Is Donald Trump closing in in the final stretch of the election? It sure seems that way. In the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, the Republican nominee trails Hillary Clinton by only four points in a four-way race. Libertarian Gary Johnson receives four percent, while the Green Party’s Jill Stein hovers around two percent. For Clinton, it’s an eight-point drop from last week (via The Hill):
A new national poll released on Friday finds Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with a 4-point advantage over her Republican opponent, Donald Trump.
The ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll found Clinton leading Trump 48 percent to 44 percent in a four-way contest. Libertarian Gary Johnson receives 4 percent support while the Green Party's Jill Stein nets 2 percent.
The gap between Clinton and Trump seems to be narrowing, with the Republican nominee gaining ground, ABC and The Washington Post say. As recently as last week in the same survey, Clinton led by as much as 12 points.
For starters, you can see the complete and total collapse of the third party option, as we approach Election Day. With joke candidates, like Stein and Johnson, it seems some of their support went to Trump and Clinton as decision time draws nearer, though most went to Clinton. With the Access Hollywood tape, which showed Trump making lewd remarks about grabbing women’s genitals that set off a panicked GOP, Clinton gained in the polls a decisive edge. Now, about three weeks have passed since that tape was leaked, with the usual hammering by the media—and Trump is only trailing by four. It’s remarkable.
Justin wrote this week that a swing state poll from Bloomberg Politics shows that Trump is ahead in Florida 45/43. Axiom Strategies/Remington Research Group has Trump ahead in Ohio 46/42, with Trump trailing Clinton by three in Pennsylvania. In a normal year, this would make Trump the next president of the United States. Yet, Trump is traveling to deep red Arizona to shore up support there, which says something. Should we lose that state in which Clinton would make an unprecedented carve out of the West by nabbing Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, we would still lose the election…even if we win Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. And the latter is still a tall order given that we haven’t won that state since 1988.
I’m willing to bet that we’ll win Arizona, but if Clinton takes Pennsylvania—the race is over. Nevada is the only state in the west that Trump looks like he might win; Utah should be chalked up in the Trump column. I know Independent Evan McMullin is having a very strong showing there, but independent candidates usually underperform by Election Day; Ross Perot was polling at 33 percent in 1992, he ended up only winning 18.9 percent, no electoral votes, and possibly cost Bush 41 re-election. Still, it was the most successful third party run since Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose run. I’ll bet history repeats itself. The McMullin love dies out on November 8, as Utah voters come to realize that he can’t win, they don’t want either Hillary or Trump to win, and therefore, they will go with either the Democratic or Republican ticket. If that’s the case, Trump wins handily. Still, even with Arizona and Nevada, along with Ohio and Florida, in the Trump column---Clinton still get 273 electoral votes. The window is rapidly closing and it’s a long shot, but Trump should keep pushing. Yesterday, there seemed to be little coverage of Trump’s sexual misconduct allegations and mostly about the emails from Wikileaks, including a memo that shows how Bill Clinton and his associates used their corporate donor base to raise enormous amounts of money for the Clinton Foundation, along with setting up lucrative side deals (speaking engagements) with the same firms.
While attacks on Hillary for her email fiasco and the dealing at the Foundation have been useful in pull her down on character questions, which has hamstrung her campaign from taking a massive lead over Trump, it doesn’t appear to be enough. What the third debate showed was that Trump’s economic rhetoric was better received, even with Hillary leaners in Frank Luntz’s focus group, but they wanted more details. They were especially receptive to Trump’s remarks about trade. The Republican nominee did outline his first 100 days should he win at Gettysburg, but Luntz noted that this is something that should’ve been disseminated months ago, even at the last debate where 70 million people tune in to watch. Clinton is still assailable. There maybe sometime, but the question is whether Trump is disciplined enough to march through the last days of this cycle strong and focused; he’s failed to do that pervasively. Still, a Trump presidency is better than a Clinton one, which I think will be the overarching mindset for GOP voters. If Trump does lose, it was because he couldn’t get out of his own way, not because Clinton is such a beacon on campaign efficiency and popularity.