If a preference cascade has started in the presidential election, it’s not one that’s going Donald Trump’s way. The latest ABC poll, now converted to a tracking poll, shows Hillary Clinton leading by twelve points in both a four-way and two-way race, and with majorities in either scenario. Furthermore, Trump’s closing arguments on a “rigged” election have failed to gain support outside of his own base:
Hillary Clinton has vaulted to a double-digit advantage in the inaugural ABC News 2016 election tracking poll, boosted by broad disapproval of Donald Trump on two controversial issues: His treatment of women and his reluctance to endorse the election’s legitimacy.
Likely voters by a vast 69-24 percent disapprove of Trump’s response to questions about his treatment of women. After a series of allegations of past sexual misconduct, the poll finds that some women who’d initially given him the benefit of the doubt have since moved away.
Fifty-nine percent of likely voters, moreover, reject Trump’s suggestion that the election is rigged in Clinton’s favor, and more, 65 percent, disapprove of his refusal to say whether he’d accept a Clinton victory as legitimate. Most strongly disapprove, a relatively rare result.
All told, Clinton leads Trump by 12 percentage points among likely voters, 50 to 38 percent, in the national survey, her highest support and his lowest to date in ABC News and ABC News/Washington Post polls. Gary Johnson has 5 percent support, Jill Stein 2 percent.
There’s not much good news to report in this survey, not even in the sampling breakdown, which Langer Associates helpfully cites in its methodology as 36/27/31. That D+9 might undersample Republicans a bit, but hardly enough to account for a twelve-point gap. Trump now trails among independents by eight points, among women by twenty points, and even among men by three points. Hillary now carries white college graduates, a longtime Republican strength in demos, by sixteen points. Trump now has only a narrow four-point lead among white voters overall.
Trump also continues to get hammered over allegations of his treatment of women, although it’s difficult to say whether that’s doing any real damage or not. His response to the allegations only garners a 24/69 approval rating, but that’s been the case for the entire month, and a week ago he only trailed by four points. Most of the damage now seems to have come from the debate, specifically on two arguments made by Trump in relation to the election:
The response to the “rigged” argument shows that Trump’s not convincing anyone outside of his base. His refusal to commit to the election results — no matter how much he later qualified it — hasn’t even managed to convince his entire base, let alone anyone else. And those failures have other consequences; according to Langer, voter enthusiasm for Trump has fallen twelve points since their last poll, almost entirely among voters who wanted a different nominee in the first place.
Nor do these trends look like outliers. The gap is the same seen in last week’s Monmouth poll, and almost every poll series is starting to show a widening lead for Hillary over the same period. The inflection point appears to have been the second debate rather than the third, but the October 19th event certainly didn’t help; ABC’s respondents picked Hillary the winner 52/29, far outside the reach of any partisan oversampling.
Barring some sort of miracle, this looks like a final preference cascade. Even a perfect closing argument at this point would take far too much time to resonate than what’s left in the campaign. Republicans had better start hoping that voters in Senate races will want to keep Republicans around to contain the Clinton Restoration, because there’s little doubt now that’s what will transpire.