Poll: Clinton leads in Ohio by ... nine?

Seems outlier-ish, but after the “Access Hollywood” tape, who knows. Clinton had never led Trump by more than seven points in Ohio until now; apart from a pair of CBS/YouGov polls, in fact, she’s never led there by more than four. It was Trump who led in multiple surveys of Ohio last month, more than once by as much as five points. He hasn’t been under 42 percent since early September. It’s his best major swing state by far.


This is the first poll of Ohio since the tape dropped, though, and Clinton did lead the previous three surveys there, albeit narrowly. If the bottom’s falling out nationally, this is what it would like. Stay tuned.

Clinton leads Trump, 48 percent to 38 percent, with 14 percent unsure, in a direct match-up, the poll found. When the two minority party candidates are added to the mix – as they are on state ballots — Clinton leads by 9 percent, 43 percent to 34 percent…

Indeed, 46 percent of those identifying themselves as independents are in Clinton’s corner, compared to 35 percent for Trump. Less than 20 percent of the independents said they are undecided…

Clinton leads the state with both male and female voters, the poll showed. More than 41 percent of men go with Clinton, compared to 39 percent for Trump. And 44 percent of women vote Clinton, compared to 34 percent for Trump.

That leftward tilt among indies is part of an ominous national trend over the last few weeks, but some demographic splits here are familiar. Trump leads narrowly among high-school grads and by 10 points among those who completed some college, but Clinton crushes him among college grads and postgrads by 18 and 23 points, respectively. That’s the story of the election, really — Trump is piling up support from the white working class but not as quickly as he’s scaring away white college graduates. He tried to reverse that in September by winking at a more moderate immigration policy and holding campaign events with minority audiences, with some success as the polls tightened early last month, but the tape has probably undone that and then some. At 34 percent here, his share of the vote in Ohio is now his lowest of the campaign, worse even than the 35 percent he pulled immediately after the Democratic convention in early August. FiveThirtyEight’s “polls-plus” forecast now gives Clinton a 59 percent chance of winning the state. On September 26th, the day of the first debate, her odds stood at 35.8 percent.


And yes, reaction to the second debate is priced into this poll, as it was conducted beginning immediately afterward on Sunday night. Here’s how Ohioans split on the candidates’ performances:


When asked if the debate led them to see the two more or less favorably, respondents split 30/27 for Clinton and 21/41 for Trump. Either the early attacks on Clinton’s scandals backfired or, as I speculated last night, a sizable chunk of the electorate has simply turned on Trump and is going to give him thumbs down now no matter what pollsters are asking about.

Anyway. Maybe it’s time to stop worrying about swing states like Ohio and start worrying about red states:

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign has concluded that at least two traditionally Republican states, Georgia and Arizona, are realistic targets for her campaign to win over. And Republican polling has found that Mr. Trump is at dire risk of losing Georgia, according to people briefed on the polls, who spoke on the condition of anonymity…

The nightmare possibility for the party is that swing voters punish the party because of Mr. Trump, the anti-Trump Republicans stay at home and Mr. Trump’s base casts a ballot for him and then leaves the polls. Under those conditions, Senate races in places like Pennsylvania and North Carolina could fall to Democrats, while Senate and House races in places like Missouri, Arizona and Kansas could move to the center of the battlefield.


Trump hasn’t trailed in a public poll of Georgia since early August — but there hasn’t been a survey of the state since before the first presidential debate, which was the apex of Trump’s polling all year. He led at the time by 4.8 points in the RCP average. If you believe that two bad debates plus the “Access Hollywood” tape are enough to erase a five-point gap between the two candidates, which seems likely, then yeah, it’s quite possible that Clinton’s ahead in Georgia right now. And since Georgia and South Carolina are similar demographically, each with a white Republican majority and a mostly black, overwhelmingly Democratic minority, if Georgia’s in play than South Carolina is likely in play too. In fact, the last poll taken in SC, which finished the day of the first debate, had Trump ahead by just four points. There’s a nonzero chance, if the election were held today, that the entire east coast would turn blue.

In lieu of an exit question, I’ll leave you with unkindest cut of all. Et tu, LA Times?

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