Presidential Race a Near Toss-Up Among Likely Voters

Donald Trump remains within the margin of error of Hillary Clinton in Morning Consult’s new national survey of likely voters.

The new poll, conducted from Sept. 6 through Sept. 8, shows the Democratic nominee leading the Republican nominee, 41 percent to 39 percent, if the election were held today. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein are the first choice for 10 percent and 3 percent of voters, respectively, well below the 15-percent threshold required to make the presidential debate stage on Sept. 26.

In a two-way match up of likely voters, Clinton’s lead is even smaller, 44 percent to Trump’s 43 percent.

This is Morning Consult’s first survey differentiating likely and registered voters, but the distinction doesn’t alter the margin of the race. (Morning Consult Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp writes in detail about our likely voter model here.) Clinton also leads Trump by 2 points — within the poll’s margin of error — among registered voters, 38 percent to 36 percent.


Among independent likely voters, Trump leads Clinton by 9 points, 35 percent to 26 percent, when they are presented with all the possible candidates on the ballot. His lead among men who expect to vote, 42 percent to 40 percent, is within the margin of error. The former first lady has a 5-point advantage with women who are likely voters (41 percent to 36 percent) over the New York business mogul.

In a week where the Republican nominee pledged to increase defense spending to pre-sequestration levels, he continues to lead Clinton among military households, 49 percent to 32 percent.

Breaking down the contest along racial lines, Trump boasts a 9-point lead among white voters, 44 percent to 35 percent, but he trails heavily with minority voters. More than half of Hispanic likely voters (55 percent) back Clinton, compared with one-fourth of Latinos who prefer Trump. African American likely voters back the Democratic nominee by almost 70 points, 73 percent to 7 percent.

In terms of education, Clinton continues to be the top choice for educated voters when they are asked to choose among all presidential candidates. Likely voters with a bachelor’s degree prefer her over Trump, 43 percent to 34 percent. Post-graduates back her by a larger margin, 54 percent to 28 percent. Trump is still the preference for likely voters who haven’t been to college. He leads Clinton by 6 points (43 percent to 37 percent) among those respondents.

The Republican also has the edge with self-identified blue-collar voters, who back him over her, 44 percent to 38 percent. That margin is flipped among white-collar voters, 43 percent of whom prefer Clinton to 36 percent who say they would vote for Trump.

Clinton and Trump are both viewed unfavorably by a majority of likely voters; 56 percent have an unfavorable view of Trump, and 57 percent view Clinton unfavorably. Independent voters have a less favorable view of Clinton (70 percent unfavorable) than Trump (57 percent unfavorable).

The Morning Consult survey polled 1,961 registered voters and 1,710 likely voters from Sept. 6 through Sept. 8 for a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Registered voters: toplines and crosstabs. Likely voters: toplines and crosstabs.



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