Until Today Trump Was Ahead of Romney’s 2012 Final

Win McNamee, George Frey/Getty Images
Auburn, AL

Thursday battleground state polls confirmed national polls showing a steep drop for Donald Trump after projecting as a favorite as recently as Saturday by Nate Silver, who in 2012 only briefly after the first debate gave Mitt Romney even a 41 percent chance of winning.

If this is a temporary drop during a few days of the average swing voter hearing that Trump is fighting with parents of a slain soldier and doesn’t like babies, then the dynamics could return to the previous trend toward Trump.

Through Wednesday morning, Donald Trump was running ahead of Mitt Romney’s 2012 result in all four battleground polls released this week. Sunday Trump only trailed by two percentage points in the CBS 11-state poll, Monday by three points in Pennsylvania, Tuesday by one point in Nevada and Wednesday he led by four in North Carolina.

In fact, Trump was ahead of Romney’s pace in the most recent RealClearPolitics poll in 9 of 11 states – with Clinton only outpacing Obama’s pace in Florida and Colorado.

Battleground through Wed. Romney Trump Released
CBS 11-state poll -4 -2 31-Jul
Colorado -4 -6 16-Jul
Florida -1 -5 15-Jul
Iowa -6 -1 13-Jul
Michigan -9 -6 22-Jul
North Carolina   3  4 03-Aug
New Hampshire -6  0 21-Jul
Nevada -6 -1 02-Aug
Ohio -2  3 25-Jul
Pennsylvania -5 -3 01-Aug
Virginia -3  0 17-Jul
Wisconsin -7 -6 13-Jul
Average of 11 -4.2 -1.9

Romney averaged losing these 11 states by four points, while Trump averages losing them by two points rather you average out the most recent RealClearPolitics polls or Sunday’s cumulative 11-state poll run by CBS.

The six national polls released this week look worse – with Clinton ranging from a four-point lead (NBC) to nine-point (Fox) to average a six-point margin. In addition, close polls in non-battleground states Missouri, Georgia and further back Arizona could point to the perceived Clinton surge.

The national movement toward Clinton also occurs during days in which normally damaging news hit both her and President Obama, leaving concern over whether Trump can fight through the overwhelming advantage Clinton has from both paid and mainstream media.

Between July 11 and Saturday, Nate Silver’s projection for a Trump win went from 22.8 percent to 50.1 percent.  Wednesday night, it was back down to 26.7 percent, but Trump’s ability to make up or lose ground with this night’s lightning speed would suggest the focus state on battleground poll results even in August when many fewer are paying attention.

By comparison, even coming off of his convention and after his excellent first debate, Romney never had more than a 41 percent chance of defeating Obama according to Silver’s day-by-day chart in 2012. Romney spent almost all of the final three months of his election with much less of a chance of winning than Trump has right now.

However, the odds are overwhelming that the election will be decided by these 11 states, so the CBS Battleground state poll and other battleground polls a week from now will give a far better measure of how much ground Trump must regain when the two square off September 26 at Hofstra University for the first debate.