Clinton Image Improves Following Conventions; Leads Trump by 5

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s new national poll, taken completely after both party’s conventions, finds that Hillary Clinton emerged with a much more positive image than she had a month ago. Donald Trump meanwhile is just as unpopular as he was before the conventions.

Clinton’s net favorability improved by 9 points over the last month. She’s still not popular, with a -6 net favorability at 45/51, but it’s a good deal better than the -15 spread she had at 39/54 a month ago. The gains are particularly attributable to Democrats increasing in their enthusiasm for her, going from giving her a 76/15 rating to an 83/12 one. Trump, on the other hand, is at a -22 net favorability with 36% of voters seeing him favorably to 58% with a negative one. That’s barely changed at all from the 35/58 standing we found for him in late June.

Clinton leads the race with 46% to 41% for Trump, with Gary Johnson at 6% and Jill Stein at 2%. In a head to head just between Clinton and Trump, Clinton hits 50% and leads Trump 50-45. A month ago Clinton led 45-41 in the full field contest and 48-44 in the head to head so there hasn’t been much change. But not much change is good news for Clinton. We’ve been writing for months that this race is shaping up pretty similarly both nationally and at the state level to the margins Barack Obama won by in 2012- not a huge landslide by any means, but a solid victory. The conventions have passed without any change to that big picture, and that leaves Clinton as the favorite going into the final three months.

It’s also important to note that most of the remaining undecided pool is very Democratic leaning. They give Barack Obama a 55/33 approval rating, and they’d rather have him as President than Trump by a 59/10 spread. If they ended up voting for Clinton and Trump by those proportions, it would push Clinton’s lead up from 5 points to 8. But they don’t like Clinton (a 4/83 favorability) or Trump (a 2/89 favorability). A lot of these folks are disaffected Bernie Sanders voters, and even after the successful convention this week they’re still not sold on Clinton yet. She and her surrogates will have to keep working to try to win those folks over and if they can the election enters landslide territory.

Democrats are coming out of their convention with the public having a much better view of their party (45/48 favorability) than the Republicans (38/55 favorability). By a 50/40 margin voters say they see the Democratic convention as having been more of a success than a failure, and the major speakers from the convention generally have a positive image with voters. Michelle Obama is the most popular with a 56/39 favorability rating, followed by Joe Biden at 50/39, Bill Clinton at 48/45, and Chelsea Clinton at 45/31. Barack Obama has a 50/47 approval rating, and voters say by a 53/44 spread that they’d rather have him as President than Trump- that metric suggests the possibility for Clinton to grow her lead further if she’s able to win over some of those folks who prefer Obama over Trump but aren’t with her yet.

The Vladimir Putin/Russia issue has the potential to cause Donald Trump a lot of problems in the weeks ahead. Only 7% of Americans view Putin favorably to 69% with a negative opinion and only 14% see Russia as a whole favorably to 52% with a negative view. By a 47 point margin- 5% more likely, 52% less likely- voters say they’re less likely to vote for a candidate if it’s perceived Russia is interfering in the election to try to help them. And by a 26 point margin- 9% more likely, 35% less likely- they’re less likely to vote for a candidate seen as being friendly toward Russia. If Democrats can effectively leverage this issue in the weeks ahead it has the potential to help turn this into a more lopsided race.

Also problematic for Trump is that the issue of him releasing his tax returns isn’t going anywhere. 62% of voters think he needs to release them to only 23% who think it’s not necessary. That includes Democrats (85/8) and independents (60/22) overwhelmingly thinking Trump needs to release them and Republicans (37/43) being pretty evenly split on the issue.

This election is never likely to turn out to be the sort of landslide for Clinton that some expected a year or 6 months ago because Trump voters just hate Clinton too much for that to ever happen. For instance on this poll we find that 74% of Trump voters think Clinton should be in prison, to only 12% who disagree. By a 66/22 margin they say Clinton is a bigger threat to the United States than Russia. And 33% think Clinton even has ties to Lucifer, to 36% who say they don’t think so, and 31% who are unsure either way. Against that set of findings it’s simply not very likely that many Trump voters will be moving into the Clinton column and that’s why although she’s certainly the favorite the chances of her winning a double digit victory are pretty minimal.

Full results here

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