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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Clinton Opens Post-Convention Lead

Monday, August 08, 2016

Voters less optimistic, enthusiastic than at start of campaign

West Long Branch, NJ  - Hillary Clinton has taken a double digit lead over Donald Trump according to the latest Monmouth University Poll . This compares to the slim two point lead she held among likely voters just before the two major parties held their conventions.  Both candidates remain unpopular, but the Democrat has a growing advantage on being seen as more temperamentally suited for the presidency.  Still, Clinton's email use remains a problem for her, while voters are divided on the impact of Trump's attitude toward Russia.  The poll also found that voters are less optimistic and enthusiastic about the 2016 election than they were one year ago. 

Currently, 46% of registered voters support Clinton and 34% back Trump, with 7% supporting Libertarian Gary Johnson, and 2% backing Jill Stein of the Green Party.  Support among likely voters stands at 50% Clinton, 37% Trump, 7% Johnson, and 2% Stein.  In a poll taken days before the Republican convention in mid-July, Clinton held a narrow 43% to 40% lead among registered voters and a 45% to 43% lead among likely voters.

Clinton has solidified support among her partisan base since the conventions while Trump struggles to lock in his.  More than 9-in-10 Democrats (92%) say they will vote for Clinton, up from 88% in July and 85% in June.  Just 79% of Republicans are backing Trump, which is virtually unchanged from prior polls (81% in July and 79% in June).

Independents are divided between Trump (32%) and Clinton (30%).  In the Monmouth poll taken before the two parties' conventions Trump held a 40% to 31% lead among this group.  Johnson the Libertarian has picked up independent voter support in the past month, now at 16% (up from 9%) with this group, while the Green Party's Stein has remained stable at 4% (compared to 3% last month).

Importantly, Clinton continues to maintain a lead in the swing states - ten states that were decided by less than seven points in the 2012 election.  She holds a 42% to 34% edge over Trump in these states, which is similar to her 46% to 39% swing state lead last month.

"The dust is starting to settle on the tag-team conventions, with the net advantage going to Clinton," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Compared to Monmouth's pre-convention poll, voter opinion of Trump has declined slightly while more voters see Clinton as temperamentally fit to serve as president.  Specifically, Trump has a 26% favorable and 61% unfavorable rating, down from 31% favorable and 53% unfavorable last month.  Clinton's rating has remained fairly stable, registering 37% favorable and 49% unfavorable in the current poll compared with 34% favorable and 52% unfavorable in July.

Currently, only 27% of voters feel that Trump has the right temperament to be president (down from 32% in July) while 67% say he does not (up from 61%).  This contrasts with Clinton, who 61% of voters feel is temperamentally suited for the Oval Office (up from 52% in July), with just 34% saying she is not (down from 42%).

"Love her or hate her, and frankly most voters come closer to the latter sentiment, Clinton clearly tops Trump on the 'steady hand' test," said Murray.

Trump's relationship with Vladimir Putin has been the focus of some coverage in recent weeks, especially with reported Russian links to the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails.  Voters are divided on whether Trump may be too friendly toward Russia - 45% say they are concerned by this (including 32% who are concerned a lot and 13% a little) while 49% say it does not concern them.  The Clinton campaign has raised this issue in a recent web commercial.

Clinton's use of a private email server while Secretary of State continues to cast a cloud over her candidacy - 64% of voters say she has not been honest about it, which is up from 52% in October 2015.  On the other hand, 63% say they are tired of hearing about the email issue while just 34% say the media should continue to cover it.  These results are basically unchanged from Monmouth's poll last fall when her primary opponent Bernie Sanders also said he was tired of hearing about the emails.

"Clinton's email problem continues to dog her, but it's a negative that may have already maxed out its potential impact," said Murray.

The Monmouth University Poll  also found that voter optimism and enthusiasm have declined since the election got underway.  A majority of registered voters (55%) feel optimistic about electing a new president, but this marks a significant drop from 69% who felt that way in June 2015, just days before Trump formally entered the race.  Optimism has dropped among both Republicans (from 81% to 61%) and independents (from 60% to 40%), but has remained fairly steady among Democrats (from 70% to 67%).

