A new poll out Wednesday found that real-estate mogul Donald Trump is only 6 points behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a theoretical general-election matchup.
According to the CNN/ORC survey, the Democratic front-runner leads Trump just 51% to 45% among registered voters.
If the poll is accurate, it represents a sharp improvement for Trump. Though he has surged to the front of the GOP field, polls have previously found him lagging in general-election matchups.
A CNN/ORC survey in June, for example, found that Clinton would crush Trump 59% to 34% — by 25 points — in the hypothetical matchup. And while his 16-point deficit in July was a notable improvement, it still would represent a wide margin of defeat:
It’s not clear what is specifically driving Trump’s recent improvement against Clinton, though she has been battered by a slew of negative headlines in recent months, especially regarding her email use at the State Department. Trump, apparently buoyed by various controversies, has also had a near-monopoly of presidential media coverage.
But the CNN poll does show where Trump is drawing much of his support: white men. The survey found that Trump led Clinton among white voters, 55% to 41%, and among men, 53% to 42%. In contrast, Clinton was ahead among women, 60% to 37%, while dominating among nonwhite voters, 71% to 24%.
Trump also did a bit better among voters who didn’t go to college (he led 48% to 47%) and those who make $US50,000 or more (he trailed 49% to 48%).
The other GOP presidential candidates didn’t fare much better than Trump against Clinton, either. The poll found that Clinton led former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) by nine points and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) by six points, similar to her margin against Trump.
Of course, the 2016 general election is still a long way out; the first primary voters don’t even start to weigh in until next February. A Clinton campaign spokesman, Jesse Ferguson, responded to the CNN poll by pointing out this fact:
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