While the Clinton campaign and its media would have us believe this election is over — and Hillary herself is already calling herself Madam President — some interesting movement is afoot in the polls.
While Hillary still is up 5.6 points in the RealClearPolitics poll average, her lead appears to be shrinking in many polls. As we reported earlier today, Trump is now edging Clinton in key states like Florida and Ohio, and closing in in Pennsylvania.
Also notable is that independent voters appear to be breaking for Trump. As Bloomberg Politics noted of the Florida poll, among independents, Trump gets 43 percent to Clinton’s 41 percent in a head-to-head contest. When third-party candidates are included, Trump picks up 1 point with independents while Clinton drops to 37 percent.
“This race may come down to the independent vote,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer, who oversaw the survey. “Right now, they tilt for Trump. By a narrow margin, they opted for Obama over Romney in 2012.”
Now, hot off the presses is a new Fox News poll that shows Trump having doubled his lead among independents since the last poll, while he’s closed in on Hillary overall to narrow the gap to just three points — within the margin of error.
As Fox News reports:
With less than two weeks to go, the race for the White House has narrowed as Hillary Clinton now has a three-point advantage over Donald Trump.That’s within the margin of error of the national Fox News Poll of likely voters. Clinton is ahead of Trump by 44-41 percent. Another one-in-ten back a third-party candidate and four percent are undecided. Last week she was up by six points (45-39 percent) and before that by seven (45-38 percent).
The poll, released Wednesday, finds Clinton leads 49-44 percent in the head-to-head matchup. That 5-point advantage is at the edge of the error margin. She was up 7 a week ago (49-42 percent).
Trump is helped by increased backing among independents and greater strength of support: 68 percent of those backing Trump support him “strongly,” compared to 61 percent for Clinton.
Independents favor Trump over Clinton by 13 points (41-28 percent). He had a 7-point advantage last week, and two weeks ago they were tied at 35 percent each. Third-party candidates play a role here, as Gary Johnson (14 percent) and Jill Stein (7 percent) receive the combined support of more than one-in-five independents.
It would appear that as more independents are making up their minds as the election draws near, Trump is reaping the benefit. He’s nearly doubling his lead from just last week, after being tied with Clinton just two weeks ago. If you believe that independents are key to a win, this is certainly good news for Trump.
Also good news is the apparent enthusiasm gap between Trump supporters and Clinton supporters, which bears out not only in the polls that show more voters saying they “strongly” favor Trump, but also in the size of the crowds who are showing up for their chance to see their chosen presidential candidate.
In an unprecedented race that has turned conventional election wisdom on its head time and time again, who can really claim to call this whole thing before it’s over?
[This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]