Behind the numbers that show Trump in the lead

By Dave Andrusko

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Even those who are not hostile to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump are prone to write off the surge he was enjoyed since last week’s GOP gathering as a mere “convention bump.”

A closer analysis shows there is more to it than that.

Let me use as two sources–the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake, and the Guardian’s Mona Chalabi.

Neither would ever be accused of being a Trump apologist.

“4 brutal poll numbers that greet Hillary Clinton at the Democratic Convention” is the title of Blake’s analysis.

[T]he new polls don’t just show Trump’s stock rising (however temporarily that may be); they also have some very bad news for Hillary Clinton and her already-declining personal image. Indeed, politically, she’s doing as bad as she ever has — if not worse.

For example, in May 59% of respondents in a CNN poll said Clinton isn’t honest and trustworthy—which went up to 65% in early July and has now risen to 68%. (Blake reinforces his point by citing a CBS poll that said 67% believe Clinton is dishonest.) He adds

The 30 percent who see Clinton as honest and trustworthy is now well shy of the number who say the same of Trump: 43 percent.

What about her image? “Her image has never been worse.”

CBS showed just 31 percent have favorable views of Clinton and 56 percent have unfavorable ones. Even in Trump’s worst days on the campaign trail, he has rarely dipped below a 31 percent favorable rating. Clinton has hit that number a few times, but her negative-25 net favorable rating here is tied for the worst of her campaign, according to Huffington Post Pollster.

In the CNN poll, the 39 percent who say they have a favorable view of Clinton is lower than at any point in CNN’s regular polling since April 1992 — when she wasn’t even first lady yet. Of course, back then, the reason just 38 percent of people liked her was because many were unfamiliar with her. At the time, 39 percent were unfavorable and 23 percent had no opinion.

Clinton’s favorable rating in the CNN poll is currently 16 points net-negative. That’s unprecedented in the dozens of CNN polls on her since 1992.

Gallup’s new numbers on Monday — 38 percent favorable and 57 percent unfavorable — are also unprecedented over the course of Clinton’s political career.

This also appears to be the first time ever that Clinton’s image measures worse than Trump’s. It does so in both polls.

One other number: “Just 38 percent would be ‘proud’ to have her as president.”

That’s down from 55 percent in March 2015. Sixty percent say they would not be proud.

On this measure, she’s basically on the same footing as Trump, whom 39 percent would be proud of and 59 percent wouldn’t be.

What does The Guardian’s Mona Chalabi add? Trump

typically does better in online polling than in telephone polling. That gap suggests that some people who intend to vote for Trump are unwilling to say so when they’re being questioned by a human voice rather than a computer screen. It’s worth noting that in the lead-up to the British referendum about the European Union (another incredibly divisive political issue), online polls consistently got closer to predicting the eventual result than telephone ones did.

Three of the four latest polls that showed Trump ahead of Clinton were conducted via telephone. So, maybe the latest polling boost for Trump isn’t about increasing popularity but about emboldened supporters who now feel more comfortable expressing their voting intent to a stranger.

If that is the case, then maybe we haven’t reached peak Trump just yet.

I believe it was MSNBC (or maybe CNN) that characterized the convention as an attempt to “rehabilitate” Clinton’s image. These numbers show they are clearly on to something—and that the task is massive.