One word, my friends: Gamechanger.
Or “outlier.” That’s a word too.
After more than a week of blistering attacks from Democrats, celebrities and the press, Donald Trump has managed to pull ahead of Hillary Clinton by 1 percentage point — 41.3% to 40% — in a four-way matchup, according to the new IBD/TIPP poll released today…
The IBD/TIPP poll previously was monitoring support for the candidates in the 2016 election on a monthly basis. The new results are Trump’s best showing in months. The poll also found that in a two-way matchup, Clinton is up by 3 points — 43.6% to 40.6% — which represents a slight gain from September, when Clinton was ahead 44% to 43%…
By gender, Clinton does much better among women — 47% to 37% — but Trump’s lead among men is just as strong at 47% to 32%.
There are various surprising results here, starting with the fact that Clinton not only leads in the two-way race but her lead has grown since last month — even as Trump has nudged ahead of her in the four-way race. How to explain that? The answer, it seems, lies with the Green Party candidate: IBD has far-left Jill Stein at six percent, her best number in any national poll since the beginning of August. Stein is averaging just 2.6 percent in RCP’s poll average; of the last 13 polls taken, she’s at 1-2 percent in most of them. Six percent is a big number, and significant since almost all of Stein’s support is coming out of Clinton’s share of the vote. She’s turning a three-point Hillary lead in the two-way race into a one-point Trump lead in the four-way. That’s probably an outlier, but if you’re looking for evidence that the Wikileaks revelations about Clinton’s Wall Street speeches are starting to bite among progressives, here you go. If we see a couple more polls showing Stein beginning to rise, Clinton will have something to worry about.
The other eyepopping number here is the gender gap. The story of the last few weeks, capped by the two national polls I blogged earlier, is that Clinton is opening a big lead among women while Trump’s lead among men is either small or nonexistent. (Clinton, not Trump, led among men in the Bloomberg and PRRI polls I noted this morning.) Read this Harry Enten post tabulating the gender numbers in other recent national surveys. Trump leads among men by an average of seven points; Clinton’s lead among women, at 20 points, is nearly triple that, and women tend to vote at higher rates than men do. That’s a recipe for an unholy beating in November. IBD has Trump ahead by a point overall because its own gender numbers cut against that trend: Clinton leads by 10 among women but Trump’s lead among men is larger, a whopping 15 points. That seems hard to believe after weeks of media chatter about the “Access Hollywood” tape and the sexual assault allegations, but IBD has a very good track record as a pollster in presidential races. (FiveThirtyEight grades it at A- in its pollster scorecard.) And IBD’s numbers are in line with perennial Trump-friendly polls like Rasmussen, which has the race tied at 42 today, and the LA Times, which has the candidates separated by two-tenths of a point. These three pollsters comprise one cluster of national polls right now — the “dead-heat” cluster. Everyone else is in the “Trump getting curb-stomped” cluster. One group or the other is going to be deeply humiliated in three weeks.
The most encouraging number for Trump in the IBD survey, I think, has to do with voter enthusiasm. Even if you find the gender numbers hard to believe, the fact that 67 percent of Trump’s supporters “strongly” back him versus 58 percent of Clinton’s who “strongly” back her seems plausible, and jibes with the enthusiasm numbers in today’s Bloomberg poll. Bloomberg found 65 percent of Trump fans saying they’re “very” or “fairly” enthused about him versus 58 percent of Clinton voters who say so about her. If you’re looking for a reason to believe he’ll outperform his polling on Election Day due to spectacular turnout, that’s it. He’d have to outperform it by a lot, though, if the polls are right that Clinton’s now leading by six points or so nationally. And he’d have to do it despite a Democratic ground-game advantage. Hillary might have more soft support than Trump does, but she also has better means to deliver her soft supporters to the polls. A lot of unenthusiastic Clinton backers turning out next month will turn this into a rout.
Incidentally, since we’re talking polls, here’s a nice graph from today’s PRRI release. Note how the numbers for white evangelicals changed in just five years.
That’s not altogether a bad thing, as not all personal indiscretions are created equal. Some candidates who have a divorce or two under their belts might nonetheless make fine presidents, and evangelicals appear to be more open to that now. Sexual assault is another matter — and Republicans seem to be more open to that too. So while this trend isn’t entirely bad, it sure ain’t entirely good either. The sheer magnitude of the shift over such a short time also points to opportunism here. It would be one thing if evangelicals had evolved (devolved?) on this subject gradually, while the GOP was busy nominating traditional candidates. Given the sudden sea change in opinion, though, this doesn’t seem to be a matter of thinking hard about how personal morals might impact a hypothetical president’s ethical behavior while in office. It looks like they’re simply writing Trump a blank check on morals to justify voting for him over Clinton this fall. I can’t wait for the next “Values Voter Summit.”
As I write this, a new national poll from Quinnipiac is hitting the wires: Clinton 47, Trump 40, Johnson 7, and Green Party spoiler Jill Stein pulling her usual one percent of the vote once again. Add one more to the “curb-stomp” cluster.