Another poll sees a drop in Hillary's numbers after the FBI announcement on Emailgate

It’s the first time McClatchy’s found her under 50 percent — way under — in a year. On the other hand, they haven’t conducted a national poll since late March. Who knows if her numbers nosedived suddenly after Director Comey’s announcement last week or if they’ve been declining steadily for weeks?

That Quinnipiac poll that Ed blogged this morning gives us a clue, though. She did drop sharply in Florida after the FBI announcement. Seems plausible that her national numbers have taken a hit too and that’ll be borne out in the next few polls to come. I wonder if we would have seen these same results if Comey’s press conference had been more pro forma in recommending no charges against Hillary instead of delving into the specifics of how grossly negligent she was. That is to say, would there have been a backlash against her no matter what once she was “cleared,” with the public suspicious that her powerful friends in the “rigged system” had let her off the hook? Or did Comey trigger a deeper backlash by making his own suspicions of misconduct abundantly clear?

Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, now leads Trump by 42 to 39 percent in a head-to-head matchup. While Republicans and Democrats are solidly behind their candidates, independents are divided, 36 percent for Clinton, 33 percent for Trump – and 23 percent undecided…

The poll found that Clinton is winning the support of 57 percent of voters who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, her chief rival, who endorsed her Tuesday. Trump wins support from 60 percent of the Republicans who had backed other candidates

Clinton leads by 81-6 percent among African-Americans, 52-26 among Latinos, 51-33 among women, 50-34 among college graduates, 47-31 among those younger than 30 and 45-38 among those who make less than $45,000 a year.

Trump leads by 49-34 percent among whites, 47-33 among men, 44-39 among non-college graduates and 46-40 among those 60 and older.

The possibility that Clinton is doing worse with anti-Clinton Democrats than Trump is with anti-Trump Republicans seems shocking with intrigue swirling around the GOP convention about whether there’s a “Dump Trump” movement, but it may help explain Hillary’s slide. There may be some Bernie fans who’d grudgingly resigned themselves to support her and were then reminded anew by the FBI that she’s a well-connected sleaze. If so, Sanders’s unity rally with her in New Hampshire yesterday may push them back towards grudging resignation, which would mean the Emailgate outcome is just a blip. We’ll see. The other shocking number here is Hillary’s relatively poor polling with Latinos: 52/26 is a two-to-one margin but Democrats are counting on winning that demographic closer to three-to-one. Obama won Latinos 71/27 and Trump consistently polls no worse than Romney did among that group. If there’s new hesitation among Latinos towards backing her, that’s game-changing news. It’s worth paying special attention to those numbers in the next round of polls.

The bad news for Trumpers in an otherwise encouraging poll is the same as the bad news in the otherwise encouraging Quinnipiac poll: His numbers aren’t improving much. The gap has closed between him and Clinton, but not because there’s any strong surge for Trump; it’s because voters are retching momentarily at the thought of electing her. He’s still at just 40.7 percent in RCP’s national average and stuck at just 39 percent in McClatchy’s survey. A round of data from major pollsters putting him consistently at 45-48 percent would be real Trumpmentum. Maybe we’ll see that after the convention. Another detail worth noting is that McClatchy’s poll is a survey of adults, not of registered or likely voters. Normally those polls tend to overestimate Democratic support, but this year, thanks to her strength among college-educated voters (who are more likely to turn out), polls of likely voters tend to favor Hillary. It may be that her lead is a bit stronger than this poll suggests.

In fact, there’s a new national poll of likely voters out today, from Reuters. Hillary 46, Trump … 33:

Another 21 percent did not support either candidate.

That compared with 45 percent who supported Clinton and 35 percent who supported Trump in the five days to July 8…

Americans have become increasingly positive about Clinton this month, with half of likely voters now saying they have a favorable view of her, according to the poll, up from 46 percent on July 1.

Some 60 percent of likely voters have an unfavorable view of Trump, compared with 58 percent on July 1.

Meh. Reuters polls are consistently brutal for Trump because they don’t pressure people who prefer “other” to choose between the two major-party nominees. They’re interesting as a hint that Trump’s support among Republican “leaners” is very soft, but obviously many of those leaners will hold their noses and back him on Election Day. I think the main lesson of the Reuters poll is that we should probably spend less time going forward examining Hillary and Trump head-to-head and more time examining the four-way race that includes Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. Jim Geraghty notes that Hillary’s having a lot of trouble getting north of 40 percent in a four-way race. True, but Trump seems to be stuck between 35-37 percent. Ed noted this morning, correctly, that some of Johnson’s and Stein’s support will peel off to the major-party candidates in the home stretch as fencesitters decide they’re better off trying to influence the outcome of the race than casting a principled vote, but not all of it will. The fact that Trump’s support is softer than Clinton’s (at least if Reuters is correct) is something he should worry about — if it persists.