Did the FBI’s reopening of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail probe change voter opinions of the Democratic nominee? Not directly, according to the latest iteration of the Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll, but it might have boosted Donald Trump in comparison. Despite an avalanche of ugly allegations and headlines since late September, Trump has actually gained in estimation of honesty and trustworthiness, and now leads Hillary by eight points on that quality measure.
Overall, the race is still tied up, hardly changed over the last five days in this series:
A 59 percent majority of likely voters disapprove of Clinton’s handling of questions about her use of personal email while secretary of state. This number, however, is no higher than the 60 percent who disapproved just over one week ago, before the FBI’s announcement Friday that it may examine additional emails after previously closing its investigation in June.
However, Trump has opened up an eight-point advantage over Clinton on which candidate is more honest and trustworthy, leading 46 to 38 percent among likely voters. The two candidates were tied on this measure the last time a Post-ABC poll asked the question in September; when asked individually, past polls found majorities seeing each candidate as dishonest. …
The poll finds a dead even race in overall vote preferences, with 46 percent supporting Clinton and 46 percent backing Trump in the latest tracking wave conducted Friday through Sunday, little changed from Trump’s 46-45 percent margin in the previous tracking wave released Monday. Clinton holds a one-point edge over Trump (48 percent to 47 percent) when third party supporters are asked to choose between the major-party candidates.
Call this opportunity cost for Team Hillary. They spent almost all of October tearing down Trump — and goading him into fighting on their turf to boot. They had a rollout planned for the weekend to deliver a knockout blow, but it got entirely overshadowed by Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin, and a laptop that may unlock all of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server secrets. They got knocked off their game by a black-swan event, more of which in a later post.
Team Hillary tried goading Trump back into a public debate of his own ethics by bringing out Alicia Machado onto the campaign trail again. This time, though, Trump hasn’t taken the bait, at least not yet. The Post’s team reports that Trump has exhibited a significant improvement in discipline as the election comes down to its final days:
Donald Trump swerved back on script Tuesday, showing flashes of a cohesive closing argument in the final stage of a presidential campaign that is tightening with six days left.
Joined here by his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and a small group of lawmakers, Trump delivered an uncharacteristically disciplined speech calling again for the eradication of the Affordable Care Act and a renegotiation of a sweeping trade pact he cast as a job killer — championing causes popular among many Republicans in Rust Belt states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, where he is urgently trying to expand the map against Hillary Clinton.
The Democratic nominee, who is trying to move past the FBI’s renewed scrutiny of her email practices and sustain her advantage in key swing states, sought to redirect attention on Tuesday to Trump’s treatment of women. Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado delivered introductory remarks at a Clinton rally in Dade City, Fla., speaking about Trump’s “cruel” comments about her weight when she held the crown. Clinton cited allegations from a dozen women that Trump had kissed or groped them without permission.
This is quite a role reversal from earlier in the campaign. Trump spent most of his time attacking his critics, while Hillary talked about the voters. Now it’s Trump talking about what matters to voters, and Hillary caught up in attacking James Comey and her critics, with surrogates from Barack Obama on down suggesting that accountability is somehow sexist when applied to anyone named Clinton. That’s a bad look for Democrats rolling into Election Day.