One week ago, Team Trump hailed the Morning Consult poll series as it showed Donald Trump edging out Hillary Clinton for a one-point lead in a four-way race, a swing of three points from earlier in the month. One debate later — and perhaps one post-debate later, too — Hillary has scored a seven-point swing to jump out to a 42/36 head-to-head lead. Trump trails Hillary by seven points in the head-to-head matchup, 46/39. Politico reports on the toplines:
Hillary Clinton has opened up a six-point lead over Donald Trump, erasing the New York billionaire’s slim national edge with five weeks until Election Day, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll of likely voters.
Clinton leads Trump 42-36 in the four-way race for the White House. Gary Johnson garnered 9 percent, Jill Stein got 2 percent and 10 percent remain undecided. It’s a dramatic bump for Clinton: Trump led by one point before the debate, and in a POLITICO/Morning Consult survey conducted immediately after the debate, Clinton led by four points.
In a head-to-head race between Trump and Clinton, Clinton leads by seven points, 46 percent to 39 percent.
Clinton’s lead comes at the tail end of a particularly tough week for Trump. His debate performance was uneven and widely panned by Republicans and Democrats alike. He then spent a few days chiding Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe, for gaining weight nearly two decades ago.
It appears that Trump did a lot of damage to himself with his insistence on dragging out the Machado story. According to the survey data, Trump succeeded in saturating the story with voters; 40% heard “a lot” about the issue, and another 34% heard “some.” A majority of 54% among likely voters said it made them view Trump less favorably, and 42% said “much less favorable.” Only 33% said it has no impact on their view of Trump, and only 9% said it made them see Trump in a more favorable light. Surprisingly, it appears to have offended black voters more than Hispanics, with the percentages of those answering “much less favorable” at 62% and 47%, respectively. Even if that meant that Trump had farther to fall, it still shows damage, and in a demo that his campaign insists he’s starting to impact.
With that, and perhaps with other issues that emerged during the polling cycle such as the Trump income-tax story, it’s not surprising to see Trump fading, and his demos reverting back to mid-August form. Only 22% of independent women now favor Trump in the four-way race, a number that only goes up to 28% in the two-way race. Trump trails Hillary among Hispanics 27/50 in the four-way and 28/61 head-to-head. In the two-way, Trump only holds 73% of the 2014 GOP vote, compared to Hillary’s 78% of the 2014 Democratic vote.
These numbers indicate a campaign heading in the wrong direction, and it’s not the only polling to show that trend. The odds of a Trump win have dropped from basically even-up before the debate a week ago to 32.3% in Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight. Unless Team Trump gets its candidate under control, October is going to start looking like a rerun of August.