Dan McLaughlin reviews Trump’s general election polling and reaches this conclusion:
But there’s no way to look at Trump’s national polling that avoids the grim reality that he is at a lower ebb than any general election candidate has hit in the last three elections, and has been for most of the time since last summer. Even if we assume that Trump’s ceiling in the polls is higher than his sky-high unfavorables would suggest (as was the case in the primaries), his floor is the lowest of any recent nominee.
Trump’s numbers may improve a bit during the Republican convention next month, and it’s possible that something could happen in the next few months that could reduce the gap that is opening up between him and Clinton, but so far the evidence suggests that the GOP is staring at its third consecutive defeat in a presidential election. More to the point, that defeat seems likely to be at least as bad as McCain’s 7-point 2008 loss. In order to improve on the ’08 and ’12 results, the GOP needed to expand beyond the coalition that backed Romney. Trump obviously isn’t doing that, he doesn’t seem interested in trying to do it, and at this point hardly seems capable of doing so.
Some die-hard Trump opponents keep bringing up the option of dumping him before or at the convention, but that won’t solve the GOP’s general election woes. Removing Trump might win back some disaffected Romney voters, but it would do so at the cost of alienating an even larger bloc of Trump supporters that will claim (correctly!) that their candidate is being robbed of a nomination he earned. It seems very unlikely that the old Romney coalition can be reassembled in time either way, and even if it were it would not be enough to win enough electoral votes to prevail in any case. Barring some dramatic change in the next few months, the main question to be answered in the fall is how wide Trump’s margin of defeat will be.