Donald Trump is currently trailing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton 39-49% in the latest Fox News Poll. Clinton is also specifically leading Trump in some key battlefield states including Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Following the release of this one poll, the left-stream media immediately started to prematurely predict the demise of the Trump campaign. A month ago, Clinton was leading the Republican nominee by only six points (44-38 %, June 26-28). The latest Fox News Poll which was conducted from July 31-August 2 via phone with 1,022 randomly chosen voters nationwide is the first poll to reflect Trump’ s selection of Indiana Governor as his running mate and Hillary Clinton’s choice of Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her partner on the ticket. The polls were conducted after both of the parties had held their respective conventions.
Apparently voters are not broadly enamored with either candidate. 61% of those surveyed think Clinton is dishonest and 62% think Trump is dishonest. Clinton is currently polling much higher than Trump in terms of having the “right stuff” to be president. 65% of those surveyed believe Clinton has the qualifications to be president versus 43% who believe this to be true for Trump. 64% believe that Clinton has the appropriate temperament versus 37% for Trump. Clinton is currently leading Trump with women by 23 points (57-34 %). The former secretary of state also enjoys a huge 83-point advantage over the real estate magnate with black voters (87-4 %). She also leads Trump with Hispanics by 48 points (68-20 %) and voters under 30 by 18 points (49-31 %). Clinton’s poll numbers are potentially benefiting from President Barack Obama’s current approval rating of 52%, his best rating since May 2011 when he experienced a 55% approval rating following the raid which killed Osama bin Laden.
On the other hand, Trump is ahead of Clinton with whites by ten points (49-39 %) and with men by 5 points (45-40 %). Trump also does better than Clinton with white evangelical Christians by 50 points (69-19 %) and whites without a college degree by 16 points (52-36 %). Finally, Trump is the veteran’s choice for candidate with a 17-point lead over Clinton (53-39 %).
Furthermore, a recent poll from The Economist/You Gov which was just released on August 3 suggests that the actual gap between the two candidates is much narrower than the media is reporting. The Economist/You Gov poll shows that in a head-to-head matchup, 46% of voters prefer Clinton vs. 43% who prefer Trump, a three-point variance. Clinton is also benefiting from the halo effect of media bias with major media outlets proclaiming that the Trump campaign is on its last legs. For instance, the Washington Post published an article on August 2 titled “Is this the Beginning of the End for Donald Trump?” The Atlantic published an article on August 3 titled “Is the Trump Campaign Collapsing?” and NBC News described the Trump campaign as going from “Unraveling to “Break Glass Mode”.
Despite Clinton’s current lead, there are several factors in play which could work to Trump’s advantage. The aforementioned Fox News poll showed that 55% of those surveyed are dissatisfied with the direction of the country. And 62% of these dissatisfied voters prefer Trump over Clinton by 39 points (62-23 %). Furthermore, 49% of voters say that they are “just able to pay bills” and 14 % describe themselves as “falling behind” on their bills. These statistics are also positive indicators for the Trump candidacy as Trump is perceived as having the credentials and track record to improve the economy. The growing number of Islamic terrorist incidents also motivates some voters to consider voting for Trump who has stated that he is going to “quickly cut the head off” the Islamic State terrorist group and build a “big beautiful wall” to block unvetted illegal immigrants and refugees from entering the United States. Furthermore, the presence of several high profile “anti-Clinton” vehicles including Dinesh D’Souza’s book and film Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, Peter Schweizer’s book and film Clinton Cash and former secret service officer Gary Byrne’s book Crisis of Character can only help the Trump campaign to further cement the “crooked Hillary” message. However, books and movies can only do so much if the only people reading or viewing them are already “anti-Hillary”.
So, what does this all mean? In actuality, neither candidate is loved by their party. Only 49% of Clinton voters describe themselves as being for Clinton versus against Trump. And only, 44% of Trump voters describe themselves as being for Trump versus against Clinton. While there are certain population segments who are all in for either Hillary or Trump, many voters have not made up their minds yet as to who they are supporting.
Given this statistic and the fact that Trump and Clinton are perceived as equally polarizing, it is more important than ever that the candidates win over the independents and the hold-your-nose voters. Consequently, we are going to see more of an emphasis on retail politics and social media than we have already witnessed. And the upcoming televised debates are going to take on an even greater significance than they have had in past elections.