The silent majority has gotten even more quiet of late, at least in the Reuters/Ipsos polling series. Hillary Clinton extends her lead in the poll to 12 points, slightly higher than the previous iteration and a post-convention high. However, she still only polls 44.8%; most of the change has come from a decline in Donald Trump’s support from a peak of 39.1% on August 4th to 32.8% today. It’s the lowest showing for the Republican nominee since the end of the conventions:
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads Republican rival Donald Trump by 12 percentage points among likely voters, her strongest showing this month, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday.
The Aug. 18-22 poll showed that 45 percent of voters supported Clinton, while 33 percent backed Trump ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
Clinton, the former U.S. secretary of state, has led Trump, a New York businessman, throughout most of the 2016 campaign. But her latest lead represents a stronger level of support than polls indicated over the past few weeks. Earlier in August, Clinton’s lead over Trump ranged from 3 to 9 percentage points in the poll.
The gap began widening three days ago. Hillary picked up a little more support — she’s at her highest level since the conventions — but it’s not that much of a change from her four-week low of 41.1% on August 5th. In fact, it’s just outside the margin of error of ±3%. Most of the change comes from Trump’s decline.
Trump’s decline appears to be across the board (all likely voters). He’s led among men at times over the last four weeks, but now trails by eight points — almost the worst showing this month. Hillary leads among women by almost 16 points for a gender gap of 24 points. Trump still leads among white voters, but only by 38.1/37, which again is a big red flag for any Republican campaign, and perhaps especially his. He’s trailing badly among college-educated white voters too, 44/32, a demographic Republican candidates usually win, and only leads among white non-college voters by 42/31. He’s holding 73.2% of Romney voters, down from 78% nine days ago, while Hillary’s holding 81% of Obama voters.
There are a couple of bright spots in the poll for Trump, too. He’s leading among independents, although only 37/27. He leads among born-again Christians 42/36, but that’s down from 50/27 last week. He’s holding the middle-ground conservatives by a wide margin, 51/22, and appears steady among them over the last week. These aren’t enough to push Trump back into the lead, but it does give him a base from which to start.
Considering that the “silent majority” argument relies on white, working class voters, one could view these demographics as either evidence of missing populations in the sample, or a good argument that the theory doesn’t hold up. However, given that Trump did much better in this same series just a couple of weeks ago in all of these demographics and had Hillary in a virtual tie 19 days ago, the latter explanation seems the better bet.