POLITICS

Hillary Clinton’s Polling Numbers Are Still Very Strong

It’s too early to say the race is over, though.

New polls out this week show Hillary Clinton maintaining a dominant lead over Donald Trump nearly two weeks after the Democratic convention ended and in the wake of Trump’s worst week ever.

An NBC/SurveyMonkey national poll conducted Aug. 1-7 shows Clinton leading Trump by 10 points, 51 percent to 41 percent, a slight increase over her 8-point lead in the July 25-31 poll. A Monmouth University national poll from Aug. 4-7 shows Clinton with an even larger 13-point lead ― 50 percent to 37 percent. It’s a large jump from Monmouth’s mid-July poll, which showed Clinton up by only 3 points.

The HuffPost Pollster average has Clinton leading by nearly 9 points.

The NBC/SurveyMonkey poll asked about vote choice in a two-way Clinton vs. Trump format, and a four-way question including Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein. The 10-point lead is from the two-way question. Clinton’s lead narrows to 6 points when Johnson and Stein are included, indicating that the third parties are taking more support from her than from Trump.

However, the four-way race in the Monmouth poll ― they didn’t ask a two-way question ― produced a 13-point lead for Clinton. HuffPost Pollster’s average for poll questions that include the third-party candidates has Clinton leading by 8.5 points. Johnson and Stein might be taking a bit more support from Clinton than Trump, but it only shrinks the margin by about half a point on average.

The Monmouth University poll faced some criticism because 35 percent of its respondents said they identified with Democrats, while just 26 percent said they were Republican. (The other respondents didn’t identify with a specific party.) In their pre-convention poll, 33 percent identified as Democrats and 28 percent identified as Republicans.

Party identification is a notoriously unstable element in polling, and is often used to discredit results. As Monmouth University Poll Director Murray pointed out in a blog post, it’s typical for people to fluctuate on which party they say they identify with. The weekly NBC/SurveyMonkey poll has seen these shifts as well ― their respondents were 1 percent more Democratic than Republican right after the Republican convention, and then 5 percent more Democratic after that party’s convention.

However, these polls are giving hope to Democrats that Clinton’s lead expansion isn’t just a convention bounce, but could be more permanent. Some have gone so far as to say the race is over. It’s a bit early for that ― convention bounces sometimes last a few weeks, and Election Day is still three months away.

Clinton also still has big unfavorable numbers. We could be only one big economic crash in September or October away from President Trump. Anything could still happen ― and in a year when anything has happened, caution in drawing early conclusions is warranted.

For now, though, these polls are undeniably good news for Democrats.

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