The presidential race may have reached a turning point, as a new group of polls shows Hillary Clinton clobbering Donald Trump nationally and in swing states.
A national Fox News poll released Wednesday evening shows Clinton beating Trump by 10 percentage points, 49 percent to 39 percent.
Then, a McClatchy-Marist poll released Thursday shows Clinton ahead by a massive 15 points — real landslide territory and easily the best recent poll she's gotten, with her at 48 percent compared to Trump's 33 percent.
In Pennsylvania, a state most observers believe is a must-win for Trump considering how the electoral math is shaping up, Franklin & Marshall has a new poll showing him trailing Clinton by 11 points — 49 percent to 38 percent.
In Florida, which is even more of a must-win state for Trump, a Suffolk poll found Clinton ahead of Trump in a head-to-head matchup by 6 points.
In New Hampshire, another swing state that was believed to be relatively close, WBUR's new poll gives Clinton a massive 15 point lead over Trump (47 percent to 32 percent).
And in Michigan — traditionally a Democratic state but one the Trump campaign had fantasized about winning as part of a "Rust Belt" strategy — Trump is down at a dismal 32 percent compared to Clinton’s 41 percent, according to Detroit News and WDIV-TV.
A very important caveat here is that we are still in the immediate post-convention period — a period where the polls have often been very volatile, historically. And as Vox's Jeff Stein has written, part of what’s going on here may be that Democrats are more likely to even answer polls in the wake of good feelings from their party’s convention.
So it really isn’t clear yet if Clinton’s new lead will prove durable or temporary. (Polling averages currently have her ahead by 5 to 7 points nationally.)
But by essentially all accounts, the past two weeks or so have been disastrous for Trump, as his attacks on the family of the late Captain Humayun Khan have proven extremely controversial and earned him the condemnation of even some prominent Republicans. There is even (likely baseless) chatter within the party about whether he might be dropped from the ticket.
Indeed, in a result that should surprise no one, the Fox News poll finds that Trump’s attacks on the Khans are wildly unpopular. Sixty-five percent of respondents were at least somewhat familiar with the controversy, and of them, 69 percent said Trump’s statements were "out of bounds" and a mere 19 percent said they were "in bounds."
The bad map we see every presidential election
The Senate may be slipping away for Republicans too
Worse yet for Republicans, Trump’s dreadful performance also looks to be imperiling their hopes to keep the Senate.
The new New Hampshire poll shows Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) down by 10 points to her challenger, Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) — an awful result for an incumbent. And in Pennsylvania, Sen. Pat Toomey (R), who’s believed by political professionals to be a much stronger candidate than his challenger Katie McGinty (D) — is losing by 1 point as well.
As I wrote back in May, there is a Senate race in nearly every competitive presidential swing state and in some traditionally red states that could be surprisingly close this year (like Indiana, Missouri, and Arizona). So Democrats have long hoped that Trump’s presence at the top of the ticket could offer them a Senate landslide, and the party has generally done a solid job recruiting candidates for these races.
In the past few months, Republican Senate incumbents have generally remained slightly ahead in polls. And the GOP did get one bit of good news on this front Thursday, with a Florida poll showing Sen. Marco Rubio 13 points ahead of his likely Democratic opponent.
But Ayotte and Toomey’s troubles — especially Ayotte’s, since she’s in a much worse position — show that this may not last.
Simply put, it’s just really difficult to run as a Republican when the Republican presidential nominee is so unpopular. In a Wednesday story, the New York Times’ Jennifer Steinhauer has a great quote from Fergus Cullen, a former New Hampshire GOP chair, to that effect.
Cullen alluded to the 2008 and 2010 races, which were partisan landslides for Democrats and then Republicans, respectively. "Voters did not draw distinctions," Cullen told Steinhauer. "It was not like Passover, where the door was marked, ‘This one should be spared.’ No, the Angel of Death came in and said ‘Let’s kill them all.’"
Updated to add new polls.