This Number Is Keeping Hillary Clinton Up at Night
The Washington Post published a poll on May 22, which concludes that Donald Trump will defeat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election next November. The two rivals are neck-and-neck just six months ahead of the vote, but the New York real estate tycoon has gained steadily over the past weeks. (Source: “A Post-Primary Rally Boosts Trump, Albeit With Challenges Aplenty (POLL),” ABC News, May 23, 2016.)
The poll suggests the campaigns are about to get really interesting. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are neck-and-neck, according to the survey, but while Trump has started to rise, Hillary Clinton has started to drop. This suggests the trend has shifted in Trump’s favor.
Hillary Clinton, former senator for New York and secretary of state, had a sizeable advantage over Trump at the start of the race. She had as much as a 10-point advantage throughout most of the presidential primaries campaigns. Yet, all of that has gone up in smoke. The graph shows that the popularity curves for Clinton and Trump are intersecting, with Trump having the upward momentum.
Trump has what the poll authors have described as a “slight” advantage. He can boast—and who can doubt that he will boast—46% support. Hillary Clinton has 44%. Moreover, just a few days earlier, Fox News also published the results of a poll showing Trump as the winner: 45% to his rival’s 42%. (Source: “Fox News Poll: Trump tops Clinton, both seen as deeply flawed candidates,” Fox News, May 18, 2016.)
Perhaps the safest way to interpret the results, given the likely boast of the electoral colleges in supporting the known political entity that is Hillary Clinton as opposed to the unknown quantity Trump, is that the former first lady’s chances are not in the least certain. She will have to fight hard against Trump, much harder than she fought against Bernie Sanders in the primaries.
Hillary Clinton played down the impact of the polls. She said they mean nothing for the time being, given that the election day is still so far away during the May 22 episode of “Meet the Press” on NBC. In fact, the polls have gotten to Hillary Clinton and she has already started to change her tone. She has come out against Trump more vehemently, urging those who backed Bernie Sanders for the Democratic primaries to back her campaign against the “abnormal” Trump candidature:
“I know he has a plurality of Republicans who have voted for him,” she stated. “But I think in the course of this campaign, we are going to demonstrate he has no ideas. There’s no evidence he has any ideas about making America great, as he advertises. He seems to be particularly focused on making himself appear great. And as we go through this campaign, we’re going to be demonstrating the hollowness of his rhetoric.” (Source: “Hillary Clinton Warns against treating Donald Trump as a Normal Candidate,” The New York Times, May 22, 2016.)
Hillary Clinton unveiled a new slogan: “We’re stronger together.” With it, she’s promoting the idea of unity and to that extent, she reminded Americans that she worked well with Republicans when she was in the senate and the State Department. Mr. Trump will surely be able to retort in style to that claim, given that he’s worked with people of all political and ideological colors in getting stuff—real stuff of the kind you can touch and see—done in New York since the 1970s.