Trump pollster: Macomb, 4 Fla. counties won it for Trump

Landslide? What landslide?

While President-elect Donald Trump and some of his campaign team assert that he won big on Nov. 8, Trump’s pollster revealed a few days ago that the election came down to one county in Michigan and four in Florida.

Without those five in Trump’s column, the Republican nominee would have lost Michigan and Florida and lost the Electoral College.  And that one Michigan county? Macomb.

“When you really drill down on this election, if you change the vote in five counties, four in Florida, one in Michigan, we’d be having a totally opposite conversation right now,” said pollster Tony Fabrizio at a Harvard University forum. “For all the money that was spent, for the all the effort that was made, literally four counties in Florida, one county in Michigan puts us at 261 [electoral] votes and makes Hillary Clinton the president. So, remember that.”

With so much post-election attention focused on the suburban Detroit county by the national media, Macomb’s reputation as one of the nation’s premier bellwether counties is firmly back in place.

As goes Macomb, so goes the nation.

Fabrizio did not name the counties but those who have studied the election tallies closely say that he almost certainly was referring to Macomb in Michigan and in Florida it was a reference to four of these five: Lee County (Fort Myers), Pasco (Dade City), Polk (Bartow), Pinellas (Clearwater) and Volusia (Daytona Beach).

Macomb is an obvious conclusion because the county gave Trump a 50,000-vote edge while the billionaire businessman pulled off his upset victory in the state by just 10,000 votes.

In Florida, as The Daily Beast explains, the counties assumed to be those Fabrizio alluded to are areas where Trump outperformed 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney. They are mostly white and older than the rest of Florida and were key in delivering his 1.2 percent margin of victory.

Fabrizio explained that the Trump campaign’s focus in the final weeks was on a few key toss-up states in the Electoral College, even if that approach meant losing the popular vote (which now has Hillary Clinton up by 2.5 million votes). The prominent Republican pollster said they were willing to accept that Trump would underperform in large Red States such as Texas, Arizona and Georgia, and the result could mean losing by about 2 percentage points in the national vote total.

The Macomb outcome represented a dramatic shift of about 68,000 votes compared to 2012, when the county backed Barack Obama for re-election. The Trump victory overall is widely attributed to support from working class voters, and Macomb County has plenty of those.

But the Macomb electorate is also famous for its fickle voters, including a large percentage of ticket-splitters, who have produced wide swings in election results between Democrats and Republicans over nearly 40 years.

The county has now voted with the nation in nearly every one of the past 10 presidential elections. The label as a national bellwether county was tainted in 1992 when Macomb went for George H.W. Bush over Bill Clinton, the winner, in 1992. In addition, 2000 was a mixed bag as Al Gore carried Macomb by a thin margin while he narrowly won the national popular vote and narrowly lost the Electoral College to George W. Bush.

Macomb’s track record began in 1980 and 1984 when they supported Ronald Reagan, giving rise to the term “Reagan Democrats.” The county also went with the nation in 1988 (Bush 41), 1996 (Clinton), 2004 (Bush 43), 2008 and 2012 (Obama) and now in 2016, the improbable win by Trump.