Usually, when people talk about Donald Trump reaching new lows these days, they’re referring to his personal conduct, but as the presidential race nears its November 8 climax, Trump is finding new kinds of depths to plumb -- namely, his miserable poll numbers.
That Democrat Hillary Clinton is winning the election is no longer really in doubt. She leads by an average 7.1 points in the Real Clear Politics polling average, and leads in every reputable individual national poll except for one, conducted by the Los Angeles Times, which has been consistently out of step with the rest of the industry all year. At the state level, she is ahead, often substantially, in most of the states traditionally considered battlegrounds and is gaining on Trump in some places, like Georgia, that were never expected to be competitive in the first place.
But for Trump, the humiliation goes deeper than just the top line numbers in the national polls. In the past weeks, his offenses against common decency and common sense have piled up: the sexual assault scandal, his intemperate Twitter attacks on fellow Republicans (and random beauty queens), his insistence that a vast global conspiracy exists to deny him the presidency. And as they have, traditionally loyal Republican voting blocks have been renouncing Trump in droves.
A Bloomberg poll out today tells a story familiar in much of the recent national polling.
Unsurprisingly, Clinton leads Trump by 17 points among women in general, but she is also leading the GOP nominee among a more reliably Republican subset of the female vote: white women prefer Clinton 46 percent to 45 percent.
Until recently, Trump has been able to count on majority support from men, but now even that is in question, with Bloomberg showing Clinton with a 46-44 lead.
Trump has, for most of his campaign, at least been able to count on the votes of non-college-educated whites. But the Bloomberg poll finds that even they are now abandoning him. What had been an 8 point cushion for Trump is now a two point Clinton advantage.
The most shocking shift of the campaign, though, has been how college-educated white voters have repudiated Trump. Whites with college degrees have supported the Republican presidential nominee for president in every election for the past 60 years, usually by double-digit margins. Trump, however, has so alienated that demographic slice of the voting public that Clinton is now the one with a double digit lead -- 13 points, according to Bloomberg.
Trump’s across-the-board decline is even more impressive when you consider that his opponent remains one of the most unpopular major party presidential candidates in U.S. history. Clinton, according to Real Clear Politics, has an average favorable rating of just 43.1 percent, while her unfavorables are at 52.5 percent. That 9.4 percent hole would be a massive liability if Clinton were not running against Trump, whose numbers are much worse.
Trump is viewed favorably, at this point in the race, by little more than one-third of the electorate: 34.8 percent. A much higher percentage, 61.1 view him unfavorably, for a stunning 26.3 percent gap, unheard of in presidential politics.
The big question at this point in the race would seem to be whether Trump‘s plunge will continue. There is plainly a hard core of support at some level, mainly the voters who gave him a plurality of the votes in the Republican presidential primary.
But with the revelation that Trump’s strategy for the final debate tonight involves bringing guests like President Obama’s estranged half-brother into the venue, we may find out just where Trump’s basement is.