Those numbers seem implausible but they’re not. Of the six polls taken in Texas this year, Trump has led by double digits in just one. The three surveys of the state conducted in September had him ahead by six, six, and seven points, and all of those were taken before the “Access Hollywood” tape dropped and the sexual assault allegations began. This new one, showing Trump by four — which is within the margin of error — is believable, at least for now. He’s still a heavy favorite to win the state but you can read the national tea leaves for yourself. If Texas is a jump ball, which way is a true purple state like North Carolina going?
The Arizona number is more ominous, and not just because Trump actually trails in this one.
Data Orbital, a Phoenix based consulting firm, announced today the results of a recent survey conducted on likely general election voters in Arizona. The poll showed Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump by 1%, with 6% of voters undecided, and only 5% pledged to Libertarian Gary Johnson.
The survey’s head to head results are below:
Clinton has led in four of the last seven polls of Arizona (all very narrowly) dating back to late August and was tied in another. Trump led one poll by four points and another by a single point and both of those were conducted a month ago, during his early September surge. Worse, here’s what the age demographics of the new poll look like:
That’s a very old sample. In 2012, voters aged 44 or under were 55 percent of the Arizona electorate; here they’re just 30 percent. If Hillary’s ahead by a point overall despite the fact that this sample is imagining an older, inevitably more conservative electorate, who knows what her lead is in reality. Similarly, the last poll of Arizona, which was conducted by Emerson College, found a lead for Clinton of two points — but Emerson calls landlines only for their surveys, which means they almost certainly underestimate the preferences of younger, cell-phone-using (and Democratic-tilting) voters. That’s another case of Hillary winding up ahead among a sample that “should” be favorable to Trump. If the electorate looks more like 2012 demographically, she might win comfortably.
In fact, according to the NYT, her campaign is convinced that Georgia and Arizona are their two best shots at winning a red state. With Arizona in her column, Clinton could afford to lose Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, and Maine and still cross the tape with 277 electoral votes. She’s a 51 percent favorite in AZ right now in FiveThirtyEight’s “polls-only” forecast, although Trump remains a 59 percent favorite in the “polls-plus” model.
Charlie Cook, scanning last night’s Fox News national poll, says the race is over. Given how many surprises have already dropped this month, only a fool would call it nearly a month out. But the Arizona numbers ain’t encouraging.