Bloomberg.- Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by three percentage points among likely voters nationally, the latest sign that her campaign’s painstaking focus on women, Latinos and blacks could help propel her to the White House.
The final Bloomberg Politics national poll before Tuesday’s election has Clinton ahead of Trump, 44 percent to 41 percent, when third-party candidates are included. In a two-way contest, she’s also up by three points.
Interviews were conducted Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, before FBI Director James Comey announced his decision that Clinton shouldn’t face criminal charges related to use of a personal e-mail server as secretary of state.
Comey’s initial letter informing Congress—11 days before the election—that the FBI was conducting a review of newly discovered e-mails breathed new life into Trump’s candidacy at a time most polls showed Clinton with a bigger lead. The FBI’s decision Sunday brings a positive burst of news for Clinton in the campaign’s critical home stretch.
The tightness of the race highlights the importance of turnout for both sides, as the final wave of campaign events, door-knocking, e-mailing, and phone-calling comes to a close.
More than a third of likely voters, 37 percent, say they’ve already voted and Clinton is leading Trump with that group, 46 percent to 38 percent.
The results offer a national snapshot of the race, but they fail to reflect the reality of the state-by-state pursuit of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. Trump has strong support in the South, the survey shows, while Clinton has the advantage in the Northeast, Midwest and West.
“The poll reflects a tight race, for sure, but what is so striking is the sour mood of the electorate,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer, who oversaw the survey. “Looking forward, they see scandals aplenty and sizable segments of each side vow to keep fighting even after all the votes are counted.”
The poll of 799 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, higher among subgroups, and was conducted by Iowa-based Selzer & Co.
In the four-way race, Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee, is backed by four percent, while the Green Party’s Jill Stein gets two percent.
Clinton has more demographic strongholds than Trump, when the two are compared alone. She’s leading among women (+15 percentage points), those under age 35 (+15 percentage points), non-whites (+37 percentage points), Hispanics (+25 percentage points), those with college degrees (+15 percentage points), and suburban women (+22 percentage points).
Trump has some of his strongest support among those without college degrees (+8 percentage points), white men (+25 percentage points), rural dwellers (+30 percentage points), and those who are married (+9 percentage points).
Among Republicans and those who lean that way, Trump has the support of 85 percent, while Clinton is backed by 86 percent of Democrats and those who lean that way.
Trump isn’t doing as well as Republicans overall. Voters are slightly more positive on Republicans than Democrats for their preference for congressional representation, with 48 percent saying they prefer or are leaning toward the Republican U.S. House candidate in their district, while 45 percent pick the Democrat or lean that way.
When the sun rises Wednesday morning on America, the poll shows the nation will remain deeply divided and distrustful of the president-elect. More than half of likely voters, 58 percent, say they’ll feel disappointed or even angry and will vow to keep fighting if their candidate fails to win, while just more than a third say they’ll be cautiously optimistic and plan to give the new president a chance.
A line of attack Trump has pushed—that Clinton would bring the specter of scandal back to the White House—finds resonance with many voters.
More than half, 52 percent, agree with the premise that if she’s elected her administration will have “many major scandals throughout her presidency.” Almost nine in 10 Trump supporters agree, as do 15 percent of Clinton’s supporters.
But Trump isn’t seen as a clear alternative. Almost half, 48 percent, predict that same level of scandal for a Trump administration. Among Clinton supporters, 81 percent envision that level of scandal, while 10 percent of Trump’s supporters do.
Clinton doesn’t appear to have been hurt with her core base by the initial announcement from Comey on Oct. 28. Just three percent of those who support her or have supported her at some point say that news caused them to change their vote or seriously consider doing so, while 26 percent say the news caused them some discomfort. The vast majority, 70 percent, say it hasn’t worried them.
Both candidates remain historically unpopular for major party nominees, leaving many voters feeling like they have to pick from two bad options. Just 46 percent see Clinton favorably, while 51 percent see her unfavorably. Trump is viewed positively by 41 percent and negatively by 57 percent.
Those numbers offer some insight into the challenges Trump might face if he loses the election and decides to launch his own television network. Although he’s denied interest in such a venture, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has reportedly had conversations about such an idea with a friend at an investment bank that specializes in media deals.
Just 7 percent of likely voters say they would definitely watch “Trump TV,” 11 percent would probably watch, and 19 percent might or might not watch. A solid majority, 60 percent, say they’d probably not watch. Even among Trump supporters, only about a third say they’d definitely or probably watch.
Deep divisions within the Republican Party that Trump has helped stoke are revealed in a question on what the GOP should do if Trump fails to win the presidency.
Among Republicans and independents who lean that way, the largest share, 37 percent, say the party should start from scratch, rename itself, and reinvent what it stands for, while 30 percent say nothing major should change.
Another 25 percent agree the party will need to “become more moderate in its approach to policy issues and tone down harsh rhetoric on issues such as abortion, immigration, and gay marriage.”
Three top surrogates who will appear with Clinton at an election eve rally in Philadelphia on Monday are all more popular than the nominee. President Barack Obama is viewed favorably by 54 percent, while 58 percent feel that way about first lady Michelle Obama.
The long campaign has taken a toll on the standing of former President Bill Clinton. He’s still viewed positively by 50 percent, but that’s just one point above the lowest score he’s had among likely voters in any Bloomberg Politics national poll in 2015 or 2016.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has angered some Republicans by offering only tepid support for Trump, gets mixed reviews, with 40 percent viewing him favorably and 43 percent unfavorably. Among likely Republican voters and those who lean that way, 29 percent hold an unfavorable of the Wisconsinite.
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