The latest Battleground poll of the general election finds Hillary Clinton edging GOP frontrunner Donald Trump by just three points. But Clinton’s edge is within the poll’s margin of error, making the race effectively tied.
The poll, from George Washington University, shows Hillary Clinton with 46 percent support, followed closely by Trump with 43 percent.
Against Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, however, Trump trails by an 11-point margin. Against Sanders, Trump has just 40 percent support against 51 percent for Sanders.
The Battleground poll didn’t test any other Republican candidates against the potential Democrat nominees. Looking at the poll in detail, the toss-up nature of the race between Clinton and Trump likely says more about Clinton than voter feelings about Trump.
Trump’s favorable ratings, in fact, are the worst of any major candidate for President. Almost two-thirds of voters, 65 percent, have an unfavorable view of Trump. Just 32 percent of voters have a favorable view of him. More than half of voters, 52 percent, say they are “strongly” negative towards Trump.
A majority of voters also have unfavorable views of Clinton, 56 percent, and Sen. Ted Cruz, 55 percent. Only 37 percent of voters have a “strongly” negative view of Cruz, while 46 percent have a “strongly” negative view of Clinton.
Personal ratings for John Kasich and Bernie Sanders are better, with just 29 and 44 percent of voters, respectively, having a negative opinion of the two candidates.
Regardless of the potential nominees, voters in the poll are definitely looking for a change from the policies of the last eight years. Just over one third of voters, 35 percent, want the next president to continue Obama’s policies. Sixty percent want a change of direction, with just more than half, 53 percent, strongly backing a change from Obama’s policies.
Unsurprisingly, the Republican party has a big edge over the Democrat party on most major issues. A majority of voters back the Republican party on the issues of the economy, jobs, and taxes. Voters also prefer Republicans handling foreign affairs.
The Democrat party does better addressing health care, fighting for the middle class and, by a very slim plurality, addressing the cares of voters.
Voters’ views on these issues largely flip, however, if the candidates are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Trump edges Clinton on handling jobs and taxes. Clinton is a slight favorite on the economy. Strong majorities back Clinton over Trump on health care, foreign affairs, fighting for the middle class, and caring about voters.
Beyond the Presidential horse-race, the Battleground poll finds a very anxious electorate. More than 60 percent of voters are somewhat or very worried about an economic downturn. Almost two-thirds, 65 percent, don’t think the next generation will be better off financially. Fully half the voters strongly doubt their children will be better off then them.
Voters are evenly split, 47-46, as to whether the federal government should ensure everyone has a job or should get out of the way and let the free market succeed. Less than a quarter of voters believe free trade deals have helped the economy, while half believe they have harmed it.
Half of voters find the current tenor of the presidential contest to be “repulsive.” A majority, 54 percent, however, say it won’t affect how or whether they vote in November. More than a third, though, say it has made them less likely to vote for a specific candidate.
With the electorate in such a sour mood, it is unsurprising perhaps that the two frontrunner candidates, Clinton and Trump, have such high unfavorable numbers. While Trump’s negative ratings are unprecedented, Clinton’s numbers aren’t appreciably better.
Even though more than half of the voters say they would never consider supporting Trump, Clinton only runs even against him. Trump and Clinton may each be the one candidate the other can beat in November.