Democratic nominee Hillary R. Clinton leads in a four-way contest with 42 percent of the vote, compared to Donald J. Trump with 37 percent, Libertarian Gary Johnson with 9 percent, and 3 percent for Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein, according to a Breitbart/Gravis national poll conducted Aug. 9 with 2,832 likely voters.
“This is a four-way race, but the question is if Johnson and Stein can hold their voters through the general,” said Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Marketing, the Florida-based firm that executed the poll. The poll carries a 1.8 percent margin of error with the 95 percent confidence level. The total may not round to 100 percent because of rounding. The poll was conducted using automated telephone calls and weighted by voting patterns.
Kaplan said it is normal for third-party candidates to lose support as the general election gets closer.
“There is no incumbent, but Clinton is the status quo. It is common for the undecideds to break for the challenger, which would be Trump, the more she clings to Obama,” Kaplan said. President Barack Obama has strongly endorsed Clinton and promised to campaign with his former secretary of state.
Alex Marlow, the editor-in-chief of Breitbart News, said it was the natural next step for Breitbart to establish its own series of polls.
“It’s an open secret that polls are often manipulated and spun to create momentum for a particular candidate or issue,” Marlow said. “Breitbart News Network’s first national poll marks the start of a major initiative to give our readers an accurate assessment on where the American people stand on the key topics and people of the day — without the mainstream media filter.”
Kaplan said Trump has the ability to reach out to voters, who were turned off by Republicans in the past, but he it is not without leakage from his Republican support.
“In this environment, too many ambitious Republicans are willing to take their chances in 2020 against Hillary Clinton, instead of waiting out eight years of Donald Trump,” he said.
“Former rivals, who should be working to secure his base for him are stirring it up instead, forcing Trump to defend his own base, while reaching outside his base,” he said.
Clinton’s 42 percent is roughly 10 percent points short of Obama’s 51 percent in 2012 and 53 percent in 2008.
At 37 percent, Trump is in the same hole, trailing Sen. John S. McCain III (R-AZ), who won 46 percent of the voters in 2008 and former Massachusetts governor W. Mitt Romney, who received 47 percent of the vote in 2012.
Inside the poll, Trump is gathering support from communities that have been traditionally solid for Democrats. In 2012, Obama gathered 93 percent of 67 percent African-American turnout, but Clinton has support from 80 percent of black voters, with Trump’s 11 percent almost doubling Romney’s 6 percent. In 2012, the black vote was the margin of victory for Obama in seven states for a total of 112 of his 332 electoral vote total. Romney won 206 electoral votes.
In addition to candidate preferences, the poll probed the attitudes of voters to better gauge the electorate’s fluidity and the concerns driving their decisions.
Likely voters were asked: How would you describe the America’s position in the world today with America’s position 10 years ago? Stronger, Weaker or Same? Fifty-five percent of respondents told Breitbart/Gravis that America is weaker, 24 percent stronger, and 21 percent the same.
Broken down by party, 83 percent of Republicans believe America is weaker than 10 years ago, along with 56 percent of independents, and 33 percent of Democrats.
On the other side, 36 percent of Democrats said America is stronger than 1o years ago, along with 8 percent of Republicans, and 25 percent of independents.
Both Clinton and Trump were on the wrong end of the question: Do you agree or disagree? Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton would fight for people like me.
Only 38 percent of respondents said Trump would fight for someone like them, with only 9 percent of African-Americans and 8 percent of Muslims agreeing with the statement.
Similarly, the former First Lady had only 39 percent of respondents saying that Clinton fights for people like them, including only 26 percent of white voters. On the other hand, 84 percent of Muslims believe Clinton fights for them.
Kaplan said the poll presents significant targets of opportunity for Trump.
“When 55 percent of respondents say America is weaker today than 10 years ago, there is a serious turbulence in the electorate,” he said. “Think about it, 10 years ago, we had more than 50,000 troops in Afghanistan and pre-Surge Iraq was going off the rails.”
Both Trump and Clinton need to convince Americans they will fight for people like them, but that is supposed to be the default position of the Democratic Party, he said.
“If 51 percent of Americans don’t believe Clinton, the liberal Democrat, is fighting for them, then this campaign is being waged on new territory.”
Another relative weak spot for Clinton is Trump garnering support from 11 percent of African-Americans, he said.
“In 2010 and 2014, without Obama on the top of the ticket, African-American turnout fell off and combined with the motivated turnout from Republicans — the Democrats took massive losses in Congress and in state houses.”
The question remains: Will the black turnout will be strong for Clinton like it was for Obama in 2008 and 2012, or would it fall back into 2010, 2014 levels?
“Granted 2010 and 2014 were midterms, but it is still an open question,” Kaplan said. “Then, if Trump can cut into the black vote on his own, it could be very damaging to the Democratic turnout models.”