After what political pundits described as Hillary Clinton’s “best 10 days ever”, the likely Democratic nominee has maintained a modest lead over Manhattan mogul and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
But given Trump’s recent missteps – including his controversial attacks on a judge of Mexican heritage assigned to hear a class action lawsuit against Trump University – and a polling bump for Clinton following the effective end of the Democratic primary season, some have suggested the former Secretary of State is underperforming at a time when she should be leading Trump decisively in the polls.
While Clinton boasts a consistent lead over Trump in head-to-head matchups, most polls show her with only a 4 to 5 point lead.
Taken by itself, Clinton’s inability to gain a more resounding lead over the GOP candidate could be dismissed as a sign of partisan polarization rather than a reflection of the former First Lady’s electoral vulnerability.
Recent polls, however, indicate that much of Trump’s recent decline stems not from independents, but Republicans turned off by the former reality TV star’s inflammatory comments.
An ABC/Washington Post poll published on Sunday show’s Trump’s steepest drop came among Republicans, with only 77% of GOP members supporting their party’s candidate, compared to 90% of Democrats who backed Clinton.
Trump still lead Clinton among independents 48 to 45, and performed better among African Americans than either Mitt Romney or John McCain in the past two presidential elections.
But Republicans – and to a large extent independents – who have withdrawn backing from Trump are not rushing to support Clinton, a sign that despite their frustration with Trump’s rhetoric, many will vote for the GOP nominee in November.
While at this point in the 2012 campaign the RealClearPolitics average showed only 9% of voters were undecided, today that figure is a whopping 15%, highlighting Clinton’s inability to woo Republicans and independents.
The latest election polls, which were taken after the massive terror attack in Orlando, Florida, do do not reflect the effects of the recent Brexit referendum, which is largely seen as a boon for Trump, who endorsed the UK’s exit from the European Union.
Even without a Brexit bump, Trump is performing surprisingly well in key swing states, outperforming his national polling in states like Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and North Carolina.
The latest Quinnipiac poll shows Trump tied with Clinton in the all-important bellwether state of
Ohio at 40 each. In electoral vote-rich Pennsylvania, which has voted Democrat in every election since 1992, Trump tied Clinton in the latest Public Policy Polling survey and trailed her by a single point in a Quinnipiac poll.
With a national polling average below 40%, Trump clearly remains the underdog in this election. While he leads independents by two points in the latest ABC/Washington Post poll, Romney bested Obama by five among independents, yet still lost the election by nearly four points. Trump will also have to reconcile with disaffected Republicans and unify the party.
Nevertheless, Clinton’s relatively weak lead during the high point of her campaign highlights her own fundamental vulnerabilities and prove that this contest is far from in the bag for the former Secretary of State.