On Tuesday, CNN/ORC released a new poll that could be game-changer for Donald Trump, if the poll isn’t just an outlier: it shows Trump up 45 percent to 43 percent over Hillary.
Now, obviously, if that held up, he’d be winning. But there’s something even more significant in this poll than prior polls showing him up slightly over Hillary: it shows him breaking what appeared to be his 41 percent ceiling. Trump had not broken 41 percent since one Monmouth poll in July (he was losing 45 to 43) and before that, since May. Trump’s biggest problem in this election cycle has been his inability to translate Hillary’s wild unpopularity into his own popularity – he’s been stuck in the polls, meaning that every time the polls narrow, it’s only because Hillary has been unable to boost her favorability rating. If Trump is truly stuck below 42 percent, he simply cannot win the election – he and Hillary will be splitting at least 90 percent of the vote (assume the other ten percent goes to Gary Johnson and Jill Stein), meaning she clocks him 48 percent to 42 percent.
But if he’s moving above 42 percent, the race is an entirely new ballgame.
There’s more stunning information in the CNN/ORC poll, too: Trump’s favorability ratings are higher than Clinton’s (45 percent to 42 percent); fully 16 percent of Americans label immigration their top concern in the election (only 20 percent say the economy); Trump crushes Hillary on the economy, 56 percent to 41 percent; he’s seen as more trustworthy by 50 percent of the public, as opposed to 35 percent for Clinton; he’s seen as more strong and decisive than she is by a margin of 50 percent to 42 percent; the male gender gap is worse for Hillary (52 to 32 for Trump) than the female gender gape is good for her (52 percent to 38 percent); Trump’s defeating Hillary among independents by a whopping 20 percent.
These are devastating numbers for Hillary.
It’s worth noting here that there are certain questions regarding the poll: the Republicans +4 sample, the major difference between registered voters and likely voters.
But it’s also possible that New Trump is seeing movement because New Trump is better than Old Trump. New Trump is on the teleprompter. He’s demonstrating he’s not a national security risk by traveling to Mexico and acting like a normal human being. He’s attempting to moderate his stance on immigration.
Meanwhile, Hillary is floundering in her own corruption.
That means that Trump may be convincing Americans that he’s a plausible alternative to Hillary. If that happens – if she’s unable to cast him as completely unacceptable under any circumstances – President Trump could indeed become a reality.