason Skaggs, Ed Small, Martha Smiley, Mark Smith, Larry Soward, Dennis Speight, Tom Spilman, Sherry Sylvester, Trey Trainor, Vicki Truitt, Ware Wendell, David White, Darren Whitehurst, Peck Young, Angelo Zottarelli.

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