With the Republican National Convention just a few weeks away, presumptive nominee Donald Trump has been attempting to make a shift towards the General Election, first by firing his embattled campaign manager, but new polling suggests he is struggling to make up ground against Hillary Clinton.
In a slew of new polls released over the last several weeks, Clinton maintains a comfortable lead over her Republican opponent, with some showing her leading by as much as 10 points, a troubling revelation with approximately 100 days until early voting begins in some states.
Two new, major national polls released Sunday morning — surveys from ABC News/Washington Post and NBC News/Wall Street Journal — differ to some degree, but both are consistent with the broader trend: Clinton holds a reliable lead over Trump, an advantage that occasionally swells to double digits.
Trump now trails Clinton by 6.3 points in the latest RealClearPolitics polling average, and by 6.6 points in the HuffPost Pollster model. In the key states in the Electoral College, POLITICO’s Battleground States polling average shows Clinton ahead by 4.3 points. And perhaps even more important, Trump is lagging behind on a number of other key indicators, including candidate favorability.
At this point four years ago, Mitt Romney was essentially tied with President Barack Obama, trailing by just four-tenths of a percentage point. With the exception of 1988, no candidate in modern presidential history who trailed by this much in June has come back to win.
Trump’s deficit comes after he closed the gap with Clinton last month, when he pulled even after eliminating Ted Cruz, John Kasich and his other GOP rivals for the nomination. But his standing now is worse than that of the four previous Republican nominees in June of the election year.
Already, Trump’s slide in the polls is having a practical impact on his campaign, contributing to declining confidence in the first-time candidate’s ability to remain competitive with Clinton — and spawning a fledgling movement to unbind delegates who could possibly deny Trump the Republican nomination at next month’s national party convention.
Clinton’s now-consistent lead over the past month raises an important question for Republicans: Is the cash-strapped Trump campaign, which is allowing tens of millions of dollars of attack ads from Clinton and her allies to go unanswered, wise to preserve its resources for the post-conventions phase of the campaign? Or do the emerging Clinton advantage and sustained attacks represent a locking-in of voters against Trump?
Sunday’s public surveys provided further confirmation of that Clinton lead. Nationally, an ABC News/Washington Post poll showed Clinton leading Trump by 12 points, 51 percent to 39 percent, equaling her largest lead in any telephone survey since both candidates became their parties’ presumptive nominees. Clinton’s lead in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out Sunday is smaller, 5 points, but Clinton has now led the past 11 polls conducted by live telephone interviewers.
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