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Clinton Holds Labor Day Edge

According to the latest Labor Day poll, Hillary Clinton holds a 3.9 percent lead over Donald Trump.

The Hill reports:

Generally seen as the time voters start paying attention, Labor Day marks the point where presidential campaigns kick efforts into high gear.

While races regularly tighten down the stretch, historical data shows that the candidate leading on Labor Day went on to win in almost every election over the past half-century.

But even with history in her corner, Clinton’s lead according to the RealClearPolitics average is far from safe. The Trump phenomenon has consistently confounded pollsters, so if there’s one candidate who could make history, it’s him.

With Labor Day rolling around, here’s a snapshot of where recent races stood at the time and how those elections ultimately resolved.

2012: Romney ties – briefly 

Until Labor Day, President Obama had been ahead at the polls for the entire election, according to RealClearPolitics. Mitt Romney pulled the race into an effective tie in the RCP average by the holiday, which came soon after his convention. But Obama quickly took back control of the lead the next day.

2008: Obama leads

Obama came into the holiday with a 5-point lead in the RCP polling and an 8-point lead in Gallup polling. McCain briefly took over with a bounce from the GOP convention, which started on Labor Day, but Obama retook the lead for good just two weeks later.

2004: Bush turns it around

Both President George W. Bush and John Kerryplayed tug-of-war for the bulk of the race, but Bush took the lead for good at the end of August. By Labor Day, he had opened up a 6-point lead following his convention, and didn’t look back.

2000: Gore breaks the mold

In one of the few exceptions to the Labor Day rule, Vice President Al Gore opened September with a slim, 3-point lead over Bush in Gallup’s holiday poll. This race, of course, became one of the closest in modern history with Bush prevailing after confusion in Florida.

1996: Clinton coasts

Despite the initial souring on President Clinton, he never appeared to be in serious risk of losingthe White House as far as polling went. Clinton led Bob Dole by 17 points in the Gallup Labor Day poll.

1992: The challenger creeps ahead

In his first fight for the White House, Clinton came into Labor Day with a 9-point Gallup polling lead over President George H.W. Bush. The Democrat first grabbed hold of that lead in mid-July and remained ahead through the rest of the cycle.

1988: Bush rides into Labor Day on top 

George H.W. Bush led Michael Dukakis on Labor Day by an 8-point margin in Gallup’s poll, a lead he wouldn’t relinquish. But Bush may have received a little help—just one week after the holiday, Dukakis took what became an ill-fated trip to a Michigan tank plant where he wore an oversized helmet and looked out of his element rather than more presidential.

1984: The Gipper trends toward blowout

This election was one of the largest blowouts in modern history, and the writing was on the wall by Labor Day. President Ronald Reagan led Walter Mondale by 15 points by Labor Day and ultimately won by 18.

1980: Reagan breaks the mold

This election is the other exception to the rule—Reagan trailed President Jimmy Carter by 4 points in Gallup’s poll, but came back to win by a 10-point margin.

Previous elections hold to trend

Just about every other election since Gallup began poling in 1936 has followed this trend. The only two exceptions were John F. Kennedy, who trailed Richard Nixon by 1 point coming into Labor Day, and Harry Truman, whose tight race against Thomas Dewey prompted the infamous headline proclaiming a Dewey victory.

Photo credit: Raw Story.

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