In the final days of the 2016 cycle, it appears that voters have begun coming home. Emerson College came out of the gate with its most recent surveys of four battleground states, and finds that Donald Trump has taken three traditionally Republican states off the table. Hillary Clinton has retaken the lead in one, but it’s within the margin of error:
Emerson College polls released today show Donald Trump holding a substantial lead over Hillary Clinton in two of the four states polled (Georgia and Missouri) while he and Clinton have both flipped a state where they previously trailed.
In Georgia, Trump is winning 51% to 42%, and in Missouri he has opened up a 15-point advantage (52% to 37%), almost doubling the 8-point margin he had in a mid-October Emerson poll. Trump has also flipped Arizona to his column. Clinton led 44% to 42% in the first week of October but now trails 47% to 43%. Georgia and Arizona are two of the traditionally Red states that Democrats were hoping to turn Blue this year.
In just about the only good news for Clinton in this batch of polls, she has turned the tables in Colorado. She previously trailed the GOP businessman by 4 points (42% to 48%) but now has a 3-point edge, 44% to 41%.
Except … that’s not really good news. The difference is actually 2.3 points, not three, as Emerson rounded up the 43.5/41.2 result for its press release. That’s within the margin of error in a state that Barack Obama won by five points in 2012. (Their sample almost exactly matches the 2012 results on the question of prior vote four years ago.) The two candidates have almost identical favorability ratings in Colorado, and this survey was taken mostly before Friday’s announcement by James Comey of the renewed investigation into Hillary’s e-mails.
This result falls right into line with recent polling in Colorado. The RCP average has narrowed considerably over October, and now Hillary leads by 2.4 points (including the Emerson result). At the end of September and into mid-October, three polls had Hillary up by double digits. Emerson’s Trump +4 in early September looked like an outlier, but this result matches up well with the polling consensus. FiveThirtyEight gives Emerson a slight house lean to the GOP, but only by a point.
The other states in these “battleground” polls should have stayed Republican in normal circumstances anyway, so it looks more like a reversion to form. Perhaps more worrisome for the GOP is the Senate race in Missouri, a seat they desperately need Roy Blunt to hold. In the Show-Me State, Hillary has a much lower favorability rating (33/64) than Trump (46/51), and Trump has a 15.4-point lead, but Blunt’s in a dead heat with Jason Kander at 45.2%. Two other pollsters have the race at Blunt +1, which isn’t terribly good news for an incumbent. If Trump wins big in MO and Blunt falls, that will certainly have some people second-guessing the GOP.
Colorado is the big news in this release. And the fact that Team Hillary has gone back on the air there corroborates these results, although they claim otherwise:
Hillary Clinton hasn’t run a TV ad in Colorado since July, but on Monday her campaign said it planned buy to commercials in Denver, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction for the final week of the campaign.
Asked about the timing, her Colorado staff said the new ads were not in response to the latest controversy over Clinton’s e-mails. Rather, they said the intent is to help candidates such as Morgan Carroll and Gail Schwartz, two Colorado Democrats looking to unseat Republican U.S. Reps. Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton, respectively.
“We have a robust lead in ballots returned, but Colorado Democrats have competitive races to win across the state. And Hillary Clinton is committed to electing progressives up and down the ballot to make a real difference for families in Colorado,” said Emmy Ruiz, Clinton’s Colorado director, in a statement.
Well, maybe. It looks more like a need to shore up a state that has suddenly become competitive, but their mileage may vary.