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Trump now up 1 in Rasmussen poll; trails by only 0.6 percent in Reuters tracking poll
And almost all of it is coming from former Hillary supporters who are reconsidering.
What was it - a week ago? - when we were being told the election was already over and we might as well just go ahead and inaugurate Hillary right now, since there was no chance Trump could possibly make up his massive deficit in the polls?
Things can change quickly, especially in a race like this where people have strong negative feelings about both candidates. So today we see two new polls that seem to lead a larger trend that's moving quickly away from Hillary, if not toward Trump in any favorable sense. First Rasmussen, which we should note is always the most Republican-favorable poll out there:
Hillary Clinton’s post-convention lead has disappeared, putting her behind Donald Trump for the first time nationally since mid-July.
The latest weekly Rasmussen Reports White House Watch national telephone and online survey shows Trump with 40% support to Clinton’s 39% among Likely U.S. Voters, after Clinton led 42% to 38% a week ago. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson now earns seven percent (7%) of the vote, down from nine percent (9%) the previous two weeks, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein picks up three percent (3%) support. Three percent (3%) like some other candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Clinton's support has been trending down from a high of 44% in early August just after the Democratic National Convention. This is her lowest level of support since mid-July. Trump's support has been eroding, too, from his high of 44% at that time. A one-point lead is statistically insignificant in a survey with a +/- 3 percentage point of margin of error. It highlights, however, that this remains a very close race.
So it's not that Trump is gaining new supporters. It's that Hillary is losing many of hers.
Now let's look at the trend in the Reuters tracking poll, where there is no history of pro-Republican tilting of the scales:
Reuters shows Trump even closer now than right after the Republican convention, and again, it reflects a dramatic drop in Hillary's support as the primary driver of the race's tightening.
Now before you get too excited, know that the Real Clear Politics average of polls still shows Hillary up 4.9 percent. But that's down from 6.6 percent in just a week, which is a pretty big change considering that not every poll updates weekly. (It also doesn't include the Rasmussen poll.) Some of the polls that help make up that average are more than a week old, so it's possible that they will also reflect a trend away from Hillary the next time they are updated. In fact, the most pro-Hillary poll included in the average, which shows her up by 10, is now a week old. And that counts just as much as the new ones that reflect the current trends.
The meaning of all this? I think it's as straightforward as this: Hillary has always been, and remains, a terrible candidate. The more the voters get exposed to her lies and corruption, the less inclined they are to believe the argument that she's the safe and sensible choice against the rogue charlatan Trump. This week has seen a lot of bad news for Hillary concerning her schlock, homebrew e-mail server and the Clinton Foundation, and people are remembering some of the reasons they really would rather not see her become president.
This presents an opportunity for Trump, who has to a) show he is better prepared and more reasonable than the media tries to say he is; and b) that he has the better argument on the issues. If he does well on those two fronts, this race is very winnable.