Rasmussen poll: Trump leads by four

Guess who will be Donald Trump’s favorite pollster this week? A new poll from Rasmussen shows a nine-point flip in the gap between Trump and Hillary Clinton, transforming a 44/39 deficit to a 43/39 lead for the Republican. It’s the highest level of support for Trump in the Rasmussen series:

The tables have turned in this week’s White House Watch. After trailing Hillary Clinton by five points for the prior two weeks, Donald Trump has now taken a four-point lead.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey of Likely U.S. Voters finds Trump with 43% of the vote, while Clinton earns 39%. Twelve percent (12%) still like another candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Last week at this time, it was Clinton 44%, Trump 39%. This is Trump’s highest level of support in Rasmussen Reports’ matchups with Clinton since last October. His support has been hovering around the 40% mark since April, but it remains to be seen whether he’s just having a good week or this actually represents a real move forward among voters.

It’s the lowest level of support for Hillary in this series since she wrapped up the nomination on June 5th. That in itself seems a little odd, given that Bernie Sanders has all but endorsed her, but it’s not exactly unprecedented. Yesterday’s Quinnipiac poll did show a small deflation in Hillary’s numbers, but it didn’t detect any rise in Trump’s.

What else has changed? A lot — and perhaps too much.

Trump picked up eight points among women, going from 31% to 39%, while Hillary dropped from 49% (oddly low as it was) to 45%. The split among men went from 46/39 Trump to 48/34. In the previous poll, Hillary had a 12-point lead among “other” ethnic groups (Hispanic, Asian, etc) at 47/35, but now Trump leads 44/33. That’s a 23-point shift in the gap in just two weeks. Perhaps most strangely, considering the status of the race among Democrats, voters under 40 went from a 15-point Hillary preference at 49/34 to a tie at 36%.

The partisan internals are also curious. Two weeks ago, Hillary held 80% of Democrats, while Trump held 70% of Republicans. Now, even though Hillary has clinched the nomination and no one’s talking about a convention coup for Democrats, she’s dipped slightly to 76% while Trump’s picked up five points to 75%, a near tie. Independents broke 36/33 for Trump two weeks ago, but now favor him 45/27. Also, in the previous poll, Hillary doubled up on Trump among moderates, 52/26, but now Trump leads 40/39.

Those are all mighty big shifts in a short period of time. Frankly, this all stretches credulity, especially since there was no particular earth-shaking event in the last two weeks to drive those changes. Other polls show younger voters moving toward Hillary, mainly from Sanders supporters coming to grips with reality. The large swings in a short period of time give a strong impression that this is an outlier on several levels. It’s possible that this reflects the current status of the race, but …. don’t bet on it.

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