Why the polls right now are deceptive
The race is going to look very different once Hillary has put her divisive intra-party fight with Bernie Sanders behind her. Once Bernie is on board, even without a conservative third party Hillary's lead will begin to grow.
This is a remarkable election year, in that both parties have nominated their weakest possible candidates. I have to agree that Clinton's own high negative numbers will probably prevent her from burying Trump in the kind of landslide he would be crushed by in a normal year. Still, it's important to remember that despite Hillary's high negatives, Trump's are an order of magnitude higher.
I still do not believe that even in the best case scenario for Trump he has any chance at all of being elected. I do not believe that the Obama administration will allow the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to be indicted, so that won't be an issue; even if she were, it would probably only level the playing field a bit. Trump's own erratic personality and flair for the outrageous will prevent him from making the race competitive down the stretch.
The bottom line, as Cook observes, is that this is not the same electorate that gave Trump a plurality of the votes in the Republican primaries and handed him the nomination. The general election will be conducted among voters who are by and large angry about different things, and shade much farther to the Left than the Republican primary voters did. And there are, as Cook points out, more Democrats than Republicans. Among independents, Hillary leads by something like four-to-one.
Ok, so it won't be McGovern or Goldwater- though it should be. But it's not going to be close, either. Lindsey Graham's observation that "dishonest beats crazy" still holds. It's even truer that dishonest beats crazy and dishonest- and Trump may be the most shameless liar nominated in my lifetime. He even outlies Hillary.
This is a campaign which will disgust the voters. But they're going to be even more disgusted by Il Duce than by the proven security risk he's running against.