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Another Round Of Battleground Polls Puts Clinton In The Lead

Trump Clinton

As we get ready to close out the week, yet another set of battleground state polls shows Hillary Clinton opening up wide leads over Donald Trump in four states crucial to getting to 270 Electoral Votes:

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is opening a wider lead in three battleground states, while maintaining an advantage over Republican rival Donald Trump in Florida, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll has found.

In Colorado, Mrs. Clinton leads Mr. Trump by 14 percentage points, 46% to 32%—six points more than a poll taken in July before the two parties held their national conventions.

Mrs. Clinton also gained some ground in two Southern battleground states: Virginia, where she leads 46% to 33%, and North Carolina, where she is ahead 48% to 39%.

In Florida, one of the most important states this fall with its 29 Electoral College votes, the race is tighter. Mrs. Clinton’s support stands at 44%, compared with 39% for Mr. Trump, which is a slight improvement in his position from a month ago, when the poll had him trailing 2 points further behind.

Still, even winning Florida in November wouldn’t help Mr. Trump if his fortunes don’t improve in the other battlegrounds. North Carolina is a state that Mitt Romney won in 2012, and Colorado and Virginia have been trending Democratic in presidential elections. Democrats’ position in Virginia is also likely enhanced by Mrs. Clinton’s selection of the state’s popular junior senator, Tim Kaine, to be her running mate.

“These are supposed to be battleground states, but right now, they don’t look that way,” saidLee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Trump still needs to unify Republicans and better position himself among traditional GOP groups in order to make the contest competitive in these must-win states.”

The results reinforce the findings of other national and battleground-state polls taken in the past two weeks: In the wake of the two parties’ conventions and amid a series of setbacks for the Trump campaign, Mrs. Clinton has consolidated her base and widened her lead on a number of fronts.

(…)

Mrs. Clinton also continues to hold a strong position in all four states when the field of choices is broadened to include Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. In a four-way race, Mrs. Clinton draws more than 40% of the vote in all four states. In two, Colorado and Virginia, Mr. Johnson breaks into the double digits.

The poll also found that voters in all four states continue to have unfavorable impressions of both major-party nominees. For Mrs. Clinton, her negative ratings range from 52%, in Florida, to 59%, in Colorado. Mr. Trump’s negative ratings range from 62%, in North Carolina, to 69%, in Colorado.

The battleground poll released Friday, and earlier Marist polls taken in Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania, illustrates Mr. Trump’s difficult standing not just in national polls but also in the states that will be crucial to building an Electoral College majority.

The latest Journal/NBC/Marist polls showed that Mrs. Clinton in all four states had made more progress toward consolidating her party base than Mr. Trump has. In Florida, she is backed by 92% of Democrats; Mr. Trump is supported by 79% of Republicans.

In North Carolina, Mrs. Clinton is supported by 89% of Democrats; Mr. Trump, 84% of Republicans. In Colorado, 91% of Democrats are Clinton backers; 79% of Republicans are Trump backers. And in Virginia, 94% of Democrats back Mrs. Clinton; 80% of Republicans back Mr. Trump.

Another trend that could help Mrs. Clinton in these key states is growing approval of President Barack Obama’s job performance, which stands at 50% or higher in each state. That is up 3 points in Colorado and Virginia over the past month, up 2 points in Florida and about the same as the past month in North Carolina.

To summarize the results, here’s a handy chart from the Wall Street Journal:

WSJ Poll

These numbers continue a trend we’ve seen since the conclusion of the two week convention period in July that has shown Hillary Clinton surging in the polls while Donald Trump continues his pattern of saying something controversial and then spending several days eating up increasingly diminishing campaign time trying to explain what he had said previously. Meanwhile, Republicans continue to search for ways to undercut Trump’s campaign as it becomes more apparent that he is likely to have a negative impact on down ballot races, most especially the effort on the part of the RNC and other parts of the party to defend the GOP’s Senate majority from a challenge that is looking more serious by the day.

