Strange days indeed. Most peculiar, mama!
This Quinnipiac poll is flaming garbage for Trump, virtually top to bottom. The margin is bad enough, but Hillary above 50 percent nationally is poison:
In the battle of the unloved presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton tops the magical 50 percent mark among American likely voters, leading Republican Donald Trump 51 – 41 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released today…
“We are starting to hear the faint rumblings of a Hillary Clinton landslide as her 10-point lead is further proof that Donald Trump is in a downward spiral as the clock ticks,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll…
[V]oters say 66 – 33 percent that Clinton is qualified to be president. Trump is not qualified, voters say 58 – 40 percent…
Voters also say 59 – 36 percent “the way Donald Trump talks appeals to bigotry.”
When voters are asked whether Hillary is “level-headed,” they split 62/35. When asked that about Trump, they split … 25/71, with Republicans able to muster only a very narrow plurality in favor (48/46). That’s not the most important quality the public seeks in a president but it’s part of the grand question for swing voters about whether they trust President Trump with nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, on the question of whether the way he talks appeals to bigotry, nonwhites split 72/23. His latest messaging shift might help with that, but that’s an awfully deep hole.
The most interesting demographic in this poll, though, is young voters. Nate Cohn makes a great catch:
Why does the 4 way hurt Clinton in Quinnipiac? Young voters. Clinton is up 64-29 with young voters in the two way–but falls to 48-24 w J/S
— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) August 25, 2016
Hillary still leads overall in the four-way race but her lead shrinks from 10 points head-to-head to just seven points with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein in the mix. Note in Cohn’s tweet that Trump barely declines among the 18-34 group between a two-way race and a four-way race. Nearly all of Johnson’s and Stein’s votes are coming out of Hillary’s share. That’s bad news for Clinton insofar as there’s no evidence yet that support for the two third-party candidates is fading. Johnson and Stein are making this a tougher race for her than it would otherwise be, as hard as that is to believe when she’s already leading comfortably. The bad news for Trump, though, is that there’s every reason to think that if some young voters conclude in October that voting for a third-party would mean wasting their vote, they’re more likely to migrate to Hillary than to Trump. That’s something to bear in mind if you’re expecting a “silent majority” of irregular voters to turn out for Trump on Election Day. Even if he gets people like that showing up, Hillary might get a last-minute boost from young voters abandoning Johnson and Stein for her.
The question to think about in looking at these numbers is this: Where is Trump going to get the votes he needs to catch Clinton, if not from “undercover Trump voters”? Normally you would say “from the third-party candidates,” but the third-party candidates are poaching more from Hillary than they are from Trump. (E.g., Hillary loses 13 points among independents with Johnson and Stein in the mix compared to just seven points lost by Trump.) If the battle for third-party voters is essentially between Johnson and Stein on the one hand and Clinton on the other, then Trump’s ceiling is more or less fixed. The only way he wins is if, implausibly, Johnson and Stein continue to gain at Hillary’s expense, knocking her totals below 40. In reality, the closer we get to Election Day, the more likely it is that some voters who are flirting with a third party will hold their noses and switch back to her for fear of throwing their vote away on a candidate who can’t win. She has room to grow, in other words, even though she’s ahead. Whether Trump does remains to be seen.
There’s one other number from the Quinnipiac crosstabs worth paying attention to. It’s conventional wisdom that Trump’s fans are more enthusiastic about him than Hillary’s fans are about her. Is that conventional wisdom actually true, though? Voters were given three choices to explain why they’re supporting their candidate: Because they like him/her, because he/she is the party’s nominee, and because they dislike the other party’s nominee. Hillary voters split this way when asked why they’re backing her:
You have a grand total of 48 percent saying they’re voting for Hillary, whether because they admire her or because of partisan loyalty, versus 47 percent who say they’re voting against Trump. An even split. Now here’s the split among Trump voters as to why they’re voting for him:
Just a third of Trump fans say they’re voting for him compared to two-thirds who say they’re voting against Clinton. Even on the measurement of strongest support, those who say they “like” Clinton or Trump, there are more Hillary voters who like her than there are Trump voters who like him. That’s hard to fathom if you spend time online on political websites, where the most enthusiastic supporters are unfailingly Trump fans. For all his faults, Trump has plenty of charisma whereas Clinton … does not, so you’d expect an enthusiasm gap. I think it’s fair to assume that Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters are more into him than Hillary’s most enthusiastic supporters are into her (how could it be otherwise when one has a cult of personality and the other doesn’t?), but if you look at their respective bases of voters in total, it’s no contest. There are many more pro-Clinton voters than there are pro-Trump voters. In fact, given how many Trump voters are anti-Clinton rather than pro-Trump, you’re left wondering what sort of unholy landslide Democrats would be assembling right now if their nominee were someone likable, like Joe Biden or Tim Kaine.
An Aug. 17-22 Florida Chamber Political Institute statewide poll Trump edging out Hillary Clinton in Florida, 44 percent to 43 percent, in a two-way match up, and 44 percent to 41 percent to 9 percent when Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson is included. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent.
Trump is viewed favorably by 43 percent of likely voters, and unfavorably by 52 percent. Clinton’s favorabile/unfavorable numbers are even worse: 39/56…
“A week sounds like a short time, but it can be a lifetime for a campaign and provide candidates the opportunity to make solid gains that can improve their outcome. It’s unusual to see this many undecided voters this close to the election, but for candidates, its good news. They still have time to move the voters,” said Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President of Government and Political Relations.
Yesterday’s FAU poll of Florida had a nearly identical margin of Trump 43, Clinton 41. The day before that, Saint Leo’s had Hillary ahead by … 14. The Florida polls are verrrry odd right now. I’d love to give you a deep dive into today’s crosstabs but the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which conducted this latest survey, didn’t provide them. It’s worth noting that, of these three new surveys, none of them were done by big-name pollsters, but RCP considers the FAU data reliable enough to include it in its poll average. And we know only too well from 2012 that if the state polls are saying one thing and the national polls are saying something else, it’s the state polls that should be believed. If Quinnipiac shows a national blowout and the Florida polls show something else, I’m inclined to believe the latter — if only I can figure out what’s happening. Is Clinton up 9-14 points or is Trump up by two? Stay tuned.