Poll: Clinton tops Trump, but neither prompts excitement

Story highlights

  • Clinton holds an edge over Trump on foreign policy, immigration, trade
  • Fewer than 3-in-10 are excited about either candidate

(CNN)Democrat Hillary Clinton tops Republican Donald Trump by a 47% to 42% margin in the race for the presidency, according to a CNN/ORC Poll released Tuesday, and just 22% of registered voters say their minds could change between now and November.

Clinton continues to lead Trump when Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party are included in the list of options. Nationwide in that match-up, Clinton holds 42%, Trump 38%, Johnson 9% and Stein 7%.
    Neither Johnson nor Stein is guaranteed a ballot slot in all states, but one or both will appear in several key competitive states, including Florida, Colorado and Ohio. Johnson will appear in a town hall on CNN this week.
    More Clinton backers say they have made up their minds (37% of all registered voters are solid Clinton voters) than Trump voters (33% of voters are firmly Trump). Among those voters who say they are not settled on a candidate in the two-way race, more than one-third choose Johnson (23%) or Stein (12%) when asked the four-way match up.
    Clinton holds an edge over Trump on handling several issues, including foreign policy, immigration, trade with other countries, nominating justices to the Supreme Court, and issues relating to the rights of women and of gays and lesbians. She's also seen as better able to handle the responsibilities of commander-in-chief and to exercise good judgment in a crisis.
    But Trump holds the edge on two issues that frequently top voters' priority lists: The economy and terrorism (Trump leads by a narrow three points on terrorism). He also tops Clinton on handling gun policy, and is narrowly seen as a stronger leader.
    Even with Trump's edge on those key issues a majority say they ultimately expect Clinton to prevail in November: 55% say they think she will win the presidency, 38% think Trump will.
    Both candidates have been plagued by mediocre favorability ratings, and this poll finds no improvement for either Trump or Clinton, with both viewed unfavorably by nearly 6-in-10 voters. Those middling ratings are accompanied by few positive feelings about the prospect of either being elected president.
    When asked whether they would be excited by a Trump or Clinton presidency, fewer than 3-in-10 muster that level of enthusiasm for either. More say they would be afraid (56% if Trump were elected, 46% Clinton) or embarrassed (56% if Trump won, 39% if Clinton did), and just a handful say they would be proud (35% say so about Clinton, 24% Trump). About half (47%) say they would be hopeful if Clinton won, while 44% say so if Trump were to win.
    Neither presumptive nominee has wrapped up universal support within their own party. Among Republican and Republican-leaning voters, 51% say the party should nominate Trump, 48% would prefer someone else. On the Democratic side, 55% of Democrats and Democratic-leaners say they'd pick Clinton as their party's nominee, 43% say they would pick Democratic rival Bernie Sanders. That latter divide is about the same as the split between Obama and Clinton backers in late-June 2008, when 43% said that if Clinton were still running, they'd prefer her as the party's nominee.
    Stein and Johnson hold particular appeal among those Democrats and Republicans who would rather see their party nominate someone other than the presumptive nominee, with Johnson holding 16% among those Republicans and Republican-leaners who would prefer to nominate someone other than Trump, and Stein at 18% among those Democrats and Democratic-leaners who favor Sanders.
    Republican voters who would rather see someone other than Trump at the helm of the GOP express more concern about a potential Trump presidency than do Democrats who wanted to see Sanders nominated. Among Republican voters who would prefer someone else to be the GOP nominee, nearly half, 47%, say they would be afraid if Trump were elected. Among Democratic voters who backed Sanders over Clinton, just 28% say they would be afraid of a Clinton presidency.
    Though majorities on both sides see their party as divided, Democrats are more apt to see unity in the future than are Republicans. Nearly 8-in-10 Democrats say their party is united now (31%) or will be by November (48%), while on the GOP side, just 6-in-10 think the party will unite by November (11% united now, 49% by November).
    Beyond their less-than-stellar favorability ratings, questions about Clinton's honesty and Trump's temperament have been persistent throughout the campaign.
    The poll finds Clinton widely viewed as having the better temperament for the presidency (56% say so vs. 32% who feel Trump is temperamentally better-suited for the White House), while Trump has picked up some ground over Clinton when voters are asked who is more honest and trustworthy (45% say Trump, 37% Clinton, a near reversal since March). But still, 17% say they see neither candidate as honest and trustworthy.
    On the issues that have been the focus of those questions, majorities see flaws in each candidate. More than 8-in-10 voters say Trump's comments about a Mexican American judge's handling of a lawsuit against Trump University were inappropriate, and about 7-in-10 say it was inappropriate for him to revoke the press access of news organizations with whose coverage he disagreed.
    About two-thirds say the way Trump talks about race and ethnicity is an important indicator of his character and ability to serve as president. On Clinton's handling of her email as secretary of state, about two-thirds now say she did something wrong by using a personal email address and home-based server to handle her communications, up from about half in March of last year when the story first came to light. Likewise, 6-in-10 now say they see her handling of email as an indicator of her character and ability to serve as president, up from about half in March of last year.
    The CNN/ORC Poll was conducted by telephone June 16-19 among a random national sample of 1,001 adults. The poll includes interviews with 891 registered voters. Results for registered voters have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.