‘Trump Is Cratering’: New Polls Signal Deep Trouble for Republican Nominee
A raft of new national and battleground-state polls released Thursday found Donald Trump slipping well behind Hillary Clinton one week after the end of the Democratic convention, and as the Republican nominee reels from a public feud with the parents of a slain Muslim American soldier.
“There has clearly been a significant movement toward Clinton in the last week,” said Ken Goldstein, a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco and polling analyst for Bloomberg Politics. “Some of it is a Clinton post-convention bounce, but more of it seems to be a Trump deflation or implosion.”
A new poll in Pennsylvania, seen by Trump’s top strategists as a crucial bellwether, finds him trailing Clinton by 11 points (49 percent to 38 percent) among likely voters surveyed by Franklin & Marshall College.
An electoral vote-rich state that 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney lost by just 5 points, the Keystone State is arguably a must-win for Trump due to demographics that are uniquely suited to his appeal. It is 20 percent whiter than the U.S. as a whole, and has a large working-class base that is coping with the loss of manufacturing jobs and sympathetic to Trump’s anti-trade views.
The survey found that Trump’s advantages among white men and voters without a college degree are erased by his larger deficits among white women and college graduates. He’s down by 69 points among non-white voters, the poll found.
“Given the fact that his assault on Hispanics has made it far more difficult to win many of the other swing states—like Colorado, Nevada, and Florida—then Pennsylvania becomes ever more critical for Trump to put the pieces together to get to 270 electoral votes,” said Whit Ayres, a leading Republican pollster.
“It’s the kind of place that you'd normally think would be fertile ground for Trump,” Ayres said, before contending that “absolutely nothing has happened” to suggest Trump can be the first Republican since 1988 to paint Pennsylvania red.
As Trump moved Friday to correct course by acknowledging a misstatement about Iran and by naming economic advisers ahead of a Detroit Economic Club speech Monday, other battleground-state polls of likely voters were also signaling trouble.
In Michigan, another Democratic-leaning Rust Belt state that Trump is trying to put in play, he trails Clinton by 9 points (41 percent to 32 percent) in a survey by Detroit News and WDIV-TV.
In Florida, an electorally rich and closely divided state, Trump trailed Clinton by 6 points (48 percent to 42 percent) in a Suffolk University poll.
In New Hampshire, a purple state that was the site of Trump’s first blowout victory in the Republican primary, he’s down by a whopping 15 points (47 percent to 32 percent) against Clinton, according to a WBUR poll.
Even in Georgia, a southern state that has voted Republican for president since 1996, a poll released by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday showed Clinton up 4 points on Trump, 44 percent to 40 percent, in a two-way race, within the poll’s margin of error of about 4 points.
Nationally, the picture isn’t much better.
A McClatchy/Marist national poll found Trump down 15 points among registered voters (up from his 3-point deficit last month), a bigger gap than Romney trailed by in any 2012 poll recorded by RealClearPolitics, which closely tracks presidential election surveys.
“Real talk: Trump is cratering,” Republican pollster Frank Luntz tweeted in response to the McClatchy survey. “He needs to overhaul his general-election strategy if he wants to have any hope of winning in 95 days.”
Luntz said Trump “lost his big leads with independent voters” in prior surveys.
An NBC/Wall Street Journal national survey found Trump trailing Clinton by 9 points (up from 5 points last month).
Ayres cautioned that polls at this early juncture may yet be fluid.
“The general rule is that you wait a couple of weeks after both conventions finish before you start assuming that polls are particularly predictive,” he said. “Around the middle of August we'll start to get a sense of where the race stands after the dust settles from the Democratic convention and the Trump convention.”
Goldstein said polling averages are more instructive than any one poll, but that a steady Clinton lead of 7 or 8 points could harm Republicans down the ballot.
“Fifteen points is more than Ronald Reagan won in his landslide victories,” he said. “If you're in a world where it's over 10, then this is a landslide of historic proportions.”
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