New CNN / ORC polls have good news for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
The polls suggest a very tight race headed into election day
Both the Clinton and Trump campaigns have hit the ground hard in Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Pennsylvania, and new CNN/ORC polls across the four states paint a picture of a tight race to the finish in critical battlegrounds.
Clinton holds a 4-point edge among likely voters in the historically blue-tilting Pennsylvania, and Trump tops Clinton by 5 with voters in red-leaning Arizona. Though both states tilt in the same direction as their 2012 results, the leaders’ margins are tighter than their predecessors’ final leads were in each state.
Florida appears to be as tight a contest as ever, with Clinton at 49% among likely voters and Trump at 47%. That’s an apparent shift in Clinton’s direction since the last CNN/ORC poll there in September before the presidential debates began, but still a within-margin-of-error race.
In Nevada, the poll suggests the race has also shifted, with Trump now ahead there 49% to 43%, with 5% behind Libertarian Gary Johnson, compared with a two-point Clinton edge in mid-October.
While that shift is statistically significant, it could be reflective of timing: The mid-October poll came at a particularly bad time for Trump in most polls, following the second presidential debate and the revelation of a tape in which Trump talked about sexually aggressive behavior toward women using vulgar language. The new poll comes at a challenging time for Clinton in many polls, with national and some state polling narrowing amid news that the FBI has obtained additional emails that could be relevant to their investigation of the private server she used while secretary of state.
Across all four states, women are more apt than men to support Clinton, men tilt to Trump in each place. White voters break heavily in Trump’s favor in each state, while non-whites favor Clinton by wide margins. And voters who say they have already cast ballots in Arizona and Nevada are about evenly split, with a narrow advantage for Clinton, while she holds a wide margin among those who say they have already voted in Florida. Trump tops Clinton by double-digits in all three states among those likely voters who say they plan to cast their ballot on November 8. In Pennsylvania, where votes cast before election day come only from those who apply for an absentee ballot and have a reason why they can’t vote on Election Day, there were too few early voters to analyze.
In Florida and Nevada, there are sharp enthusiasm gaps between Clinton voters and Trump voters, with the Trump backers far more likely to say they’re enthusiastic about voting this year in both Florida (58% among Trump supporters, 48% among Clinton backers) and Nevada (61% for Trump voters, 48% for Clinton supporters). In Arizona and Pennsylvania, there isn’t much of an enthusiasm gap, but also not much enthusiasm either, with fewer than half of voters saying they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting for president this year.
A split on issues
On the issues, Trump’s advantage on the economy spans all four states, while Clinton continues to top Trump on foreign policy. The landscape on the issues has changed little compared with earlier polling in each state, with voters closely divided on whether Trump or Clinton would better handle immigration or terrorism.
Clinton has the edge on health care across states, an issue that has emerged as a recent campaign touchpoint as open enrollment for 2017 approaches. Clinton holds her narrowest margin on the issue in Arizona, where she is ahead by a statistically insignificant 1 point. Arizona is seeing some of the largest increases in Obamacare premiums for the coming year, and it’s an issue Trump has been raising on the campaign trail recently.
Clinton also tops Trump in all but Arizona on having a clear vision for the country’s future, and tops him in all four states as having the temperament to serve effectively as president and handle the responsibilities of commander-in-chief.
Despite those advantages on “presidential” attributes, Clinton continues to be dogged by questions about her honesty, and lags well behind Trump on honesty and trustworthiness in each of these four states. Clinton’s disadvantage on that issue, though, has only worsened in Nevada. In the rest of the states, the resurfacing of the email server issue appears not to be shifting those numbers.
Tight Senate races, too
All four of these states also have senate seats up for grabs this year, three of the four are incredibly close contests. In Florida, Marco Rubio’s once wide lead over Patrick Murphy has evaporated, and the race is now a 1-point contest, 49% back Rubio, 48% Murphy. The Nevada race to replace the Senate’s top Democrat Harry Reid has swung back toward Republican Joe Heck, but here too the race is within margin of error, with Heck at 49% to Catherine Cortez Masto’s 47%. The margin widens slightly in Pennsylvania, where Republican incumbent Pat Toomey lags behind challenger Katie McGinty by 5 points. In Arizona, John McCain holds a wide lead over challenger Ann Kirkpatrick, topping her 52% to 39%.
The CNN/ORC polls were conducted by telephone Oct. 27-Nov. 1. Results reflect interviews with 867 registered voters and 769 likely voters in Arizona, 884 registered voters and 773 likely voters in Florida, 860 registered voters and 790 likely voters in Nevada and 917 registered voters and 799 likely voters in Pennsylvania. Results among likely voters have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 percentage points in each state.