Obstacles Overcome;
New Polls Again Close

By Jim Ellis

July 20, 2016 — A final last-gasp effort at denying Donald Trump the Republican nomination was easily slapped down the other day. The Never Trump forces were dealt a crushing loss last week in the Convention Rules Committee (only hitting the 20 percent mark in one vote), but returned to make a move against adopting the rules on the convention floor. This motion, too, was easily defeated on a voice vote.

The Never Trump group was never large enough to become a major threat, and went the way of all such challenges when supported by only a small minority. Therefore, the delegates will nominate Donald Trump and Mike Pence on Wednesday night, with the presidential acceptance speech on Thursday night in accordance with normal national convention procedure.

Midwest Polls

CBS/YouGov has conducted panel back Internet-based surveys of more than 24,017 registered voters in 19 states since September 2015. The July 15-16 edition covered voters in the swing Midwestern domains of Iowa (998 previously questioned registered voters), Michigan (1,201 PQRVs), and Ohio (1,104 PQRVs).

Once again, we continue to see data producing very tight margins in the swing states and the CBS/YouGov data is no exception. Michigan is normally not a politically marginal state in presidential elections, going for the Democratic nominee in the last six national campaigns, but voters have elected Republican governors, a majority of the congressional delegation, and given the GOP substantial advantages in both houses of the state legislature in several elections during this same time period.

The new CBS/YouGov data finds Trump leading Hillary Clinton 40-39 percent in Iowa, but trailing 39-42 percent, and 40-44 percent in Michigan and Ohio, respectively. All of these numbers suggest virtual ties between the two candidates because the results fall within the polling margin of error.

Looking at the Senate in the two states holding such statewide races, Iowa veteran incumbent Chuck Grassley (R) holds a 45-37 percent lead over former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge (D), numbers that are consistent with other recent Hawkeye State surveys. And, again confirming virtually all other data, the CBS/YouGov panel back study finds the Ohio contest between Sen. Rob Portman (R) and former Gov. Ted Strickland (D) to be a dead heat. Like all other data, Portman posts the smallest of leads, this time 41-40 percent.

The CBS/YouGov pollsters also ran a presidential question in 11 states with an aggregate of 3,383 registered voters who previously answered questions, including the three that were isolated (Iowa, Michigan, Ohio). The others were Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

When all 11 states are combined, Trump actually pulls one point ahead throughout the entire battleground region, 41-40 percent.

Other national polls are reporting, too. Three new US surveys, taken during the same period as the CBS/YouGov battleground polls, find Clinton holding a small but consistent edge.

Morning Consult, with their continuous polling (July 14-16; 2,002 registered voters), finds Clinton topping Trump, 41-39 percent. Monmouth University (July 14-16; 805 registered voters) projects a 43-40 percent margin with a small sample. Finally, YouGov, this time partnering with The Economist (July 15-17; 1,300 adults), produces a 40-37 percent Clinton split.

Morning Consult did not include any third party candidates on their ballot test. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson gets five percent in the Monmouth poll, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein attracts two percent. In the YouGov/Economist survey, Johnson also gets five percent, but Stein attracts four percent support.

Virtually all current data points to a toss-up national campaign during this particular time snapshot.

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