Presidential Race Shaping Up Similarly to 2012

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s newest national poll continues to find the Presidential race shaping up pretty similarly to how the 2012 contest played out, with Hillary Clinton holding a 4 point lead that matches Barack Obama’s final margin of victory last time around. Clinton leads with 45% to 41% for Donald Trump with Gary Johnson at 5% and Jill Stein at 2%. The third party candidates are drawing their support equally from Clinton and Trump, and in a head to head contest Clinton’s lead remains 4 points at 48/44. 

The race is shaping up pretty much as you would expect along demographic lines. Clinton leads 51/36 with women, 82/13 with Hispanics, 91/5 with African Americans, and 57/28 with young voters. Trump leads 48/37 with men, 51/32 with whites, and 51/36 with seniors. Clinton has a 39/35 advantage with independents. Trump’s actually getting more crossover support with 10% of Democrats to Clinton’s 7% of Republicans. That’s partially because of some Bernie Sanders fans continuing to hold out from giving their support to Clinton- among Democrats and independents with a favorable opinion of Sanders 79% are voting for Clinton to 7% for Trump, 3% for Stein, and 2% for Johnson with 9% remaining undecided. If Clinton could even win over just half of those folks her support would go up to 49% and give her an 8 point lead.

Donald Trump’s a below average Republican candidate, but that doesn’t mean the party’s voters have any desire to ditch him as the nominee. On the generic Presidential ballot a Democrat leads a Republican just 45/44. Given Clinton’s 45/41 lead she’s getting the level of support you would expect the Democratic candidate to have, while Trump is performing 3 points below that threshold. Nevertheless Trump has a 71/20 favorability rating with Republican voters, and 67% still say they want him to be the party’s nominee to only 24% who say they’d prefer to see him replaced with someone else. Our national poll in early May found 72% of Republicans were ‘comfortable’ with Trump as their candidate to 21% who said they weren’t so despite everything that’s happened over the last 7 weeks there’s been only a nominal increase in Republicans wanting to drop Trump.

Trump’s made a lot of comments about voters being ready to be done with President Obama but we find that if voters got to pick between the two 52% would rather have Obama as President to just 43% for Trump. Those numbers show why it’s smart for Clinton to tie herself closely to Obama- if she’s seen as a continuation of the current administration that helps her a good deal in relation to Trump rather than hurting her. Among voters who are undecided or supporting a third party candidate right now 43% would rather have Obama as President to only 22% for Trump so if those folks end up voting that way in November it would give Clinton a 2 or 3 point boost relative to her current lead. 

It’s a simple reality that both of this year’s Presidential candidates are unpopular. Clinton’s favorability is 39/54, and Trump is even worse off at 35/58. This has given rise to the ‘Giant Meteor for President’ movement, and we find that the Meteor would poll at 13%- far more support than the third party candidates actually on the ballot- with Clinton at 43% and Trump at 38%. The Meteor is particularly appealing to independent voters, functionally in a three way tie at 27% to 35% for Clinton and 31% for Trump. Maybe that’s who the Libertarians should have nominated.

Beyond the Presidential race the other big story of the last week has been the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union. By a 38/33 spread voters say they agree with the decision to exit. That’s largely because among voters with a favorable opinion of Trump there’s 68/14 support for how the Brexit vote played out. By contrast voters with an unfavorable opinion of Trump oppose it 19/48 but what’s particularly telling is that among Trump fans only 18% of voters have no opinion about the UK vote, while among voters who don’t like Trump 34% have no opinion. That’s another example of what we’ve continually found to be a cult like aspect to Trump’s followers. Whatever he says they just tend to go along with. 

As long as we were on the topic of leaving things we also polled on the ideas of the US leaving the UN, and of Texas seceding. Only 30% of voters would support the US leaving the UN to 49% who are opposed to that concept and 21% who have no opinion one way or the other. This is another issue where to the extent there is a movement to leave, it’s coming from people who like Trump- 52% of them support pulling out of the UN to 28% opposed to that. Only 16% of voters who don’t like Trump support leaving, to 66% who are against that. 

On the issue of Texas secession 24% of voters support it leaving the country to 63% who are opposed. That movement is being driven more by liberal voters who would like to be done with Texas than conservative voters who would like Texas to be done with the US though. Among those describing themselves as ‘very liberal,’ 43% support Texas leaving to be its own country to just 53% who are opposed to that. By contrast there’s only 25% support for Texas secession among ‘very conservative’ voters with 62% opposed to it.

Full results here

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