Two more national polls were released this weekend showing Donald Trump closing in on — and even pulling ahead of — Hillary Clinton.
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has Trump just three points behind Clinton in a head-to-head match-up, an eight-point jump from last month and within the poll’s margin of error. And an ABC/Washington Post poll has Trump leading Clinton by two points, an 11-point swing from two months previous. Added to other recent polling, the combined RealClearPolitics average now shows Trump barely leading Clinton nationally, a massive surge from just weeks ago.
Looking more closely at the numbers, one of the most noteworthy findings involves Clinton’s inability to win over Bernie Sanders voters. One out of five Sanders supporters in the ABC poll would support Trump over Clinton (versus 71 percent for Hillary), and NBC notes that only 66 percent of Sanders voters would support Clinton over Trump in its poll. While this could certainly change in favor of Clinton if and when she locks up the Democratic nomination, a continued struggle would present a fantastic opportunity for Trump, who could contrast his perceived outsider status with Clinton’s establishment insider image.
A number of battleground state polls were also released over the weekend showing slight leads for Clinton over Trump in Ohio (five-point lead) and Florida (one-point lead) and a dead-heat among both candidates in Virginia. The number to watch in these states moving forward will be that of the undecided independents. While Trump and Clinton are within two points of each other among independents in Ohio and Florida, there are large numbers still not won over to either camp: 22 percent in Ohio and 24 percent in Florida. And in Virginia, where Trump holds a more substantial 12-point lead among independents, there would still appear to be many undecideds as well.
As the two front runners solidify support among their parties’ respective bases, the battle for independents will become increasingly crucial in determining the outcome this November.
Paul Dupont is the managing editor for ThePulse2016.com.