WaPo/ABC poll: $80M ad buy advantage flops for Hillary

So much for the convention bounce. The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll puts Hillary Clinton at a new record low for favorability as new revelations about the Clinton Foundation and her secret e-mail server continue to emerge. The advantage in the presidential race that had developed on personal characteristics over the last month has evaporated:

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows 41 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of Clinton, while 56 percent have an unfavorable one.

That’s the worst image Clinton has had in her quarter-century in national public life. Her previous low favorable rating this year was in July, when it was 42 percent, lower than any mark in historical Post-ABC polls except a few points in the 1990s when a large share of the public had no opinion of her. Her previous high for unfavorable views was in June, when 55 percent disliked Clinton.

But what about her standing vis-a-vis Donald Trump? Among Americans in general, Hillary still has an advantage. Among registered voters, however, that advantage has all but dissipated.

Trump, of course, has long been the more unpopular of the two presidential nominees, and he remains so; 35 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of him, compared to 63 percent unfavorable.

But if you look just at registered voters, the new poll actually shows Clinton’s image is about as bad as Trump’s, with 38 percent having a favorable impression and 59 percent unfavorable, compared to a 37/60 split for Trump.

In essence, she’s hit a virtual tie on favorability, -21 to -23 for Trump. Bear in mind that this follows an almost unchallenged run of national advertising, added onto the normal media advantages for Democrats in general and the Clintons in particular. Team Hillary has relentlessly run negative TV spots attacking Trump’s character, temperament, and even stability. (Here in Minnesota, they seem to air in almost every break.)

The result of that onslaught of advertising and near-supremacy of the airwaves? Trump has actually improved his position a bit from a pre-convention 31/64, while Hillary’s image has taken a beating. Put aside the horse-race numbers in these polls and marvel at that for just a moment. Trump may have lost a month of setting the message, but Hillary burned through tens of millions of dollars just to find herself worse off than before. Had Republicans nominated anyone other than Donald Trump, this race might possibly have been over at this point.

It’s not the only poll showing Hillary losing ground, although still leading (the horse-race numbers in this WaPo/ABC poll will come out later). NBC’s Survey Monkey tracking poll results yesterday showed the race narrowing a bit and Hillary dipping below 50% again. Reuters’ tracking poll, which has seen some wild swings this month, has for the last three days put Trump within a point of Hillary as his support has hit a month-long high and hers hit a month-long low.

The media has extensively covered Republican panic over the state of the race. They may want to look across the aisle for more of it soon.