A new analysis suggests that while Donald Trump is still far ahead in the race for the Republican nomination, he has lost some support.
FiveThirtyEight said this week that after a month that included both the latest Trump indictment and the first debate — in which the frontrunner did not participate — Trump maintains his huge lead. But there are signs of his support softening.
Namely, in the 29 national polls released since the announcement of Trump’s Georgia indictment, Trump has gone from a national average of 53 percent to 50 percent.
That’s still high, in a race in which he’s one of about ten candidates, but does represent a decrease.
“After each of Trump’s three prior indictments, his polling numbers changed in small, inconsistent ways — if they changed at all,” the FiveThirtyEight analysis said. “The fourth indictment followed this non-pattern pattern: Some evidence suggests that he’s gained ground in the Republican primary, other evidence suggests that he’s lost it, and what little general-election data we have suggests nothing has shifted significantly. And, adding to the frustration of political junkies everywhere, it’s very difficult to figure out how much the fourth indictment affected Trump’s standing in the race given how close it occurred to two other major events on the campaign trail: the third indictment and the GOP presidential debate.”
Any voting is still a ways away, FiveThirtyEight noted.
“To be sure, a measly three polls conducted 15 months before the election are not the final word on Trump’s fate in the court of public opinion,” the site said. “The case against Trump in Georgia (really, all of his indictments) could hurt or help him more as time drags on, particularly if he is convicted or acquitted before the election. It’s also possible that this entire exercise is flawed, given that the ‘before’ polls in this analysis all came within two weeks of Trump’s third indictment; perhaps Trump’s polling numbers in this period were already depressed because of those (similar) allegations.”
RealClearPolitics’ polling average of the expected general election matchup of Trump and Biden, Biden leads by an average of 0.8 percent, although most recent head-to-head polls have been close.
The most recent Economist/YouGov poll has Trump leading by 1 point. The Morning Consult poll, released at the end of August, had Biden leading by one point, while the Emerson poll, which came out on the 26th, had Trump leading by 2. A presumably outlying Yahoo News poll from mid-August had Biden ahead by 6 points.
Another poll, by AP/NORC and reported by Axios, looked at what words respondents associated with President Biden and former President Trump. In the poll, 26 percent of respondents associated Biden with the words “old, outdated, aging, [and] elderly,” while 15 percent associated Trump with “corrupt, criminal, crooked.”
“This foreshadows a potential rematch that could boil down to two main sticking points among voters: Biden’s age and Trump’s legal peril,” Axios said of the most likely presidential matchup.
That Emerson poll, meanwhile, had hinted at an opening for non-Trump candidates.
“There appears to be a softening of support for Trump since last week’s survey, where 82% of Trump voters said they would definitely support him, compared to 71% after the debate. DeSantis’s support also softened from 32% who would definitely support to 25%, while Ramaswamy support remained consistent from 47% to 45%,” Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, said in the release.
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Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.
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