A week after his dreadful debate performance with Hillary Clinton, polls have headed south for Donald Trump.
Clinton is currently a 72 percent favorite in our polls-only forecast, up from 55 percent just before the debate. That corresponds to a roughly 4-percentage-point national lead for Clinton, about where the race was as of Labor Day — before a series of mishaps for her in mid-September. Our polls-plus model, which blends polls with an economic index and generally produces a more conservative forecast, has Clinton with a 69 percent chance instead.
But don't take our model's word for it: Take a look at the polls for yourself.
UK paper The Independent tries to understand the nature and depth of the cycle:
The bigger question for Trump is how and if he can actually pass Clinton. In the RealClearPolitics average, Trump has led Clinton for only eight days this year. There have been three days this year that Trump's polling average has been above 45 percent compared with 196 days this year that Clinton has topped that mark. Trump often disparages talk about his having a ceiling, pointing to similar arguments in the primary. But in the general, he hasn't been able to manage a polling average of 46 percent in the head-to-head contest even once. In recent weeks, he has crept upward — but now Clinton's creeping along ahead of him.
Two faint lights for Trump: despite polls worsening badly elsewhere, he seems to have extended his lead in key battleground state Ohio, at least among some pollsters. Also, last night's Vice Presidential debate saw Tim Kaine in shabby, blustering form next to a calm and unruffled Mike Pence. These men were both strategic picks with mirroring objectives in mind: to win hard conservatives to Trump's side and GOP moderates to Clinton's. The consolation for Clinton is that suburban whites have gone to Trump anyway, so there wasn't much for Kaine to lose by this point.