Hillary Clinton’s lead on Fame, Feeling and Fluency over the last several weeks has been steady and strong. But it’s always been the case that a big external shock can change things – and the revelation that the FBI are reviewing new emails in her private server case certainly qualifies.
It delivered a Hallowe’en nightmare for Clinton, seeing her lead on the 3 Fs slashed (see above). Donald Trump is now ahead again on Fluency – though neither candidate scores well – and Hillary Clinton’s Feeling score has dived.
The one silver lining for Clinton is that Trump’s Feeling is also in freefall. The gap has narrowed thanks to the email scandal, but emotionally the two candidates end the race where they began it – only a minority of voters are happy with each of them, and Clinton has a small but precious Feeling lead.
For a fourth straight week, Trump’s negative responses rise: the media may have shifted their focus, but revelations about his misogyny continue to disgust voters.
But this time, Clinton’s negatives have also spiked. Why is the FBI scandal so damaging? It plays into the perceptions of her corruption and lying that have dominated negative response since our earliest waves. But unlike Trump’s attacks on her, it comes from a more credible third party. Just as in our June data wave, the FBI’s involvement moves the needle.
Back in June, though, the FBI censure put Trump clearly ahead in our model. That is not the case now. His own scandals and collapse in Fluency have taken a lasting toll. If Trump can keep the spotlight on the FBI and the emails, he might be able to overtake Clinton. If she can turn it back onto him, she could bounce back.And if nothing changes, she maintains a narrow overall lead on the race’s true fundamentals.
For now, this is a game-changer for Donald Trump. But not yet a game-winner.
Our last update will go live on the 7th November, with our final Election Day predictions.
Fieldwork dates: 28th October-30th October. Next update: Monday 7th November.