We’ve provided updates on the RealClearPolitics (RCP) national average poll data since late July when the conventions were going on. With 8 days to go before Election Day 2016, below is an updated look at the RCP numbers and how they compare to the 2012 election between President Obama and Mitt Romney. Remember, the RCP national average is an average of the major Presidential election polls. Many view this as a better reading than any one poll can provide. As shown below, the RCP average currently stands at 47.7% for Clinton and 44.8% for Trump. That’s a 2.9 percentage point spread in favor of Clinton, but Trump has seen a decent-sized jump over the last week or so. You’ll notice that Trump’s numbers have risen faster than Clinton’s have dropped in recent days, suggesting that the shift has been due to undecideds moving into the Trump camp.
The chart below compares Trump’s RCP average to Romney’s in 2012. On this day in 2012, Romney’s RCP average stood at 47.4%, which is 2.6 percentage points above where Trump stands now in 2016. Romney was also dead even with Obama on this date in 2012.
Below we show the RCP average for Clinton in 2016 versus Obama in 2012. Notably, Clinton’s RCP average is 0.3 percentage points higher than where Obama’s reading stood on 10/31/12 (47.7% vs. 47.4%).
Below we show the RCP averages for Trump and Clinton in 2016 compared to Romney and Obama in 2012. As shown, the averages for Romney, Obama, and Clinton are all bunched together in the 47s, while Trump is well below but rising quickly. Whether Trump closes the gap over the next seven days is the big question. In 2012, Obama and Romney were actually all tied up at 47.4% in the RCP average on this date. Over the final week of the 2012 election, Obama saw a bounce of 1.4 percentage points, while Romney saw a bounce of 0.7 percentage points (the remaining undecideds finally chose a candidate). If the numbers break towards Trump this week due to the FBI’s letter to Congress about the email investigation last Friday, we may have to get our popcorn out on Election Day after all.