Looking to the the poll averages it’s clear that this is going to be a very tough election for the GOP.

In Colorado, for example, Clinton (45.8%) holds an eleven point lead over Trump (34 .8%) in a head to head match. In a four-way match, Clinton (42.0%) leads Trump (30.7%) by 11.3 points while Libertarian Party nominee garners an average 11.0% and Green Party nominee is averaging  5.0%. The Pollster average of the Centennial State is roughly the same, although it only gives Clinton an average lead of 7 .5 points. This is not good news for Republicans hoping to make Colorado competitive notwithstanding the fact that President Obama won rather handily in the state in both 2008 and 2012. Moving to another state that Republicans had hoped to flip back to red after two consecutive elections in which it went to a Democrat for the first time since 1964, the RealClearPolitics average for Virginia shows Clinton (44. 5%) leading Trump (36.5%) by eight points in a head to head match, while a four way match gives her a 9.7 point leads that also shows Gary Johnson averaging 12% and Jill Stein averaging 3.7%. Pollster, meanwhile gives Clinton a somewhat smaller, but still substantial, lead in its poll average. Not surprisingly, Florida is much closer with Clinton (45.8%) leading Trump (42.5%) by 3.3 points in a head-to-head matchup and 2.5 points in a four-way race that shows Gary Johnson with an average of  6. 5% and Jill Stein with at 2.3% race. The Pollster average for the Sunshine State, meanwhile, gives Clinton a 2.1 point lead over Trump. Finally, in North Carolina, which President Obama won narrowly in 2008 only to see Mitt Romney get the state back in the Republican fold in 2012, Clinton (45.3%) leads Trump (43.3%) by 2,9 points in a head-to-head match and by 4.3 points in a four-way match that shows Gary Johnson getting an average of 6.0% of the vote and Jill Stein getting an average of 1.7%. Over at Pollster, Clinton has a 3.9 point lead in the poll average.

Given that all four of these are states that Trump arguably must win if he is going to have any chance of getting to 270 Electoral Votes, it’s hard to overstate just how bad this news is for the campaign. Even taking into account the fact that it’s still early in the campaign, we’ve clearly settled into a trend that shows Hillary Clinton consistently gaining or remaining stable while Trump’s numbers continue to decline. It’s not hard to figure out why Trump is declining, of course.. One need only look at what the candidate himself is saying on a daily basis to figure that out, and the fact that he seems constitutionally unable to change either his tone or his rhetoric the idea that he’s going to be able to turn this around unless he and his campaign act quickly is becoming less and less likely by the day. Instead of changing, though, Trump continues to wander off on his own, throwing out comments suggesting that he doesn’t see why he needs to spend the money on an Election Day get out the vote effort and, most bizzarrely, scheduling a campaign stop in ultra-blue Connecticut, which hasn’t gone for a Republican candidate since 1988. If that’s the kind of race Trump is going to run over the next three months, then he’s setting himself and his party up for a big loss. The question is whether he even cares about that at this point.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. John says:

    Trump on the possibility of losing: “It’s OK, I go back to a very good way of life.”

    Thank you for letting us all know, Donald.

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  2. J-Dub says:

    @John: Not quite as good a life as he left behind though. His properties, mostly located in blue states, are losing tenants, his golf courses are losing members, his brand is tarnished beyond repair, and his wife might get deported for Visa fraud.

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  3. michael reynolds says:

    I love that this psychopathic idiot forces people like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Priebus (not to mention Jenos and Guarneri and JKB and bill) to defend and try to explain him even as he’s essentially admitting that he has no real interest in being president.

    I don’t believe Trump is intentionally trolling, but damned if he doesn’t have the same effect. One fool after another burns himself to the ground for this creep.

    I would just remind folks that Trump apparently spoke with Bill Clinton right before deciding to run. Just sayin’.

