The latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll released Saturday finds that Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump has shrunk from 12-point advantage among likely voters to just two points. And that’s before Friday’s bombshell that the FBI is reopening its investigation into her emails.
According to Gary Langer, Hillary’s lead over Trump went from 50-38 percent in the tracking poll’s first four days, Oct. 20-23, to a 47-45 percent contest in the latest results.
Independents played a significant role in the shift, as they switched from being in Hillary’s favor by 6 percent to giving Trump a 16-point advantage.
Langer also says that the poll’s stunning shift over the latest four nights compared with the previous four are more about changes in who’s intending to vote rather than people shifting their candidate preference:
- As Trump’s controversies last week and the week before move further into the rearview mirror, Republicans are expressing greater likelihood to participate: Eighty-one percent of registered Republicans now are likely voters, up from 75 percent a week ago.
- In one example, there are 6 points more Republicans and GOP-leaning independents showing up in the ranks of non-college white women. This group was broadly for Trump a few weeks ago, then less so; it’s now back, favoring him by 59-29 percent.
- Loosely affiliated or reluctant Clinton supporters look less likely to vote, perhaps given their sense she can win without them — a supposition that looks less reliable today.
- Vote preferences also are part of the mix. At its lowest early this week, 82 percent of Republicans supported Trump. It’s 86 percent now. And his share of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents has gained 6 points, from 78 to 84 percent.
- Among other examples of partisan shifts in turnout, the share of white likely voters who are Democrats or lean that way is down by 5 points. The share of white women who are Republicans or GOP leaners is +6 points, and leaned Democrats are down 7 points in this group. And the share of 18- to 29-year-olds who are Republicans, or lean that way, is +6, though still low, while leaned Democrats age 18-29 are -9 points.
Finally, Langer points out that many of these results are not statistically significant taken alone, given the sample sizes — but these small shifts add to the larger trends.
The ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll was conducted between Oct. 24 and Oct. 27 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
Langer’s point about trends and dynamics are key here. You could sense this week that the race was tightening. The sleaze and greed of the Clinton Foundation and Hillary’s pay to play scandal while secretary of state were made more clear by the Clinton Inc. revelations, are now compounded by FBI Director reopening the investigation into Hillary’s infamous use of her private email server.
Suddenly, they’ve all come together – the tabloid tales and the FBI investigation, decades of secrecy and suspicions, the core arguments against Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president – in one big story that’s set to dominate the next 10 days.
That’s not a good dynamic for The Hillary.