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Clinton advantage down to one point, Trump surging

by | Oct 31, 2016

By Dave Andrusko

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

The headline to the post that NRLC sent out today really does say it all: “This changes everything,” an allusion to the FBI’s decision to reopen its investigation into pro-abortion Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was serving as Barack Obama’s Secretary of State.

The fallout from Friday’s announcement is also beginning to be felt. You can know it could be devastating based on the explain-it-pall-away conclusion of the Washington Post’s Scott Clement and Emily Guskin that “Just more than 6 in 10 voters say the news will make no difference in their vote, while just more than 3 in 10 say it makes them less likely to support her; 2 percent say they are more likely to back her as a result.”

In what political universe does “a little more than 3 in 10 say it makes them less likely to support her” qualify as “just”?

This by the way in the same story that Clinton’s supposed 12 point lead of a less than seven days before had shrunk to one point.

I won’t belabor the obvious. The momentum was clearly shifting before FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Congress. There is no reason to think—in spite of a typically furious Clinton counterattack—that the momentum won’t continue in Donald Trump’s direction.

The Daily Los Angeles Times poll has Trump up by 4 points nationally. In the pivotal states of Ohio and Florida, Trump is up 5 and 4 points, respectively.

Moreover, while both remain highly unpopular, Clinton is now “seen unfavorably by 60 percent of likely voters in the latest results, a new high,” according to ABC News, 2 point higher than Trump.

Just last week, in a Fox News poll, Clinton was less unpopular than Trump by 6 points—a turnaround of 8 points.

Then there is the question of the Clinton coalition—both whether her margins are shrinking within, particularly, young people and whether there is evidence the latest scandal may depress turnout. Here’s what USA Today’s Susan Page and Karina Shedrofsky wrote:

In the space of just two weeks, Clinton’s support among likely voters 18 to 34 years old dropped six percentage points, to 62% from 68%, between early October and late October. Trump’s support edged up one point in the survey, taken last week before the FBI announcement Friday of new emails found in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of State.

Clinton continues to have a huge advantage over Trump among younger voters, but the findings reinforce questions about whether she can count on Millennials — a crucial part of President Obama’s electoral coalition — to turn out to vote in a contest that seems to be tightening and has been thrown into new turmoil.

The single most important consideration to keep in mind is that all polls are based on a “model” of who is going to vote. If that model is off by even a few points, it really does change everything.

Speaking of which, here is a headline from the Wall Street Journal: “Trump Stands to Benefit From High Number of Republican-Leaning Undecided Voters: National polling indicates voters who haven’t decided on a candidate in the election lean more to GOP than to Democrats.”

Here are the lead paragraphs to Aaron Zitner’s important story:

Voters who haven’t yet settled on a candidate in the presidential election are more Republican-leaning as a group than Democratic, suggesting that GOP nominee Donald Trump can make last-minute gains if he can persuade those voters to return to their home party.

Some 30% of undecided voters call themselves Republicans, compared with 21% who call themselves Democrats, an analysis of Wall Street Journal/NBC News national polling shows.

In another sign of the Republican tilt of undecided voters, some 42% of those voters say they want the next Congress to be controlled by the GOP, suggesting that they are Republicans at heart. Some 35% say they prefer Democratic control.

Those numbers also mark a reversal from 2012, when Democrats in the pool of undecided voters outnumbered Republicans by 12 percentage points and a plurality wanted to see a Democratic-led Congress.

“Unlike 2012, when undecided voters were breaking for President Obama, the `juice’ in the undecided vote this year is favoring Republicans,’’ said Micah Roberts, a Republican pollster who works on Journal/NBC News surveys.

Stay tuned.

Categories: Politics Polling