Why Trump’s in Trouble: He’s Underperforming Romney in 2012

Our latest national NBC/WSJ poll is bad news for Donald Trump’s prospects three weeks out until Election Day, and the problem for him runs deeper than the headline result showing Trump trailing Hillary Clinton by double digits. He’s also underperforming Mitt Romney with key parts of the electorate, including women, men, Latinos, whites, and whites with college degrees. Just look at comparison between Trump’s standing in our new poll and Romney’s eventual standing in the 2012 exit poll:


As NBC/WSJ co-pollster Bill McInturff (R) observes, these numbers in the poll don’t align with anyone who has gone on to win a presidential election. So if Trump is going to win with three weeks to go, it will be one of the most dramatic comebacks in the history of American politics.


Our national NBC/WSJ poll also shows that Clinton is ahead of Trump by an average of seven points in the battleground states (AZ, FL, GA, IA, MI, NC, NH, NV, OH, PA, WI). But then how is Clinton’s overall national lead greater — 11 points in a four-way race and 10 points in the two-way? Well, Trump is ahead in red states by an average of nine points. That’s compared with Romney’s eventual 18-point margin here in 2012. Bottom line: It’s very possible that Trump carries, say, Texas by less than Romney’s 16-point margin in the state. And if that’s the case, then Trump’s deficit nationally could very well be larger than his deficit in the battlegrounds.


And here’s one more set of numbers from our poll, as one of us writes: “Hillary Clinton is maintaining a 50-point lead over Donald Trump among Latino voters heading into the final weeks of the presidential election, and more Latinos now say they they’re very interested in the November contest, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/ Telemundo poll. The poll found that 67 percent of Latino likely voters back Clinton in a four-way matchup, while just 17 percent back Trump. Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein each garner three percent support.”


As the Washington Post writes, the Clinton campaign faces a choice in the next three weeks: Does it work to expand the battleground map to win in places like Arizona and Georgia? (Note that Chelsea Clinton and Bernie Sanders are hitting Arizona for Clinton this week.) Or does it work to solidify its position in the traditional battlegrounds of Florida, Ohio, Nevada, and North Carolina. There’s a rationale to trying to run up the score in non-traditional states. “Victories in unexpected places could boost that total, handing her more of a mandate come January and decreasing the potency of Trump’s complaints of a ‘rigged’ election,” the Post says. To us, it comes down to one of three strategies:




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