Lucky seven. Well, six and a half:
That’s up from a dead heat on the last day of the GOP convention. Safe to say that Trump got a bounce from Cleveland, no? If you’re unconvinced, here’s what the last seven polls that RCP is following look like:
Five of the seven lean red, amounting to a narrow but seemingly reliable lead of 1.1 points for Trump. To put that in perspective, over the past 12 months he had led Clinton for exactly three days, in late May of this year — and that was a lead of just 0.2 points, fueled by the fact that he’d already become presumptive nominee at that point while Hillary was still busy trying to tamp down Berniemania. Maybe the polls revert to form next week when Hillary gets a convention bounce of her own. Or maybe not: I’m all-in on predicting that she won’t get a bounce. For some Americans, last week was their first real introduction to Trump the politician. There’s no new introduction to a pol as familiar as Clinton, no matter how hard the DNC strains to manufacture one.
Back to the LA Times poll, though, which is noteworthy in various ways. It’s the only poll out there right now that includes data from Monday and Tuesday of this week, which means the extra-large lead it’s seeing for Trump might be a sign that his bounce is still expanding. We’ll have to wait for other surveys to confirm that. In the meantime, the (almost) seven-point advantage here is tied for the biggest lead for Trump in any poll this year. Rasmussen, whose numbers have skewed conspicuously pro-Trump, has also found a seven-point lead for him in the past. The Times and Rasmussen have something in common: They both poll likely voters, which should make their numbers a little closer to what we’d expect to actually see on Election Day. I’ll be curious to see Rasmussen’s new data once it’s available. They haven’t polled the race for a week.
It’s not just the convention that’s driving Trump’s lead either. New from Gallup:
As the Democratic National Convention gets underway in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton’s image is at its lowest point in the 24 years of her national career, with 38% of Americans viewing her favorably and 57% unfavorably. Americans’ most positive view of Clinton, 67% favorable, came in December 1998. Before last year, her lowest favorable ratings since she became well-known had been 43% in January 1996 and 44% in March 2001.
Clinton was at 41% favorable in mid-June but drifted down to 37% by mid-July. Her favorable ratings have since held near that level, including through last week’s Republican National Convention. Republican nominee Donald Trump’s image for the past seven days was 36% favorable and 59% unfavorable, only slightly less positive than Clinton’s.
What happened smack dab in the middle of mid-June and mid-July? Right, Jim Comey’s press conference on July 5th accusing her of “extreme carelessness” in how she handled classified information. Even now, with her ratings in the toilet, she’s no more unpopular than Trump is, but that’s a bad place for a well-worn political commodity like Clinton to be in a populist climate. Voters might be willing to back an establishmentarian whom they personally like much more than the “change agent” from the other party. When they dislike her as much as they dislike him, though, why not roll the dice on something different?
One last note about the LA Times poll’s methodology. Most pollsters use a different sample every time they conduct a survey; they dial up Americans randomly and see who responds. The Times poll is a tracking poll that uses 400 people from a fixed group of 3,000 to try to gauge how they’re feeling about the election on a daily basis. It’s a different way to measure shifts among the population towards or away from a candidate, but it gives you a truer sense of people changing their minds since you’re polling the same people over and over again. When the poll debuted two weeks ago, the Times noted that this methodology was more accurate in predicting the election four years ago than many other surveys were. Good news for Trump. Stay tuned.
Update: Perspective from Sean Trende.
Trump up 1.1 points in RCP Average.*BUT* Romney led by 1.5 pts in mid-October, McCain by 2.9 in early September. So we'll see.
— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) July 27, 2016