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  4. J-Dub says:

    The question is whether he even cares about that at this point.

    During his speech in Orlando to evangelical ministers (where he inexplicably confused them with Utah Mormans) he sounded unusually tired and possibly resigned to his fate.

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  5. MBunge says:

    Given that all four of these are states that Trump arguably must win if he is going to have any chance of getting to 270 Electoral Votes

    I’m pretty sure there’s no conceivable scenario where Trump losing Colorado and Virginia is what keeps him out of the White House. The real swing states are, like usual, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Trump is doing losing close in the first two and getting whupped in Penn. And, of course, losing North Carolina might be game over.

    Mike

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  6. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: I’m not conspiracy-minded enough to think that the Clintons paid Trump to run. I can, however, see Bill just casually suggesting the possibility to Trump of running, pointing out that the field was wide open with 17 people and what about it? And Trump probably originally thought he would be able to do it for fun and to hype his brand. Then he discovered he was winning, realized he could make a nice chunk of money from it, and fell in love with the adoration of the masses. And all bets were off.

    The Clintons probably simply thought that Trump would act as a bull in a china shop for a few weeks, then drop out as one of the other candidates caught fire. They could have never planned for this. (And if they were foresighted enough to see what would happen, I definitely want them in charge.)

    They must be pinching themselves with glee as one after another part of the Republican Party catches fire and burns into little cinders.

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  7. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: I’m not conspiracy-minded enough to think that the Clintons paid Trump to run. I can, however, see Bill just casually suggesting the possibility to Trump of running, pointing out that the field was wide open with 17 people and what about it? And Trump probably originally thought he would be able to do it for fun and to hype his brand. Then he discovered he was winning, realized he could make a nice chunk of money from it, and fell in love with the adoration of the masses. And all bets were off.

    The Clintons probably simply thought that Trump would act as a bull in a china shop for a few weeks, then drop out as one of the other candidates caught fire. They could have never planned for this. (And if they were foresighted enough to see what would happen, I definitely want them in charge.)

    They must be pinching themselves with glee as one after another part of the Republican Party catches fire and burns into little cinders.

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  8. grumpy realist says:

    (huh. I have no idea why the hiccup.)

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  9. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I can well believe this meeting took place, and I can well imagine the dialogue. Trump is a proficient con artist, but only if he has really stupid marks. (There appear to be more of them in the U.S. electorate than I had supposed.) Trump is also more easily manipulated than most toddlers. All Bill Clinton need have done was said to Trump something flattering, a la Putin, and Trump would have been eating out of his hand. And I can imagine Clinton walking away thinking, “Sucker…”

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  10. grumpy realist says:

    I’m getting more and more convinced that Trump is in this whole thing simply to grift the yahoos that make up the base of the Republican Party. As long as he can get them and the RNC to shove cash in his direction, he’ll find a reason to stick around.

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  11. Dazedandconfused says:

    Been trying to think of a movie that the fustercluck known as Trump’s candidacy most closely resembles. After a long courtship with “Animal House” I’ve rejected it on the basis of that being “too easy”.

    I’m thinking “The Producers” at the moment. Anybody got anything better?

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  12. Mister Bluster says:

    It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057193/
    Stan Laurel turned down an invitation to appear in this film. When his partner Oliver Hardy died in 1957, Laurel pledged never to perform again. He never did.

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  13. CSK says:

    So…I’m back to thinking Trump might well bail in September. As his polls decline, so will the attendance at his rallies and so will the donations to his campaign. How is his ego supposed to withstand losing in a landslide to a woman? Of course he can tell the Trumpkins that the election was rigged, and the idiots will buy that, because there’s nothing they love more than being victimized by a paranoid conspiracy theory, but….Trump himself will know he’s a loser.

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  14. Thor thormussen says:

    I would just remind folks that Trump apparently spoke with Bill Clinton right before deciding to run. Just sayin’.

