We’ve been tracking the polls from Morning Consult since the general election officially got underway as something of a trends benchmark, if not a hard snapshot from week to week. Their sample size is solid, and while the demos might seem a bit curious they remain consistent. This week’s results were just released and there are some eye opening numbers which seem to fly in the face of the constant drumbeat of headlines about how terrible things are going for Donald Trump and the Republicans. Last week we discussed how MC was showing some improvements for Trump, but their analysts were still wondering if it was too little, too late. They may be rethinking that cautious stance today because The Donald continues to close the gap, pulling within three of Hillary Clinton and tying his best performance in this poll since the bump he received after the RNC.
Donald Trump trails Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by only 3 percentage points in a new national poll from Morning Consult, shrinking a deficit that has alarmed GOP operatives who fear their unconventional nominee may harm the prospects of other Republican candidates on the ballot this fall.
In a survey taken Aug. 24 through Aug. 26, Trump halved the 6-point distance between himself and Clinton from the previous week’s poll. In the most recent head-to-head matchup, 43 percent of registered voters say they will vote for Clinton, and 40 percent say they will vote for Trump; 17 percent don’t know or have no opinion.
The matchup hasn’t been this close since late July, when Morning Consult’s poll showed a 3-point Clinton lead over Trump, 43 percent to 40 percent.
Here’s the four week tracker.
When you add in Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, things don’t get any better for Clinton. In fact, they get worse. The two third party hopefuls are both sagging a bit and Trump seems to benefit from that, with the final numbers actually falling inside the poll’s margin of error at a two point spread.
With a quick nod to the cross tabs (see page 120), nothing in the Morning Consult’s sample breakdown has changed from the last time we dug into it. It’s still registered voters instead of likely, which is all we’ll get from many of the larger outlets until labor day. The male/female split remains at 47/53 which doesn’t favor Trump, and the Democrat / Independent / Republican split stands pat at 35/33/32, which definitely looks odd, but at least it’s consistent, allowing us to use this survey as a good trend tracking benchmark.
There’s more bad news for Hillary Clinton buried in the toplines. Both of the candidates remain unpopular, but in recent weeks the Democrats could take solace in Trump at least being seen even less favorably. This week they’re back to what’s essentially a tie, with Trump and Clinton being seen unfavorably by 58 and 57 percent respectively. In terms of minority outreach, Trump still isn’t winning over the black vote in droves the way he predicted, but he’s back at 5% support with Clinton taking 79% and 16% undecided. (In 2012, Mitt Romney took 6% to Obama’s 93.)
The Right Track/Wrong Track numbers for the nation are stuck at 29/71, a decidedly poor figure if you’re essentially running on a promise of delivering a third term for Barack Obama. Also, the issues most on the minds of voters seem to be playing into Trump’s hands no matter how oddly he runs his campaign. The economy and jobs remain on top at 36%, but security issues are number two at 21%. Nothing else even comes close.
What explains this shift in Trump’s favor and the race beginning to look like a dead heat again? Hey… insert your own guess here. This campaign has been nuts in a way I haven’t seen in decades of observing these contests. The media beats on Trump relentlessly, but Hillary Clinton continues to draw headlines for all the wrong reasons, supporting the public perception that she’s dishonest and willing to sell influence for her own benefit. The only conclusion I’ll take from the Morning Consult survey at this point is the trend. One month ago Hillary Clinton came out of the convention in Philly with a nearly ten point lead. Since then it has decreased steadily every week in the same survey to the point where it’s basically a statistical tie. Cable news anchors and New York Times headline writers can keep telling you every day that the race is essentially over, but that’s a foolish, biased position. Not only has Hillary Clinton not sealed the deal, but she still may very well lose this thing.