One of the most respected election handicappers in the country says the presidential race between Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE is now “over,” with victory assured for Clinton, the Democratic nominee.
“Take a close look at the new Fox News poll,” tweeted Charlie Cook, publisher of the Cook Political Report.
“This race is OVER.”
Take a close look at the new Fox News poll released tonight. This race is OVER. https://t.co/YHjQgZ96Gs— Charlie Cook (@CharlieCookDC) October 14, 2016
Cook has a reputation for cautious, non-partisan analysis, and he’s frequently consulted by both political parties.
His call on the presidential race late Thursday night caused an immediate stir on social media.
Asked by The Hill to explain what it was about the Oct. 13 Fox News poll that caused him to declare the race over, Cook said it was a number of factors.
“Poll was devastating for Trump, from start to finish,” Cook said via email on Friday.
“Trial heats, favorable/unfavorable, candidate attributes, trust on handling issues, role model for children — all horrific for Trump.”
The Fox News poll, conducted by telephone with live interviewers, sampled the opinions of 1,006 registered voters nationwide from Monday through Wednesday.
The poll shows support for the Republican nominee cratering.
Trump is down by 7 points among likely voters — 38 percent to Clinton’s 45 — and by the same margin among registered voters, when third party candidates are included.
When the race is narrowed to the two major parties, Clinton leads Trump by 9 points — 48 percent to 39 — among registered voters.
Last Friday's leak of the "Access Hollywood" tape in which he makes lewd comments about women appears to have done serious harm to Trump’s chances. In the Fox News poll taken a week earlier, Trump was down by just 2 percentage points among likely and registered voters in an open field — which is within the poll’s 3 percentage point margin of error.
Worse still for Trump, his favorable ratings are heading downward from what was already a poor position.
In the latest survey, a staggering 63 percent of registered voters view the GOP presidential nominee unfavorably. A week earlier — before the lewd tape dropped — Trump's unfavorable number was 58 percent.
Clinton, by contrast, is improving slightly. She’s still very unpopular — 54 percent of registered voters regard her unfavorably. But that number is slightly better than the 56 percent who regarded her poorly a week earlier, or the 61 percent who had an unfavorable opinion of her at her low point in May.
“It's not that the Fox results were different from other polling,” Cook said, explaining his judgment call.
It’s the weight of evidence, now, that leads Cook to declare publicly that Trump has no path to the White House.