Clinton starts to move back ahead of Trump in polls; opportunity for third parties remain

With both the Democratic and Republican national conventions now in the books, the 2016 general election campaign is officially underway — what many are predicting to be perhaps the most vile and reprehensible presidential contest since 1884.

On Friday, a new Reuters/Ipsos survey showed the first evidence that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers are rebounding after Philadelphia, as the former Secretary beat Trump by six points in a head-to-head match-up among over 1,000 likely voters — 41 to 35 percent.

With a full quarter of respondents choosing neither major party candidate, however, the Green and Libertarian candidates have a unique opportunity to sell their respective messages to a public largely dissatisfied with Trump and Clinton.

So far, neither Jill Stein or Gary Johnson have been able to capitalize, as the same poll found only six percent combined support for the pair in a four-way race, with both major party candidates tied at 37 percent.

According to the RealClear Politics national polling average — counting surveys conducted before the end of the Democratic convention — Clinton and Trump are virtually tied at about 43 percent each in a two-candidate contest.  The Republican nominee edges Clinton when all four are included, with Johnson receiving 7.3 to Stein’s three percent.

The third-party effect is surprising here, as Trump has a one point lead nationally in three and four-way polls, suggesting that a significant amount of disaffected Democrats are supporting Gary Johnson.  Given this dynamic, Clinton’s strategy going forward may be to siphon off swing-state moderates, particularly in the Midwest, by emphasizing patriotism and a strong national defense as demonstrated by Gen. John Allen’s speech at the convention on Thursday.

Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf says that Allen’s remarks could give Clinton “a bump” with swing voters “in the Midwest and in the heartland. It begins to break up that great block of people Trump has been able to corral.”

State polling suggests that Trump’s path to electoral victory rests in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, where the Republican candidate’s trade reform proposals are popular. However, polls released over the past two days in Pennsylvania and Missouri suggest that sweeping the Midwest will be a monumental task, as Clinton enjoys a solid lead in the former and is making inroads in the latter.

As of July 30, there are exactly 100 days left til the Nov. 8 election.  To-date, Clinton and her allied super PACs have put on a total of $68 million worth of TV advertisements, to Trump’s $6 million — a gap that may have to narrow for the GOP to stand a chance.

The first of three scheduled presidential debates will be held September 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

Vice-presidential candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence will sit down for their one and only debate on Oct. 4 from Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.


[Reuters] [RealClear Politics] [The Hill] [Photo courtesy]