Election polls go up and down, but the real determining factors for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the 2016 election could be enthusiasm and voter turnout, notes one polling and election analyst.
Nate Silver, the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight, said that polls are suggesting that a perfect storm -- in which more Republicans than usual stay home -- could result in a landslide victory for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8.
"The nightmare scenario for the GOP is that high-information Republican voters, seeing Trump imploding and not necessarily having been happy with him as their nominee in the first place, feel free to cast a protest vote at the top of the ticket," Silver writes in an Oct. 23 release from FiveThirtyEight. "Meanwhile, lower-information Republican voters don't turn out at all, given that Trump's rigging rhetoric could suppress their vote and that Republicans don't have the field operation to pull them back in. That's how you could get a Clinton landslide … along with a Democratic Senate and possibly even — although it's a reach — a Democratic House."
Indeed, Clinton remains at the top of the polls. In one ABC survey that was conducted entirely after the third and final presidential debate, Clinton led Trump by a full 12 percentage points among likely voters, with 50 percent to the GOP nominee's 38 percent. In that poll, Clinton had a 20-point lead among women, with a 32-point lead among college-educated white women. A vast majority of voters disapproved of Trump's treatment of women and his claims about the election being rigged.
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Voter enthusiasm for Trump has dropped significantly in the weeks leading up to the election, with the previous ABC poll finding that 12 percent fewer Trump supporters are excited to vote for him. The most recent survey concluded that 7 percent fewer registered Republicans reported that they are likely to cast their ballots than did in mid-October.
Silver pointed out that changes in voter enthusiasm are usually volatile and overreported in polls, although the key demographics who support Trump also have a tendency to show up to the polls far less often than those with higher education and higher incomes.