Donald Trump was in a great place in the polls just two weeks ago, but those good days now seem long ago and may not return for the presumptive GOP nominee.
The turn of the calendar from April to May was undoubtedly the best stretch of Trump’s campaign. The Republican frontrunner brought an abrupt and decisive end to his primary battle with a big win in Indiana, one that led his remaining opponents Ted Cruz and John Kasich to drop out.
After Trump and Republicans had been preparing for a battle on the convention floor this summer as Cruz and Kasich hoped to win the nomination on a second or third ballot, the party instead spent much of the last few weeks coming together while Hillary Clinton was still fighting a battle of her own against Bernie Sanders.
As Trump began to mend bridges in the party, it reflected in the polls. In late May, Trump surged to tie and even pull ahead of Hillary Clinton in general election polling. Political experts noted that his boost came from the so-called “nomination bump,” a surge that traditionally comes once a candidate has wrapped up their primary and starts to pull in supporters of former opponents.
The question for Trump was just how long and how deep this bump might be. For the GOP, the answer could be troubling.
Trump’s surge appeared to be very brief and quite shallow, maintaining his lead only for a few days before Hillary Clinton overtook him once again in polls. A survey of national polls compiled by the Huffington Post‘s Pollster found that Clinton now has a lead of close to five points, back up above where it was before Trump secured his party’s nomination. Real Clear Politics, a poll aggregator that has a more conservative formula and uses fewer polls, has her lead at 1.5 percentage points.
Clinton’s boost has come even amid a State Department inspector general’s report that sharply faulted her for the use of an unsecured, private email server during her time as Secretary of State. Opponents predicted that the issue could sink Clinton’s White House hopes, but her increase in polling showed that voters simply didn’t care as much as pundits predicted they would.
And this is all before Hillary Clinton enjoys her own nomination bump. The Democratic frontrunner has been widening her lead on Bernie Sanders for several weeks, but the Vermont Senator has vowed to remain in the race and even spoken this week of a contested convention.
But despite Sanders’ aspirations of stealing away the nomination, Clinton is likely to wrap up the nomination not long after the first results from New Jersey on Tuesday, giving her the title of presumptive Democratic nominee.
And while Clinton climbs in the polls, Donald Trump could still have more trouble ahead. His now-closed Trump University has come under the crosshairs thanks to a 2013 civil suit accusing Trump of defrauding students. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has called out Trump publicly, telling George Stephanopoulos of Good Morning America that the so-called university was “really was fraud from beginning to end.”
“In New York, we have laws against business fraud, we have laws against consumer fraud. We have a law against running an illegal unlicensed university. This never was a university. The fraud started with the name of the organization, and you can’t just go around saying this is the George Stephanopoulos Law Firm Hospital University without actually qualifying and registering.”
While it has been an unpredictable election to date, the boost Donald Trump saw in the polls is likely to be his last one for quite some time unless there is a game-changing moment in the race.
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