A chart of white voters with college degrees reveals a lot about the state of the race. Republican presidential candidates haven’t gotten much of the black vote in a long time. And Donald Trump needs to move fast to close the gap with Clinton by November. This is HuffPollster for Wednesday, August 31, 2016.
ONE DEMOGRAPHIC TELLS US A LOT ABOUT CLINTON’S LEAD - With Janie Velencia: “Hillary Clinton is winning in states with a greater proportion of highly educated white voters, a demographic that her rival Donald Trump needs to win over in order to have a shot at the presidency. Clinton polls proportionally better in states that have a higher ratio of white people with college degrees relative to the overall number of white people in the state. As the following chart shows, in the 21 states where HuffPost Pollster has enough survey data to estimate the state of the race, there’s a moderately positive correlation between Clinton’s margin and the percentage of whites over age 25 who’ve obtained a bachelor’s degree. These white, highly educated Americans, who have tended to lean Republican, could help to reshape the electoral map, keeping Clinton competitive in traditionally red states and contributing to her advantage in states like Colorado and Virginia, where races have often been closer.” [HuffPost]
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CLINTON’S FAVORABILITY RATING HITS A NEW LOW - Aaron Blake: “Hillary Clinton hit her stride after the Democratic National Convention, riding to a double-digit lead over Donald Trump in some national and swing-state polls ― her highest of the year. As of today, though, Americans’ views of her just hit a record low. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows 41 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of Clinton, while 56 percent have an unfavorable one. That’s the worst image Clinton has had in her quarter-century in national public life. Her previous low favorable rating this year was in July, when it was 42 percent, lower than any mark in historical Post-ABC polls except a few points in the 1990s when a large share of the public had no opinion of her. Her previous high for unfavorable views was in June, when 55 percent disliked Clinton.” [WashPost]
TRUMP’S STRUGGLES WITH BLACK VOTERS AREN’T NEW FOR REPUBLICANS - With Samantha Neal: “Republicans struggled to court minority voters long before Donald Trump became the party’s standard-bearer. Trump has made headlines in the last few months for having extremely low support among black voters ― as low as 0 percent in some swing states, according to a few polls. But despite Trump’s incendiary rhetoric and charges of racism and bigotry, he’s actually not doing worse among black voters than other recent GOP presidential nominees. Mitt Romney struggled in 2012, garnering only 6 percent of the black vote. A mid-August 2012 poll showed his support among the demographic at 0 percent. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) only got 4 percent of the black vote in 2008. To be fair, Romney and McCain were running against the first black nominee for a major political party. The last elected Republican president, George W. Bush, did a little better. In 2000, Bush pulled 9 percent of the black vote against then-Vice President Al Gore. During his re-election bid in 2004 against then-Sen. John Kerry, Bush won 11 percent of the black vote.” [HuffPost]
TRUMP COULD STILL CATCH UP TO CLINTON, BUT HE HAS TO CLOSE IN FAST - David Byler: “Right now, there are still 70 days until Election Day, and Clinton is up by six points in the RCP average. If Trump holds steady, he’ll be below the roughly seven or eight points that an election might move between September (about 60 days from Election Day) and November. In other words, he still could make up the gap between himself and Clinton. As FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten pointed out, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Hubert Humphrey (in 1976, 1980 and 1968 respectively) improved their post-convention standings by a larger margin than what Trump would need to win…. in past elections, polls typically don’t move more than four points after late September or early October (about 30 or 40 days before the Election)....So if Trump wants to be in striking distance of Clinton, his best bet is to close the gap to three or four points before October….Once October hits, Trump would need to move opinion quickly in order to win the race.” [RealClearPolitics]
Trump would have to make up ground in key states as well - Philip Bump: “The simplest calculus to determine who will win in November is comparing how Trump is doing to how Mitt Romney did four years ago. Romney lost, so Trump needs to do better than him to win….In fact, of the 10 states that were closest in 2012, Trump trails in all 10… Obama won nine of those states, mind you, but these should still be the places where Trump is most likely to make gains….Worse still, Trump is at risk of losing states Romney won. North Carolina falls into that category, as does Georgia. It’s still likely that Trump can prevail in either state, but that doesn’t give him the gain that he needs. What’s more, it allows Clinton to play offense in those states and forces Trump to spend time and money playing defense when he really needs to be trying to gain ground in states Romney lost.” [WashPost]
PAT TOOMEY IS IN TROUBLE - Nick Bayer: “Democratic challenger Katie McGinty maintains a slight lead over Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), according to a new Monmouth University Poll released Tuesday. That’s good news for Democrats, who are hoping to flip that seat in their push to retake the Senate. The new poll is the seventh survey in the HuffPost Pollster average to show McGinty leading. The latest results bring her average up to 42.7 percent, with 42.4 percent for Toomey. While the race is still tight, support for McGinty has increased by more than 2 percentage points since July, effectively erasing any lead that Toomey previously had…. McGinty’s lead is impressive considering that many Pennsylvanians have yet to form a definitive opinion about the former state official. (Most recently she served as Gov. Tom Wolf’s chief of staff.) The Monmouth survey found that 27 percent of likely voters have a favorable view of McGinty and 17 percent have an unfavorable view. But 56 percent said they have no opinion at all.” [HuffPost]
WEDNESDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-Most voters think Donald Trump has been inconsistent on immigration. [YouGov]
-Lynn Vavreck looks at one way to quantify how much Trump is costing the GOP. [NYT]
-Nathan L. Gonzales highlights Republican incumbents’ success in this year’s primaries. [Roll Call]
-Harry Enten notes an emerging gap between live-caller and nonlive polls of the presidential race. 
-Nate Cohn argues that voter registrations trends are more favorable for Democrats than they seem. [NYT]
-Matthew Dean Hindman and Bernard Tamas find a surge in third-party candidates seeking office. [WashPost]
-More Americans say they’re “thriving” than they did when President Obama took office. [Gallup]