A little treat for Trump fans to gloat about at a moment when the entire commentariat’s assuring them their guy can’t win. Of course he can win. Hillary’s a bad, unpopular candidate in her own right with a restive bunch of ideologues in her own party bitterly opposed to her. If Trump were running against Obama, he’d get crushed. Against someone as charmless and distrusted as Hillary? He’s got a shot. Not a good shot given his freakishly poor favorable rating and his ominous lack of preparation for the general election, but anything’s possible in a world where a major party nominates the guy from “Celebrity Apprentice” for president.
I wouldn’t bank too heavily on this poll, though. Last week they found Trump and Clinton dead even at 38 percent; now they find Trump ahead by two if, er, voters aren’t given the option of staying home, which of course is what many will do in November. If you’re going to model an election where no one stays home, you might as well model one where, say, every woman in America stays home. Neither one’s going to happen.
Trump now has the support of 73% of Republicans, while 77% of Democrats back Clinton. But Trump picks up 15% of Democrats, while just eight percent (8%) of GOP voters prefer Clinton, given this matchup. Republicans are twice as likely to prefer another candidate…
Trump leads 48% to 35% among men but trails Clinton by a similar 44% to 34% among women.
Clinton’s narrow 38% to 32% lead among those under 40, traditionally a reliable Democratic group, suggests that younger voters will be a big target in the upcoming campaigning. Twenty-five percent (25%) of these voters like another candidate for now, and five percent (5%) are undecided. Trump has a small advantage among older voters…
Clinton earns 71% of the black vote, 45% support among other minority voters but just 33% of whites. Trump gets only nine percent (9%) of blacks, 33% of other minorities and 48% of white voters.
Where to begin? Let’s start by comparing Rasmussen’s numbers to the other six national polls this month:
Little bit of an outlier from Ras here. In fact, if you look back to Romney’s head-to-head polling against Obama in 2012, you’ll find that Mitt was leading in multiple polls around this time four years ago, probably thanks to his emergence as presumptive nominee. He may have gotten a bounce as Santorum and the rest of the competition finally fell away and swing voters took a hard look at him for the first time and imagined him as a future president. That bounce eventually faded. If that’s true, Trump might be benefiting from the same phenomenon right now. After his monster wins in the mid-Atlantic and likely win tomorrow night, he’s already the presumptive nominee within the GOP except for all but the most diehard Cruz fans. If he finishes Cruz off tomorrow, you may see him improve further in head-to-head polling with Hillary over the next few weeks. Whether it lasts is the question.
Rasmussen’s partisan numbers are noteworthy too: Clinton is stronger with Democrats than Trump is with Republicans, but Trump compensates for that by being nearly twice as strong with Democrats as Hillary is with Republicans. If you’re a Trump fan, that makes sense. He’s running as a “radical moderate,” which should have some appeal to centrist Democrats, whereas Hillary’s running as a leftist, which has zero appeal to conservatives. Trump should do better with the opposing party than she does. What you might be seeing here, though, is less a durable coalition of “Trump Democrats” in the center than an artifact of butthurt by Bernie Sanders’s leftist fans that their guy’s about to crash out of the Democratic primary. Those people will flirt with Trump for awhile since many have yet to reconcile themselves to Hillary’s inevitability as nominee. (Sanders vowed just yesterday to force a contested convention.) If I’m right, though, that most of the pro-Trump Democrats here are really just anti-Hillary Berners, time plus public support from lefty heroes like Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie himself plus seething liberal outrage at Trump’s “politically incorrect” excesses will help Hillary bring them back into the fold. Trump will bring some anti-Trump Republicans back into the GOP fold too, but Hillary stands a better chance of consolidating her party than Trump does because he’s an insurgent. Hillary’s no radical break with Democratic tradition; Bernie fans wanted a radical break, but they’re used to lining up for not-quite-as-socialist-as-we’d-like nominees in the end. She’s a Democrat in good standing even if she’s not a leftist. Trump, the Democrat turned centrist, is a radical break with recent Republican tradition and the party’s small but motivated base of conservatives isn’t used to lining up for the likes of him. He’s a “Republican in name only” in the truest sense. He’s a former Hillary Clinton donor, for cripes sake. That’s a heavy ask for grassroots conservatives.
And then we get to the race, gender, and age numbers. If you think Hillary’s topping out at 71 percent of the black vote, you probably also think Trump’s going to win the Latino vote, as he keeps telling people he will. Spoiler: Nope. Trump probably will clean up among men in November — although you’d be forgiven for doubting that based on some polling — but it’s hard to believe the first woman major-party nominee running a “war on women” campaign with as much ammo as the left will have against him can’t beat his advantage among women. Rasmussen has Trump +13 among men versus -10 among women; this is the same guy whose favorables a month ago among women were 23/70. A lot of married white women who normally vote Republican but dislike Trump will have to resist the temptation to stay home to make Rasmussen’s numbers possible. Meanwhile, Rasmussen may have Clinton ahead by just six points among voters under 40 but a recent Harvard study has her utterly crushing Trump among a slightly younger demographic, the under-30 group. She leads, if you can believe it, by 36 points, which is better than Obama’s margin was over McCain in 2008. For Trump to turn a deficit like that into a mere six-point deficit among the under-40 crowd, he’d have to win voters age 30-40 by a huge landslide. Is that likely, or is it more likely that Rasmussen’s numbers aren’t quite right?
In lieu of an exit question, go read this story about legal immigrants racing to become citizens this year so that they can vote against Trump this fall. A Trump/Clinton election is pretty simple demographically: Trump needs to do much better with whites and men than Romney did in 2012 and/or he needs Hillary to do much worse with minorities and women than Obama did to pull it off. Where’s the polling evidence that either of those things is likely?