I wouldn’t sweat it too much. It’s a Zogby poll, and Zogby currently enjoys a dismal C- rating on the FiveThirtyEight scorecard. But I’d sweat it a little: Cruz crushed Trump in the Kansas caucus, remember, and Trump’s been stuck in a bad stretch lately because of the party’s backlash over Judge Curiel. It’s not his best red state by any means and this hasn’t been his best stretch of the campaign. Kansas may well be competitive at the moment. Emphasis on “at the moment.”
McCain won the state by 15 points and Romney won it by 21 even though Obama has family ties there (his mother was born in Kansas). It hasn’t gone blue in a presidential race since LBJ. Kansas is never supposed to be competitive.
But when given a choice between the two parties’ presumptive nominees, a plurality (43-36 percent) said they prefer Democrat Hillary Clinton to Republican Donald Trump, while 21 percent are currently undecided…
Zogby said his poll showed 12 percent of Democrats and 16 percent of Republicans are still undecided about the race. But among independent and unaffiliated voters who make up 30 percent of all registered voters in Kansas, 31 percent remain undecided…
“Trump, you look at this and it’s like, this is vastly underperforming,” [Kansas University Prof. Patrick Miller] said. “Maybe that’s not closing the deal with the evangelical base. Maybe that’s the low support from independents who might normally vote Republican. So I think that’s kind of one way of interpreting it. Clinton does a little bit better than Obama, given the context, but Trump in Kansas really has a whole lot of solidifying of his base to do.”
Sorry, he has no time to solidify his base in Kansas right now. He’s too busy polling New York. As I say, I don’t think the deep-red plains states are worth worrying much about despite the occasional gruesome poll like this one. The latest national polls, however, seem a little more worrisome:
Yesterday I wondered if there’s any solid evidence that the judge kerfuffle has hurt Trump or if it’s just a figment of the punditocracy’s imagination, driven by their own dislike of the guy. That sharp dip on the right in the graph above, driven by a few new polls that have dropped in the past 24 hours, looks pretty solid. The daily tracking poll from Reuters is also seeing a sudden dip, with Trump dropping from 36.3 percent yesterday to 34.8(!!) now. Notice that Hillary’s numbers have barely moved since May 22, hovering between 43-44 percent. She didn’t catch any bounce from winning California and becoming the presumptive nominee. And yet, she’s moved from being nearly tied with Trump on May 25 to a 3.8-point lead, all thanks to Trump’s decline. In fact, if you average only the four most recent polls instead of the eight most recent, as RCP has done, you find Hillary out to a five-point lead, not 3.8. More alarmingly, the last three national polls have put Trump under 40 percent — 39 from Fox News, 38 from Rasmussen, and 34 from Reuters. That’s right around where he was polling against Hillary circa mid-April, when the GOP primary was still undecided. You’d expect a guy who’s been the presumptive nominee for a month to have built significantly on that since then, and he did build on it — for awhile, hitting 45 or better in three different polls in May. Now he’s back to this. If Hillary’s numbers start to climb next week as Democrats unify behind her while Trump’s stay flat, we may see more panicky “convention coup!” pleas from conservative media. (Eh, who are we kidding? We’re going to see them anyway.)
By the way, there’s also a new poll out today from Morning Consult on the specific question of Trump’s comments about Judge Curiel. These results square pretty well with the overall downturn we see in the graph above:
Fifty-six percent of his own party think what he said was racist or simply unacceptable. Ben Carson claims that even Trump himself acknowledged privately this week that going after the judge was a mistake. Carson’s theory on why Trump keep coming at Curiel: “He was probably talking out loud rather than thinking.” Well, when you put it that way, okay.