LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - Before we play "pick your preferred poll," let's take a look at the RCP average, as polling trends and averages are generally much more reliable than any individual splashy poll du jour. Heading into tonight's debate here, Hillary Clinton holds a national lead of 6.2 percentage points over Donald Trump. That number incorporates the new IBD/TIPP survey that gives Trump a slim one-point lead (41/40) over Clinton, the first non-Rasmussen or LA Times poll to do so in a month. It also incorporates Rasmussen's latest, a tie at 42 percent. It does not factor in the PRRI/Brookings survey that gives Hillary a 15-point lead (51/36) -- an outlier, despite being the fourth data set to peg her lead in the double digits over the last ten days. The poll in the sweet spot seems to be Quinnipiac's latest:
new Quinnipiac— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 19, 2016
MOE +/- 3.1
A look at the internals: Hillary leads women voters by 15 points, while Trump's edge with men is just two points. He has a small advantage among independents, but trails widely among nonwhite and young voters. By a small margin, voters say Hillary Clinton is not fit to be president (47/49); Trump is underwater on that question by 20 points. By the same margin, likely voters believe allegations that Trump groped and fondled women against their will, which he denies. A significant majority of voters believe the news media is biased against Trump, with every demographics agreeing with that assessment except for Democrats (77 percent! of whom believe the media is unbiased), and nonwhites (among whom the split is almost even). In other words, most voters agree with Trump's big -- and obviously correct -- contention that most of the media is in the tank for Hillary. But those same voters still see him as unworthy of the job, despite their deep misgivings about Mrs. Clinton.
Allahpundit argues that there are two "clusters" of polls in circulation right now: The "dead heat" polls (Rasmussen, LAT, IBD), and the "Trump getting curb-stomped" polls (most others). The former group suggests the election is a jump ball. The latter points to a Clinton victory at or above Barack Obama's 2008 victory margin. I'd add a third category -- the middle ground surveys, currently consisting of WaPo/ABC, Reuters, and Economist/YouGov. Each of those pollsters have released numbers within the last week showing Trump down four points, which would roughly be a Romney-level loss (albeit against a much weaker and less popular Democrat). I'll leave you with one data point from the Economist/YouGov survey, which shows Paul Ryan's favorability rating among Trump supporters before and after Trump's obsessive tweet storms against the Speaker -- which resulted from Ryan's post-"p***y grab" tape determination that he would focus on Congressional races for the remainder of the campaign. He did not rescind his Trump endorsement, but he did instruct House Republicans to handle the party's nominee based on the climate in each individual district. This sensible idea was deemed to be a crime against Mister Trump, who complained bitterly for days, calling Ryan "weak" and suggesting Ryan doesn't know how to win (despite his nine general election wins in a swing district). Details, details. Dear Leader has spoken:
Paul Ryan favorability rating among TRUMP VOTERS— Will Jordan (@williamjordann) October 19, 2016
Last week: +8
This week: -36
(via YouGov https://t.co/k8QXBCRgyE)
Hey, cults of personality wield powerful influence over their followers.
UPDATE - Two new swing state polls today: Trump down 15 in New Hampshire, and down five in...Arizona. Yikes.