In a recent editorial for Fox News, Wayne Allyn Root tried to explain why Hillary Clinton is sinking faster than the Titanic. It’s still far too early to say whether the Carpathia will arrive in time to pluck Hillary’s supporters out of the frigid waters, but yet another set of early indicators shows that this race is shaping up to be anything but the blowout that Trump’s detractors have been predicting from day one. ABC News and the Washington Post have posted a new set of numbers which are firming up the trend indicated in previous results we saw from Morning Consult and Rasmussen. If Trump was supposed to lose to Clinton in a landslide, nobody told the voters about it.
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows a close contest in presidential election preferences, with Republicans lining up behind Donald Trump as their party’s presumptive nominee while the continued Democratic race is keeping Hillary Clinton’s side more unsettled.
Greater voter registration among Republicans is one factor: Clinton’s 6-point lead among all adults, 48-42 percent in a general election matchup, switches to essentially a dead heat among registered voters, 46 percent for Trump, 44 percent for Clinton. Regardless, the contest has tightened considerably since March, when Clinton led among registered voters by 9 points.
That’s an eleven point swing in Trump’s direction in a single month among registered voters. (Pollsters won’t start looking at likely voters until at least August in any serious numbers.) Before anyone gets too excited, however, I would repeat my normal caution about general election numbers which are sampled before the primaries are completed. There’s probably an effect in play here which is almost impossible to quantify but still shows up every cycle. While Trump was still in a battle with a couple of other GOP contenders, some number of respondents who favored a different Republican were obviously willing to answer the phone and say they would rather vote for Clinton. That skews the numbers a bit. Now, with Trump being the presumptive nominee, the Republican and GOP leaning voters are falling in line. Clinton is still in a heated battle with Bernie Sanders and plenty of his voters are highly energized to say the least. Some of them are probably telling pollsters that they will vote for Trump rather than the former Secretary of State. With that in mind, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Clinton’s numbers bounce back a bit, assuming she locks up the nomination in the next month or so and remains free of indictments from the FBI.
Still, some of the cross-tabs in this survey have got to be troubling for the Democrats. The country is still clearly unsettled with their choices on both sides. Trump may still be widely unpopular, but so is Clinton. 51 percent said they would be satisfied with a Clinton-Trump race, while 44 percent said they would prefer a third-party candidate to enter the race. That’s a textbook description of a very unhappy electorate who may do a lot of shuffling back and forth between now and November.
The media seem to be the most put off by this emerging trend toward Trump, though. When the Washington Post covered these poll results you could almost see the newsroom team scratching their heads and trying to figure out how they were going to spin this one.
Support for the two candidates as they begin their direct engagement appears tepid. Less than half of those in Clinton’s column say they strongly support her, while a bare majority say they support her “somewhat.” The numbers for Trump are virtually identical.
Personally, I’ll wait until we have a few weeks of space after both parties hold their conventions before beginning to assign significant weight to the general election numbers. But for the time being it seems clear that anyone who thought Trump would be some sort of record breaking loser in a November match-up will likely have to take a fresh look at the landscape. This doesn’t look like a landslide election in any way, shape or form, at least in terms of the popular vote. (It can always turn into an electoral college wipe-out, as we saw in 2012.) America is sending mixed signals right now and if anyone in the media tells you that they know how it’s going to end, keep in mind what they told you when Trump first threw his hat in the primary ring.
Yeah… that didn’t work out so well for them either.