If he can survive the brutal, crowded Republican primary, GOP front-runner Donald Trump may have a shot against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
A new Washington Post/ABC poll released Sunday shows that Trump would trail Clinton 46% to 43% among registered voters if the general election were held today.
The poll displays the extent to which Republican voters — many of whom dislike Trump — would rather support any candidate associated with their party over Clinton.
And the poll comes as Clinton has seen her support shrink among large swaths of likely primary and general-election voters. For example, Trump leads her by 5 points among self-identified Independent voters.
Clinton is currently trailing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) in New Hampshire, the crucial first-in-the-nation primary state. Sanders is also surging in the first-caucus state of Iowa while continuing to rise in national polls of Democratic primary voters.
A new CNN poll released this week also showed Clinton losing hypothetical match-ups with several Republican rivals, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. She was also virtually tied with Trump in that poll.
Despite Trump’s support in early polls, many experts still don’t believe he’ll go on to win the nomination.
Nate Silver, the polling analyst and editor in chief of the site FiveThirtyEight, told an audience in New York this week that he still doubts that Trump will be the nominee. He cited voters’ relative apathy at this stage in the race, as well as Trump’s left-leaning positions on several issues and his failure to garner any major endorsements from high-profile Republicans.
“I don’t think that Donald Trump is very likely to win the nomination in part because he’s not really a Republican,” Silver told journalist Mo Rocca at an event in Manhattan.
“People haven’t given [the candidates] more than two seconds’ worth of attention,” he added. “Calm down — it’s not a tennis match where you’re going back and forth all the time. Keep calm.”
Some political observers have noted that Trump has greater support among many Americans who do not tend to vote often, which makes it unclear whether his support in polls will materialise in actual primaries or caucuses. Early polls provide a snapshot of where the race currently stands, but are often not predictive of the outcome of a presidential contest more than a year away.
The Post/ABC poll shows that Clinton’s lead is far greater among a sample of all adults. Clinton leads 51% to Trump’s 39% among American adults, registered and unregistered. But among registered voters, Trump has seen a solid uptick over the past month in a theoretical matchup with Clinton. A poll released in mid-August, for example, showed him down 6 points to Clinton.
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