Fox News Poll: Clinton Ahead of Trump by Two Points

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Hillary Clinton has a 2-point edge over Donald Trump with less than a week before the election.

That’s according to a new national Fox News Poll of likely voters conducted Tuesday-Thursday.

In the four way race, Clinton tops Trump by a 45-43 percent margin.  She was up by three points a week ago (44-41 percent) and by six in mid-October (45-39 percent).  Gary Johnson gets 5 percent and Jill Stein two percent.  Only four percent are undecided.

Without third-party candidates in the mix, Clinton is ahead by just one point: 46-45 percent.  She was up five points in the two-way last week (49-44 percent, October 22-25).

Her lead is within the poll’s margin of sampling error in both the two-way and four-way races.

Trump is favored by men (+11 points), whites (+19), and whites without a college degree (+33).

Clinton leads among women (+13 points), blacks (+74), and voters under age 30 (+17).  She’s also ahead by 11 points among the one-in-five who have already voted (50-39 percent).

They split the support of whites with a college degree:  Trump gets 45 percent to Clinton’s 42 percent.   In 2012, GOP nominee Mitt Romney won this group by 14 points (56-42 percent).

Both candidates are consolidating their bases, but Clinton outperforms Trump:  she gets 90 percent among Democrats and he gets 85 percent of Republicans.

Trump has an 8-point edge over Clinton among independents (41-33 percent).  That’s down from his 13-point advantage last week (41-28 percent).  Johnson takes 11 percent.

Trump has a six-point strength-of-support advantage, as more of his backers (71 percent) say they “strongly” support their candidate than Clinton supporters (65 percent).  In addition, his folks (63 percent) are more likely than hers (54 percent) to be “extremely” interested in the race.

That enthusiasm gap may be one consequence of the renewed FBI investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.  How much damage has the scandal really done to her campaign?

Some 74 percent of voters say the FBI investigation won’t make a difference to their vote, and four percent actually say it makes them more likely to support her.  Yet 21 percent say it makes them less likely to vote for her, including 37 percent of Republicans and 21 percent of independents.  Among Democrats, 5 percent say it makes them less likely to support Clinton, while 7 percent say it makes them more likely.

“The FBI action forced Clinton to play defense in the closing week,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson.  “But the number of voters who will move out of her column to someone else will likely be minimal.  If the election really comes down to the wire, perhaps it makes a difference in a battleground.”  Anderson conducts the Fox News Poll with Republican counterpart Daron Shaw.

Then again, the 59 percent who are bothered by Clinton’s use of a private email server is actually down a touch from 60 percent who felt that way at the end of September.   For 39 percent it’s “no big deal.”  The emails bother almost all Republicans (92 percent), most independents (69 percent), but just one in five Democrats (22 percent).

While over half of voters, 51 percent, doubt the FBI will find anything that will lead to criminal charges against Clinton, some 47 percent think it will -- including 42 percent of independents and 16 percent of Democrats.

So it’s not surprising that by a 16-point margin, more voters are concerned scandals would have a “serious effect” on a Clinton administration (70 percent) than a Trump administration (54 percent).  Moreover, nearly half (46 percent) are “very” worried about scandals if Clinton were elected, up from 37 percent three weeks ago.

Then there’s Clinton’s honesty rating.  It ticked up one point to 31 percent.  It was a record-low 30 percent among likely voters last week.  For Trump, 38 percent say he’s honest and trustworthy.  Honesty is one of the only personal traits where he bests her.

“Much of the recent commentary misses the big picture here,” says Shaw.  “The specific charges matter less than the fact that they reinforce the broad sense that Clinton’s dishonest.  If late-breaking voters decide to make a leap of faith with Trump, it will be because of this feeling.”

Fifty-eight percent say Clinton has the temperament to serve effectively as president, compared to just 40 percent for Trump.

While both candidates remain unpopular, Clinton’s lost her advantage here.  Her net negative rating is 13 points (43 favorable vs. 56 unfavorable).  Last week she was underwater by 8.  At the same time, Trump’s net negative 12 points (43 favorable vs. 55 unfavorable) improved a bit from negative 14 a week ago.

Roughly 15 percent of likely voters dislike both Clinton and Trump.  Who are they backing?  Clinton and Johnson garner 25 percent each from this group, and 23 percent go for Trump.

The number who think Clinton will win the election is down, yet a majority still thinks she’ll be the next president:  56 percent, down from a high of 66 percent three weeks ago (October 10-12).  Still, only 35 percent expect a Trump victory.

Most of her supporters remain confident in their candidate, as 90 percent think it will be Madame President, down slightly from 93 percent in mid-October.  At the same time, Trump’s supporters are feeling more confident: 69 percent think he’ll win, up from 56 percent.

Meanwhile, 80 percent of Clinton supporters say they’ll accept the election outcome if Trump wins.  That’s down from 88 percent last week.  That number holds steady among Trump supporters, as 58 percent say they’ll accept the outcome if Clinton wins.

Nearly three-out-of-four will go to the voting booth unhappy with Uncle Sam:  46 percent are “dissatisfied” with the way the federal government is working and another 27 percent are “angry.”  Trump backers are four times as likely as those supporting Clinton to say they’re angry (44 vs. 11 percent).

Clinton’s lost ground on the issues.  For example, the new poll finds likely voters trust her over Trump on making decisions about using nuclear weapons by 16 points.  That’s down from a 25-point lead in mid-October.

The two candidates tie on nominating the next Supreme Court justice and handling terrorism.  Clinton has consistently been preferred on the court, and in five of the six previous polls she had the edge on terrorism.

And Trump’s current 8-point advantage over Clinton on handling the economy is his largest yet.

The Fox News Poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,211 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from November 1-3, 2016.  The survey includes results among 1,107 likely voters.  The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for results among registered voters and plus or minus 3 points among likely voters.