03 November 2016

The Hillary Downfall Has Begun

Hillary Downfall
Initial enthusiasm and interest for Hillary Clinton has gone down tremendously since the renewal of the FBI’s email investigation.

While vote preferences have held essentially steady, she’s now a slim point behind Donald Trump — a first since May — in the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

In the latest results, 46 percent of likely voters support Trump, and 45 percent are for Clinton. With the data taken to a decimal place for illustrative purposes, a mere 0.7 of a percentage point divides them.

Third-party candidate Gary Johnson has 3 percent, a new low; Jill Stein, 2 percent.

Trump now leads Clinton by 8 points in the share of voters who are very enthusiastic about their choice as of 28 October. But compared with past elections, it’s low for both of them — 53 percent for Trump, 45 percent for Clinton.

Strong enthusiasm for Clinton has lost 7 points since the start of tracking, especially Friday through Sunday. This is possibly an effect of the renewed controversy over her use of a private email server while secretary of state. Trump’s strong enthusiasm has held steady in tracking, which started last 20 October.

The 1 point Clinton-Trump race is well within the survey’s margin of sampling error. Combining the last seven nights — across which results have been very stable — the results flip to 46 percent Clinton, 45 percent Trump, with a 0.4 point gap. Again, it is not a significant difference.

Either way, the results are exceedingly close. Trump’s 1 point lead is a noteworthy result; he has led Clinton just once before, up 2 points in late May (among registered voters in a two-way test), after he clinched the GOP nomination while Clinton was still in a duel with Bernie Sanders in the Democratic race.

Although the election is close at this point, vote preference results a week out are not necessarily predictive of the final result. Mitt Romney was up 1 versus Barack Obama in comparable tracking poll results in 2012, for example, and John Kerry was ahead by 1 against George Bush a week out in 2004.