Trump supporters look at such numbers and argue that the general election is months and months away. But it’s later than you think. We are almost exactly seven months from Election Day. Trump declared his candidacy nine months ago. We are closer to the end of this campaign than we are to the beginning.
Numbers don’t move overnight. It took Trump two months to go from 5 percent in Republican polls to 30 percent. It took him seven months just to build another 10 percent of support among Republicans—the group most inclined to be open-minded about him. That shows you how hard it is for a candidate to convert marginal voters who aren’t naturally part of their coalition.
And in the process of finding those 10 additional points of support, Trump alienated a great number of other voters. So even if it were theoretically possible for Trump to build a coalition to beat Clinton, everyone now knows who Trump is, everyone has an opinion about him—and he only has 30 weeks to pry people away from his would-be opponent.