Donald Trump doesn't brag about his poll numbers anymore, and no wonder

Donald Trump used to love nothing more than boasting about his poll numbers: His recitation of them was a staple of his campaign speeches.

There's little to boast about now.

A new Washington Post/ABC News survey finds the share of Americans with a negative view of Trump rose sharply since last month.

Half of Americans polled by CBS News disapproved of his response to the Orlando, Fla., shootings, and just one-quarter approved.

His support has fallen below 40% in several new national polls of the November race. And a survey of a key Midwestern battleground state shows him trailing Hillary Clinton by 9 percentage points among likely voters.

Now, one year to the day after he announced his campaign, Trump has a new line: denouncing "phony polls."

The bad news for Trump probably reflects several developments over the last couple of weeks. Fellow Republicans reacted negatively to his criticism of the federal judge presiding over a lawsuit against Trump University, and Democratic voters have begun to coalesce behind Clinton now that she has clinched the party’s nomination.

Much can change over the nearly five months remaining until election day, of course, but the problems for the presumptive Republican nominee come at a bad time for him: Clinton’s campaign on Thursday launched its first major advertising barrage in eight highly contested states – Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and New Hampshire, according to advertising data first reported by NBC News.

Strikingly, among the 100 electoral votes that those states have, Clinton needs only 23 to win the election, assuming she carries the other states that President Obama won in both 2012 and 2008.

Many Republicans have eyed Wisconsin, where the GOP has won a series of statewide contests, as one of the Democratic-leaning states that Obama won that they could take back this fall.

But a survey released Wednesday by the state’s leading poll, conducted by Marquette University Law School, showed  Clinton beating Trump in Wisconsin by 9 percentage points among likely voters, 46% to 37%.

Trump's backers have argued that he has the potential to win the election by sweeping blue-collar, white voters in the mid-Atlantic and Midwestern industrial states from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin.

So far, however, polls in each of the major industrial states have shown Trump losing. The Wisconsin poll adds to that data and points to some significant reasons why.

The poll found "a pretty sharp drop-off of Republican certainty of voting and a modest increase in the likelihood of voting among Democrats," said Charles Franklin, the veteran pollster who directs the survey.

The Republican reticence about voting in November is unusual and reflects continued problems Trump has in the state, which he lost in the primary and where influential Republicans, including Gov. Scott Walker, remain critical of him.

Voters in the poll also gave Clinton the edge on several questions about character, including which candidate cares most about average voters and which would be best in a national crisis.

Trump narrowly bested Clinton on one important measure, however – honesty. It’s a reminder that she, too, has significant problems with voters. 

Indeed, the new Washington Post/ABC poll found that 55% of American adults had a negative view of Clinton, while 43% viewed her positively.

Those negative ratings paled compared with Trump’s. The survey found 70% of Americans viewed Trump negatively, including 56% who hold a "strongly unfavorable" view of him. Only 29% viewed him positively.

That assessment was significantly worse than the same poll found a month ago.

Through most of the campaign year, about 6 in 10 Americans have held a negative view of Trump. His image worsened this spring, then improved somewhat after he clinched the Republican presidential nomination. Now the new survey suggests it is deteriorating again.

Clinton continues to have the most trouble with white men, three-quarters of whom have a negative impression of her, the survey found. A majority of white men have sided with Republicans in presidential elections for decades, but Clinton does significantly worse with that group than an average Democrat.

Trump's biggest problems come with minorities. Among Latinos and among non-white Americans overall, about 9 in 10 have a negative view of him, with three-quarters holding a strongly unfavorable view.

Most of the interviews for that poll were taken before the terrorist attack in Orlando, in which 50 people died, including the gunman, who was the son of an immigrant from Afghanistan.

Trump aggressively went on offense after the massacre, saying it proved his point that immigrants from Muslim countries endangered the U.S. and should be banned. He denounced both President Obama and Clinton for their responses, saying that Obama “continues to prioritize our enemy over our allies, and for that matter, the American people.”

That kind of aggressive approach served Trump well during the Republican primaries, appealing to his core supporters, who have strongly nationalist beliefs and admire his pugnacious style.

In front of the much larger and more diverse general election audience, however, he has done worse.

In the new CBS poll, taken after the Orlando shooting, Americans said they approved of Obama’s response to the attack, 44% to 34%. They were evenly divided on Clinton’s response, 36% in favor and 34% opposed.

But the response to Trump was sharply negative, with 25% approving of his response and 51% disapproving.

More than 6 in 10 of those surveyed disagreed with Trump’s call to ban immigration from Muslim countries. Although the proposal got support from 56% of Republicans, it drew opposition from 79% of Democrats and 62% of independents.

All those developments are reflected in polls of the November matchup: Clinton now leads Trump nationally in polling averages by 5 or 6 percentage points, up significantly compared with mid-May. Obama defeated Mitt Romney in 2012 by just under 4 percentage points.

For more on Politics and Policy, follow me @DavidLauter

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UPDATES:

7:47 a.m.: This article has been updated with additional polling information.

This article was originally published at 3 a.m.

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