More than twice as many voters say they feel less enthusiastic (46%) rather than more enthusiastic (21%) about 2016 compared to past elections, while 31% say they feel about the same level of enthusiasm as in past elections.  Just over a year ago, a majority (57%) said they had the same level of enthusiasm as prior presidential contests while about 1-in-5 each felt either less (22%) or more (21%) enthusiastic.

The poll also measured voter favorability of the third party candidates and the two major party vice presidential nominees.  About 8-in-10 voters have no opinion of either Johnson the Libertarian (78%) or Stein of the Green Party (85%).  Otherwise, Johnson earns a 15% favorable and 6% unfavorable rating while Stein gets an 8% favorable and 7% unfavorable rating.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine has a 31% favorable and 14% unfavorable rating, with 54% registering no opinion.  GOP nominee Mike Pence has a 33% favorable and 23% unfavorable rating, with 44% registering no opinion.  After Trump named the Indiana governor as his running mate last month, Pence held a 22% favorable and 14% unfavorable rating with 64% having no opinion.

Race and education - The white female college graduate factor  

Clinton continues to holds an overwhelming advantage among black, Hispanic, Asian and other voters of color (69% Clinton to 10% Trump), while Trump has a much smaller lead among non-Hispanic white voters (43% Trump to 38% Clinton).  Clinton's 59 point lead among non-white voters is nearly identical to Barack Obama's 58 point win with this group in 2012 (78% to 20%) according to the National Election Pool's exit poll.  However, Trump's 5 point lead among white voters is off the 20 point mark Mitt Romney set four years ago (59% to 39%).

The main factor behind the current GOP nominee's underperformance among white voters is his lack of support among white women with a college degree.  Trump holds sizable leads among white men without a college degree (31 points; 56% to 25%), white men with a college degree (11 points; 45% to 34%), and white women without a college degree (17 points; 49% to 32%).  These point spreads are similar to how Romney did with these groups in 2012 when he won white men without a college degree by 31 points (64% to 33%), white men with a college degree by 21 points (59% to 38%), and white women without a college degree by 20 points (59% to 39%).  Among white women with a college degree, though, Trump is actually trailing Clinton by 30 points (27% to 57%).  Romney narrowly won this group by 6 points in 2012 (52% to 46%).

The Monmouth University Poll  was conducted by telephone from August 4 to 7, 2016 with 803 registered voters in the United States.   The results in this release have a margin of error of +  3.5 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.)         

[ Q16-28 held for future release ]

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 ]

TREND: Registered voters  

(with leaners)  

August 2016  

July 2016

June 2016

March 2016

Donald Trump

34%  

40%

36%

34%

Hillary Clinton

46%  

43%

42%

42%

Gary Johnson

7%  

5%

9%

11%

Jill Stein

2%  

2%

4%

n/a  

(VOL) Other candidate

<1%  

2%

2%

1%

(VOL) Undecided

6%  

6%

4%

5%

(VOL) No one

4%  

4%

1%

7%

Unwtd N  

803  

805  

803  

848  

TREND: Likely voters  

(with leaners)  

August 2016  

July 2016

June 2016

March 2016

Donald Trump

37%  

43%

37%

n/a  

Hillary Clinton

50%  

45%

44%

n/a  

Gary Johnson

7%  

5%

9%

n/a  

Jill Stein

2%  

1%

4%

n/a  

(VOL) Other candidate

<1%  

2%

1%

n/a  

(VOL) Undecided

3%  

4%

3%

n/a  

(VOL) No one

0%  

0%

1%

n/a  

Unwtd N  

683  

688  

721  

n/a  

[ QUESTIONS 3 & 4 WERE ROTATED ]

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

TREND: Registered voters  

August 2016  

July 2016

June 2016

March 2016

October 2015

August 2015

June 2015

Favorable

26%  

31%

28%

30%

32%

31%

18%

Unfavorable

61%  

53%

57%

60%

50%

54%

57%

No opinion

14%  

16%

15%

11%

18%

14%

25%

Unwtd N  

803  

805  

803  

848  

836  

1,033  

829  

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

TREND: Registered voters  

August 2016  

July 2016

June 2016

March 2016

October 2015

August 2015

June 2015

Favorable

37%  

34%

36%

40%

41%

38%

41%

Unfavorable

49%  

52%

52%

51%

48%

48%

44%

No opinion

14%  

14%

13%

9%

11%

14%

14%

Unwtd N  

803  

805  

803  

848  

836  

1,033  

829  

[ QUESTIONS 5 & 6 WERE ROTATED ]

