Just after Donald Trump effectively clinched the GOP nomination with his Hoosier State victory, I wrote that Hillary Clinton's large national lead would decline over the ensuing weeks, adding that one of Trump's few potential general election advantages is the enduring terribleness of his opponent. Lo and behold a fresh Fox News national poll shows the billionaire real estate developer jumping ahead of Clinton, seizing a small lead. Yes, it's just one non-Rasmussen poll -- and yes, Hillary has led (often comfortably) in ten of the last 13 head-to-head surveys, dating back to April. Nevertheless, boom:
The biggest driver of this change is a significant surge in Hillary's negatives. While Trump remains very unpopular with voters, Clinton has overtaken him in the race to the bottom. Her negatives are now higher than his, at least in this series. Quite an achievement:
American voters dislike Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. A record 61 percent have a negative view of the likely Democratic nominee, according to a Fox News poll released Wednesday. That’s up from 58 percent in March. Fifty-six percent have an unfavorable view of Trump -- though that’s actually good news for Donald. Because it was 65 percent two months ago (that was a record high). Thirty-seven percent have a favorable opinion of Clinton, down two points from 39 percent in March, establishing a new low. The likely Republican nominee’s favorable jumped over the same time period: 41 percent view Trump positively...
Trump still struggles mightily among women (-30 favorability), but Clinton fares even worse with men. Her net favorability among male voters is (-44), with a whopping 71 percent holding a negative view of the former Secretary of State. He faces a gender gap problem. So does she, and hers is worse in this data batch. Republicans are about to nominate one of the only people in their once-crowded presidential field who is capable of losing to this woman. But Democrats set their sights on crowning their queen years ago, knowing full well how unlikable and distrusted she is. Trump was not the GOP's plan; Hillary was the Democrats' only plan. Bravo. It's worth noting that in this same poll, Trump trails Bernie Sanders by four points. The dingy Vermont Socialist has been outperforming his adopted party's inevitable-from-day-one nominee against Republicans for months. Separately, a new poll out of New Hampshire -- a swing state in which Trump was getting clobbered by Hillary not too long ago -- shows Clinton's lead has tumbled to margin-of-error territory. This sentence from the findings sums things up rather nicely: "The reason this race is so close is that both Clinton and Trump are exceptionally unpopular across New Hampshire." That's likely to be the base narrative for at least the next month or two. Two profoundly flawed and widely disliked nominees competing for the title of most hated. Despite all the attention paid to the #NeverTrump phenomenon (perennial disclosure: I count myself in this group), the Republican Party has broadly begun to rally around its presumptive nominee, as Democrats remain embroiled in an increasingly antagonistic "civil war," in which Sanders keeps stubbornly winning battles This could be interesting:
When Clinton finally wheezes across the finish line -- at long last cashing in on the stacked hand dealt to her by party elites -- it's still quite likely that the overwhelming majority of Democrats will similarly begin to fall in line, especially in the face of Trump. Once that shakes out, the dynamics of the race could very well change again. I'll leave you with this little nugget from Fox's numbers:
Even bigger from the Fox News poll? Johnson getting closer to the 15% debate threshold:— Marcus Hawkins (@HawkinsUSA) May 18, 2016
Trump (R) 42%
Hillary (D) 39%
Johnson (L) 10%
Johnson, the former two-term (Republican) governor of New Mexico, has announced his would-be Libertarian Party running mate: Former two-term (Republican) Massachusetts Governor William Weld. That's some serious, credible governing experience. Johnson is making an explicit play for right-leaning Trump critics, touting his firm commitment to fiscal restraint and minimizing government, and pointing out that he'd be the only third party candidate on the ballot on all 50 states in November. Oh, and he's about to get quite a bit of help from one of the Koch brothers, too. What a cycle.