Monmouth poll: Hillary now leads Trump on ... handling the threat of terrorism to America

Hard to believe, but note the gender gap.


If you’re wondering how Trump can trail on this issue when he leads among independents and is stronger with Republicans than Hillary is with Democrats, it’s because the sample is 34 percent Democrats, 28 percent Republicans, and 38 percent indies. But that sample’s not necessarily bad: According to the 2012 exit polls, Democrats had the same six-point advantage on election day that year that they do in this new survey. A strongman should be cleaning up on terrorism questions but it may be that some voters — women especially, per the numbers — see recklessness in his response to Orlando where others see strength. Of note: When asked if they support or oppose banning all Muslims from entering the U.S., voters generally split 21/70 with even Republicans splitting 36/50. (Women split 19/72.) That’s not a precise reflection on Trump’s Muslim ban, which he insists would be temporary and which he’s taken lately to saying would focus less on religion than on regions where terrorism is prevalent. But when voters are asked about a regional policy, support doesn’t rise much. They split 34/57. It may simply be that the general electorate isn’t keen on Trump’s counterterror proposals.

Or it may be that he’s suffering a general downturn in public esteem and that’s carrying over even into his bread-and-butter issues. He trails Hillary 47/40 overall among registered voters in a two-way race here and 49/41 among likely voters. With Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein in the mix, Trump trails Clinton 42/36 and 44/37, respectively. That’s significant for two reasons. First, it’s another poll that puts him below 40 percent in races that include Johnson, a bad sign for this stage in the campaign. And second, it’s further evidence that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Democrats may end up doing better among likely voters this year than they do with registereds. I wrote about that on Friday. Typically it’s Republicans who do better in likely-voter models because the average Republican is a bit more likely to turn out on election day than the average Democrat is. This year, though, because Clinton’s cleaning up with college-educated voters and they tend to turn out at higher rates than less educated voters do, that rule may no longer apply. Hillary has an enormous turnout apparatus, too, that’s designed to identify her supporters and get them to the polls on the big day. She’ll convert many of those likely voters into actual voters. Trump has … well, Trump has a lot of media coverage.

As I say, though, the general downturn for Trump may be bleeding into specific issues. He trails Hillary on the economy and jobs, 47/44, another area where he’s traditionally led because of his business reputation and his outspoken protectionism on the trail. If some cohort of voters is souring on Trump generally, they’re souring on how they think he’d handle discrete policy matters as well. And there is reason to think that more have soured on Trump to this point than have soured on Clinton. When asked how important it is to prevent each candidate from becoming president, 49 percent — thisclose to an outright majority — say it’s very important to stop Trump. Just 41 percent say so of Clinton. Their favorable ratings are similarly poor, but 76 percent of Democrats say they view Hillary favorably. Only 65 percent of Republicans say so of Trump. I think Hillary’s lead at this point is largely a function of skepticism about Trump, which is bad news for obvious reasons but good news for Trump insofar as it leaves him in control of his own destiny to some extent. If he can calm some of these skeptics and turn the election from a referendum on him into a referendum on Hillary, his numbers could start to move quickly. On the other hand, he said yesterday that his campaign won’t really get started in earnest until after the convention. He’s been the presumptive nominee for six weeks and has weeks to go until Cleveland. What the hell is he waiting for?

Eyeball the graphs here, especially the last two, to get a sense of the magnitude of the challenge he’s facing. There’s not a moment to lose, yet many major Republican donors claim they still haven’t heard from Trump’s campaign yet. Trump recently raised $8 million from 10 events over the course of nine days recently; Spencer Zwick, one of Romney’s chief fundraisers in 2012 (and a man who’s met periodically with Trump this year), estimated that a decent fundraising clip given the hole Trump’s in would be 10 events in two days. Believe it or not, Trump’s campaign sent out a fundraising e-mail this past weekend trumpeting an “emergency goal of $100,000 to help get our ads on the air.” The guy’s worth $10 billion, or so he says, and has spent the past year telling everyone who’ll listen that he’s self-funding his campaign. How is it that he can’t front his team $100K to meet their “emergency goal” and reduce the spending disparity with Hillary from $23 million/$0 to $23 million/$100,000? Is he playing to win?

One last note from the Monmouth data in parting: Trump leads Clinton 49/38 among white voters, his core demographic. Romney won that group with 59 percent and still lost by 100+ electoral votes.

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