Donald Trump endured a sharp drop in the polls that led the GOP candidate to do what many party insiders had been hoping he would — fire controversial campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and adopt a more presidential tone.
Trump was able to roll through the Republican primary by defying conventional political wisdom, shooting from the hip, and plowing his way through a series of controversies. Even the call to ban Muslims from entering the United States and his statement that Mexico was sending its “rapists” to the United States did little to slow Trump as he eliminated a number of the more seasoned political opponents.
But, his fortunes have changed as the campaign has shifted to the general election. After receiving a bump in the polls when he wrapped up the nomination, Donald Trump has seen those numbers drop significantly as he failed to change his approach in an effort to reach a wider audience. Pollster shows Clinton with a nearly 7-point lead in national polls, a number that would translate to a blowout in November.
Polls of many battleground states also show Hillary Clinton widening her lead.
During his sharp drop, Donald Trump continued to stir up controversy by attacking the judge overseeing his Trump University fraud case, saying that the Indiana-born judge was biased because of his “Mexican” heritage. Trump also drew criticism for his response to the Orlando shooting, in which the GOP nominee appeared to congratulate himself for predicting an act of Islamic State terrorism.
There are now signs that Trump is making sweeping changes within his campaign in response to the sinking poll numbers. This week, he fired embattled campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who had been accused of a heavy-handed approach to the press and with encouraging Trump to go off-script and buck the advice of those calling on him to be more presidential.
“I think that we saw it just in the drop in the polls. We saw it in the lack of traction he was getting on his message,” said former Trump adviser Michael Caputo, who resigned on Monday after celebrating Lewandowski’s ouster via BuzzFeed News.
Caputo said Corey Lewandowski ended up as the fall guy for Trump’s missteps.
“There was more subtlety involved in this judge and Trump University that you needed more of a paragraph,” he continued. “I think that there are a lot of lessons learned all around. I think the leadership change came out of that as well. And you’re gonna see a whole different campaign going forward.”
Politico noted that Lewandowski had come out on top of a number of battles within the Trump campaign, but the constant in-fighting left him with few allies and eventually made him an enemy of Trump’s children, who have reportedly taken a larger role in the campaign.
It remains to be seen if Trump’s campaign shake-up will help his poll numbers. The GOP nominee has dialed back his once abrasive tone, delivering a speech this week outlining his attacks on Hillary Clinton while utilizing a teleprompter rather than his normal, off-the-cuff delivery.
And voters may be looking for more professionalism from Donald Trump. A recent poll found that 70 percent said Trump should cut ties with his businesses during the campaign to avoid a conflict of interest and to put his full attention on the presidency.
The national polls show that Donald Trump has a lot of ground to make up. While he led Hillary Clinton by a slim margin just one month ago, today Trump trails by five or seven points in most polls, with some even showing him down double-digits.
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