    November 9: “AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I can’t believe you guys did it! Bill owes me $20! I told him he could write all my lines and I’d still get 30 million votes–I got 35 million! Seriously, what is wrong with you people? At least the people who bought my steaks got some food outta the deal! What a buncha losers! YOU OWE ME TWENTY BUCKS BILL! LUNCH ON THURSDAY BEE TEE DUBS!”

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  15. @Dazedandconfused:

    Been trying to think of a movie that the fustercluck known as Trump’s candidacy most closely resembles. After a long courtship with “Animal House” I’ve rejected it on the basis of that being “too easy”.

    I’m thinking “The Producers” at the moment. Anybody got anything better?

    Being There with Trump as Chance the Gardener

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  16. JohnMcC says:

    @CSK: If a lot of the recent output from Professional Talking Heads is to be believed Mr Trump’s appeal is to the ‘hillbilly/redneck/poor-white-trash’ population described by Mr JDVance in ‘Hillbilly Elegy’. If that is correct (I have some doubts — check out the median income of Trump voters) then losing will be confirmation to those people. They expect to lose and sharing their defeat will cement their allegiance to the Trump movement. These are the same people that Sen Jim Webb described in ‘Born Fighting’ and they are the folks who fly the Confederate flag in front of their house. (And a not-negligible part of my family are members of that fraternity so I speak with some familiarity.)

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  17. CSK says:

    @JohnMcC:

    So for the “hillbilly/redneck/poor white trash population,” then, all this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. They expect to lose, so they don’t vote, and they lose.

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  18. Barry says:

    @MBunge: “The real swing states are, like usual, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. ”

    Pennsylvania has not gone for the GOP presidential candidate for – what? 20 years?

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  19. grumpy realist says:

    @JohnMcC: Weaned on resentment and interacting with the world with a huge chip on their shoulders.

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  20. Pch101 says:

    I remain wary of some of these numbers, many of which include Clinton in the mid-40s in a two-way race while 10-20% of those polled not wanting either candidate. Turn that into a four-way race and you end up with Clinton in the low 40s and 20+% rejecting the two major candidates.

    With large numbers of voters not favoring either candidate even in a theoretical two-way universe, a lot can happen here. Some of it may not be good for Clinton, particularly if Johnson voters shift to the Republicans in tandem with some potential Clinton supporters staying home. I still expect her to win, but my enthusiasm about the spreads is curbed — this election could prove to be unpredictable.

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  21. Moosebreath says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    “Being There with Trump as Chance the Gardener ”

    No, Peter Seller’s Chance was quiet and dignified and gave the impression he knew more than he did. This is almost the polar opposite of Trump.

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  22. Dividist says:

    @michael reynolds: I was having trouble keeping track of conspiracies/theories why Trump is imploding, so I’ve settled on an alternating weekday schedule so I know what to believe on any given day:

    Mon: Trump is deliberately throwing the election because he is a secret Clinton/Democratic Party plant.

    Tues: Trump lost support when he was outed as Putin’s “Manchurian Candidate” / Secret Agent.

    Wed: Trump is a self-sabotaging the campaign because he really has no interest in being President.

    Thurs: Trump is a clinical toxic narcissist, bi-polar, manic sociopath with delusions of grandeur and so disconnected from reality he does not even know he is losing.

    This being Friday – I have to disagree because today I believe he is losing simply because he is running a mind-numbing, jaw-dropping, laughably incompetent campaign.

    I can agree with you again on Monday.

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  23. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @CSK: No he won’t; he’ll convince himself that whatever lame-o excuse he gives to his followers is true. I don’t think he has enough self-awareness to admit a fault about himself.

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  24. Mu says:

    Last poll before the election: “It looks like Trump is holding on to four battle ground states. ID,OK, TX and MS”

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  25. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Dividist:

    None of those are mutually exclusive.

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  26. Jen says:

    @Dazedandconfused: An unholy combination of “The Producers” and “Idiocracy” is all I’ve got.

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