The 2016 presidential polls are tightening, but the boost Donald Trump has seen from the Republican National Convention may not be enough to put him within striking distance of Hillary Clinton as the attention now shifts to the Democratic side.
Trump had seen his performance sink since a surge in late May when he wrapped up the Republican nomination, falling steadily further and further behind Hillary Clinton both on national polling and in the battleground states that will determine the 2016 winner.
That was expected to change with the Republican National Convention, where Donald Trump had a chance to sell himself to an American public that has remained largely skeptical. And while Trump has seen an uptick in the polls, his bump has not been as large as some pundits predicted and could be wiped out entirely next week when Hillary Clinton is in the spotlight at the Democratic National Convention.
Trump may already be under-performing in the 2016 presidential polls. Traditionally, the largest bump in a campaign comes during and just after the party convention, when the nominee is supposed to enjoy four days of good press with speakers from across their party praising the nominee.
The 2016 Republican National Convention was a bit different, however. Every day was marked with some kind of controversy, from the speech Melania Trump delivered on Monday that had lines lifted directly from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech to Ted Cruz’s refusal to endorse Trump and the chaos it caused on the convention floor.
The convention itself ended on a low note for Donald Trump, as a copy of his speech leaked hours ahead of time and gave his opponents a chance to tear it apart before he even delivered it. Hillary Clinton and her allies took Trump to task, noting several inaccuracies in the speech and slamming it for what they saw as a negative, fear-mongering tone.
Clinton also responded to the speech in real time, tweeting her disappointment at Trump’s decision to paint America as one torn apart by crime and in constant fear of terrorist attacks. She also compiled a list of inaccurate or misleading statements in Trump’s speech.
Clinton even turned Trump’s speech into a chance to reach out to donors.
The full effect of the Republican National Convention won’t be seen in the 2016 presidential polls for several days, as it takes several days to complete and publish these polls. But Trump appears to have gotten only a small bump from the first few days of the convention, with polls that included the start of this week still showing Hillary Clinton with a slight lead.
Overall, the aggregate of the 2016 presidential polls still shows Hillary Clinton in the lead. Pollster had Clinton ahead by an average of roughly 4 percentage points, while Real Clear Politics showed Clinton with a lead of 2.7 points.
While Donald Trump has not been able to catch Clinton yet, he has pulled closer than he ever had been before. In its analysis of the 2016 presidential race — which includes national polls as well as state-level ones — FiveThirtyEight found that the chances of Hillary Clinton winning have sunk from 77 percent nearly two weeks ago to just under 60 percent today.
But there is a high likelihood that Hillary Clinton’s lead in the 2016 presidential polls will start going back up again soon. While the next few days could see her lead tighten even more and may even see Trump pull into a small lead in more polls, the start of the Democratic National Convention next week will give Clinton a chance to have a boost of her own.
Hillary Clinton remains largely unpopular with American voters, but at the convention, she will have some very popular surrogates speaking in her favor, including Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, and both Barack and Michelle Obama. As long as Democrats can pull off the convention and avoid the controversies that plagued Republicans, it’s likely that Clinton will once again be climbing in the 2016 presidential polls.
There is caution against looking too closely and too soon at the effect the conventions will have on the 2016 presidential polls, however. FiveThirtyEight noted that it will likely take a few weeks for the dust to settle and for the total effect of these polls to be seen.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]