A new pair of presidential polls pitting Republican Donald Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton appear to show that the continued presence of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary has damaged Clinton. At the same time, Trump has benefited from a “bump” in the polls since he became the presumptive Republican nominee early in May.
new NBC/WSJ poll shows Clinton (+3 over Trump) weighed down by resistance from significant chunk of Sanders supporters
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) May 22, 2016
The Sanders campaign and the “Trump Bump” have combined, along with other factors, to close the gap between the two candidates, with one new poll released Sunday showing Trump with a lead of two percentage points over Clinton.
For the first time, the polling average compiled by the site Real Clear Politics shows Clinton and Trump in a virtual tie, with Trump averaging 43.4 percent support across all polls and Clinton at 43.2.
For the first time ever, Trump is leading Clinton in a national poll average. Meanwhile, Bernies beating Trump 50-39 pic.twitter.com/bvQUs1A4EO
— Lew Blank (@_lewtube) May 22, 2016
The Huffington Post Pollster.com average, using a somewhat different model, still sees Clinton out front, though by only 2.7 percentage points, 43.6 to 40.9 for Trump.
While polling experts agree that polling averages paint a more accurate picture of the state of the race than any individual poll, an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Sunday put Trump in the lead in the race for the White House, albeit by a slim two percentage points.
BTW for those keeping count, Clinton has led in 12 polls since Trump clinched the nom. Trump has led in 3 of them.
— Harry Enten (@ForecasterEnten) May 22, 2016
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, also on Sunday, put Clinton ahead — but by only three points, 46-43, over Donald Trump, a shrinking lead that the pollsters attribute in part to “resistance” from Sanders supporters against Clinton, resistance that is not shared by Clinton voters toward Sanders.
While only 66 percent of Sanders voters in the poll said they supported Clinton over Trump, 88 percent of Clinton backers would also back Sanders if he were the nominee in a race against the New York real estate mogul.
Great breakdown by the NBC/WSJ poll here (Clinton +3 overall). Lots of Sanders holdouts from Clinton right now pic.twitter.com/hohXAyoR96
— Harry Enten (@ForecasterEnten) May 22, 2016
Bernie Sanders appeared on the CNN interview program State of the Union on Sunday, an appearance in which he lashed out sharply against the Democratic party and what he considers its unfair treatment of him. Watch the entire interview in the video below.
The ABC/WaPo poll also showed heavy intransigence among Sanders supporters, with 20 percent of the Vermont senator’s supporters saying they would actually vote for Donald Trump in November rather than Hillary Clinton.
Trump has also received a “bump” in the polls by simple virtue of the fact that since May 3. when he won the Indiana primary forcing his last two Republican opponents out of the race, he has been running unopposed in the party’s primary.
On May 3, Trump’s support in the Real Clear Politics polling average stood at 40.8 percent, 2.4 points below its current level.
At the same time, Clinton has lost 4.1 points off her support percentage as Sanders continues to hammer away at her — despite the fact that he trails Clinton by 272 pledged delegates and 736 delegates overall, including superdelegates, making his chances of winning the Democratic nomination effectively zero.
Another factor boosting Trump against Clinton, however, has nothing to do with Bernie Sanders. The boost in Republican voter registration is an ominous sign for Democrats in the fall election, regardless of whether Clinton or Sanders is the party’s candidate.
Clinton’s two-point lead in the ABC/WaPo poll shows takes into account registered voters only. When the pollsters asked all adults, regardless of whether they were registered or not, whether they backed Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, Clinton’s lead expanded to a more comfortable six points.
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) May 22, 2016
There is also the possibility that the polls themselves are flawed. Political scientist Alan Abramowitz of Emory University looked at the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll and found that the pollsters may be overestimating the percentage of the November voter turnout that will be comprised of white voters.
“NBC poll seems to imply that electorate will either be more white than in 2012 or that Trump will outperform (2012 Republican nominee Mitt) Romney among nonwhites,” Abramowitz wrote on his Twitter feed Sunday.
Abramowitz notes that in the NBC/WSJ poll, Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton by 16 points among whites, but trails overall by three. In the 2012 election, Democrat and incumbent President Barack Obama lost among white voters by 20 points, yet won the election by four points over Romney.
“How?” asks Abramowitz.
MORE ELECTION COVERAGE FROM THE INQUISITR:
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- Hillary Clinton Tops Donald Trump In Electoral College, Forecasters Agree
- Donald Trump Vs. Hillary Clinton Polls: Is Trump-Clinton Race Tightening? Here’s What The Numbers Say
- Donald Trump — President? Relax. Here’s Why Trump (Almost) Definitely Won’t Beat Clinton Or Sanders
- Hillary Clinton Allies And Former Advisors Worry She May Be Blowing It Against Donald Trump
- Trump Leads Clinton By Five Points In New Poll, But Large Number Would Prefer A Third Candidate
- Trump, Clinton Or Sanders? How Potential Next Presidents Would Fix The Economy
- Bernie Sanders Polls Show Sanders As Candidate Who Can Beat Donald Trump, Campaign Finds Closing Argument
The polls do contain some good news for Hillary Clinton, however. Most political observers expect that supporters of Bernie Sanders will come around to supporting Clinton, or at least agreeing to vote for her, once Sanders has definitively left the race and, the experts expect, handed Clinton his endorsement. The NBC News/WSJ poll showed Sanders leading Trump by 15 points, a difference that could be accounted for by the 22-point deficit in Sanders supporters who say they will vote for Clinton, compared to those Clinton backers who say they would vote for Sanders against Donald Trump.
[Photos by Scott Olson, Spencer Platt/Getty Images; John Minchillo/Associated Press]