On the surface, the latest CNN/ORC poll released Tuesday shows a virtual tie between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, well within the margin of error, but a few interesting things emerge which should worry the Clinton campaign.
At least if I were the Clinton campaign, I’d be worried.
For the first time, the poll has included likely voters as well as registered voters. Normally, likely voters shift by up to 7 points towards Republicans in a general election. The data here shows a 6 point lean toward Trump.
That wouldn’t be significant, except in past polls on this race, the RV/LV lean went in reverse, toward Clinton. It could be reflective of polling methodology, or it could be something else. I believe it’s real, based on other data in this latest poll.
- Since June, the percentage of voters who answered that they are voting for Clinton/Kaine, “mind made up” has reversed its trend, decling from a high of 44 to 35, two points lower than it was in June.
- The percentage of Clinton “could change mind” has increased from its low of 6 in mid-July to 9, just one point below June, tying the mid-July post-FBI number.
- The percentage of Trump/Pence “mind made up” dropped from its high of 40 just after the convention to 35, a number that’s been stable since June (since forever, really). So nothing has changed for Trump.
- The percentage of Trump “could change mind” however has dropped steadily from 9 in June and now stands at 6.
This indicates that more people are reconsidering their backing of Clinton, while Trump enjoys a tad more wavering to his side.
In the head-to-head comparisons, Trump also leads (within the MOE) by 1 point among likely voters, and trails by 2 points in registered voters (also within the MOE). It’s a statistical tie.
More concerning for Clintonites:
- While Trump has lost further with college graduates since the last poll at the end of July and Clinton picked up 3 points, Clinton has lost 6 points in non-college grads, and Trump has gained a stunning 10 points.
- Trump has gained 12 points with people making $50K or more, while Clinton has lost 7 points.
- Trump has lost 3 points among white college grads, but none of it has gone to Clinton, who remained steady.
- Trump gained 12 points with white non-college grads, while Clinton lost 5 points.
These are all statistically significant numbers. They mark a deep dissatisfaction with the way Clinton has handled her email scandal, which refuses to bury itself, despite liberal MSM excuses.
Does this one data point indicate that the race is about to swing in Trump’s favor? No. I believe, like many, that Clinton has more opportunity to put the race away than Trump does. But as much as Clinton’s advisers might be telling her that time is on her side, the polling seems to indicate she can’t play out the clock.
Indeed, without new information and barring a dramatic improvement in Trump’s numbers, the Clinton team thinks it would be a mistake for the candidate or her surrogates to respond.
One source close to the campaign said Clinton officials want to see if the Republicans overplay their hand while hammering Clinton on an issue that close to two-thirds of voters, according to a Monmouth University poll, said they were sick of hearing about — last year.
“There’s a chance that Trump gets better, and that some sort of mythical new information comes out of the emails,” said Mo Elleithee, director of the Georgetown Institute of Politics and a veteran of Clinton’s 2008 campaign. “But in the absence of that, the Clinton people seem to be content with keeping their heads down, letting her deliver her positive case and allowing Trump to continue to cloud the national conversation with his own unforced errors.”
Logic would dictate that Clinton’s campaign is doing the right thing. But logic doesn’t account for the outrage factor, and despite Trump’s manifold defects, he is very good at playing on outrage.
Unfortunately for Clinton, she’s stuck with the hand she dealt herself. There’s no turning back, short of admitting criminal guilt (which is apparent beyond a reasonable doubt anyhow). So we’ll see if Trump can do anything with this new ray of sunshine.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2016
Give him one winning poll, and watch him run with it.