New polling indicates that not only is Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton growing her lead over GOP nominee Donald Trump, but independent voters are flocking to her side as well.
On Oct. 6, a new poll conducted by the independent Quinnipiac University found that Clinton currently leads Trump by 45 to 40 percent in a four-way race. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson garnered 8 percent support while Green Party nominee Jill Stein came in last with two percent.
If the November election was just a head-to-head matchup, the survey found that Clinton would reach 50 percent support while Trump would be behind with 44 percent.
In a previous Quinnipiac poll released on Sept. 26, the race was much tighter. In that survey, Clinton and Trump were separated by one percentage point, with the Democratic nominee leading with 44 percent. Following the first presidential debate, Trump has been sagging in the polls.
Breaking down the data, the most surprising development in the new poll is that independent voters have flipped for Clinton. While Trump had lead that voting bloc by 7 percentage points in September, now Clinton leads them by 14 percent.
"Post-debate, Hillary Clinton checks all the boxes,” said assistant director Tim Malloy of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “With her base of women and non-white voters now solidly behind her and independent voters moving into her column, Donald Trump gets a wake-up call.”
Malloy concluded that the data bodes ill for Trump, noting “The Indies are leaving in droves.”
The presidential race has steadily tilted in Clinton’s favor in the last two weeks after it had been too close to call in September. Aggregating the last 10 national polls released since Sept. 28, RealClearPolitics found that Clinton leads by an average 3.7 percentage points in a four-way race.
FiveThirtyEight, the polling website spearheaded by statistician Nate Silver, projects that Clinton currently has a 75.4 percent chance of victory when factoring in polling data, the state of the economy and historical trends. They only give Trump a 24.6 percent chance of winning in November.
Trump’s decline among independent voters has Republicans in down-ballot races panicking, worried that the business mogul’s dipping popularity could cost them not just the presidency but their Senate majority.
“They are really starting to pull away from Trump,” GOP strategist Liesl Hickey told The New York Times. She added that his plunge among the voting bloc is entering “uncharted territory.”
Two senior Republicans who requested anonymity said that if Trump fails to impress in his second debate against Clinton, scheduled in St. Louis on Oct. 9, then GOP lawmakers in down-ballot races will abandon their nominee.