There’s a lot going on with the polling as we close this election. After two weeks of miserable media coverage, Trump seems to have weathered somewhat okay, with the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll showing him trailing Clinton by four points. That’s shiftable. CNN/ORC and the NBC News polls having Clinton leading Trump by nine and six points respectively. Something is off with the ingredients. Regardless, this race was looking like it could get into a dead heat and if it weren’t for Trump’s indefensible remarks about groping women caught on a 2005 Access Hollywood tape, the James O’Keefe tapes showing democratic operatives plotting voter fraud schemes and instigating violence at Trump rallies, along with the scores of emails (i.e. Clinton’s Wall Street speeches) would be front and center. In fact, I’ll just make the bold projection that Trump could’ve been winning this race by now.
But that’s not how things went. We had Republicans abandoning Trump, withdrawing support, and calls for him to step aside. Even Gov. Mike Pence told Trump that he would be on his own for the next 48 hour period after the Access tape broke the weekend prior to the second presidential debate. Trump had a strong performance, which cauterized the wound—but the media then went on to have a ludicrous week-long investigation into whether locker room talk exists (it does, folks—believe me) and the various other women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. So, we know Trump isn’t winning over any new voters now, especially suburbanite women. What about men? Men have long favored Republicans—and Trump had the decisive edge with this group. Well, a new Bloomberg poll finds that for the first time Clinton is leading with male voters, and she has a nine-point lead over Trump:
Support for Trump among critical groups of voters, including men and the less educated, has weakened in the campaign’s closing days, a trajectory that could translate into a landslide loss for Republicans in the Electoral College and setbacks in down-ballot races that will determine control of the House and Senate.
“This poll shows movement toward Clinton with all the right groups it takes to win—including men and those without a college degree,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer, who oversaw the survey ahead of the final debate Wednesday. “Their alignment with Clinton is a formidable change in the algebra.”
After trailing among men throughout the summer, Clinton is now winning 46 percent of their support in a hypothetical two-way race, compared to 44 percent for Trump. She’s ahead among women by 17 points and has a 1-point edge among white women, 46 percent to 45 percent.
In the overall two-way contest, Clinton leads 50 percent to 41 percent, the same margin as when third-party candidates are included.
Now, before you get on Ann Selzer, she did note in September that based on her Ohio polling, the situation is looking like a 2004 electorate on the ground there. In fact, for a brief period, before the Access Hollywood fiasco, Trump looked as if he could be competitive in Colorado and Nevada. Winning those states, with Ohio, Iowa, and Florida not only would give him a win—but also with the exception of New Mexico and Virginia, would have pretty much mirror George W. Bush’s successful 2004 re-election effort. That’s no longer the case. The latest polling shows that Florida might be slipping away. Should that be called for Clinton on November 8, the race is over.
Now, I won’t be doom and gloom on this. Time after time, we’ve written Trump’s political obituary and have been surprised every time he turns things around. It’s not a normal election year—and Trump’s not your typical candidate. Let’s see what happens. What is a bit disconcerting for Team Trump is that every time he was about to fall off the cliff entering the general election phase, there were new developments on the email scandal or new details about the Clinton Foundation. We’ve had the Wall Street transcripts, emails mocking Catholics, Clinton’s support for fracking (which she’s opposed), and various other positions that run contradictory to her supposed shift to the left. Regarding the email scandal, it’s possible that her server had already been breached when a sensitive document found on the server of the Romanian hacker Guccifer contained Clinton’s IP address. Trump certainly has plenty of ammunition tonight to use against Clinton. This could be where he turns things around but he has to give a solid answer to all of these allegations, besides saying that these women were too ugly for his to allegedly grope. If he’s able to do that, he can pivot to any one of the latest developments we’ve read from the Wikileaks document dumps. When it comes to Russia and cybersecurity, he shouldn’t botch mentioning Clinton’s unsecured emails server that we know had at least 53 breach attempts made against it. Trump skimmed that talking point twice.
If you really want doom and gloom, here’s NBC’s Chuck Todd who pretty much warned that the GOP is on the precipice of total disaster. The Washington Post mentioned that everything Trump touches dies. Make no mistake; Trump is in trouble. He’s trailing, but let’s not write him off yet. There’s still time for him to surprise, though that window is rapidly closing. This debate is one last major push for him to regain some ground. He has to have a solid night against Lady Macbeth.