I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong. Gary Johnson doesn’t cost Trump the election in this scenario. Without him in the race, it’s Hillary 45, Trump 41, with Trump winning independents by a narrow 40/37 margin. With Johnson in the mix, Hillary’s share of independents drops eight points while Trump’s declines by only four; meanwhile just four percent of Republicans break for Johnson (so much for #NeverTrump) compared to two percent of Dems. Relatedly, a new poll of Michigan today finds Johnson at nearly 12 percent there, and once again sees him drawing more votes from Clinton than from Trump. She drops a little more than six points with him in the race while Trump a bit less than six. That is to say, there’s reason to believe that Johnson’s candidacy will end up helping Trump in the end by luring away enough left-leaning pro-Sanders indies to hurt her on balance. Although, of course, that may change. If Bernie goes all-in for Hillary and unites the left, Johnson may end up as mainly a right-wing phenomenon after all, which is trouble for the GOP.
To give you a sense of how deeply sleazy Hillary Clinton is perceived as being, even a guy as compromised as Trump wins when voters are asked which of the two candidates is more honest and trustworthy (44/39). Among independents, his advantage is 15 points. Democrats may have nominated the one person in the party who can’t beat him on that metric. Apart from Hillary’s better half, of course.
In a Clinton-Trump matchup, men go Republican 51 – 35 percent, while women go Democratic 54 – 30 percent…
American voters give Clinton a 57 percent “very unfavorable” or “strongly unfavorable” rating, with 37 percent “strongly favorable” or “somewhat favorable.”
Trump gets a 59 percent “somewhat unfavorable” or “strongly unfavorable” rating, with 34 percent strongly favorable” or “somewhat favorable.”
Finding a pol whose unfavorable rating is nearly as bad as Trump’s was no easy feat. Congratulations to Democrats on going the extra mile and defying the odds to make this unlikely Republican dream come true.
Jokes aside, there’s data in the details to encourage the left, starting with the fact that Trump is still having trouble escaping the low 40s even though his party’s united behind him while hers remains split. (He leads her among independents as well.) One number of note is how many voters from each party say they’re “dissatisfied” or “embarrassed” by their nominee each year. The combined totals are similar — 19 percent for Clinton versus 24 percent for Trump — but the number who claim embarrassment is just six percent in her case versus 14 percent in his. I’d guess that “embarrassed” voters are the ones most likely to waver in the end because they fear their nominee isn’t fit for office. If that’s true, it supports the theory that Trump will end up losing more Rs than Clinton will lose Ds.
It’s also tempting to believe that Republicans, who are eager to reclaim the White House and excited about Trump, will beat Democrats in turnout this year as a divided left struggles with whether to support her. There’s evidence here to support that: 42 percent of GOPers say they’re more excited to vote this year than in years past versus 29 percent of Dems. But when you ask them if they’re likely to vote, the numbers look different:
Hillary’s the all but certain nominee but the primary’s still being contested so it’s surprising to see Democrats say they’re more intent on showing up for her than Republicans are for Trump. That may be an early clue that it’ll be easier for her to unite her party than everyone thinks. Maybe the left is already so committed to defeating Trump that even most Bernie fans are vowing to show up in November, notwithstanding their bitterness about his looming defeat in the primary.
Another potential telltale number: Look how wide her margins are on “stability” questions. Here’s the result when voters are asked whom they trust more to make the right decisions with nuclear weapons.
Men are a loyal Trump cohort on most issues but not this time. Ditto when people are asked who’s better prepared to be president:
When they’re asked who’s more intelligent, men are back on Trump’s side — barely. Women, meanwhile, are overwhelmingly pro-Hillary.
Clinton also wins easily, 53/40, when asked which candidate would better handle an international crisis. What you’re seeing here, in all likelihood, is the germ of her main line of attack on him this fall, namely that he’s way too much of a loose cannon to trust with powers as vast as the presidency’s. Trump’s core appeal is that he’s a change agent; he’s ahead by nine points when people are asked who’s more inspiring. The obvious counter is that he’s a chaos agent, not merely one of change. Hillary running as the “stability” candidate is tricky in a populist climate, when “stability” is easily characterized as “status quo” (Trump leads by 11 points when folks are asked who’d do more to create jobs), but Trump’s already promised to go on being his usual loose-cannon self this fall despite the assurances from people like Paul Manafort that he’ll behave more presidentially at some point. If Democrats invest heavily in attacks on Trump as dangerously unqualified, both by temperament and experience, it’ll probably win them late deciders. If the electorate goes into the booth with the foremost question in its mind, “Whom do I trust more with the bomb?”, Hillary wins easily. She’s shady but she’s predictable.
One last table, just because it’s so tremendously depressing:
Is the GOP actually going to lose a test of morals to the farking Clintons? God almighty.
Speaking of depressing, here’s one of the cringiest moments of the campaign on either side to date. I need a drink.
— POLITICO (@politico) June 1, 2016