Trump Gains Ground on Clinton; Black Voters Still Wary

(Rob Kunzig/Morning Consult)

Donald Trump trails Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by only 3 percentage points in a new national poll from Morning Consult, shrinking a deficit that has alarmed GOP operatives who fear their unconventional nominee may harm the prospects of other Republican candidates on the ballot this fall.

In a survey taken Aug. 24 through Aug. 26, Trump halved the 6-point distance between himself and Clinton from the previous week’s poll. In the most recent head-to-head matchup, 43 percent of registered voters say they will vote for Clinton, and 40 percent say they will vote for Trump; 17 percent don’t know or have no opinion.

The matchup hasn’t been this close since late July, when Morning Consult’s poll showed a 3-point Clinton lead over Trump, 43 percent to 40 percent.

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Both presidential candidates are still highly unpopular, with 58 percent of voters saying they have an unfavorable view of Trump and 57 percent saying the same about Clinton.

The poll results come after Clinton gave her most direct speech thus far attacking Trump on his racial rhetoric, while the GOP nominee continued his bid to woo black and Hispanic voters.

Trump’s campaign also floated new ideas about allowing immigrants who are illegally residing in the United States to stay in the country, an attempt to soften the real estate mogul’s harsh immigration rhetoric. But the mixed signals from the Trump campaign aren’t winning over immigration advocates.

Clinton has also faced questions about her ties to the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of state.

Trump’s outreach to African American voters appears to be falling flat among that demographic, with only 5 percent of black voters saying they will vote for Trump; 79 percent of African American respondents say they will vote for Clinton, with 16 percent undecided.

Trump also significantly trails Clinton among women voters — 44 percent to 35 percent — with 21 percent saying they don’t know or have no opinion.

Independents remain stubbornly divided in three camps: 35 percent say they will vote for Clinton; 34 percent prefer Trump; and 31 percent are undecided.

Trump’s gains on Clinton tighten to within the margin of error when accounting for other presidential candidates. In that matchup, Clinton leads Trump by just 2 points, 39 percent to 37 percent.

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Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein are struggling to gain traction with voters and, barring a major shift, are unlikely to make the debate stage scheduled for late September. Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, has support from 8 percent of respondents, while Stein is the first choice for 3 percent of voters.

The poll was conducted among a national sample of 2,007 registered voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. See toplines and crosstabs.

Morning Consult