As the presidential race moves into a key two-week period, with the announcement of running mates and the party conventions, Donald Trump has taken an apparent slim lead over Hillary Clinton, based on strong support from white voters, particularly men.
That finding, from a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Daybreak tracking poll, a new survey that begins publication Friday, marks a significant shift in a race that most polls indicated Clinton has led since mid-May.
It comes amid a flurry of other surveys, both nationally and in battleground states, that show support for the former secretary of State declining since last week when FBIDirector James B. Comey characterized her handling of classified material while in that office as “extremely careless.” Comey also said her conduct and that of her aides did not clearly violate the law or warrant prosecution.
What isn’t known is whether the new surveys are capturing Clinton at a low that will prove temporary, as voters react to Comey’s criticism and the renewed attention to her use of a private email server, or whether they reflect a more lasting shift that could hobble the presumed Democratic nominee for the remainder of the campaign.
The polls do not yet measure, for example, whether Clinton will receive a significant boost from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ endorsement on Tuesday. The next couple of weeks also could prove pivotal as voters tune in to the campaigns during the conventions.
Trump continues to face formidable obstacles to winning. Even as new surveys show the race tightening, he has not significantly increased his support: Since February, when he began to dominate the Republican primaries, his backing in head-to-head matchups with Clinton has rarely risen above 40%.
Instead, several new surveys show Clinton’s support declining, while the number of voters saying they will vote for a third-party candidate has risen.