Clinton’s current three-point edge is not statistically significant, but it provides some evidence that her decline in support tracked by the Post-ABC poll and other national and state surveys might be easing. In the tracking poll wave released Monday, Trump topped Clinton by one point, 46 to 45 percent.
One shift since Trump’s high point has been an easing in support among political independents, a group that favored the Republican by as much as 19 points last week. No candidate has maintained a consistently large edge with independents all year, as we noted at the time, and Trump’s lead with the group has come back to eight points in the latest wave, 47 percent for him compared to 39 percent for Clinton. Shifts among independents may reflect less switching of support than changing the makeup of independents, given the group’s mix of closet partisans and less-engaged voters generally that are less likely to turnout.
Trump’s position with independents closely resembles Mitt Romney’s five-point winning margin among the group in the 2012 network exit poll, which was not sufficient to overcome Democrats’ overall party identification advantage over Republicans.
The Tracking Poll finds several other parallels to the election four years ago in the way groups are angling to vote. While the gender gap showed signs of expanding earlier this year, Clinton’s 10-point lead among women is similar to Obama’s 11-point margin four years ago, and Trump’s six-point edge with men nearly matches Romney’s seven-point edge.