PPP’s newest Pennsylvania poll, conducted entirely after the Democratic convention, finds Hillary Clinton with a narrow lead in the state. She’s at 45% to 42% for Donald Trump, 4% for Gary Johnson, and 2% for Jill Stein. In a head to head match up just with Trump she leads by 4 points at 49-45.
Both polls- in Pennsylvania and nationally- PPP has done since the Democratic convention basically suggest that the race is back where it was in June. In late June we had Clinton up 46-42 on Trump head to head in Pennsylvania and 48-44 nationally. Clinton now leads 49-45 in Pennsylvania and 50-45 nationally so it appears everything that happened in the month of July had minimal effect on the margins between Clinton and Trump, it just helped move some undecided partisans skeptical of their party’s nominees off the fence and toward the candidates they likely would have ended up with anyway.
Hillary Clinton’s seen a decent improvement in her image over the last couple months in Pennsylvania. At the beginning of June she had a -21 net favorability rating in the state at 35/56, and that’s now improved 8 points to -13 at 40/53. Like we saw nationally Trump’s had an improvement in his numbers too but it’s not as good as Clinton’s- he was at -25 at 34/59 in early June and has now shifted up to -20 at 36/56 for a net 5 point improvement.
We’ve done three public polls in the last 10 days and they all tell the same story when it comes to undecideds: they’re Democratic leaning voters who still just don’t like Hillary Clinton. In Pennsylvania the undecideds would prefer Barack Obama as President to Donald Trump by 30 points, nationally the undecideds would prefer Obama to Trump by 49 points, and in Ohio the undecideds would prefer Obama to Trump by 30 points. It’s clear the undecideds prefer the current direction of the country to the vastly different one Trump is offering. And the pool of voters who continue to be undecided like Bernie Sanders- he has a 38/27 favorability rating with them in Pennsylvania and a 70/18 one nationally. These folks certainly don’t like Trump- a 5/58 favorability rating in Pennsylvania, a 2/89 one nationally, and a 5/71 one in Ohio. But they don’t like Clinton either- a 5/64 favorability in Pennsylvania, a 4/83 one nationally, and an 8/64 one in Ohio. The convention didn’t immediately fix that, and it remains to be seen if having Obama and Sanders as strong surrogates for her can on the campaign trail. Overall voters would rather have another term of Obama than Trump 51/44, so Obama and Clinton just have to work together to get the holdouts who like the country’s current path in her column.
The Democratic convention in Philadelphia is generally viewed by voters in Pennsylvania as having gone well- 48% rate it to have been a success, compared to 38% who call it a failure. The Democratic Party as a whole emerges from the convention with an image that’s a net 15 points better than the Republicans. Voters don’t love Democrats- their favorability is a -5 spread at 44/49- but it’s a lot better than the GOP’s -20 standing at 34/54. The DNC also helps to identify the most effective surrogates for Democrats- Michelle Obama (54/38) and Joe Biden (52/35) fare best with Bill Clinton (47/43), Sanders (46/40), and Chelsea Clinton (41/29) all sporting positive images that should be helpful to Clinton on the campaign trail as well.
The Pennsylvania numbers provide more evidence of how much trouble Trump’s attitude towards Russia could hurt him. Vladimir Putin has an 8/70 favorability rating with Pennsylvanians, and Russia as a whole comes in at 12/54. By a 43 point margin voters say they’re less likely to vote for a candidate if it’s perceived Russia is interfering with the election to try to help them, and by a 23 point margin they say they’re less likely to vote for a candidate seen as being friendly toward Russia.
The tax return issue will also continue to dog Trump like a dog. 64% of voters think he needs to release his taxes to only 21% who don’t think he needs to. Democrats (84/7) and independents (59/21) are pretty united in saying Trump has to release his returns and even a plurality of Republicans (42/36) think he needs to as well.
Full results here