Addressing an adoring crowd in Texas this week, Donald Trump boasted about his perceptions of the latest polling data. “I don’t know if you’ve seen what’s happening,” the Republican said, “but over the last three weeks, the polls with African American folks and Spanish-speaking folks, the Hispanics, Latinos, have gone way up. Way up. They’ve gone way up.”
And while that may sound like great news for the GOP candidate’s supporters, there’s a small problem with Trump’s claim: there’s literally no evidence of it being true. In fact, actual data points in the opposite direction, and it seems Trump just made up these poll results out of whole cloth.
At a certain level, it’s understandable that Trump would feel the need to make up polls that don’t exist, largely because the polls that do exist look pretty discouraging for him.
In the battle of the unloved presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton tops the magical 50 percent mark among American likely voters, leading Republican Donald Trump 51 - 41 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released today. […]“We are starting to hear the faint rumblings of a Hillary Clinton landslide as her 10-point lead is further proof that Donald Trump is in a downward spiral as the clock ticks,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
The same poll asked respondents, “Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?” A whopping 90% of people said they’re not going to change their mind.
It’s worth emphasizing that this is only one poll, and other recent results show Clinton ahead, but not by this much. As of this morning, overall averages show her leading by between 6 and 8 percentage points.
For those still hoping for a Trump comeback, some obvious truths come to mind: there are still 10 weeks remaining before Election Day; there are still three scheduled debates ahead; and a lot can happen between now and Nov. 8. There’s certainly some truth to this.
But it’s not too early to start thinking about historical context.
Slate’s Jamelle Bouie, for example, noted this week, “The polls we see after the conventions … tend to reflect a genuine change in the state of the race. And that change is durable…. [G]oing back to 1952, the candidate leading at this stage of the race always won the popular vote.”
That’s true and we can take it one step further: if the Huffington Post’s Pollster aggregator is correct and Clinton is leading by about 8 percentage points, history suggests the former Secretary of State is clearly on track to succeed. How many candidates had a lead this large, at this stage in the race, but ended up losing? In the modern polling era, zero. It just hasn’t happened.
And so, history will soon be made. Americans will either soon elect their first woman president, or Donald J. Trump will mount the biggest comeback in modern political history.