RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’ prediction that Donald Trump would catch up to Hillary Clinton in the polls “by Labor Day or thereafter” isn’t looking too good. Take the new Washington Post/ABC News poll.
In a head-to-head match-up, Clinton leads Trump by eight points among likely voters, 51% to 43%, which is her largest advantage in this poll since June. Add third-party candidates to the mix and the Democrat’s advantage slips to five points, 46% to 41%, which is very much in line with the broader polling averages.
Clinton bests Trump in every issue area – trade, taxes, economy, terrorism, and immigration – as well as key personality traits, including honesty and being qualified for the presidency. (Roughly 7% of poll respondents are prepared to vote for the controversial Republican nominee, even though they don’t consider him qualified to serve.)
In terms of the candidates’ key backers, Clinton’s strongest support comes from voters under 40, African Americans, and those with post-graduate degrees. Trump scored best with white men without college degrees and self-identified white evangelical Christians.
At least when this poll was taken, 58% believe Clinton will end up winning, while only 29% expect Trump to prevail. In recent cycles, the public’s perceptions about the likely winner have generally coincided with the actual outcome.
Perhaps most surprising of all was President Obama’s approval rating, which in this poll is up to 58% – his strongest support since his first year in office. The better the president’s standing, the less likely it is the public will seek out a radical change in direction – and the less potent the Republicans’ “third Obama term” criticisms will be.
As for state-by-state contests, new polling from NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist took a look at four notable battlegrounds:
Arizona: Trump 42%, Clinton 41%
Georgia: Trump 46%, Clinton 43%
Nevada: Clinton 45%, Trump 44%
New Hampshire: Clinton 42%, Trump 41%
The broader takeaway should be obvious: Nevada and New Hampshire are two states Obama won in both of his elections that now appear very competitive, while Arizona and Georgia are two traditionally “red” states that have suddenly become battlegrounds.
But that doesn’t mean the pairings necessarily cancel each other out. Based on electoral math alone, Trump needs Arizona and Georgia even more than Clinton needs Nevada and New Hampshire – because the two red states combine for 27 electoral votes, which Trump and the GOP didn’t expect to fight for, while the two blue states combine for 10 electoral votes, which Clinton and Democrats already expected to be close.
Time will tell if Clinton’s bout of walking pneumonia – and the political media’s over-the-top interest in her ailment – alters the race in a fundamental way, but the latest polls suggest Trump is not close to where he needs to be to win the White House.
Election Day is eight weeks from tomorrow.