Trump's numbers in a hypothetical (and much less likely) match-up against Bernie Sanders aren't much worse. Sanders maintains a 4-point lead -- just outside the margin of error -- but Trump's gained 10 points against the Vermont senator since last month. The big swing among independents against Clinton means that Trump now leads her with that group by 16. Independents still favor Sanders, but by only 8 points instead of the 20-point lead he enjoyed in April.
Notice that Democrats are more likely to favor the Democratic candidate above than Republicans are to favor Trump. In the new poll, 83 percent of Democrats back Clinton to 82 percent of Republicans who back Trump. (For Sanders, those figures are 82 and 80, respectively.) But Sanders's lead with independents -- and the 12 percent of the Republican vote he earns -- are why he does slightly better than Clinton in this match-up.
We pointed out last week that Trump's unfavorable numbers would look much more like Clinton's if Republicans embraced him the way that Democrats have her. In Fox's poll, Trump is viewed positively by 72 percent of Republicans -- just shy of the 74 percent of Democrats who view Clinton positively. Independents, though, have a much more negative view of Clinton, driving her net favorability to minus-24. Trump's is-15 -- and he leads in the polls.
For kicks, Fox included a question about a three-way match-up with libertarian Gary Johnson in the mix. Johnson pulls 10 percent against Trump and Clinton -- apparently from both equally. (He gets more support from independents than from anyone.) That should serve as a reminder that this is a very early poll; if you ask people which of three people they want to vote for between someone they know they don't like, someone else they know they don't like and someone they've never really heard of, a lot of people will choose Door No. 3.
Don't get me wrong: This poll should and will alarm Democrats and the Clinton campaign. A big reason for that is that the Real Clear Politics polling average has shown an increasingly close race between the two, based in part on less-well-known polling firms. Fox News has a well-known and respected bipartisan pollster that now shows Trump's first lead over Clinton since right after the New Hampshire primary.
(A big caveat: Fox has also shown Trump leading Clinton consistently, while other pollsters haven't. Of the last six polls showing a Trump lead, going back to October, four have been from Fox.)
Trump benefits from the still-split Democratic base, and we can expect to see Clinton's numbers improve as wavering Sanders-backing independents come back into the fold (though the extent to which that will shift things remains to be seen). The consolidated Republican base is probably why Trump improved against both Sanders and Clinton by about the same amount. When the Democrats consolidate, there should be an effect in the other direction.
Trump still does poorly among Hispanics (Clinton beats him by 39) and women (she beats him by 14). He does badly with voters under 35 (Clinton is up 11) and with blacks (Clinton up 83). But he still has a lead. The idea that his terrible favorability numbers would kill his candidacy seem, right at this moment, to have been a bit premature.
But, you know...