Don’t look now, but as the race for the White House enters its home stretch, Donald Trump is rapidly making up ground. Just a few short weeks ago the GOP nominee was down by as much as 8 points and stuck playing defense as the media whipped themselves into an anti-Trump fervor.
But the tides have turned. While Clinton spent the last month raising money among her rich friends in the Hamptons—where she rents Steve Spielberg’s guesthouse—Trump was engaging in some good ol’ fashioned shoe leather campaigning. He was seemingly everywhere – from the flood-ravaged towns of Louisiana to Mexico, where he sat down with President Nieto, to Detroit to learn from the congregation of an African-American church.
While Trump was crisscrossing the country, and garnering positive feedback along the way, Clinton was once again tossed back into a sea of controversy.
There were two new bombshells: The Associated Press’ report showing that more than half of her non-governmental meetings as Secretary of State were Clinton Foundation donors, and the release of a trove of FBI documents showing that, among other things, Clinton destroyed official emails after the New York Times discovered her personal server. Both of those issues went unanswered as Clinton hunkered down without daring to even make a public speaking appearance, much less have a press conference (her last one was 272 days ago, if you’re keeping score at home).
It’s almost as if Clinton believed that her lead and her big pile of cash would exempt her from actually having to get out and meet voters. But the last few weeks should have disabused her of that notion.
“[Y]ou look at these recent polls, [Trump] is within three or four points in every single poll,” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said, dumbfounded. “There’s a reason. She needs to wake up and understand she could still lose.”
As is she needed another one, here’s a wakeup call, courtesy of CNN:
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton start the race to November 8 on essentially even ground, with Trump edging Clinton by a scant two points among likely voters, and the contest sparking sharp divisions along demographic lines in a new CNN/ORC Poll.
Trump tops Clinton 45% to 43% in the new survey, with Libertarian Gary Johnson standing at 7% among likely voters in this poll and the Green Party’s Jill Stein at just 2%. …
The new poll finds the two major party candidates provoke large gaps by gender, age, race, education and partisanship. Among those likely to turn out in the fall, both candidates have secured about the same share of their own partisans (92% of Democrats back Clinton, 90% of Republicans are behind Trump) but independents give Trump an edge, 49% say they’d vote for him while just 29% of independent voters back Clinton. Another 16% back Johnson, 6% Stein.
It’s not just that Clinton’s poll numbers are going down, it’s that her unfavorability ratings keep going up. A bevy of polls shows that the former secretary of sate is more unpopular with Americans than ever before. For instance, a new ABC News poll shows that among all adults, 56 percent view Clinton unfavorably, a 6 point jump in the last three weeks. More worrisome for Clinton, her favorability has fallen among demographics crucial to her election bid (popularity among women flipped from 54-43 percent favorable-unfavorable to 45-52, among those with post-graduate degrees it fell from 60-39 to 47-51, and among independents it went from 50-48 to 41-56).
Of course, there is still a tremendous amount of work for Republicans to do to make sure Trump gets to pack his bags for the White House. Ultimately, the race will be decided by voters who have yet to make up their minds, a point Nate Silver recently made in the New York Times.
“Between the unusually early conventions and the late election – Nov. 8 is the latest possible date on which Election Day can occur — it’s a long campaign this year,” Silver writes. “But just as important, many voters — close to 20 percent — either say they’re undecided or that they plan to vote for third-party candidates. At a comparable point four years ago, only 5 to 10 percent of voters fell into those categories.”
College Republicans are redoubling our efforts to reach out to these undecided voters to make sure that Trump has the opportunity to bring his no-nonsense business-sense to a town in desperate need of it.