News & Politics

My Last Post on Polls—Promise

I give up. What’s a pundit to do? The ABC News/Washington Post poll out today shows Donald Trump trailing Hillary Clinton by 12 points. But a Wall Street Journal poll also out today shows Trump within 5 points of Hillary Clinton and virtually tied when third-party candidates are added.

Washington Post:

Support for Donald Trump has plunged as he has alienated fellow Republicans and large majorities of voters overall in the course of a month of self-inflicted controversies, propelling Democrat Hillary Clinton to a double-digit lead nationally in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey finds sweeping unease with the presumptive Republican nominee’s candidacy — from his incendiary rhetoric and values to his handling of both terrorism and his own business — foreshadowing that the November election could be a referendum on Trump more than anything else.

Roughly two in three Americans say they think Trump is unqualified to lead the nation; are anxious about the idea of him as president; believe his comments about women, minorities and Muslims show an unfair bias; and see his attacks on a federal judge because of his Mexican American heritage as racist.

A slimmer majority say they disapprove of the way Clinton has handled questions about her use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state, and half of Americans are anxious about the prospect of a Clinton presidency, underscoring the historic unpopularity of the two major-party candidates.

Wall Street Journal:

Republican Donald Trump emerged relatively unscathed from one of the rockiest phases of his campaign, lagging rival Hillary Clinton by 5 percentage points but essentially tied when third-party candidates are included, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

The survey of 1,000 registered voters showed Mrs. Clinton leading 46% to 41% in a head-to-head matchup. Mrs. Clinton’s number held steady over the past month, while Mr. Trump’s standing dropped by 2 points since May. The survey was conducted June 19-23, a period of tumult within his campaign.

Mr. Trump over the past week fired his campaign manager and faced criticism from within his own party over weak fundraising numbers and lack of organization. Earlier in the month, he was the target of bipartisan ire for his focus on a federal judge’s ethnicity andhis reaction to the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla.

“Donald Trump has had the worst month one can imagine, but Clinton’s negatives are so high the net impact on the ballot is almost invisible,” said Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Fred Yang.

In a worrying sign for the former secretary of state, her advantage largely vanished when voters also get a choice of third-party candidates.

The time period that both polls were taken is roughly the same — the Post poll was taken between June 20-23, while the WSJ poll was taken June 19-23. Obviously, the huge discrepancy is a product of different methodologies. I will leave it to the statisticians out there to explain where there is divergence, but I suspect differing numbers for the parties of respondents have something to do with it.

With polling this screwed up, it hardly seems worth the effort to report on it. Hence, I will write about polls no more forever. Or, at least until Trump isn’t part of the polling.