Hillary won the two snap polls after the debate, one marginally (47/42 in YouGov) and one decisively (57/34 in CNN), but I don’t know how much that matters in a month where October surprises are dropping every 48 hours and each new news cycle seems to last eight minutes. Trump was better last night than he was at the first debate and didn’t do anything that would have caused a jailbreak among the remaining congressional Republicans who are supporting him, so in that sense it was a win.
The more important polls are the ones tracking the race overall since the “Access Hollywood” audio dropped on Friday. Is the tape a campaign-killer or, as I guessed yesterday, something that’s apt to put a hard ceiling on his numbers rather than knock the bottom out from under them? The answer: Pollsters differ. The LA Times daily tracker, which has been the most reliably pro-Trump poll of the campaign, sees only the slightest decline for him since Friday. He started that morning with 46.1 percent of the vote and, as of today, he’s at 45.8 percent. Hillary, in fact, has dropped just as much as Trump has, falling from 43 percent on Friday to 42.7 this morning. Two notes of caution about that, though. One: Although the Times poll is a tracking poll, it averages the numbers for each candidate over a period of several days to arrive at each morning’s results. Meaning, it’ll take a few more days before reaction to the tape is fully priced in. Two: Unlike most other pollsters, both state and national, the Times poll has had Trump leading nationally every day since September 12th and saw no dip for him after the first debate, which even some Trump fans admit wasn’t his best night. That’s … an extreme outlier. Maybe they’re right and everyone else is wrong but it usually doesn’t work that way in polling, especially with races being tracked as closely as this.
Rasmussen has also been a fairly reliably pro-Trump poll so far this year (the “house effect” in Ras polls per FiveThirtyEight is R+2). But not anymore:
Rasmussen Reports’ latest national telephone and online survey of Likely U.S. Voters finds that Democrat Hillary Clinton has now jumped out to a seven-point lead – 45% to 38% – over Trump. On Friday, the two were in a virtual tie – Clinton 43%, Trump 42%…
This marks Clinton’s highest ever vote total against Trump – and her biggest lead – in Rasmussen Reports polling stretching back to August of last year. It’s Trump’s worst showing in nearly two months. This survey was concluded prior to the second debate between the two candidates last night in St. Louis…
Clinton has a 14-point lead among women in the latest survey. The two are now tied among men, a group that has supported Trump by wide margins in the past. Roughly 80% of both men and women say they are sure already how they will vote.
A six-point swing in what was a one-point race just 48 hours ago is a big deal, and if the “house effect” is true, Rasmussen’s probably underestimating Clinton’s lead. Meanwhile, over at YouGov, a three-point Clinton lead nationally has suddenly doubled. Now it’s Clinton 44, Trump 38:
The new Economist/YouGov Poll was conducted mostly after the release of a 2005 video recording of Trump making vulgar statements about women and his behavior towards them and as a number of GOP leaders rejected those statements and a number of them rejecting Trump as well…
Clinton lead among women has expanded to 15 points this week, with 49% of women voters now saying they support Clinton, and just 34% in favor of Trump. Trump has also lost support with voters 65 and older. Last week 50% of senior citizens favored Trump, now 43% do. Clinton gained a little ground with older voters (her share of their support went from 42% to 45%), but the percentage who said they were not sure what they would do in November more than doubled – from 5% last week to 11% now. Women are also more likely to be undecided: one in ten women this week aren’t sure whom they will vote for.
What may be more damaging to Trump than the latest shift in preference is that more than half of voters this week are saying is that they would never vote for him. The percentage saying that varies from week to week, but has never been higher. 47% would never vote for Clinton, about the same percentages who have been saying this all along.
Fifty-three percent of voters overall and 56 percent of women specifically now say they’d never vote for Trump. Relatedly, a NBC/SurveyMonkey poll out this morning found a shift over the weekend among voters when asked whether Trump respects women or not. Before the tape dropped, 55 percent said no. After it came out, that number jumped to 63 percent. The most noticeable change, interestingly, was among men: Pre-tape, a majority of 54/45 said that Trump did respect women. Post-tape, the split was 43/55.
That may not shift many votes, but like I say, it doesn’t have to in order to guarantee defeat. All it has to do is put people who were still open to voting for Trump decisively out of reach, and the pool of those who were still open to him was shrinking even before Friday. A Quinnipiac poll released last week showed a massive shift among independents after the first debate, from Trump by nine to Clinton by 20, and that wasn’t the only recent poll showing a hard break to the left by indies. Meanwhile, according to the swing-state polls released this weekend by CBS and NBC, Clinton leads in Florida (+3 in NBC), Wisconsin (+4 in CBS), Pennsylvania (+8 in CBS and +12(!) in NBC), and even Ohio (+4 in CBS), the third straight poll showing her ahead there after she trailed for most of September. Both polls were conducted before the tape was released, too — although CBS did contact some of the people polled after it dropped to ask them for reaction. Result:
Slight majorities in each state, 54 percent in Ohio and 51 percent in Pennsylvania, said the tape did not change their view of Trump, while 44 percent in Ohio and 47 percent in Pennsylvania said it made them think worse of Trump, though most in the latter groups were not supporting him beforehand. There is a gender gap on this: in Pennsylvania, women are more likely than men to say it makes their view of Trump worse, by 53 percent to 42 percent.
Nearly half in two crucial swing states say it made them think worse of Trump, and although most were already against him, not all were. Unless his debate performance last night was much more of a home run than people seem to think, it seems likely his numbers are going to slide this week, either a little or a lot. Especially if there are more tapes coming, as has been rumored.
Update: The only question left is whether the GOP can hold on to the House. New from NBC:
New natl NBC/WSJ poll (conducted after Fri news but before debate)
Was Clinton +6 in Sept
(Oct 8-9, LVs)
— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) October 10, 2016