Donald Trump, who is leading the pack of GOP candidates by 7.1 points, gets beaten by the widest margin in a matchup against Hillary Clinton, according to a McClatchy/Marist poll released today. Clinton beats Trump by 16 points, compared to Bush, Walker, Paul, and Rubio who lose in the range of 5 to 7 points. This tracks with recent Quinnipiac and CNN/ORC polls which show Trump clearly losing to Clinton as well, but also to Biden, Ebola, and Sanders.
Trump clearly has the freewheeling charisma and audacity to win over the firebrands of the GOP base. But in a general election, people are clearly going to pick the former Secretary of State with foreign policy credentials, the vice president, bleeding a scarlet river from every orifice, or the scrappy socialist from Vermont.
It's hard to say what Trump can do to earn the kind of trust he'd need to get within striking distance of 270 electoral votes. Hillary Clinton, like her or don't, is a proven political leader with real accomplishments. Sure, she has high negatives. But given a choice between her and having government officials strap you into a gurney and seal you off with plastic sheeting while you fade in and out of consciousness... most people would still pick Hillary. That's a hurdle Donald Trump hasn't cleared yet.
It comes down to trust, I think. People look at a Biden, a Clinton - even a Sanders, or having their entire hometown being put in lockdown by anonymous men with bubble suits and automatic weapons like something out of a Stephen King novel... and they feel a confidence that they don't get with Trump.
It'll be interesting to see whether that changes.
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