Hillary Clinton holding a small, but not statistically significant, lead over Donald Trump.
R. Kelly Myers
Marlin Fitzwater Fellow, Franklin Pierce University
Portsmouth, NH. – Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton remain competitively matched less than four months from Election Day. Hillary Clinton (44%) appears to have a slim edge over Donald Trump (41%) in the popular vote, but the difference is not statistically significant.
These results are based on a recent Franklin Pierce University / Boston Herald Poll conducted by RKM Research, July 12-16, 2016. The survey is based on responses from 1,007 randomly selected likely voters. Interviews were conducted by landline and cellular telephone. The sampling margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.
Donald Trump receives a favorable rating of 38 percent, and an unfavorable rating of 58 percent. Likewise, Hillary Clinton receives a favorable rating of 42 percent, and an unfavorable rating of 53 percent.
Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders, receives a higher favorable rating (54%), and lower unfavorable rating (38%), than either Clinton or Trump.
The unpopularity of the two leading presidential candidates is exacerbated by the intensity of voter sentiment. One-half of voters (50%) hold very unfavorable views of Donald Trump. Similarly, Clinton is viewed very unfavorably by 44 percent of voters.
These results underscore the intensity of voter dissatisfaction with the two leading contenders for the presidency.
When asked whether they approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president, 53 percent said that they approve of his job performance, while 45 percent disapprove.
As expected, voters split down party lines. Eighty-six percent of Democrats strongly (59%) or moderately (27%) approve, compared to just 14 percent of Republicans. The vast majority of Republican voters strongly disapprove (67%) of the way he is handling his job as president.
If the election were held today, voters are most likely to vote for Hillary Clinton (44%) or Donald Trump (41%). Few voters said that they would vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson (former Governor of New Mexico) (7%), Green Party candidate Jill Stein (2%) or some other candidate (3%). Only three percent of voters remain unsure who they would vote for if the election were held today.
The margin of difference between Clinton and Trump is just 2.6 points, well within the margin of sampling error of the poll.
At this stage in the race, support for both candidates is firming up. Only 27 percent of Clinton supporters, and 22 percent of Trump supporters, said that they could change their mind between now and Election Day.
Clinton voters were asked whether they intend to vote for her more because they support her and her ideas, or more because they oppose Donald Trump. Only a little over one-half of Clinton voters would vote for her because they support her and her ideas (55%). A solid 42 percent of Clinton voters support her candidacy because they are opposed to Donald Trump.
Trump voters were asked whether they intend to vote for him more because they support him and his ideas, or more because they oppose Hillary Clinton. Similar to Clinton, just over one-half of Trump voters would vote for him because they support him and his ideas (53%). A solid 43 percent of Trump voters support his candidacy because they are opposed to Hillary Clinton.
Eighty percent of voters said that the fact Bernie Sanders has dropped out and endorsed Hillary Clinton has no effect on whether or not they will vote for her. Fifteen percent said that the endorsement makes it more likely they will support her, while four percent said it makes it less likely.
Nine percent of voters said that they are less likely to support Hillary Clinton if she chooses Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren as her Vice Presidential running mate. Seventy-seven percent said it would have no effect, while 12 percent said it would make them more likely to support her.
In a hypothetical scenario in which Elizabeth Warren were the Democratic nominee for President instead of Hillary Clinton, voters were asked which candidate they would be most likely to vote for. The results indicate that Warren would make a stronger Democratic candidate than Clinton. Forty-seven percent of voters would vote for Warren, while Trump would receive 40 percent of the vote.
Former Massachusetts Governor William “Bill” Weld does not appear to bring much to Gary Johnson’s candidacy. Ninety percent of voters said that the fact that Gary Johnson selected Bill Weld to be his running mate has no effect on whether or not they will vote for him. Only two percent said that the selection makes it more likely they will support him, while two percent said it makes it less likely.
Voters were asked how likely it is that Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would do a good job improving the divisions in American politics and unifying the American people if elected. In general, voters are skeptical that either candidate would do a good job at this task, with large proportions saying it is unlikely that either Clinton (55%) or Trump (60%) would do a good job improving the divisions in American politics and unifying the American people.
Voters were read a list of 20 issues and asked to identify the three most important topics in deciding who to support in this year’s elections. Democrats (30%), Independents (32%) and Republicans (35%) agree that the economy is a top priority.
Among Democrats, the other most important issues are education (32%), income inequality (27%) and gun control (25%).
Among Republicans, the other most important issues are terrorism (28%) and dealing with the situation with ISIS (23%). Republican voters are somewhat more concerned about immigration (19%) and a general dissatisfaction with government (18%).
The results outlined in this report are based on a survey conducted by RKM Research on behalf of Franklin Pierce University and the Boston Herald. All interviews were conducted by paid, trained and professionally supervised interviewers.
The survey is based on a probabilistic sample of 1,007 likely voters in the United States. Interviews were conducted by landline and cellular telephone, July 12-16, 2016. The sampling margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.
The data are weighted to adjust for probability of selection, respondent gender, respondent age and region of the US. The four regions of the country as reported in this poll are:
East: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and District of Columbia.
Mid-West: Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.
South: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas
West: Montana, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, California, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii and Washington.
In addition to sampling error, all surveys have other potential sources of non-sampling error including question wording effects, question order effects and non-response.