ABC News pollster Gary Langer explains the changes as movement by Republican-leaning voters back toward Trump. Like those elected officials who recoiled from supporting him after release of the Access Hollywood tape, these voters are gravitating back to their preferred party’s candidate.
Focusing on a single poll’s results is rightly criticized as cherry-picking by smart polling analysts. But in our “let’s pretend Trump won” world, this particular poll sets out with particular clarity a trend that explains what happened.
For one thing, it’s a world where voters were given time to ponder, read, and perhaps reread some of the Clinton campaign’s e-mails revealed by WikiLeaks. They heard a Clinton spokesman try to discredit the leaks as Russian disinformation, possibly altered. But they may also have noticed the Clinton folks saying they had no time to check on their authenticity.
Over the past week, the e-mails started getting coverage in mainstream media. The coverage has not been so vivid as the coverage of Trump’s denunciations of Miss Universe 1996, but it has been coverage nonetheless. And the stories have been unsettling.
Consider this message from Neera Tanden, head of the pro-Democratic Center for American Progress, to her predecessor John Podesta, chief of staff in the Bill Clinton White House and counselor in Barack Obama’s (two smart people who have operated at high levels for a long time): “Do we actually know who told Hillary she could use a private e-mail? And has that person been drawn and quartered?” It was in July 2015, a month after Trump entered the race. Tanden went on: “Like whole thing is f—ing insane.” This suggests a certain tension with Clinton’s omnipresent, sycophantic aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.