Polls

A CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR  
March 28-April 2, 1996


Interviews were conducted on March 28-April 2 with 2,432 registered voters who were originally interviewed in November, 1995 The sample includes 1,657 voters who will definitely voters for Clinton or Dole and 717 "swing voters" who are still undecided or could change their minds by November. Back to the top
If the 1996 presidential election were held today, about 55% of the country's registered voters would choose Bill Clinton and 41% would pick Bob Dole. But the election is not being held today, and it is far from over. Only 41% of all registered voters say they will definitely vote for Bill Clinton. Another 29% say they will definitely vote for Bob Dole. The remaining 30% are "swing voters" -- those voters who could wind up voting for either candidate. Swing voters are the ones who both parties will spend the most time wooing in the coming months. CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Registered Voters' Presidential Choice Clinton 55% Dole 41 Sampling error: +/-2.5% pts CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Registered Voters' Presidential Choice Definitely for Clinton 41% Definitely for Dole 29 Swing voters 30 Sampling error: +/-2.5% pts Back to the top
A third of all swing voters say they don't belong to either the Democratic or Republican parties. By contrast, only a fifth of those voters who will definitely vote for Clinton or Dole -- the "loyalists" -- say they are Independents. CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Party Identification Swing Voters Loyalists Democrat 30% 41% Republican 27 33 Independent 34 20 Sampling error: +/-4% pts Back to the top
One reason why swing voters have not made their minds up may be that they are not as closely attached to either party as loyalists are. Indeed, six out of ten swing voters say that they routinely split their ticket, mostly voting for candidates from different parties in any given election. Only 38% of the loyalists, by contrast, are ticket-splitters. CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Usually Vote For Candidates From... Swing Voters Loyalists Same party 38% 60% Different parties 60 38 Sampling error: +/-4% pts Nearly half of all swing voters say they are moderates; only 40% of loyalists do. CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Political Ideology Swing Voters Loyalists Liberal 12% 17% Moderate 47 40 Conservative 31 36 Sampling error: +/-4% pts Back to the top
But both candidates may have an uphill battle attracting the votes of swing voters, since they are far more likely than loyalists to support independent candidates. 50% of swing voters say they are very likely or somewhat likely to vote for an independent candidate for President; only 24% of loyalists say that. Swing voters are three times as likely to vote for Perot if he runs, and also more likely to vote for Pat Buchanan or Ralph Nader if they mount independent bids. And in November, 44% of swing voters said they preferred Colin Powell to either Clinton or Dole; only 27% of loyalists chose Powell in a three-way race in November. CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Likely to Vote for Independent Candidate Swing Voters Loyalists Yes 50% 24% No 44 72 Sampling error: +/-4% pts CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Presidential Choice In Three-Way Race Swing Voters Loyalists Clinton 37% 53% Dole 32 39 Perot 24 7 Sampling error: +/-4% pts Swing voters are slightly younger than loyalists on average, and are slightly more likely to have children under 18 in their households. CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Age Swing Voters Loyalists Under 50 67% 57% Over 50 35 41 Sampling error: +/-4% pts CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Children Under 18 Swing Voters Loyalists Yes 45% 39% No 55 61 Sampling error: +/-4% pts Back to the top
The swing voters of 1996 may have been the group that cost the Democrats control of the House in 1994. The 1994 House vote was evenly split among today's loyalists -- 45% for the GOP; 46% for the Democrats. But among swing voters, Republican candidates for the House won an eight-point lead -- 45%-37%. CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 1994 Congressional Vote Swing Voters Loyalists Republican 45% 45% Democratic 37 46 Sampling error: +/-4% pts Back to the top
But swing voters and loyalists are not far apart on issues. Both groups have similar views about the latest round of budget negotiations. And both groups have the same priorities. Over half of both groups say that education should be a top priority for the next president. Nearly half of both groups say that top priorities for the next president should be the deficit, Medicare, and the economy. CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Top Priorities for Next President Swing Voters Loyalists Education 50% 52% Deficit 47 48 Economy 47 44 Medicare 44 46 Sampling error: +/-4% pts CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Acted More Responsibly In Budget Negotiations Swing Voters Loyalists Clinton 44% 49% GOP 34 39 Sampling error: +/-4% pts Back to the top
One other factor separates swing voters from the rest of the electorate. Less than half of all swing voters say they are paying close attention to the presidential election right now. Two- thirds of the loyalists say they are paying close attention. CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Close Attention to Presidential Race? Swing Voters Loyalists Yes 48% 66% No 51 32 Sampling error: +/-4% pts Back to the top
DOLE'S SUPPORTERS IN NOVEMBER Current Choice for President Dole 83% Clinton 11 Undecided 6 Sampling error: +/-3% pts CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 DOLE'S SUPPORTERS IN NOVEMBER Political Ideology Still For Switched to Dole Clinton Moderate 33% 57% Conservative 57 27 Sampling error: +/-9% pts CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 DOLE'S SUPPORTERS IN NOVEMBER Political Party Still For Switched to Dole Clinton Independent 23% 41% Republican 64 35 Sampling error: +/-9% pts CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 DOLE'S SUPPORTERS IN NOVEMBER GOP Budget Cuts Go Too Far Still for Dole 30% Switched to Clinton 51 Sampling error: +/-9% pts CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 DOLE'S SUPPORTERS IN NOVEMBER Clinton Acted More Responsibly In Budget Negotiations Still for Dole 9% Switched to Clinton 56 Sampling error: +/-9% pts CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 DOLE'S SUPPORTERS IN NOVEMBER Oppose Cutting Medicare to Balance the Budget Still for Dole 52% Switched to Clinton 74 Sampling error: +/-9% pts Back to the top
If the election were held today, 55% of all registered voters would choose Bill Clinton over Bob Dole; 41% would pick Dole in a two-man race. With Ross Perot in the race, Clinton's margin drops to 47%-36% over Dole, with Perot winning 13% of the vote. But the election will not be held today, and is far from over: 30% of all registered voters are still undecided or say they could change their minds between now and November. CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Registered Voters' Presidential Choice Clinton 55% Dole 41 Sampling error: +/-2.5% pts CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Registered Voters' Presidential Choice Clinton 47% Dole 36 Perot 13 Sampling error: +/-2.5% pts CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Have You Definitely Made Up You Mind Whom To Vote For? Yes 70% No 30 Sampling error: +/-2.5% pts Back to the top
Education, crime, and the deficit are the three issues which registered voters think should be the top priority for the next President. Following very closely behind them are protecting Medicare, improving the nation's economy and reforming the welfare system -- more than four in ten voters said each of those should be top priorities for the next President. Other issues, including reducing taxes, improving moral standards in this country, and reforming the federal government, do not score as high. CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Top Priority for Next President Education 51% Crime 49 Deficit 47 Sampling error: +/-2.5% pts CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Top Priority for Next President Medicare 46% Economy 45 Welfare 44 Sampling error: +/-2.5% pts CNN/TIME ELECTION MONITOR March 28-April 2 Top Priority for Next President Government reform 38% Moral standards 34 Cutting taxes 33 Sampling error: +/-2.5% pts Back to the top

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