With each new poll, the worst nightmare of the Republican Party is coming to closer to reality, as the latest poll of Ohio shows Hillary Clinton holding a two-point lead over Donald Trump.
The latest Monmouth University Poll of Ohio brought more good news for Democrats:
Among Ohio voters likely to cast ballots in November’s presidential election, 44% currently support Clinton and 42% back Trump. Another 5% intend to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson, who will appear as an independent on the ballot, 1% are supporting Jill Stein of the Green Party, and 6% are undecided. In mid-August, Clinton led Trump by 43% to 39%, with Johnson at 10% and Stein registering less than a percent.
Clinton is not doing quite as well as Barack Obama did four years ago among black, Hispanic, and Asian voters (73% to 15% for Trump compared with 84% for Obama to 14% for Mitt Romney in 2012). Likewise, Trump is not doing quite as well with white voters (48% to 39% for Clinton) as Romney did (57% to 41% for Obama). These results have not changed substantially since August.
Clinton has a 52% to 35% lead in Democrat-leaning northeastern Ohio plus the 9th Congressional district that hugs Lake Erie from Cleveland to Toledo. However, this is not as strong a showing as Obama, who won this five-district region by 61% to 38% four years ago. The race is virtually tied at 46% Clinton and 44% Trump in the five districts covering the central and southeastern part of the state, similar to the 49% to 49% tie here in 2012. Trump has a 46% to 37% lead in the remaining part of the state north and west of Columbus, which is similar to Romney’s 55% to 44% win here in the last election.
If Hillary Clinton’s performance with Democrats reaches Obama levels in the Buckeye State, Ohio will not be an option for Donald Trump.
One consistency in all polls across multiple polling organization is that while Trump appears to have reached his ceiling for support, there is still upside room for growth for Hillary Clinton with the Democratic base.
The presidential debates are vital for Clinton because they allow her the opportunity to increase her support with the Democratic base. Hillary Clinton is performing well enough to possibly defeat Trump with these voters, but a 5%-10%% improvement in states like Ohio would place the election virtually out of reach for the GOP.
The Republican Party’s worst nightmare involved a combination of Donald Trump continuing to be himself, while Democratic voters came home to support Hillary Clinton in October. Trump has followed through on his end of the deal, and Democratic voters are coming home.
The trendline is moving in their direction, but Democrats have plenty of motivation to keep working. States like Ohio and North Carolina are there for the winning, but in order to do, Hillary Clinton needs to get her support with key groups of voters up to Obama 2012 levels.