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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Clinton Has Smaller Lead; McGinty Ahead in Senate Race

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

West Long Branch, NJ  - Hillary Clinton maintains the lead in Pennsylvania, although by a smaller margin than one month ago.  The Monmouth University Poll  finds she currently has a 4 point edge over Donald Trump, which is down from a 10 point lead in October and an 8 point lead in August.  In the race for U.S. Senate, Democratic challenger Katie McGinty has pulled ahead of GOP incumbent Pat Toomey by 3 points.  The race was tied last month, while McGinty had a 4 point lead in the summer.

Among Keystone State voters likely to cast ballots in November's presidential election, 48% currently support Clinton and 44% back Trump.  Another 3% intend to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson and 1% back Jill Stein of the Green Party.  This marks a narrowing of Clinton's 50% to 40% lead from one month ago and her late August advantage of 48% to 40% over Trump.

"Clinton is still in the lead, but the race has tightened in the past four weeks. It looks like this shift was in the works even before Friday's FBI bombshell, which has made only a small contribution to this overall narrowing," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The poll was conducted after news broke about the FBI investigation of new emails during Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State.  Only 4% of Pennsylvania voters say this news caused them to change their minds about which candidate they would support.  The vast majority (89%) say these latest developments have had no impact on their vote and 6% are unaware of the news.  Among those who changed their vote, Trump has less than a 2:1 advantage, meaning the overall presidential vote margin shifted by no more than one percentage point specifically due to this breaking news.

The Republican nominee has regained some support among white voters, mainly among women, since October.  He currently leads among all white voters by 50% to 43%, which is similar to his 48% to 39% advantage back in August.  However, the white vote was divided at 46% for Trump and 45% for Clinton just one month ago.  Trump trails among white women 45% to 48% for Clinton, but this is much improved from his 35% to 55% deficit with this group last month.  Trump continues to hold a large advantage among white men - 55% to 37%, compared with 57% to 35% in October.

Clinton leads among non-white voters by 83% to 9%.  This is slightly lower than her 88% to 5% lead among this group in October and her 90% to 5% lead in August.  These differences, however, are within the survey's margin of error.

Philadelphia and its suburbs are where Pennsylvania statewide races tend to be won or lost.  Clinton continues to do very well in the southeastern corner of the state.  She leads Trump by a 62% to 29% margin in the seven congressional districts that encompass the city of Philadelphia and its adjacent suburbs. This is nearly identical to her October lead of 62% to 30% and her August lead of 62% to 29%.

Trump's improved performance has been driven by significant gains in the western portion of the state, where he now has a substantial 54% to 38% lead over Clinton.  Last month, Clinton actually had a very narrow edge of 45% to 42% in western Pennsylvania, whereas Trump held a 47% to 40% lead here in August.  Trump continues to hold an advantage of 56% to 40% in the northeastern and central part of the state, which is similar to his 55% to 38% lead last month and slightly off his 58% to 28% lead in this region in August. 

The poll also found that Clinton's favorability rating has ticked down in the last month while Trump's rating has ticked up. Fewer than 4-in-10 Pennsylvania voters (36%) have a favorable opinion of Clinton while 53% hold an unfavorable view of her.  This compares with a 41% favorable and 48% unfavorable rating in October.  Only 32% have a favorable opinion of Trump while 54% hold an unfavorable view of him, but this is better than his October rating of 27% favorable and 60% unfavorable.

Turning to the U.S. Senate race, former state official Katie McGinty now leads GOP incumbent Pat Toomey by 47% to 44%, with another 3% of Keystone State voters supporting Libertarian Edward Clifford.  The race was tied at 46% for each major party nominee last month, while McGinty had a 45% to 41% lead in August.

McGinty has made gains in the southeastern part of the state, now holding a 57% to 34% lead in this region compared with a narrower 49% to 42% margin last month.  Toomey has a lead of 54% to 40% in the eastern and central portion of the state, identical to his 54% to 40% lead in October.  The Republican has gained some strength in the western part of the state where Toomey now leads McGinty by 48% to 40%.  The two candidates were actually tied at 45% each in this region one month ago.

Toomey continues to get mixed job ratings from his constituents - 40% approve and 37% disapprove of his performance as U.S. Senator.  His job rating was 42% approve to 38% disapprove in October and 43% approve to 35% disapprove in August.

Voters are divided on their personal opinion of both candidates.  Toomey has a 31% favorable and 30% unfavorable rating, which is practically the same as his 32% favorable and 30% unfavorable rating last month.  McGinty has a 27% favorable and 28% unfavorable rating, which is essentially the same as her 27% favorable and 29% unfavorable rating last month.

The Monmouth University Poll  was conducted by telephone from October 29 to November 1, 2016 with 403 Pennsylvania residents likely to vote in the November election.  This sample has a margin of error of ± 4.9 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS                                                               

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)         

1/2.      If the election for President was today, would you vote for Donald Trump the Republican, Hillary Clinton the Democrat, Gary Johnson the Libertarian, or Jill Stein of the Green Party?

[ IF UNDECIDED: If you had to vote for one of the following candidates at this moment, who do you lean toward - Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?] [ NAMES WERE ROTATED ]

44%     Donald Trump

48%     Hillary Clinton

  3%     Gary Johnson

  1%     Jill Stein

<1%     (VOL) Other candidate

  3%     (VOL) Undecided

3.        If the election for U.S. Senate was today, would you vote for Pat Toomey the Republican, Katie McGinty the Democrat, or Edward Clifford the Libertarian? [ IF UNDECIDED: If you had to vote for one of the following candidates at this moment, who do you lean toward - Pat Toomey or Katie McGinty?] [ NAMES WERE ROTATED ]

44%     Pat Toomey

47%     Katie McGinty

  3%     Edward Clifford

  0%     (VOL) Other candidate

  6%     (VOL) Undecided

Regardless of who you may support…


4.      Is your general impression of Donald Trump favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of him?  

32%     Favorable

54%     Unfavorable

14%     No opinion

5.      Is your general impression of Hillary Clinton favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of her?  

36%     Favorable

53%     Unfavorable

11%     No opinion


6.      Is your general impression of Pat Toomey favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of him?  

31%     Favorable

30%     Unfavorable

39%     No opinion

7.      Is your general impression of Katie McGinty favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of her?  

27%     Favorable

28%     Unfavorable

45%     No opinion

8.      Do you approve or disapprove of the job Pat Toomey is doing as U.S. senator?

40%     Approve

37%     Disapprove

23%     (VOL) No opinion

9.      Have you read or heard about Friday's news that the FBI is now looking into newly discovered emails from Hillary Clinton's time as Secretary of State, or have you not heard about this recent news? 

94%     Yes, heard

  6%     Not heard

10.    Has this recent news changed your mind about who you will vote for in the presidential election, or has it not really changed your vote choice?

  4%     Changed mind about vote

89%     Not really changed vote choice

  1%     (VOL) Don't know

  6%       Not heard  


The Monmouth University Poll  was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from October 29 to November 1, 2016 with a random sample of 403 likely Pennsylvania voters.  Interviews were conducted by a live caller in English, including 353 drawn from a list of registered voters (203 landline / 150 cell phone) and a random digit dial supplement of 50 cell phone interviews.  Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The final sample is weighted for age, gender, race and partisanship based on voter list and U.S. Census information.  Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field), Aristotle (voter list sample), and SSI (RDD sample).  For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design).  Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below).  In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.  

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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