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Eye On Candidates
October 17, 2016

Has Trump hit his ceiling?

With three weeks and one day until election day (though with early voting, that term seems less and less relevant), poll analysis posted at The Washington Post suggests that Donald Trump may not be able to add to his already lackluster numbers:

Trump has reached his ceiling, with little or no room to grow

On the surface, the Republican nominee is surprisingly close to Hillary Clinton in the Washington Post/ABC News survey. He trails by just 4 points, 50 percent to 46 percent, among likely voters nationwide. That happens to be the same size as the margin of error. It is also only a two-point shift in Clinton’s direction since our poll on the eve of the first debate, before his attacks on a former Miss Universe, the release of the 2005 video and the emergence of more than a dozen women who have accused him of unwanted sexual advances...

With the help of our in-house pollster Scott Clement, I studied the 14 percent of registered voters who support neither Clinton nor Trump in the four-way poll test. This includes the 6 percent for Gary Johnson and the 3 percent for Jill Stein but also the 3 percent who volunteered to our callers that they are supporting none of the four and the 2 percent who said they have not decided yet.

Among this sub-group, 71 percent are “strongly unfavorable” to Trump versus 46 percent who say the same of Clinton. He comes fairly close to her on honesty (83 percent say Trump is not honest and trustworthy, compared to 78 percent who say the same for Clinton) and on who is best for the economy (35 percent say Trump and 32 percent say Clinton). But there is a big chasm on two questions that tend to be better predictors of vote choice: 77 percent say Trump is not qualified to be president, compared to 44 percent who say Clinton is not. And 86 percent say Trump lacks the temperament to be president, compared to 42 percent who say the same of Clinton.

It's probably too early to call the race, but it is clear that Trump will need some dramatic events or revelations to close the gap in the face of overwhelming negative perceptions of him by the handful of voters who may be up for grabs.