5.      Is your general impression of Gary Johnson favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of him?  

TREND: Registered voters  

August 2016  

Favorable

15%  

Unfavorable

6%  

No opinion

78%  

Unwtd N  

803  

6.      Is your general impression of Jill Stein favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of her?  

TREND: Registered voters  

August 2016  

Favorable

8%  

Unfavorable

7%  

No opinion

85%  

Unwtd N  

803  

Now, about the vice presidential candidates….

[ QUESTIONS 7 & 8 WERE ROTATED ]

7.      Is your general impression of Mike Pence favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of him?  

TREND: Registered voters  

August 2016  

July 2016

Favorable

33%  

22%

Unfavorable

23%  

14%

No opinion

44%  

64%

Unwtd N  

803  

805  

8.      Is your general impression of Tim Kaine favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of him?  

TREND: Registered voters  

August 2016  

Favorable

31%  

Unfavorable

14%  

No opinion

54%  

Unwtd N  

803  

9.      Thinking about the 2016 election, do you feel optimistic or pessimistic about electing a new president?

TREND: Registered voters  

August 2016  

June 2015

Optimistic

55%  

69%

Pessimistic

39%  

25%

(VOL) Neither

3%  

4%

(VOL) Don't know

3%  

2%

Unwtd N  

803  

829  

10.    Compared to past elections, are you more enthusiastic than usual, less enthusiastic, or about the same as past elections?

TREND: Registered voters  

August 2016  

June 2015

More enthusiastic

21%  

21%

Less enthusiastic

46%  

22%

About the same

31%  

57%

(VOL) Don't know

2%  

1%

Unwtd N  

803  

829  

[ QUESTIONS 11 & 12 WERE ROTATED ]

11.    Regardless of whether you would vote for him, do you think Donald Trump does or does not have the right temperament to be president?

TREND: Registered voters  

August 2016  

July 2016

March 2016

Does

27%  

32%

27%

Does not

67%  

61%

68%

(VOL) Don't know

5%  

6%

5%

Unwtd N  

803  

805  

848  

12.    Regardless of whether you would vote for her, do you think Hillary Clinton does or does not have the right temperament to be president?

TREND: Registered voters  

August 2016  

July 2016

March 2016

Does

61%  

52%

54%

Does not

34%  

42%

42%

(VOL) Don't know

5%  

5%

4%

Unwtd N  

803  

805  

848  

13.    Do you believe Hillary Clinton has been or has not been honest about how she handled using a personal email account during her time as Secretary of State?

TREND: Registered voters  

August 2016  

October 2015

Has been

27%  

36%

Has not been

64%  

52%

(VOL) Don't know

9%  

12%

Unwtd N  

803  

836  

14.    Are you tired of hearing about Clinton's emails or do you think this is something the media should continue to cover?

TREND: Registered voters  

August 2016  

October 2015

Tired of hearing

63%  

61%

Should continue to cover

34%  

34%

(VOL) Don't know

3%  

5%

Unwtd N  

803  

836  

15.    Are you concerned or not concerned that Donald Trump would be too friendly toward Russia?  [ IF CONCERNED: Is that a lot or a little concerned?]

TREND: Registered voters  

August 2016  

Concerned, a lot

32%  

Concerned, a little

13%  

Not concerned

49%  

(VOL) Don't know

6%  

Unwtd N  

803  

METHODOLOGY  

The Monmouth University Poll  was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from August 4 to 7, 2016 with a national random sample of 803 registered voters.  Interviews were conducted by a live caller in English, including 402 drawn from a list of registered voters (200 landline / 202 cell phone) and 401 using random digit dial (200 landline / 201 cell phone). 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 3.5 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.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)  

26% Republican  

39% Independent  

35% Democrat  

   

47% Male  

53% Female  

   

25% 18-34  

25% 35-49  

28% 50-64  

21% 65+  

   

71% White  

13% Black  

11% Hispanic  

  5% Asian/Other  

   

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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