A quick reality check to counter all of the hype today: Trump is not dropping out. The RNC will not remove him. Republicans will not desert him en masse. And he still has a chance to win.
…unless his polling really starts to slip, in which case all bets are off. Even these Fox News numbers, putting Hillary up 49/39, can be spun: He’s had a bad week at the same time that she’s getting her convention bounce. It’ll all settle down by mid-August once people forget about the convention and the Khans. If that’s wrong, though, and she opens up, say, a 53/36 lead — which would only require a three- or four-point swing from him to her given today’s numbers — then we really will see a freakout. That’s the significance of this poll, I think. The conservative news network has a topline result that places the GOP on the doorstep of real panic. If Wikileaks is sitting on a trump card (no pun intended) against Hillary, they may have to play it sooner than they would have liked.
Trump is the choice among whites by 10 points (49-39 percent), men by 5 (45-40 percent), white evangelical Christians by 50 (69-19 percent), and whites without a college degree by 16 (52-36 percent).
Right now he’s underperforming his 2012 counterpart. Romney won whites by 20 points (59-39 percent), men by 7 (52-45 percent), white evangelicals by 57 (78-21 percent), and whites without a degree by 26 (62-36 percent).
Hillary’s numbers across core Democratic constituencies are comparable to Obama’s but Trump is lagging behind Romney, most notably among whites without a college degree. They’re supposed to be Trump’s bread and butter, the group that’s going to almost singlehandedly erase Clinton’s advantages with other demographics by choosing him overwhelmingly. As it is, he’s 10 points behind the pace set by the rich establishment white-collar guy from Utah, who ended up losing the election by well over 100 electoral votes. Even Trump’s base is iffy on him right now.
In fact, I think Hillary’s expanding lead is being driven in no small part by the fact that a sizable Republican minority remains unsold on him. When the sample was asked whether Clinton has the right temperament to serve effectively as president, just seven percent of Democrats said no. Among Republicans, 27 percent said so of Trump. (Overall, Hillary scores 64/34 on temperament versus 37/61 for Trump.) Asked whether each candidate has the knowledge to serve effectively, the splits are similar: Five percent of Dems say no to Clinton versus 24 percent of Republicans who say no to Trump. (Overall, 72/26 say Hillary has the right knowledge compared to 40/59 for Trump.) On the most basic question, whether each is “qualified,” Hillary earns a 65/35 split compared to a 43/58 result for Trump — again, thanks to Republican disunity. Among GOPers, 34 percent say Clinton is either very or somewhat qualified; among Dems, just 11 percent say so of Trump.
Put all of that together and you find that Hillary attracts 12 percent of the Republican vote in a head-to-head race compared to five percent of Democrats who back Trump, the opposite of what many were expecting this fall as Trump flirted with anti-establishment, Hillary-hating Sanders fans. It’s worth watching that crossover vote for Clinton in polls to come. It may be that the flag-waving Democratic convention plus the Khan fiasco has shaken loose a small but meaningful segment of Republicans to vote Clinton, which explains why he’s suddenly down so big. In fact, Dan Foster points out on Twitter that when you include Gary Johnson in the poll, Trump loses more than one in four Republicans to either him, Clinton, or some other option:
Speaking of Khan, here’s the result when people who are familiar with his back and forth with Trump are asked whether Trump’s response to him was in bounds or out of bounds:
Even a plurality of Republicans, 40/41, say it was out of bounds. Among Democrats, it’s, uh, 2/93.
Two other crazy facts from this poll in closing. As good as the numbers look for Hillary here, there’s still plenty of disgruntlement among the Sanders wing. Even now, when asked who they’d prefer to have as nominee, 41 percent of Democrats say Bernie — a four-point increase from before the convention. Hard to square that with the strong Democratic support she’s enjoying in Fox’s poll apart from lefties deciding that Trump really is much worse and that they need to line up for her to stop him. The other hard-to-believe fact is that Hillary’s at 49 percent in this poll despite just 36 percent agreeing that she’s honest and trustworthy. How is she managing to pull that off? Simple: Trump’s numbers on the same question are just as bad (36/61 versus 36/62). When anti-Trumpers say that the GOP may have nominated the one candidate this year capable of losing to Clinton in the general election, they’re not blowing smoke.
By the way, she’s at 49 or better head-to-head with Trump in four of the last seven national polls taken and at 47 in another. So long as Clinton was muddling along in the low 40s, it was easy to imagine Trump catching and eventually passing her by vacuuming up undecideds. Obviously, as she approaches 50 percent, many of those undecideds are being taken off the board and suddenly he’s stuck trying to win over voters who have committed to her, however weakly. Her poll average right now at RCP is 46.8 percent, the highest number she’s had since mid-May, just a few weeks after Trump became presumptive nominee. He really can’t afford to have the numbers get worse over the rest of this month or the GOP’s going to have a nervous breakdown.
Update: I just noticed this buried in the crosstabs. Weep for the GOP: It’s a question about who’d do more to protect and preserve the Constitution.
Again, note the Republican crossover vote.