GOP National Convention opens with Clinton Narrowly ahead of Trump in three new polls

By Dave Andrusko

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

So much for the preludes. The Republican National Convention opened for business today. To give you some idea of how the “mainstream media” will treat the ticket of Donald Trump and pro-life Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Washington Post uncorked four op-eds and one editorial blasting Trump, Pence, or Trump/Pence.

Buckle up your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

So what did the latest Washington Post/ABC News survey tell us? Here’s the lead from the story by Dan Balz and Scott Clement, explaining the results:

CLEVELAND — On the eve of the two national political conventions that will shape the images of the major-party presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are in a competitive contest nationally but with the presumptive Republican nominee facing deficits on key character attributes and issues, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey shows Clinton leading Trump by 47 percent to 43 percent among registered voters. That represents a shift in Trump’s direction since last month’s Post-ABC poll, which showed Clinton leading by 12 points.

From 12 points down to 4 points constitutes a mere “shift”? Imagine what the lead paragraphs would have been if Hillary Clinton had cut two-thirds of a deficit. We’ll come back to the Post/ABC News survey in a moment.

How about the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey reported yesterday?

On the eve of the GOP convention, Hillary Clinton maintains a five-point national lead over Donald Trump even after a period of negative news for the presumptive Democratic nominee, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Clinton leads the presumptive GOP nominee 46 percent to 41 percent in a poll that finds both candidates facing sizable disadvantages and challenges ahead of the party conventions which kick off Monday for the GOP in Cleveland and a week later for Democrats in Philadelphia.

Then there’s the Morning Consult

Donald Trump remains within striking distance of Hillary Clinton as the Republican National Convention kicks off in Cleveland.

A national Morning Consult survey taken over the past weekend shows the bellicose businessman trailing the former secretary of State in a head-to-head matchup, 41 percent to 39 percent. In our previous survey, Trump was just one point behind Clinton. One-fifth of voters remain undecided.

Two points behind is “within striking distance”? Yes, you could safely say that.

Also, as Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey observed

Looking at the crosstabs, MC [Morning Consult] has sampled 37% Democrats, 34% independents and 29% Republicans.

Does that strike anyone else as a bit off the mark? As of Gallup’s June survey, they’ve got the electorate pegged at 28% Republican (which is pretty close to MC’s sample), 39% independent and 31% Democrat. Mind you, I’m just doing this on the back of a cocktail napkin with my morning coffee, but if you adjust the Morning Consult numbers based on that scale, the results flip and Trump comes out leading by around two percent. It’s still basically a tie, but given the shape of this race there’s little to look at besides the leaners.

Back to the Post/ABCNews poll and the analysis that ran this morning from the Post’s own Aaron Blake.

Under the headline, “The continuing political decline of Hillary Clinton,” Blake draws a much less favorable conclusion about the former Secretary of State than did Mark Murray when he interpreted the NBC News/Wall Street Journal findings. Blake’s’ opening point is that Clinton needn’t be popular, only slightly more popular than Trump. Then

But it’s hard to overstate just how bad Clinton’s numbers are. And a new Washington Post-ABC News poll is the latest to suggest they just keep getting worse — so much so that they are in some ways about as bad as Trump’s.

The poll shows 54 percent of all Americans have an unfavorable view of Clinton and 44 percent have a “strongly unfavorable” view of her. When you boil it down just to registered voters, those numbers tick up to 57 percent and 47 percent, respectively.

Either way you slice it, Clinton’s image is as bad or worse than it has ever been. Below is the trendline on her “strongly unfavorable” number among all Americans. That 44 percent figure is an all-time high — as is the 47 percent figure among registered voters.

However aren’t both candidates very unpopular? Yes, but…

This is not the first poll to suggest Clinton is hitting a new low. Recent polls have shown her unfavorable rating as high as 60 percent. Real Clear Politics’ average of recent polls shows her unfavorable at 56.2 percent. For Trump, it’s at 60.1 percent.

But while Trump has certainly struggled, he seems to have leveled off and maybe even improved a bit in recent months.

Clinton, meanwhile, is trending worse and worse and flirting with Trumpian levels of negative feelings.

One other important consideration from the Post/ABC News poll that you won’t see elsewhere. There are plenty of negative feelings to go around, and that certainly includes Mr. Trump, as the three paragraphs taken from the Balz/Clement story below illustrate. What is different is, unlike the lead, you also get a flavor of Clinton’s considerable weaknesses as well.

Across six attributes, Trump has an 11-point margin among registered voters on the question of which candidate would do the most to bring needed change to Washington. By a margin of five points, he is seen as more honest and trustworthy. Clinton has a similar edge on empathy with people’s problems and representing people’s values and holds double-digit edges on having better judgment and having a presidential personality and temperament.

In an election that is likely to be framed as a choice of continuity with Obama’s policies vs. a change in direction led by a Washington outsider with no previous political experience, a bare majority of voters say they prefer experience in politics to someone outside the establishment. That’s a narrower margin than earlier in the year, when 59 percent said they favored a politically experienced candidate. The poll indicated there was growing support for an outsider among Republicans and independents.

Clinton’s trust deficit is highlighted on another question in the poll: whether she is too willing to bend the rules. Seven in 10 Americans (72 percent) said she is. The poll also asked whether respondents saw Trump as biased against women and minorities. On that question, 56 percent said yes. When people were asked which was the greater concern, a plurality (48 to 43 percent) cited Trump’s possible bias.

Remember the Balz/Clement lead–how Trump was “facing deficits on key character attributes and issues”? He clearly does, but doesn’t Clinton’s “trust deficit” and five-point deficit on the question of being “more honest and trustworthy” fall into that category as well?

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