Post-Convention Polling Going Well for Clinton

Most of the post-Convention press has been good for Democrats as we move into the weekend: Gallup shows that Americans had a convention-record poor evaluation of Trump’s speech even as Clinton’s performed well. Not only liberal but even conservative pundits had high praise for the uplifting and positive themes of the Democratic convention, which also soundly defeated Trump in the ratings as well. and the GOP did get a noticeable bounce after their convention, but it would be highly unusual if they did not–particularly since many Americans had not yet heard Trump talk in policy terms or seen him humanized by his relatives. But unlike Clinton, Trump had also disposed of his rivals long, long ago–and the Ted Cruz wing of the party was still so upset that Cruz himself refused to endorse and Trump mockingly played “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” as the convention’s close-out song.

By contrast, Clinton needed to both assuage a large number Sanders voters still mistrustful of her commitment to progressive politics, as well as win over whatever few mushy middle voters may still remain in the electorate not already completely turned off by Trump. In other words, Trump’s bounce was a given, while Clinton had to accomplish more–but theoretically had more room to grow by reassuring voters both to her left and her right.

Clinton and the rest of the Democrats on stage appear to have passed that test with flying colors. An Ipsos/Reuters poll shows Clinton with a six-point lead nationally, even as a Suffolk poll gave Clinton a nine-point lead in Pennsylvania–a near must-win state for Trump given his strategy of winning white Rust Belt voters.

It’s still very early, of course, and the biggest wild card is the number of voters who are undecided or currently choosing third party candidates: collectively 25% in the Ipsos/Reuters poll. That’s not terribly surprising given the mood of the electorate and the high negative favorability of both major candidates. It’s also likely that most of those on both the left and the right will end up coming home to their respective main-party candidates as usual–and that as in 1992 with Ross Perot, the rest of the third party voters will be approximately even split across the ideological divide.

But current trends do seem to favor Clinton and the Democratic Party for now.

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.