Proving that Trump's recent strategic shift to keep his mouth shut and let the media focus on the ongoing fallout from Hillary's "basket of deplorables" comment as well as her recent health scare, has been successful, Bloomberg reported this morning that Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton by 5% points in a Bloomberg Politics poll of Ohio, a key battleground state that has backed the winning presidential candidate in every election since 1964. The gap "underscores the Democrat’s challenges in critical Rust Belt states after one of the roughest stretches of her campaign."
The Republican nominee leads Clinton 48 percent to 43 percent among likely voters in a two-way contest and 44 percent to 39 percent when third-party candidates are included.
The Bloomberg poll was taken Friday through Monday, as Clinton faced backlash for saying half of Trump supporters were a “basket of deplorables” and amid renewed concerns about her health after a video showed her stumbling as she left a Sept. 11 ceremony with what her campaign later said was a bout of pneumonia.
According to Bloomberg, Trump’s performance in the poll, which features strength among men, independents, and union households, is better than in other recent surveys of the state. It deals a blow to Clinton after she enjoyed polling advantages nationally and in most battleground states in August before the race tightened in September as more Republican voters unified around Trump.
Why the surge? Darren Roberts, 45, a facilities maintenance and home improvement retail worker who lives in Columbus and considers himself an independent, provided a simple explanation: “I’m tired of career politicians being in office and nothing’s ever changed. I don’t like all of his policies, but I really don’t like Hillary Clinton’s.”
In other words, in the race between the two most unpopular candidates in US presidential history, Hillary suddenly finds herself on the back foot. Indeed, Trump's strength in Ohio, a state critical to his path to the White House, comes even as seven in 10 say they view one of his signature campaign pledges, to build a wall along the southern U.S. border funded by Mexico, as unrealistic.
The survey shows a strong majority of likely Ohio voters, 57 percent, are skeptical of trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement that was backed by Bill Clinton when he was president and that Trump has used to his political advantage. One in five say such deals help increase exports and employment, and 23 percent aren’t sure. More than four in 10 Clinton supporters see NAFTA as a bad deal, compared to seven in 10 Trump loyalists.
* * *
And in more good news for the Trump campaign, at the national level, the latest LA Times poll, aka "USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times "Daybreak" poll", which tracks about 3,000 eligible voters, and which has shown a modest pro-Trump bias in recent polling, found that his advantage over Hillary has jumped to 4%, the widest lead for the republican candidate since late July when he was riding high on the back of the post-RNC convention.
While Trump maintains his lead among whites (55% to 33.1%) and "other" voters, Hillary's lead among Black and Latino voters continues, despite a surprising downtick in Hillary support among the black community, as Trump support here has spiked to the highest since polling began. Also as expected, Trump's lead among males has not only maintained but has risen to 54.5%, also the highest since polling began, while Hillary's support among women voters remains comfortable 48.5% to 39.0%.
But what is more surprising is the education/income split, where college grads and higher educated voters support Hillary 48.3% to 39% for Trump, even as those making more than $75,000 are now decidedly in Trump's camp, with some 49.2% of the vote to 40.6% for Hillary. Among low income voters, Hillary remains the dominant choice, with 51.1% of the vote to 37.6% for Trump.
With less than two months left until the election, Trump may have found the winning formula: stick to his core rhetoric, make no ridiculous statements, and force the media to focus its attention on the suddenly imperiled Hillary campaign. It remains to be seen if he can sustain this. To be sure, the biggest wildcard in the campaign will be the first debate between the two candidates which will likely lead to another dramatic shift in the voter calculus.