I don’t think any Democrat is complacent about the general election. After all, most Democrats — pundits, politicians, and laymen alike — are still surprised by Trump’s nomination. But most seem to believe that a Hillary Clinton victory will be the likely outcome.
Do the first round of polls bear that up? Not as well as I had hoped. A new PPP Poll shows Republicans quickly unifying against Donald Trump. Yes, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a modest lead — raising the real prospect that Bernie Sanders supporters who decide to stay home and teach their party a lesson could be helping to elect the next President (Trump). Sanders continues to do better than Clinton when matched up against Trump.
PPP’s new national poll finds that Republicans have quickly unified around Donald Trump, making the Presidential race more competitive than it has previously been perceived to be.
Hillary Clinton leads Trump 42-38, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 4% and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 2%. In a match up just between Clinton and Trump, her lead expands to 47-41. That’s because supporters of Johnson and Stein would prefer her over Trump 36-18. Although there’s been a lot of talk about third party candidates drawing support away from Trump, they’re actually taking a little bit more from Clinton at this point.
Clinton leads Trump 78-9 among Democrats in the full field at this point, while Trump leads Clinton 78-7 among Republicans.
And there’s the important point: the Republicans are JUST as unified now with some who don’t like Trump as the Democrats are with some who don’t like Clinton:
Although much has been made of disunity in the GOP, it is actually just as unified behind Trump as the Democrats are behind Clinton. 72% of Republicans now say they’re comfortable with Trump as their nominee to only 21% who they aren’t. Those numbers are little different from the ones among Democrats that find 75% of them would be comfortable with Clinton as their nominee to 21% who say they would not be.
Bernie Sanders continues to do the best in general election match ups, leading Trump 47-37 with Johnson at 3% and Stein at 1% in the full field, and leading Trump 50-39 head to head. The difference between how Clinton and Sanders fare against Trump comes almost completely among young people. In the full field Clinton leads 46-24, but Sanders leads 64-18 with voters between 18 and 29. In one on ones with Trump, Clinton leads 49-27, but Sanders leads 70-14.
The undecideds in a Clinton-Trump match up right now support Sanders 41-8 in a match up with Trump, so the bad news for Clinton is that she has work to do to win over a certain segment of Sanders supporters in the general, but the good news is that they are at least somewhat Democratic leaning and she has the potential to increase her advantage over Trump by a couple points if she is eventually able to get them in her corner. Democrats lead a generic question about which party people would vote for President 49-41, so that may be somewhat of a forecast for where the race could be headed if/when Sanders supporters unify around Clinton for the general.
The poll also checked to see what Trump supporters thought of various conspiracy theories about Obama and found this:
-65% think President Obama is a Muslim, only 13% think he’s a Christian.
-59% think President Obama was not born in the United States, only 23% think that he was.
-27% think vaccines cause autism, 45% don’t think they do, another 29% are not sure.
-24% think Antonin Scalia was murdered, just 42% think he died naturally, another 34% are unsure.
-7% think Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of JFK, 55% think he was not involved, another 38% are unsure.
Plus this aside:
And closing the loop on the greatest conspiracy theory of this election- a rare one that Trump didn’t embrace- 5% of voters nationally think Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer, 18% are unsure, and 77% find Cruz not guilty of the charge of being a serial killer in diapers. So at least he has that going for him.
And how do voters think Trump compares with various maladies or unpleasant experiences?
Do you have a higher opinion of Donald Trump or
Results (Trump +/-)
Hemorrhoids — Trump, 45/39 (+6)
Cockroaches — Trump, 46/42 (+4)
Nickelback — Nickelback, 39/34 (-5)
Used Car Salesmen — Used Car Salesmen, 47/41 (-6)
Traffic Jams — Traffic Jams, 47/40 (-7)
Hipsters — Hipsters, 45/38 (-7)
DMV — DMV, 50/40 (-10)
Root Canals — Root Canals, 49/38 (-11)
Jury Duty — Jury Duty, 57/35 (-22)
Lice — Lice, 54/28 (-26)
Yup, Lice beat out Trump by 26 percentage points.
But all silliness aside, Trump can still win this thing. A 4 to 8 point margin is not a lot.
And then there are the latest Quinnepeac polls in three important swing states:
Those are all within the margin of error.
But NBC/WSJ/Marist battleground polling looks better for Clinton:
FL: Clinton 49, Trump 41
OH: Clinton 48, Trump 42
PA: Clinton 54, Trump 39
but that looks at the past 2 months. Clearly, the unification thing has happened.
Obviously, if Trump keeps what Romney took in 2012, and adds Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, he’s won.
But can he? Florida has a heavy Hispanic population, larger now than it was four years ago. And more liberal. And (one hopes), more motivated.
Ohio… I say Hillary can take care of that by nominating Sherrod Brown.
There are other purple states in play. I live in one. North Carolina’s electoral votes are nothing to sneeze at, and we have a local elections to contend with. HB2 has got the electorate charged, which means a good voter turnout (just 36% of voters in the state support HB2, to 45% who are opposed)
But the point is…. this thing is not a done deal. Trump is unpredictable, and even though the GOP rank and file are not all lining up behind him, there does seem to be some unity among the GOP voters. Dems need to work to win this, and not just depend on Trump to implode and offend.