New national polls show presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is tied or running ahead of likely Democratic pick Hillary Clinton for the first time this cycle. A month ago, Mr. Trump was 10.6 points behind Ms. Clinton in the RealClearPolitics.com aggregate of national polls (39.1% to 49.7%). Mr. Trump continued to fall short a few weeks ago (40.3% to 49.5%), and when the Republican contest ended on May 2, he was still 6.7 points behind (40.4% to 47.1%) Ms. Clinton. However, Mr. Trump is now 0.4 points ahead of her (43.4% to 43.2%) in the RealClearPolitics.com aggregate, taking the lead just two weeks after securing the Republican nomination.
The 2008 and 2012 GOP candidates saw similar boosts after becoming the nominee. John McCain lagged 0.7 points behind Barack Obama in early February; 5.2 points behind later that month and 3.9 points behind when he clinched the GOP nomination on March 3, 2008. Roughly two weeks later, Mr. McCain’s party-bearer status led to a 2.4-point lead. It did not last, however, as Mr. Obama began to regain his edge the following month.
Mitt Romney saw similar movement, lagging 4.5 points behind Mr. Obama the month before he locked in the nomination, but essentially tying Mr. Obama roughly two weeks after clearing the field. Like Mr. McCain, Mr. Romney’s numbers declined about a month later.
While Mr. Trump is currently tied with Ms. Clinton, the Democratic race is ongoing and Mr. Trump’s standing may deteriorate after the June 7 primaries when it becomes apparent that the former Secretary of State has secured the Democratic nomination.