Rasmussen has Trump leading in the four-way race. Suffolk has him down further than Romney’s margin of defeat against Obama. What’s a poll consumer to do? It’s not just Ras and Suffolk either. Check out the spread in the last 10 surveys that are being tracked by RCP:
Suffolk, Monmouth, and Quinnipiac all have Clinton up by seven. Fox News, Reuters, and Gravis have her ahead by just one or two points, and Rasmussen, as noted, has Trump up narrowly. This is why aggregators like RCP track poll averages: Presumably the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and indeed, three more pollsters have the race in the four- to five-point range. Note, though, that the by now familiar floor/ceiling dynamic for Trump and Clinton holds true in all of these polls except Rasmussen. Trump occasionally nudges above 40 percent but he’s been mired for awhile in the 37-39 percent range. Clinton occasionally falls below 41 percent but that’s pretty reliably her floor. Trump needs three points from somewhere.
Ed gave you the key findings from Rasmussen. Suffolk’s:
In a four-way scenario that includes Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, Clinton maintained a 7-point advantage, 42 percent to Trump’s 35 percent; Johnson was at 9 percent; Stein, 4 percent; with 10 percent undecided…
Clinton led Trump 54 percent to 38 percent among women, 92 percent to 4 percent among African-American voters and 65 percent to 24 percent among Hispanic voters…
Both candidates have high unfavorable ratings, with Trump at 59 percent and Clinton at 51 percent unfavorable. Nearly one in five voters say they dislike both candidates. Among those who dislike both, Trump led 32 percent to Clinton’s 28 percent, with 32 percent undecided and 8 percent refusing a response. In the four-way ballot test among “the haters” Johnson tops the field with 34 percent, followed by Trump (21 percent), Clinton (15 percent), and Stein (8 percent), while 20 percent were undecided.
Interesting that Clinton leads comfortably overall even though Trump leads her among people who dislike both of them. That’s probably an artifact of greater divisions on the right than the left over each side’s nominee. Anti-Trump Republicans are more likely to hold their noses and vote for him, I’d guess, than to cross the aisle and vote for the liberal. If that’s true, and if in fact there are more of them in the “dislike both” group than there are anti-Clinton Democrats — which is what you’d expect given the antagonism on the right over Trump — then yeah, Trump will lead within that group overall.
And speaking of anti-Trump Republicans, here’s an interesting result:
Fifty percent of voters are at least somewhat likely to split their tickets. Given that Hillary’s leading overall right now, that’s good news for Republican senators like Pat Toomey who are in trouble.
If you’re wondering, by the way, why Suffolk is seeing a big Clinton lead while Fox News is seeing a small one, the key differences lie with men, whites, and independents (categories which overlap considerably, of course). Fox has Trump leading handily in all three groups, 13 points among men, 13 among whites, and 12 among indies. Suffolk has Trump leading among men by a single point(!), by eight among whites, and trailing by four among independents. (Romney won whites by 20 in 2012, so Trump’s badly underperforming him in both polls.) Curiously, though, Suffolk has Trump performing better with Republicans (78 percent) than the more favorable Fox News poll does (74 percent). If Trump were pulling as many members of his own party as Hillary is pulling among hers (81 percent), he’d probably be leading outright in the four-way race there.
That’s a nice reminder, though, that while Clinton’s margin is much narrower in the Fox News poll than in other national surveys right now, it’s hard to call it a “good poll” for Trump. The guy’s at 39 percent in the four-way race. It’s “good” only in the sense that Hillary is performing at what appears to be her floor. In fact, if you move from the four-way race to the two-way race, Fox has Clinton ahead by six points, greater than Obama’s margin over Romney four years ago. Trump is close only because Gary Johnson is momentarily peeling off enough voters from Clinton to keep it close. If those voters abandon him, you’d expect most of them to come back to the Democrat than go Republican.
One more poll worth your time, this time at the state level: Franklin & Marshall has a new one out of Pennsylvania that puts Clinton up five in the four-way race, in between the eight-point lead Monmouth saw a few days ago and the three-point lead that Emerson found the day before that. Same old story: Trump is stuck at 40 percent, exactly the number he pulled in Monmouth and in line with his overall average of 39.6. (Emerson had Trump at 43, for what it’s worth.) This graph is the story of the campaign to date:
Trump’s crushing it among white men without a college degree, but that’s the only group where he’s crushing it. Romney won white men overall in Pennsylvania by 21 points in 2012; Trump is barely topping that margin among less educated white men and is actually trailing Clinton among college-educated white men. Romney won white women overall by nine points in Pennsylvania, but Trump trails within that group among both educational levels. He can’t win being this much of a niche candidate. That’s what the “softening” per his outreach to minorities has been about. A “softer” Trump can only improve his current numbers in demographics that are chilly to him.
Speaking of which, in lieu of an exit question, I’ll leave you with this.
Suffolk national poll, black voters:
— Steve Koczela (@skoczela) September 1, 2016