US 2016 ELECTIONS
BOSTON: Democrat Hillary Clinton has failed to take advantage of the squalls surrounding GOP rival Donald Trump and heads into the fall campaign with a tenuous lead and strong voter doubts about her trustworthiness, a new Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald poll reveals.
Clinton clings to a three-point lead — 44 to 41 percent — unchanged from a Franklin Pierce/Herald poll nearly two months ago. Libertarian Gary Johnson is drawing 8 percent while Green Party candidate Jill Stein follows with 3 percent, according to the poll of 1,025 likely voters nationwide.
The Franklin Pierce/Herald poll also showed that Clinton and Trump continue to be viewed negatively by historically high numbers of likely voters — 55 percent for the Democratic nominee and 57 percent for her GOP opponent. Less than 30 percent of both Clinton’s and Trump’s supporters say they are “very excited” about voting for them.
“If past elections are any indication of what’s likely to happen in this election, there’s not much that will change in the next two months,” said R. Kelly Myers, who conducted the poll for Franklin Pierce and the Herald. “The only thing likely to have any major impact on the race are the debates.”
Clinton’s’s 43.7 percent lead over Trump’s 41.4 percent is within the 3.1 percent margin of error in the new poll.
More than half of all likely voters say they aren’t confident Clinton “has the honesty” to be president, a sign that new revelations about her use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State are taking a big toll.
Voter doubts about Trump are just as rampant, with 57 percent of all likely voters reporting they aren’t confident the billionaire developer “has the right temperament” to be commander-in-chief, while 48 percent have a “very unfavorable” opinion of him.
There is some good news for Clinton: a growing number of her supporters — 88 percent — now say they won’t change their minds, according to the Franklin Pierce-Herald poll. Just 81 percent of Trump voters are firmly committed, indicating the Democratic nominee’s support is more solid.
The new Franklin Pierce/Herald -poll was conducted on August 31 to September 4, just after fresh Clinton emails and documents were released showing an IT staffer deleted a trove of emails after the existence of the private server became public, and raising questions about the Clinton Foundation. The FBI also announced it found a new batch of messages Clinton hadn’t turned over from her private server.
Trump’s campaign has also been rocked by a slew of negative stories and controversies that prompted a shakeup of his leadership team.
Despite growing worries among GOP leaders, the poll shows Trump still winning nearly 9 in 10 likely Republican voters. He also continues to hold a double-digit lead over Clinton among men, while Clinton has an even larger lead among women.
About one-third of Clinton’s and Trump’s supporters say they are backing them mostly because they don’t like their opponent. Just 1 percent of Trump voters say they support him because they “like” him, while just 5 percent of Clinton’s supporters cite her likability.
“Clinton voters and Trump voters look the same in many ways,” Myers said. “Neither are very excited about their candidate, and neither see their candidate as particularly better qualified to deal with foreign -policy, NATO, the Middle East or ISIS [Islamic State] than the other.”
The poll also shows more than half of all likely voters say the race is less “civil” than in previous campaigns.