More than half of likely voters — 56 percent — say America’s position in the world is weaker today than it was a decade ago, according to the latest Breitbart/Gravis poll, conducted Sept. 7 and Sept. 8 with 2,348 likely voters.
Just 22 percent, say the United States is stronger than a decade ago, while 21 percent think the country is in the same place.
“Fifty-six percent of respondents told us that America is weaker today than a decade ago, when we had 200,000 troops in fighting in Iraq and another 50,000 in Afghanistan,” said Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Marketing, the Florida-based polling firm that executed the poll. The poll carries a 2 percent margin of error with a 95 percent level of confidence.
“In his 2008 campaign, President Barack Obama promised to improve America’s standing in the world, but in this poll, only 22 percent think America is stronger and 21 percent think America is in the same place,” he said.
One of the most powerful data points in the poll was the virtual agreement between men and women on the questions of America’s position in the world in the poll.
With 56 percent of women and 57 percent of men agreeing that America is weaker than 10 years ago, it was the closest gender alignment of any question in the survey. Twenty-four percent of women and 21 percent of men said America is stronger and 21 percent of women and 22 percent of men said it was the same.
Among white likely voters, 69 percent say America is weaker, compared to 44 percent of Asian-Americans, 36 percent of Hispanics and 28 percent of African Americans.
One of the key indicators of an electorate is the Right Direction/Wrong Direction sentiments. This is especially important when there is an incumbent.
In 2016, Hillary Rodham Clinton is closer to that role. Her Democratic party is in power, and she served in a key role in the Obama administration for four years. Clinton’s GOP rival Donald Trump is the outsider, running without a political record.
Broken down into ethnic groups, a real dichotomy emerges with some groups of Americans more positive than others, such as 50 percent of African-Americans and 45 percent of Hispanics saying that the country was on the right track. Conversely, 64 percent of whites and 57 percent of Asian-Americans said the country was going in the wrong direction.
In the presidential preference, Clinton led Trump with 43 percent to his 40 percent with 7 percent for Libertarian Gary Johnson and less than 1 percent for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
Clinton has very strong support with likely black voters at 77 percent and likely Hispanics at 81 percent, which lines up with large numbers of those voters thinking the country is going in the right direction.
But, when she reaches out to other groups, such as whites, she has to navigate her promise to be Obama’s third term to other voters, while addressing whites, who say they want the country to be heading in another direction.
In the last month, Trump has made a concerted effort to court minority voters, especially black voters, but in the last poll he only has the support of 7 percent of African-Americans.
In the Aug. 9 Breitbart/Gravis poll, Trump had the support of 14 percent of African-Americans and in the Aug. 22 and Aug. 23 poll, he had the support of 11 percent of African-Americans.
It could be that Trump has the opposite problem as Clinton.
As the “change candidate,” Trump is reaching out to communities that may not actually want to change directions.
The Breitbart/Gravis poll was conducted using automated phone calls with results weighted to match a proprietary turnout model.