Clinton Consolidates Lead Over Trump After Rough Week for Republicans

(Rob Kunzig/Morning Consult)

Hillary Clinton posted her highest poll numbers in months last week, clutching a 9-point lead over rival Donald Trump, according to Morning Consult’s latest poll.

Almost half (46 percent) of registered voters surveyed Aug. 4-5 (46 percent) said they would choose Clinton, the Democratic nominee, if the presidential election were to be held now. Trump, the Republican nominee, is still the choice for 37 percent of voters, down from 40 percent in late July and 44 percent immediately following the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

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Trump lost a few points among independent voters, who have remain stubbornly divided in thirds — roughly one-third for Trump, one-third for Clinton, one-third undecided — for months. But over the course of the past week, the independent supporters of Trump dropped from 38 percent to 34 percent. Another 34 percent of independents now say they support Clinton, up from 32 percent a week earlier. Independents who are undecided increased from 30 percent in late July to 32 percent in Morning Consult’s most recent poll.

The boost for Clinton follows a rough week for Republicans after Trump waged a public battle with a Muslim American couple whose son died serving the United States during the Iraq War. Trump also split briefly with GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence over an endorsement of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who faces a primary challenge on Tuesday.

The New York businessman has now endorsed Ryan, as well as vulnerable GOP Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and John McCain of Arizona. Trump has recently criticized both senators.

Clinton, for her part, is focusing on economic issues in Midwestern states, hoping to gain an upper hand in the Rust Belt. She also took questions at an event in Washington on Friday, noting that Trump’s popularity in part can be attributed to real economic hardship in manufacturing towns and coal country.

Six out of 10 voters have an unfavorable view of Trump after last week, up 3 percentage points from a week earlier. Just more than one-third of voters (36 percent) have a favorable view of the outspoken GOP nominee. The percentage of voters who have an unfavorable view of Clinton (55 percent) hasn’t changed over that same time period. In Morning Consult’s newest poll, 42 percent of respondents have a favorable view of the former secretary of State.

In spite of the emphasis over the past week on Trump’s treatment of Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son was killed in battle, voters in military families still support Trump over Clinton. Almost half of voters in military households (48 percent) say they support Trump, while 36 percent say they support Clinton. That’s virtually unchanged from the previous week, before the Khan controversy heated up.

When third-party candidates are factored in, Clinton still holds a sizable lead over Trump, 41 percent to 33 percent. Fewer voters opt for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson (9 percent) or Green Party candidate Jill Stein (5 percent).

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Johnson appears to be slipping further from his goal of reaching 15 percent in the polls, which would earn him a slot with Clinton and Trump during presidential debates. The good news for Johnson is 20 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of him, although 23 percent have an unfavorable view. The bad news is 58 percent of voters have either never heard of him or have no opinion about him. (Stein’s name recognition is too low for Morning Consult to poll on her favorability.)

Voters are still getting to know the vice presidential nominees. About two-fifths of respondents had never heard of or had no opinion of Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine (44 percent) and Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence (38 percent). Those who do have an opinion are split evenly between favorable and unfavorable. For Kaine, 28 percent of voters have a favorable view, while 29 percent have an unfavorable view. For Pence, 32 percent of voters have a favorable view, while 30 percent have an unfavorable view.

The poll was conducted Aug. 4-5 among a national sample of 2,001 registered voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. See toplines and crosstabs.

Morning Consult