Trump Leads Clinton in New CNN/ORC Poll

Donald Trump
September 6, 2016

A new CNN/ORC poll released on Tuesday shows Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump leading Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton by two points:

Trump tops Clinton 45% to 43% in the new survey, with Libertarian Gary Johnson standing at 7% among likely voters in this poll and the Green Party's Jill Stein at just 2%.

Since the Democratic National Convention in July, Clinton has generally led in most polls, but her lead has diminished in the last few weeks. The Democratic convention propelled her to an 8-point lead in an early August CNN/ORC poll. Despite the Trump campaign having a major shakeup with staff leadership and high-profile Republicans endorsing Clinton, Clinton's lead has evaporated.

Both third-party candidates, Johnson and Stein, don't appear to be gaining enough traction poll-wise in order to reach the 15 percent threshold to participate in the debates. The first presidential debate is about three weeks away on September 26.

The CNN poll shows that the two candidates have provoked large gaps in the electorate based on gender, race, age, education, and partisanship. It also shows that both major party candidates have secured a majority of their partisan voters. Ninety-two percent of Democrats support Clinton and 90 percent of Republicans support their nominee:

Women break for Clinton (53% to 38%) while men shift Trump's way (54% to 32%). Among women, those who are unmarried make up the core of her support, 73% of unmarried women back Clinton compared with just 36% of married women. Among men, no such marriage gap emerges, as both unmarried and married men favor Trump.

Younger voters are in Clinton's corner (54% to 29% among those under age 45) while the older ones are more apt to back Trump (54% to 39% among those age 45 or older). Whites mostly support Trump (55% to 34%), while non-whites favor Clinton by a nearly 4-to-1 margin (71% to 18%). Most college grads back Clinton while those without degrees mostly support Trump, and that divide deepens among white voters. Whites who do not hold college degrees support Trump by an almost 3-to-1 margin (68% to 24%) while whites who do have college degrees split 49% for Clinton to 36% for Trump and 11% for Johnson.

While there is enthusiasm among some voters for this election, CNN reports that enthusiasm is not as high among voters at this point in the campaign compared to previous presidential elections:

In the new poll, 46% say they are extremely or very enthusiastic, compared with 57% at this point in 2012, 60% in early September of 2008 and 64% in September 2004.

Further, nearly half of voters say they are less enthusiastic about voting in this election than they have been in previous years, while just 42% say they're more excited about this year's contest. Although this question hasn't been asked in every presidential election year, in CNN/ORC and CNN/USA Today/Gallup results dating back to 2000, this poll marks the first time that a significantly larger share of voters say they are less enthusiastic about this year's election. The lack of enthusiasm spikes among Clinton supporters. A majority of Clinton's supporters say they're less excited about voting this year than usual (55%) while most of Trump's backers say they're more excited this time around (56%).

When it comes to trustworthiness, Trump holds a lead over Clinton on two of the top four issues that voters care about, the economy and terrorism. Fifty-six percent of voters trust him on the economy compared to 41 percent of voters that support Clinton. Fifty-one percent of voters support Trump on defeating terrorism  versus 45 percent of voters that support Clinton. However, when it comes to foreign policy and immigration, Clinton holds a lead over Trump. Clinton leads 56 percent to Trump's 40 percent on foreign policy. On immigration, Clinton holds a narrower edge with 49 percent support to Trump's 47 percent.

Trump has the largest advantage over Clinton when it comes to honesty and trustworthiness. The CNN poll says that 50 percent of voters say he is more trustworthy compared to the 35 percent of voters who say Clinton is more trustworthy. Fifty percent compared to 42 percent of voters also say that Trump is a stronger leader than Clinton:

On honesty, Clinton's backers express greater skepticism about their candidate than do Trump's supporters. When asked which candidate is more honest and trustworthy, 94% of Trump's backers say he is, while just 70% of those behind Clinton choose her, with 11% saying Trump is more trustworthy and 17% saying neither of them are. And when voters were asked to name the one issue that would be most important to their vote for president, 5% named honesty or trustworthiness as their top choice, ranking it on par with foreign policy and jobs.

Both candidates remain largely unliked, with majorities saying they have an unfavorable view of each candidate in the new poll.

The CNN/ORC poll was conducted on the telephone September 1-4 among a random sampling of 1,001 adults nationally. This sampling included 886 registered voters and 786 likely voters. The sampling error margin is +/- 3.5 percentage points.