Morning Consult poll: Does Hillary have a problem with low-income voters?

Let’s stick with the good news/bad news format of my previous post on Quinnipiac’s poll of New York voters, but we’ll flip it a bit. The bad news from the Morning Consult poll this morning focusing on income demographics is that Hillary Clinton leads among the working-class voters targeted by Donald Trump. The good news — she’s not doing nearly as well as Barack Obama did in 2012:

Donald Trump – the Republican presidential candidate who often boasts to be “really rich” – is leading Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton among American voters making the most from their jobs.

According to a national survey of 23,347 registered voters conducted by Morning Consult in June and the first two weeks of July, Trump leads Clinton, 45 percent to 41 percent, among voters making more than $100,000 annually. He also leads Clinton by 3 points, 44 percent to 41 percent, among voters who make between $50,000 and $100,000.

But Clinton has a larger lead over Trump among the less wealthy and those down on their luck. She leads Trump, 43 percent to 37 percent, among people making less than $50,000 annually and by 10 percentage points among people who are unemployed, 44 percent to 34 percent.

That sounds bad for Trump … until one puts this in context. That demographic always runs heavily Democratic, and not just because they tend to rely more on the government programs that Democrats push. If a party hailed free-market economics without contextualizing it for people in hard-hit communities — by first off becoming part of those communities and then offering specific solutions based on those values — then what exactly would attract people who have lost out on the free market to their candidates? Republicans have always had difficulty in bridging that gap.

For instance, this is what 2012 looked like in the income demographics:


Trump’s not scoring better than Mitt Romney did thus far, and that’s not good news for a campaign that’s been aiming at this demographic for more than a year. But Hillary is running 17 points below Obama’s numbers as the nominee of the party who usually locks up this demo hard by painting the GOP as heartless villains who light their cigars with $100 bills while pushing Grandma off the cliff in her wheelchair. That suggests that Trump really does have an opportunity to make some headway with these voters. Democrats should be very worried about these numbers, even if Team Trump needs to realize that they have to do more than just hold rallies to make a move in these demos.

Speaking of contextualizing free-market values, Paul Ryan will speak today at the convention. He’ll certainly offer some support for Trump as the presumptive nominee and will spend even more time going after Hillary, but his main goal tonight will be to move his anti-poverty policies to the top of the GOP’s domestic-policy goals for the next four years. Ryan’s work with non-profits and outreach to groups within urban cores is exactly what Republicans have to do to make real inroads among the people whom conservatism could best serve. If Trump wants to really move the needle, his team should grasp this opportunity and make the most of it over the next three and a half months.