The latest poll from Reuters/IPSOS finds a very tight general election race nationwide.
Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton has a slim 4-point lead over GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump. Clinton has 41 percent support against 37 percent for Donald Trump, within the poll’s margin of error.
Reuters reports that the race has narrowed since last week, driven largely by a drop in Clinton’s favorability among voters. Only 45 percent of registered voters have a favorable opinion of Clinton, down slightly from last week. Trump’s favorable numbers have also dipped, however. Just 41 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of the real estate developer.
Trump’s drop in favorablity alongside Clinton’s has prevented the likely GOP nominee from moving above the Democrat in the tracking poll. Trump does, however, have a big lead among Independents in the poll. He is the choice of 42 percent of Independents, far more than the 19 percent who prefer Clinton.
An astonishing 38 percent of Independents are undecided between the two frontrunners. Factoring in the poll’s margin of error, “neither” could be the top choice of Independent voters.
Hillary now has a solid lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democrat primary, according to the poll. She leads the socialist Senator 56-41 among Democrats. That said, in a general election match-up against Trump, she has the backing of just 75 percent of Democrats. Just over 1-in-10 Democrats support Trump while another 14 percent are undecided.
Trump, arguably, has more work to do than Clinton, though, on solidifying his support among Republicans. In a match-up against Clinton, Trump has the support of 69 percent of Republicans, 6 points lower than Clinton’s support among Democrats. Just 8 percent of Republicans would support Clinton, but almost a quarter of Republicans are still undecided.
If Trump were to match the level of support among Republicans that Clinton has among Democrats, the presumptive GOP nominee would likely lead her in the Reuters poll.
The Reuters poll also found that Obama’s approval rating dropped a bit from last week. Just over half of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the Presidency, while only 47 percent approve. While Obama does worst, unsurprisingly, among Republican voters, he is 12 points upside down with Independents. Just 42 percent of Independents approve of his handling of the job, while 54 percent disapprove. A strong 41 percent of Independents “strongly disapprove” of Obama.
Almost 7-in-10 Americans think the country is on the wrong track, including, even, 51 percent of Democrats. Among Independents, three-quarters, 74 percent, believe the country is on the wrong track. This represents an enormous headwind for Hillary Clinton, who has campaigned on continuing and expanding on President Obama’s policies.
Predictably, the economy in general is the top concern of all voters, regardless of party or political affiliation. For Democrats, though, unemployment and health care are tied for second, while terrorism is fourth. By contrast, terrorism is the second top concern for Republicans.
Independents are the least worried about terrorism. Less than 1-in-10 list it as their top concern. After the economy, health care is their top concern. Interestingly, “morality” is the third top issue for Independents. Among Republicans, “morality” is tied for fourth with immigration.
Immigration is not a significant issue for either Democrats or Independents.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both still a couple months away from formally claiming their party’s nomination. Officially, the general election campaign won’t begin until the conclusion of the Republican and Democrat conventions this summer.
The preseason, however, is drawing to a close. As the formal general election campaign is set to begin, the race is a toss-up. With an unsettled electorate in a gloomy mood, it is likely to remain close until the end.