Support from men keeping Trump in race
Clinton maintains lead in most opinion polls on strength of women’s backing
WASHINGTON — With the first two debates of the general election finished and early voting starting in many places, Hillary Clinton’s lead has strengthened in polls in key states needed to win the White House, especially those with large minority populations.
But Donald Trump’s core support among blue-collar white voters remains largely intact, giving him a base from which to try to stage a comeback in the campaign’s final phase, judging by a raft of new polls released in the past several days.
A key for Trump is tenacious support among men, whose backing for him increased after Clinton’s health became an issue in early September, according to the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times “Daybreak” tracking poll of the race.
Nationally, the race has not shifted dramatically since the first debate be- tween Clinton and Trump, even though large majorities of voters say Clinton won the encounter. But beneath that relatively stable national picture, the lineup of states has shifted to Clinton’s benefit, the polls indicate.
The Daybreak poll, a national survey that is updated daily, has shown almost no movement. National surveys by YouGov for the Economist and SurveyMonkey for NBC, both of which poll each week, also have shown a stable race, although they disagree with the Daybreak poll about which candidate leads.
All three of those surveys are conducted online; several national surveys conducted by telephone have found a larger shift toward Clinton. That sort of difference, with telephone-based surveys having bigger ups and downs than online ones, has shown up in previous campaigns.
The Daybreak tracking poll is the only major survey Donald Trump’s core support among blue-collar white voters remains largely intact. that shows Trump ahead; as of Wednesday, he leads the poll 47 percent to 43 percent. Averages of recent polls, by contrast, show Clinton leading by 4 or 5 percentage points.
One important reason for the difference is how surveys account for people who are not certain to vote or are unsure about which candidate they support.
Clinton and Trump are now even in the Daybreak poll among the most committed voters — those who say they are absolutely certain to vote and sure about which candidate they back. Trump previously had an edge among those voters.
Trump’s overall lead in the poll now depends on support from people who say they are less than 100 percent sure to vote. The Daybreak poll asks people to estimate how likely they are to vote.
The gender gap provides another reason for the difference. In the Daybreak poll, Trump leads Clinton by 17 points among men, while Clinton has a 9-point edge among women. Surveys that show Clinton ahead have Clinton’s lead among women exceeding Trump’s margin among men.
The NBC/SurveyMonkey poll, which showed Clinton ahead 50 percent to 44 percent, found her leading by 18 points among women, double the size of Trump’s lead among men. The YouGov survey, which showed Clinton leading 43 percent to 40 percent, had her ahead by 11 points among women, while Trump led by 5 among men.