Buckle up, folks. In early August, Fox News' pollster found Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by ten full points in a head-to-head match-up. Several weeks and scandal-filled news cycles later, her advantage has fallen considerably. Her one-on-one edge has fallen from (49/39) to (46/42), but perhaps more importantly, the four-way race -- including Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein -- has narrowed to a two-point spread. Once again we're seeing that the presence of third party candidates is helping, not hurting, Trump. He should be pounding the table every day for them to be included in the debates, out of "fairness," and against the "rigged" system, or however he'd like to frame it. Can you say "margin of error"?
FOX NEWS POLL: Clinton 41%, Trump 39%, Johnson 9%, Stein 4% pic.twitter.com/pdmQJ9bzxy— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) September 1, 2016
Hillary wants Johnson and Stein gone; she consistently fares better against Trump in polling where they're the only two named options. Political scientists will tell you that many voters who claim they're supporting a non-major party at this stage eventually fall into either the Republican or Democratic column by November. But is that dynamic necessarily applicable in 2016, where a plurality of the electorate views both nominees unfavorably? We're breathing rarefied, fetid political air this year. The other familiar theme at play in Fox's numbers is that Trump isn't gaining support; she's losing it. If you toggle over to the Real Clear Politics averages, Trump has been sitting pat in the low 40's in two-way polling for weeks on end. In four-way polling, he's perched in the high 30's. And so he stands in the fresh Fox data. He isn't budging. But she is bleeding votes right now. Why? Her favorables actually aren't horrific in this poll, at (45/53). That several points better than we've seen elsewhere, including the WaPo survey we touched on yesterday. Trump's favorable rating has ticked up a bit in this series, too (42/56), although he still trails her. Hillary's trustworthiness quotient has taken another hit. She'd improved slightly on this front in the last Fox poll, but those gains have been wiped out, thanks entirely to her own conduct:
Hillary's honesty rating has dropped 10 net points since Fox's last poll in early August: pic.twitter.com/bigvI6aV2r— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 1, 2016
Not surprisingly, the anti-Hillary trend being detected in national polling is also seeping down into swing states, too. FiveThirtyEight's analysis notes the across-the-board shift in one easy chart. She's still ahead almost everywhere that matters, but she's doing the exact opposite of padding her lead. Look:
"Don't assume the electoral college will save Clinton," Nate Silver warns liberals. For reasons I've explained, I keep returning to Florida and Pennsylvania as the key benchmarks. Prior to a flurry of better polls for Trump in the Sunshine State, the previous four statewide surveys showed Hillary up by an average of five points. The last three show nearly an exact tie. In the Keystone State, her 9-to-11 point advantage appears to have been whittled down to the 5-8 point range. By the way, Larry Sabato has just updated his Senate projections. If his prognostications are all correct -- and there are some very tight races across the map that could tip either way -- Democrats are poised to gain five seats, which would give Chuck Schumer a 51-49 majority. But Nevada's open seat is a pure toss-up, which would slide things to an even split. For the GOP to maintain its majority, the Portmans and Rubios of the world have to win, and someone like Pat Toomey or Kelly Ayotte needs to pull out a come-from-behind victory. And/or the GOP needs to torpedo Evan Bayh in red Indiana. Regardless fate of the Senate is looking like a nail-biter at the moment. I'll leave you with this thought, given how yesterday's Mexico trip turned out in Trump's favor, and with an eye to the fall:
Trump benefitting from exceptionally low expectations. If he can replicate in the debates, look out. https://t.co/NdD2XOJacI— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) August 31, 2016