The latest 2016 presidential polls are pointing to what could be a historic loss for Donald Trump, with Hillary Clinton climbing toward her largest lead in the wake of the damaging Trump Tapes release on Friday.
Clinton had already been building her lead against Donald Trump in the lead-up to Friday’s bombshell revelation, a tape recorded in 2005 and released by the Washington Post that showed Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women that he found attractive. The Trump Tapes, as the revelation has come to be known, led to droves of top Republican officials denouncing the GOP nominee, and the Republican National Committee has even decided to pull critical funding from Trump to instead focus on down-ballot races.
But the true effects of the Trump Tapes were not seen until the first presidential polls to include Friday. Those polls are now out, and they’re not pretty for Trump.
A new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll shows that Clinton leads Donald Trump by 14 points in a one-on-one race, up from five points in the previous poll. She leads by 11 points when third-party candidates are included. That is close to the largest lead Clinton has seen in the race against Donald Trump.
As the Washington Post noted, the release of the politically damaging Trump Tapes had a big effect on likely voters.
It’s clear that part of Trump’s problem stems directly from the tape. Forty-one percent of respondents said that Trump’s comments were “completely unacceptable.” More than half disagreed with a statement that the tape was unimportant because it happened so long ago. Overall, voters view Clinton more negatively than positively by 10 points. They view Trump more negatively than positively by 34.
While there is still more evidence needed to see if the poll is an outlier or the sign of a major shift toward Hillary Clinton, the 2016 presidential polls released this week indicate that it’s not a question of whether Clinton will win, but instead how much she will win by.
If the numbers from the latest presidential polls hold up, it could be a landslide of historic proportions for Hillary Clinton. Back in August, the poll aggregation and analysis site FiveThirtyEight explored what states Clinton would win if she were to pull away from Trump. The site found that if she were to win by 14 points — as the latest poll suggests — Clinton would take a total of 394 electoral votes, winning traditionally Republican states like South Carolina, Georgia, and Missouri.
While this would not rate among the most historic landslides, like Ronald Reagan’s crushing victory over Walter Mondale, it would be seen as a major accomplishment in a period of American politics that has become much more polarized.
And there are other advantages for Hillary Clinton that may not show up in the latest 2016 presidential polls. One of those is her ground game — Clinton has made considerable investments in building field offices and get-out-the-vote efforts in critical states, just as Barack Obama did before her. Trump has a paltry number of field offices, FiveThirtyEight noted, and in the wake of the Trump Tapes being released the RNC moved to shift away funding Trump would have needed to turn out voters on Election Day.
There are also rumors of more politically damaging tapes yet to come for Donald Trump, including footage from his time as star of The Apprentice. More bad news for Trump could sink his poll numbers even lower.
It’s not clear if the latest 2016 election polls will continue to show Hillary Clinton with a giant lead. Presidential races traditionally tighten in October, so there could still be some movement back toward Trump. Even if this does happen, it’s likely only going to lessen Clinton’s margin of victory from a historic landslide to a conventional one.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]