|TRENTON – In a head-to-head contest for president, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 47-40% among registered voters and by 8 points among likely voters, in today’s national Monmouth University Poll. The Democrat’s lead shrinks by a point when potential third party support is taken into account. Both major party nominees remain unpopular, but more voters say it is important to keep Trump rather than Clinton out of the White House. The Poll also finds that attitudes towards terrorism and the Republican nominee’s proposed Muslim ban have not changed much since the Orlando tragedy.
Among those who are likely to cast ballots in November, the Democrat’s edge expands to 49%–41%. Importantly, Clinton holds a 47% to 39% lead in the all-important swing states – ten states where the winning margin in the 2012 election was less than seven points, the poll finds.
Clinton has the support of 87% of Democrats and Trump has the support of 84% of Republicans, while independents split 42% for Clinton and 37% for Trump. The gender gap is particularly large, Clinton leads among women by 27 points (57%–30%) while Trump leads among men by 13 points (50%–37%). Clinton also holds a commanding advantage among black, Hispanic and Asian voters (72%–17%), while Trump leads among white voters (49%–38%).
When Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and leading Green Party candidate Jill Stein are added to the mix, Clinton’s lead shrinks slightly to 6 points among registered voters – 42% to 36% for Trump, with Johnson earning 9% and Stein getting 4%. Clinton leads Trump by 7 points – 44% to 37% – among likely voters in this four-way contest.
“Clinton has the advantage as the general election campaign kicks off, particularly in key swing states. However, all signs point to 2016 turning out the most polarized electorate in memory,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Neither major party candidate is particularly popular. Clinton earns a negative 36% favorable and 52% unfavorable rating while Trump holds an even worse 28% favorable and 57% unfavorable rating. These results are largely unchanged from a Monmouth University Poll taken in March. Nearly half of all voters (49%) say it is very important to them to make sure Trump is not elected president, compared to 31% who say this is not at all important. Relatively fewer voters (41%) say it is very important to keep Clinton out of the White House compared to 35% who say this concern is not at all important to them. Among voters who are undecided or currently prefer a third party candidate, 48% say it is very important to them to prevent a Trump victory while just 32% say the same about Clinton.
“About one in seven voters would like to cast their ballot for a third party candidate. The fear of either Clinton or Trump getting into the White House, though, may lead some to hold their noses and vote for the other major party nominee. And right now, a Trump victory appears to be the more troubling outcome for these voters,” said Murray.
On the issues, slightly more voters see Clinton (47%) as better able than Trump (44%) to deal with the economy and jobs. Her issue advantage is similarly narrow on handling the threat of terrorism on U.S. soil – 46% prefer Clinton and 44% prefer Trump.
With the shooting in Orlando fresh on voters’ minds, just 29% say the U.S. government is doing enough to prevent future domestic terrorist attacks while 64% say it is not doing enough. These results are largely unchanged from a Monmouth poll taken shortly after the San Bernardino shooting last year (31% doing enough and 62% not doing enough in December 2015).
Most voters (52%) say that U.S. citizens who become radicalized pose a bigger threat than overseas terrorists who infiltrate the country (29%). This opinion has shifted by just a few points since December, when 48% pointed to homegrown terrorism as the bigger threat while 36% were more worried about overseas terrorists.
Currently, 21% of voters support and 70% oppose a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S., which Trump first proposed after the San Bernardino attack. Opinion on this proposal back then was a similar 27% support and 65% oppose.
Since Orlando, Trump has also suggested a blanket immigration ban against any person living in a country where there has been a history of terrorism against the West. Voters reject this proposal as well, with just 34% in favor compared to 57% who are opposed.
Turning to the issue of gun control, voters are more likely to back a ban on the sale of assault weapons like the kind used in the Orlando shooting, with 52% supporting such a ban and 43% opposing it.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from June 15 to 19, 2016 with 803 registered voters in the United States. The results in this release have a margin of error of + 3.5 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch.