One for the road: Clinton nearly doubles lead in new WSJ/NBC poll

Look on the bright side. With this, we’re about done with post-Khan, post-convention polling. It’s all uphill from here. I think.

She led by five a month ago, with Trump at 41 percent. One month and two conventions later, it’s Clinton by nine head-to-head with Trump, 47/38. An amazing but true footnote: Her favorability has barely budged over that time. The Hillary show in Philadelphia moved her from -22 to -16. Interestingly, Trump’s favorability is also basically unchanged. It seems we’ve got a chunk of voters simply deciding that Hillary is the lesser of two evils.

In this latest poll, Clinton enjoys a significant advantage among women (51 percent to Trump’s 35 percent), African Americans (91 percent to 1 percent), all non-white voters (69 percent to 17 percent), young voters (46 percent to 34 percent), and white voters with a college degree (47 percent to 40 percent)…

The two candidates are running nearly even among men, at 43 percent for Clinton and 42 percent for Trump.

When Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are added to the mix, Clinton still retains a nine-point advantage over Trump: Clinton is at 43 percent, Trump at 34 percent, Johnson at ten percent and Stein at five percent.

Trump is at one percent among blacks, and not even in a four-way race. Surely that’s a fluke, right? Well…

Amazingly, notes Harry Enten, Trump may end up doing worse among blacks than either McCain or Romney did while running against the first black president. The other amazing number here is the gender split. Next to white voters without a college education, men are Trump’s most reliable demographic. He leads them consistently in poll after poll, often by double digits, albeit usually not by enough to offset Hillary’s more considerable lead among women. All Clinton has to do to win the election is be competitive among men with Trump, even if he ends up winning the group comfortably. In this poll she’s winning men — and that’s not the only poll today to have her ahead in that group. The McClatchy poll that John blogged earlier had her up an improbable eight points within the group, which explains her mind-boggling 15-point lead overall. It’s one thing for Clinton’s post-convention bounce to produce larger leads among her core groups, but if she’s starting to pull from Trump’s core? Disaster if something doesn’t change.

Speaking of which, a hair-raising tidbit from Politico:

Sounds like Team Clinton is so confident of victory in Colorado and Virginia — three months out from the election — that they’re not even going to bother competing there, which means more money available to spend in places like, say, Arizona and Georgia. Trump’s path to victory in Pennsylvania and Ohio is contingent upon him holding all of Romney’s red states in the process. If Hillary picks one or two of them off, even the Rust Belt can’t save him.

But I digress. The significance of this poll isn’t the topline number but how consistent it is with other national polls over the last four days. Hillary’s now above 47 percent in the RCP average while Trump barely clings to the 40-percent mark at 40.6. The four most recent national polls all have him at 39 percent or worse, which has pushed his average down to pre-convention levels. If you look at the four-way race, which of course more accurately reflects the reality of the election, he’s below 40 percent in five of the last six polls and in the sixth he’s at 40 exactly. Looking at all of that, a friend asked me today how I thought Romney might do if he shocked the world and jumped in this week. That’s … a good question. Three months ago I guessed he’d be a 10-15 percent candidate. Now, with Republicans newly doubtful of Trump’s chances, I wonder if he might get to 25 percent as wavering GOPers peel off from Trump and back him instead. It’s a kamikaze mission under any circumstances, though: That hardcore pro-Trump 20 percent of the electorate on the right is with him to the bitter end. Even in the rosiest scenario, Romney is a 30 percent proposition, tops. And that’s in a three-way race between him, Trump, and Hillary; toss Gary Johnson and Jill Stein in there and Romney’s probably doomed to the low 20s.

In spite of it all, though, I think Trump still stands a chance. Hillary’s enjoying a bounce compounded by Trump’s bad week squabbling with the Khans. The latter will go away even if the former doesn’t. We have three months of capital-E Events affecting the race still to come and Julian Assange has already promised more damaging leaks aimed at Clinton. There’s a chance, however slim, that Trump will buckle down for the debates and show Americans that he actually knows his stuff, which will help mitigate the ferocious beating he’s taking in the polls on questions about which candidate is better prepared for the job. And presidential races usually tighten organically in the home stretch. Romney was four points behind Obama in late September 2012 and then surged ahead briefly after his stellar first debate. McCain was neck-and-neck with Obama after the convention in September 2008 until the financial crisis hit and the bottom fell out. It’s hard to believe a candidate as bad as Hillary Clinton is on a glide path with an unshakeable lead. Especially if a miracle occurs and Trump decides to campaign in a disciplined way for the next three months.

But who are we kidding? According to one report, he’s increasingly in touch with Corey “Let Trump Be Trump” Lewandowski lately because, claims a Trump staffer, “He’s not satisfied with what he’s getting [from Paul Manafort]. So he’s basically gone rogue.” A former Trump advisor who remains supportive of his candidacy — which I assume is code for “Roger Stone” — told BuzzFeed when asked about Reince Priebus leaning on Trump to shape up, “He’s served Donald’s purposes. He got Donald the nomination. The transaction is complete … You think [Trump] gives a sh*t what Reince Priebus says to him now?” Trump is who he is. He’ll win that way or lose that way.

Here’s Axelrod twisting the knife.

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David Strom 4:01 PM on October 03, 2022