Is this a rebound … or is it a drop? Other national polls show the race getting tighter between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, with the largest gap in the past two weeks being a 48/41 result from NBC/WSJ earlier this week. McClatchy/Marist comes up with the exact same spread in their first poll in nearly two months, but it’s actually much better for Trump than their previous result — a 48/33 outlier:
Hillary Clinton heads into the first presidential debate with a 7-point lead over Donald Trump, but doubts among voters about about her trustworthiness and stamina are keeping Trump in the race, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll. …
She leads in a two-way matchup with Trump by 48-41. She leads in a 4-way contest 45-39, with Libertarian Gary Johnson drawing 10 percent support and Green candidate Jill Stein getting 4 percent. …
The weakness she’s been unable to shake is the public’s view of her honesty and trustworthiness. While voters don’t trust Trump either, skepticism of Clinton runs deeper and provides an opening for Trump to potentially tighten the race in the final month and a half.
“When it comes to specific areas of public policy, she seems to dominate those,” pollster Miringoff said. “When it comes to the qualities of a candidate she has some convincing to do.”
The data itself leads off with demographics, so let’s dive into the sample first. The poll appears to slightly oversample women (54/46) and a bit more significantly undersample white voters (67%) in comparison to 2012’s exit polling (53/47, 72% respectively). The age demos are structured differently, but appear to lean a little young compared to 2012. On the partisan affiliation side, the split seems reasonable at a D+5 in both RVs and LVs.
In the two-way race, some of those demos might matter, but not necessarily in a determinative manner. Hillary holds 94% of Democrats while Trump holds 87% of Republicans — both respectable numbers, but clearly Trump has big problems if Democrats maintain a five-point turnout advantage. Hillary edges Trump among independents but only by 40/38, with lots of potential for late-breaking choices.
Other demos don’t look as promising. Trump wins white voters 53/37, so an undersample here could throw the results off — but 53% isn’t enough to win in any reasonable turnout model. The same holds true for the gender gap, which is a -11 for Trump, so evening up the slight oversample of women isn’t going to change the outcome. Trump does better with older voters than younger voters, but the only demo he actually wins are voters 60 years of age or older.
On the plus side, Trump’s support is more committed than Hillary’s, 69/62, although both numbers are pretty low for this late in the race. Only 53% of Clinton voters are motivated by support for Hillary, while 43% say they’re voting against Trump. The same gauge for Trump supporters is 48/47. That does offer both candidates an opportunity in Monday’s debate, but probably more for Trump. If he comes across as reasonable and rational, that animosity might disappear — and with it the impulse to vote for Hillary.
Even with this result in the mix, Hillary only has a three-point advantage in the RCP average. Trump’s within range, albeit still a longer shot to win than should be the case against Hillary.