Post-convention poll: Clinton retakes lead over Trump

Story highlights

  • Clinton tops Trump 52% to 43% in a head-to-head matchup
  • In a four-way race: Clinton 45%, Trump 37%, Johnson 9% and Stein 5%

Washington (CNN)Hillary Clinton emerges from her party's convention in Philadelphia with a restored lead over Donald Trump, having earned a 7-point convention bounce, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll.

In a two-way head-to-head matchup, Clinton tops Trump 52% to 43%, and in a four-way matchup including third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, Clinton leads 45% to 37% with Johnson at 9% and Stein at 5%.
    Besides improving her standing against Trump, Clinton's convention appears to have boosted the share of Americans who think her policies will move the country in the right direction (from 43% before either convention to 48% now), while Trump's right direction number held roughly steady following the back-to-back political gatherings in Cleveland and Philadelphia.
    Further, a majority of Clinton's backers now say their vote is more to show support for her than to oppose Trump, a sharp shift since early May. Back then, 48% said their vote was one of support for the former secretary of state, 58% say so now. While Trump also improved his numbers on that metric, his voters are more evenly divided, with 47% saying they're backing him to show support and 50% saying it's more to oppose Clinton.
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    More of Clinton's backers also say they are certain to support her come November: 44% of registered voters are Clinton supporters who say their mind is made up, while 36% say they are solidly behind Trump. Only about 16% of voters say their minds could change in the 99 days left between now and Election Day.
    Clinton's convention appears to have helped her reverse the damage done to perceptions of her honesty during the GOP convention, but she did not improve those numbers compared with where they stood before either convention. Overall, 34% say they consider Clinton honest and trustworthy, up from 30% after the GOP convention but exactly where that figure was in a poll conducted before either convention happened.
    Clinton made more progress on several other measures, however, with 50% now saying she's in touch with the problems of ordinary Americans, and 48% that she will unite the country and not divide it. She gained three points -- a change inside the margin of sampling error for this poll -- compared with a poll conducted before the Republican convention on having the right experience, running for the good of the country rather than personal gain and as someone you would be proud to have as president.
    On each of those measures, Clinton fares better than Trump, except when voters are asked about their honesty. Thirty-five percent say they see Trump as honest and trustworthy, just about even with the former secretary of state.
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    On the rest of the attributes tested, the Democratic convention appears to have wiped out the significant gains Trump made on several of these measures, including being seen as in-touch with ordinary Americans, someone you'd be proud to have as president, running for the good of the country rather than personal gain and uniting the country rather than dividing it.
    Nearly half of registered voters say what they saw or read of the Democratic convention left them feeling more likely to vote Clinton vs. 39% who said it turned them off from supporting her. Trump's convention merited a slight negative tilt on this question, according to a CNN/ORC Poll released last week, with 42% saying they would be more apt to back him vs. 44% less likely.
    The 49% saying the DNC made them feel more apt to vote for Clinton is the fourth highest in CNN/ORC and Gallup polling, dating back to the 1984 Democratic convention. It's behind the 60% who said they were more apt to back Bill Clinton after the 1992 Democratic convention, 56% more likely to back Michael Dukakis after his 1988 convention and 51% who said they would be more likely to vote for Barack Obama after the '08 Democratic convention.
    Clinton's acceptance speech merited mixed reviews, with 44% calling it excellent or good, 20% just OK and 19% poor or terrible. Last week, a CNN/ORC survey found 40% calling Trump's speech excellent or good. Clinton's speech ranks well behind other recent Democratic acceptance speeches, 64% called Obama's '08 address excellent or good, and 52% each called John Kerry's 2004 speech and Al Gore's 2000 speech excellent or good.
    In the new poll, there is a wide gender gap in reviews of Clinton's acceptance speech, with 50% of women calling Clinton's speech excellent or good compared with 37% of men. There was no gender gap in perceptions of Trump's speech. This gap isn't merely a partisan divide, it exists within each party as well, and most notably at the extremes. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, 42% of women called her speech excellent vs. just 25% of men. And among Republican and Republican-leaning men, 28% called Clinton's speech terrible, vs. just 18% of Republican and Republican-leaning women.
    On the convention's tone, 49% said the Democrats spent too much time criticizing the Republicans, well below the 58% who said the GOP convention was too critical.
    Clinton's convention, despite regular interruption from dissatisfied Bernie Sanders delegates inside the convention hall, also appears to have bolstered Democratic unity overall and strengthened her position among Sanders' supporters. Among Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, 84% now feel the party will be united by November, up from 75% before either convention. Those who say they would rather have seen the party nominate Sanders now split 69% for Clinton, 13% for Stein, 10% for Johnson and just 3% say they'll back Trump. That's a 5-point improvement for Clinton (inside the margin of sampling error for this subgroup), an 8-point dropoff in the share who say they'd back Trump and a 7-point increase in support for Jill Stein.
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    Republican Party unity, meanwhile, has faded some compared with a survey immediately after their convention. While 73% said they thought the GOP would unite by November in a post-GOP convention poll, just 66% say the same now.
    Both conventions featured their candidate's family members prominently, but Americans aren't so sure they should have that much of a role in any administration. Two-thirds (66%) said Trump's children should not have a role on policy matters if Trump wins the election, and 57% said Bill and Chelsea Clinton should not be working on policy matters should Hillary Clinton win the presidency.
    Clinton's favorability rating has rebounded from the small hit it took following Trump's convention (her favorability among registered voters dipped slightly from 43% before the Republican convention to 41% after and now stands at 43% again), but both shifts were small enough to be within the margin of sampling error. Trump's rating among registered voters did take a hit, from a 39% favorable and 59% unfavorable reading before either convention to a 35% favorable to 61% unfavorable read now.
    Tim Kaine's favorability rating among registered voters rose from 31% before the Democratic convention to 39% after. That's a bit smaller than Mike Pence's increase after the Republican convention (his favorability rose from 26% before the GOP convention to 39% after), but those gains have faded some as just 29% of registered voters say they have a favorable opinion of Pence now.
    The CNN/ORC Poll was conducted by telephone July 29-31 among a random national sample of 1,003 adults, including 894 registered voters. Results for the sample of registered voters have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.