Monmouth University Poll: Clinton Leads Trump by 12 Points

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 12 points among voters likely to cast ballots in November, according to this afternoon’s Monmouth University Poll.  This is up from the 4 point lead she had last month and marks a return to the large advantage Clinton held shortly after the Democratic convention.  More than 6-in-10 voters believe claims of unwanted sexual advances by Trump are likely to be true, the poll finds.  Voters differ on whether language used by Trump in an Access Hollywood video is typical “guy talk” or not – mainly depending on which candidate they support.  At the same time, recently leaked information about Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street makes some voters less likely to support her, but has had a negligible impact on the race overall.

Currently, 50% of likely voters support Clinton and 38% back Trump, with 5% supporting Libertarian Gary Johnson and 2% backing Jill Stein of the Green Party.  Clinton held a much slimmer 46% to 42% lead just three weeks ago.

The vote choice among all registered voters is 47% Clinton and 38% Trump.  Clinton has a larger likely voter lead because only 5% of her potential supporters are considered unlikely to vote while twice as many possible Trump voters (10%) are unlikely to cast a ballot next month.  This marks a change from Monmouth’s prior poll when 10% of registered voters supporting Clinton and 7% of registered voters supporting Trump were deemed unlikely to cast ballots.

“Clinton has increased her lead among all registered voters, but the main difference between this month and last month is that her supporters have become more enthusiastic, and thus more likely to turn out while Trump backers have become less likely to vote,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Clinton’s personal rating has held stable since last month while Trump’s rating has slipped.  Currently, 38% of voters have a favorable opinion of Clinton and 52% have an unfavorable view of her.  This compares with a 36% to 54% rating last month.  Only 26% of voters have a favorable opinion of Trump, though, while 61% have an unfavorable view of him.  This is down from a 32% to 57% rating last month.  Recent allegations of sexual misconduct seem to have played some role in the drop in Trump’s support.

More than 6-in-10 voters (62%) say claims of unwanted sexual advances by Trump that were made public by a number of women in the past week are credible, including 22% who believe these allegations are definitely true and 40% who believe they are probably true.  Not surprisingly, more Clinton voters (87%) and undecided or third party voters (60%) put stock in these claims compared to the number of Trump voters (29%) who find them credible.  There is no appreciable gender difference among those who say these charges are likely to be true, either among all men (60%) and women (62%) or among men and women specifically in either the Clinton or Trump camps.

These charges may have become more plausible because of the Access Hollywood recording that emerged days earlier.  Most voters (58%) say they were not surprised to hear what Trump said in that tape about his encounters with women.  Only 7% were shocked to hear Trump say these things and 17% were surprised but not shocked.  Another 16% were unaware of what he said in the recordings.  The lack of surprise comes from Trump voters (61%), Clinton voters (58%), and undecided or third party voters (53%) alike.

Voters are divided on whether what Trump said in that recording is, as he put it, “typical locker room talk.”  About 4-in-10 (39%) agree with Trump that most men say these kinds of things while a similar 40% say few men actually engage in this type of “banter.”  There is a huge split in opinion based on which candidate voters are supporting.  The vast majority of Clinton backers (66%) say that few men use this type of language, including 69% of men and 64% of women who support Clinton.  This result is flipped on its head among voters who support Trump – 69% say most men actually talk like this, including 69% of men and 69% of women who back Trump.

“This is a chicken and egg problem. Is Trump’s base really comprised almost entirely of voters who engage in or condone the kind of sexually aggressive language he used?  Or are his voters constructing a post hoc defense of Trump to rationalize their continued support of him?  It’s really not clear, but either way it speaks to the divisiveness that has characterized this election,” said Murray.

Voters are also split down the middle on whether what they have learned about Trump in the past week undercuts his soundness to be president.  Just under half (45%) say the new revelations show him to be unfit for office while a similar number (46%) say his behavior may be inappropriate but it is not necessarily disqualifying.  Of course, the vast majority of Clinton voters (81%) say what they have learned recently makes Trump unfit to serve while a comparable number of Trump voters disagree (88%).  Among undecided and third party voters, 38% say the new revelations show Trump to be unfit for office while 48% say they do not.

Among the many controversies emerging in the past week, Wikileaks published documents that show Clinton in a potentially poor light.  They do not appear to be having much impact.  Specifically focusing on speeches Clinton gave to Wall Street firms and other businesses, just 25% say what they learned about her speeches makes them think less highly of Clinton, 45% say this has had no impact on their opinion of her, and 28% are unware of the Wikileaks revelations.  While 45% of Trump supporters say the Wikileaks release of Clinton’s Wall Street speeches makes them think less highly of her, only 10% of current Clinton supporters and 23% of undecided or third party voters say the same.

Another campaign issue that has come to a boiling point is the GOP nominee’s relationship with the Republican Party itself.  Among all voters, 41% say the party is not giving Trump enough support, 27% say it is giving him too much support, and just 23% say the party is giving Trump the right amount of support.  Among Trump voters, fully 81% feel the Republican Party is not giving their candidate the support he deserves, with 2% saying it gives too much support and 14% the right amount.

On the other hand, nearly half of all voters (47%) say Trump is not giving the Republican Party enough support, just 7% say he is giving it too much support, and 29% say Trump is giving his party the right amount of support.  Among Trump supporters, most feel their candidate is giving his party the right amount of support (52%) or too much support (8%), but 30% say he is actually giving the GOP too little support.

In other poll findings, 60% of American voters say Clinton has the right temperament to be president, while only 31% say Trump does.  Clinton also continues to hold an edge on the “lesser of two evils” metric.  Nearly half of voters (47%) say it is very important to them to make sure Trump does not get elected.  Somewhat fewer voters (40%) feel the same about Clinton.  These results have not changed significantly since September.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from October 14 to 16, 2016 with 805 registered voters in the United States.   The results in this release based on all registered voters have a margin of error of + 3.5 percent.  Results based on likely voters only have a margin of error of + 3.6 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch.