Although I don’t put much stock in polls this far out from the actual election, I thought I would report the latest USA Today poll. The significance of this poll is not so much its results, but its change since their previous poll in May. It reveals that Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump has dropped to 5 points, 45.6% to 40.4%. Clinton had led Trump by 11 points in May, 50% to 39%. Her lead drops even further, to four points (39%-35%), when third-party candidates Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Jill Stein (Green) are added in.
The poll was conducted among 1,000 likely voters, with a margin of error of 3%.
USA Today reports:
Democrat Hillary Clinton’s lead over Republican Donald Trump has narrowed to five percentage points, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds, in a groundbreaking presidential election that is sparking feelings of alarm for most voters.
The nationwide survey shows a sharply polarized electorate that believes the country is headed in the wrong direction, feels less safe living in the United States than they used to, and gives negative ratings to the both presidential candidates.
Sixty-one percent report feeling alarmed about the election, swamping the 23% who are excited. Few are bored: Just 9%.
“I can appreciate how it might be desirable to have someone that is outside the political realm bringing a new perspective, but at the same time the complete lack of electoral experience is scary,” Gurleen Chadha, 23, a medical student from Los Angeles, said of Trump in a follow-up phone interview after being polled. She’s supporting Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee.
On the other hand, Michael Perrotta, 48, an account executive for a trucking firm on Long Island, worries about Clinton’s integrity. “She has a lot of investigations, and it’s a little questionable,” he said. He’s backing the presumptive Republican nominee. “I am sure Donald Trump is no angel, but he doesn’t have that special-interest thing.”
Clinton now leads Trump by five percentage points, 45.6% to 40.4% (Rounding would make the lead six points.) That’s closer than two months ago, when she led in the USA TODAY survey by double digits, 50%-39%. Since the poll last spring, both candidates have consolidated their claims to their parties’ nominations but neither has seen a significant bump in his or her standing. Indeed, Clinton’s support has dropped by almost five points.
When Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are added to the list of options, Clinton’s lead over Trump drops to four points, 39%-35%. Johnson is backed by 8%, Stein by 3%.
“On one side, you have Hillary, who is being investigated by the FBI, and then you have Donald Trump, who has diarrhea of the mouth,” said Jay Brooks, 31, an engineer from Huntsville, Ala. “I don’t think either of them are electable or would be a good president.”
Brooks backs Johnson, but the third-party contenders face an uphill campaign despite expectations they will be on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed have never heard of the Libertarian candidate; 59% have never heard of the Green Party candidate.
The poll of 1,000 likely voters, taken by landline and cell phones from June 26 to 29, has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Clinton commands more positive allegiance than Trump. By more than 3-1, 74% to 22%, Clinton supporters say they are mostly voting for her, not against him. Trump’s backers are more evenly divided on their motivation: 48% are mostly voting for him; 39% are mostly voting against her.
Still, Trump supporters are a bit more likely to say they’re “excited” about the election, 27% compared with 24%. Clinton supporters are a bit more likely to say they’re “alarmed,” 62% to 56%.
And those in both camps vow their views are set in stone: More than nine of 10 of Clinton supporters and of Trump supporters say there is no chance they would switch to the other side. Just 12% of those surveyed are undecided, a smaller percentage than in the Suffolk Poll taken during the summer of the presidential race four years ago.
In the survey, 53% have an unfavorable opinion of Clinton; 60% have an unfavorable opinion of Trump. Nearly one in five respondents hold a negative view of them both — a swing group whose lesser-of-two-evils choice could determine the outcome of a competitive election, says David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.