Clinton tops Trump 49% to 44%
Both candidates appear to have consolidated some support among their core supporters
Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 5 points as the presidential campaign heads into its final two weeks, with the Democratic nominee’s support just shy of the 50% mark, according to a new CNN/ORC poll.
Among likely voters, Clinton tops Trump 49% to 44%, with just 3% backing Libertarian Gary Johnson and 2% behind Green Party nominee Jill Stein.
With all three presidential debates now in the rear view mirror, both candidates appear to have consolidated some support among their core supporters. Clinton has expanded her edge among younger voters and non-whites, while Trump has boosted his support among the whites without college degrees who make up the majority of his supporters.
Clinton now stands at 53% among voters under age 45, compared with 47% in the previous CNN/ORC poll. In fact, the only age group where Clinton currently trails Trump is among those age 50-64, who back Trump by 4 points in this poll.
Clinton’s support has also ticked up a few points among non-whites (72% back her now vs. 69% in a poll conducted just after the first debate, not a large enough change to be significant, but edges her margin over Trump among this group above 50 points).
Trump has gained a bit among white voters, edging up to 54% in the new poll from 49% support in the last poll. That gain is centered largely among white non-college voters, who break for Trump by a 62% to 32% margin, while white college grads continue to lean in Clinton’s direction, favoring the former secretary of state by 11 points.
The gender gap remains large, with Clinton holding a wide 12-point lead among women, topping Trump 53% to 41% among that group, while Trump edges Clinton by a narrow 3-points among men, 48% to 45%.
Another notable shift since the last CNN/ORC poll is the steep drop in support for Johnson, who falls from 7% to 3% overall. Support at that level is more in line with the numbers generated by typical third-party candidates who don’t make much of a mark on Election Day itself, well off his flirtation with double-digit support through the summer and early fall.
Taking the third-party candidates out of the mix, Clinton’s margin widens by a point in two-way matchup between the Democrat and the Republican, to 51% to 45%.
Clinton’s supporters are increasingly apt to say that their votes for her are to express support for Clinton rather than opposition to Trump (69% say so now vs. 60% in the last CNN/ORC poll), while Trump’s supporters are holding steady on this metric (59% say their votes are about expressing support for Trump now, exactly the same as in the last CNN/ORC poll).
The most promising finding in the poll for Trump is his continued edge as more trusted to handle the economy. Overall, 51% favor Trump on that vs. 47% who prefer Clinton, a shift in Trump’s favor compared with a 2-point edge for Trump in the last poll. Clinton tops Trump on every other issue tested this way in the poll, including terrorism (Clinton +2), immigration (Clinton +3), nominating justices to the Supreme Court (+5) and foreign policy (+21). But the economy continues to be voters’ top issue, 91% call it extremely or very important.
Despite Trump’s edge on the economy, the businessman trails Clinton on a related issue of empathy, with 49% saying they feel Clinton would “stand up for people like you” compared with 44% who think Trump would be better on that score.
While majorities of both candidates’ supporters agree that the economy is a critical issue in determining their vote for president, there are wide gaps between Trump backers and Clinton supporters on whether several other issues are important.
Trump backers are almost twice as likely as Clinton backers to consider illegal immigration a critical issue to their vote (52% among Trump supporters vs. 23% among Clinton backers), and are more apt to see terrorism (66% to 49%), Supreme Court nominations (58% to 46%), taxes (46% to 34%) and trade with other countries (40% to 29%) as extremely important than are Clinton supporters. Those voters backing Clinton are nearly four times as likely as Trump supporters to consider climate change a key issue (46% to 12%), and they are also more apt to prioritize health care (53% to 48%) and education (55% to 42%).
More broadly, Clinton is more often seen as having a clear vision for the country’s future (49% to 42%), perhaps connected to a perception that she did a better job in the debates (61% to 29%).
Clinton also holds wide leads on having the better temperament to serve effectively as president (61% to 32%), being better able to handle the responsibilities of commander in chief (55% to 40%), and as a person you admire (42% Clinton to 29% Trump, though nearly 3-in-10, 28%, say they feel neither is a person they admire). The two are almost even on who is the stronger and more decisive leader, 48% say Clinton, 46% Trump.
The poll also shows Clinton narrowing the gap on honesty and trustworthiness, an issue where she trailed Trump by nearly 20 points among likely voters in early September. Now, 43% see Trump as more honest and trustworthy, 42% Clinton, a statistically insignificant gap. Still, 14% of likely voters say they see neither candidate as honest, a share that has held steady over that time.
Both continue to hold favorability ratings that tilt negative, with 52% holding an unfavorable view of Clinton and 57% a negative impression of Trump. About 6-in-10 likely voters say that recent controversies around each candidate raise questions about their character and ability to serve as president, with 62% saying that the way Clinton handled her email while serving as secretary of state raises those issues, while 59% say the same about the way Trump treats women.
The CNN/ORC Poll was conducted by telephone October 20-23 among a random national sample of 1,017 adults, including 779 who were determined to be likely voters. The margin of sampling error for results among the sample of likely voters is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.