When veteran GOP pollster Bill McInturff talks about the presidential campaign, Republicans and Democrats usually listen intently.
McInturff, co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies, has advised a slew of Republican candidates over the years and was lead pollster for Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the 2008 presidential campaign. He and Democrat Peter D. Hart are the lead pollsters for the Wall Street Journal/NBC News series of polls.
So not surprisingly, he caused something of a stir the other day when he declared that Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton will win the general election in November because many voters are turned off by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
McInturff, speaking at a luncheon gathering in Washington primarily focused on climate change, said, “Trump does not represent the mainstream views” of the Republican Party, according to the Washington Examiner. He predicted that the billionaire businessman “will lose by 5 to 7 points” and that the country will go “from our first African-American president to our first woman president” in November.
After Trump blew away a field of 16 GOP rivals in recent months and then secured his party’s nomination on Tuesday night by scoring a dazzling victory over Sen. Ted Cruz in Indiana, betting against Trump is risky at best. He has rewritten the Republican presidential playbook in stoking the anger and frustration of many Americans, and he has demonstrated an extraordinary knack for identifying and exploiting his political rivals’ biggest weaknesses. Seemingly endless predictions by political pundits that he would self-destruct proved baseless.
Indeed, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank vowed seven months ago that he would eat an entire newspaper column, newsprint and ink, if Trump won the nomination. Now Milbank is preparing to literally eat his words.
There is no way of telling how the presidential campaign will ultimately play out this fall, other than to say with certainty that it will be one of the dirtiest and most contentious contests in modern presidential politics.
For the time being, however, polling suggests that Clinton, the former secretary of state, will beat the blustery real estate mogul. Clinton leads Trump by 13 percentage points nationally, according to a CNN/ORC poll released on Wednesday. Even as Clinton continues to fend off attacks from her Democratic rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, she hold a 54 percent to 41 percent advantage over Trump in a hypothetical matchup this fall.
The new poll found that voters trust Clinton more than Trump on practically every major issue, including combatting terrorism and dealing with the immigration crisis.
Meanwhile, the Real Clear Politics averages of recent national polls shows Clinton holding a 6.5 percentage point lead over Trump. But there are still many months to go.