Republican insiders are much more pessimistic about Donald Trump's chances than plugged-in Democrats, at least according to the coterie of political activists, strategists, and operatives in 11 swing states that Politico calls The Politico Caucus. Almost half — 49 percent — of GOP insiders tell Politico that Trump's path to the White House is already a dead end, a sentiment shared by only 28 percent of the Democratic insiders. Politico also asked the insiders about Trump's trying to negotiate the terms of the three presidential debates; 47 percent of GOP insiders said Trump is right to threaten a boycott, while 53 percent said he should commit without preconditions right now.
As interesting as the numbers are, the quotes from the insiders, who responded anonymously, are the highlight of Politico's writeup. "While Trump's chances are incredibly slim, it's not over yet," one Colorado Democrat said. "Hillary's negatives are still high, and we have several more WikiLeaks data dumps coming up, and the potential for turbulence around the debates. It's possible the bar for Trump is so low that he can be declared the winner in the debates by simply not saying anything batshit crazy."
An Iowa Republican said that while candidates in the past have come back from greater poll deficits, "it won't happen in 2016.... Trump is underperforming so comprehensively across states and demographics it would take video evidence of a smiling Hillary drowning a litter of puppies while terrorists surrounded her with chants of 'Death to America!' But in 2016, stranger things have happened." You can read more colorful quotes, and the roster of the Politico Caucus participants, at Politico.