— -- Hillary Clinton appears to have closed what was once a large gap in support among male voters with rival Donald Trump, according to the latest ABC News poll.
Male respondents reported support for the former secretary of state at 44 percent to Trump’s 41 percent — a major swing for the group, which had backed him throughout the campaign.
In the ABC News poll — which showed Clinton leading overall among likely voters nationwide, 50 to 38 percent — she was bolstered by a strong showing with college-educated women, a group that preferred Republican Mitt Romney in 2012, widening her lead with female voters overall. The poll's margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.
The Clinton campaign’s making up what was once a large deficit with male voters is perhaps the starkest change from midsummer polls, in which Trump was more competitive. In late July, after the Republican National Convention — the peak of Trump’s popularity in the polls — he held a double-digit advantage with registered male voters in a poll conducted by CNN/ORC.
Even in early August, as the lingering effects of the Democratic National Convention vaulted Clinton to a double-digit national lead in the polls, Trump still had greater than 50 percent support from men in many polls. An ABC News/Washington Post poll of registered voters conducted Aug. 1 to Aug. 4 gave him an advantage with men, 51 to 41 percent, even while Clinton led overall, 50 to 42 percent.
Throughout October, as Trump’s campaign dealt with the release of a 2005 video showing him making derogatory comments about women and he faced accusations of sexual assault, polls of likely voters indicated a widening of Clinton’s previously slim lead. NBC/Wall Street Journal and CBS News polls in the last two weeks showed Clinton with double-digit leads while Trump maintained an advantage with male voters.
But that trend reversed in Sunday’s ABC News poll, with men reporting a preference for Clinton, 44 to 41 percent. With women solidly backing the Democrat in the poll, 55 to 35 percent — a continuation of Clinton’s campaign-long advantage among female voters — Trump faces an uphill climb in the final days until the election.
Notable among Clinton’s support from white women is the lead she holds among those with a college degree. Clinton — a college-educated woman — holds a 32-point advantage over Trump in that group, 62 to 30 percent, in Sunday’s poll.
In 2012, when Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, lost the popular vote to President Barack Obama by nearly 4 percentage points, he emerged victorious among college-educated white women, receiving over 50 percent of their support.
College-educated white women selected the eventual winner of the popular vote in every presidential election from 1980 to 2008, but the margin has never been as large as polls indicate this year. Even in President Ronald Reagan’s 18-point landslide victory over Democrat Walter Mondale in 1984, the gap among college-educated white women was less than 20 points.