Trump Targeting Crossover Support to Remake U.S. Election Map

  • Aide sees prospects in states that have long voted Democratic
  • ‘Jobs, integrity, coal’ said to be winning issues for Trump

The “crossover support” that presumptive nominee Donald Trump has attracted in winning Republican primaries this year will help him compete in states that have gone Democratic for decades in presidential elections, according to a top aide.

“We are in the process now of organizing the framework for the strategy of our general election campaign,” Paul Manafort, Trump’s convention manager, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maine and Connecticut could all vote for Trump in November, he said. Each state last voted for a Republican in 1988, electing George H.W. Bush. New Hampshire, which has voted Democratic in five of the last six contests, will “for sure” be a possibility for the real estate developer turned politician, Manafort said.

“In a number of places, for a lot of issues -- jobs, integrity, coal, for example, in Pennsylvania and Ohio and elsewhere -- we think there are a number of issues that allow us to expand the map,” said Manafort, who also predicted that some fans of Senator Bernie Sanders, who’s still battling Clinton for the Democratic nomination, would cross over. 

“They’re the very demographic that Trump is appealing to: independents and crossover Democrats,” Manafort said of some Sanders voters.

Close Races

Clinton held a 5.7 percentage-point lead over Trump in recent national polls compiled by RealClearPolitics, 47.3 percent to 41.6 percent. But in the state-by-state contests for the 270 electoral college votes needed to capture the White House, several are too close to call almost six months before election day.

At least two recent polls in Pennsylvania showed Clinton and Trump in a statistical tie. In Ohio, which has voted for the national winner in the past 10 presidential elections, Trump was ahead of Clinton by 4 percentage points in a recent survey by Quinnipiac University.

While the Trump team eyes gains in the Rust Belt and New England, crossover support in November could also be a two-way street. In Georgia, which has voted Republican for five consecutive presidential elections, Trump and Clinton are in a statistical tie, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released on Sunday.

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