Donald Trump has had a few rocky weeks on the campaign trail, and it shows in the latest Fox News Poll. Just over half of Republicans would rather have someone besides Trump as their nominee, and his support in the presidential ballot test has dropped seven points since May.
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Democrat Hillary Clinton is up 44-38 percent over Trump in a head-to-head matchup. Earlier this month, Clinton had a three-point edge (42-39 percent). In May, Trump was up by three (45-42 percent). Clinton’s current lead is just inside the poll’s margin of sampling error.
The national poll, released Wednesday, finds she has a similar advantage when voters are asked about confidence in the candidates to make the “right” decisions for the country if they were president: 48 percent are at least somewhat confident Clinton would. It’s 42 percent for Trump.
In the matchup, Clinton is the choice among blacks (87-3 percent), women (51-32 percent), voters under age 45 (45-35 percent), and those earning less than $50,000 annually (52-30 percent).
Trump leads among white evangelical Christians (66-18 percent), whites without a college degree (51-33 percent), gun owners (52-30 percent), whites (48-34 percent), men (46-36 percent), and independents (39-31 percent).
Since May, Trump has lost ground with Republicans (-8 points), whites without degrees (-10 points), and men (-9 points).
The race is almost even among just those “extremely” or “very” interested in the election (45 Clinton to 43 Trump). This group went for Trump by four points in early June (45-41 percent).
Party unity is a trouble spot for Trump. Just 74 percent of Republicans back him over Clinton, down from 82 percent in May. For comparison, Mitt Romney lost despite garnering 93 percent support among Republicans in 2012. In addition, just over half of Republicans would prefer a different nominee (51 percent someone else vs. 48 percent Trump). And while most GOP voters describe Trump as intelligent, more than 7-in-10 feel he’s hot-headed and obnoxious. More on that later.
Eighty-three percent of Democrats support Clinton in the ballot test. That’s better than Trump does among Republicans, yet worse than the 92 percent backing President Obama received in 2012. By a 21-point margin, Democrats want Clinton (58 percent) as their party’s nominee over Bernie Sanders (37 percent).
Some 66 percent of Democrats who preferred Sanders are backing Clinton over Trump. By comparison, only 52 percent of Republicans who want someone else to lead their party support Trump over Clinton.
Twenty-four percent of Republicans lack confidence that Trump would make the right decisions for the country. Fourteen percent of Democrats feel that way about Clinton.
"The results here aren't disastrous for Trump given the troubles he's encountered the past few weeks,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll along with Democratic pollster Chris Anderson. “He's within striking distance. But he absolutely must combat the growing perception that he is temperamentally unsuited and intellectually unprepared to be president."
What words best describe the candidates? There are a couple things voters generally agree on, and that’s both Clinton and Trump are patriotic -- and lack honesty.
Clinton outperforms Trump by the widest margin on “experienced,” as 77 percent say that describes her, while just 34 percent feel the same of Trump.
Far more see Clinton (82 percent) than Trump (66 percent) as “intelligent,” and “sensible” (54 percent Clinton vs. 35 percent Trump). About six-in-ten think “patriotic” fits each.
Clinton is still dogged by low honesty numbers, as a record low 30 percent think she’s “honest and trustworthy,” and 58 percent describe her as “corrupt.”
Trump doesn’t have much to brag about here either: just 34 percent describe him as “honest and trustworthy” and 45 percent say “corrupt” fits.
Most voters feel Trump is “hot-headed” (89 percent) and “obnoxious” (83 percent), while far fewer say those apply to Clinton (35 percent “hot-headed” and 45 percent “obnoxious”).
Less than half say the phrase “cares about people like me” describes Clinton (45 percent) and only about one third say it fits Trump (35 percent).
“While our polling shows a clear positive trend for Clinton, her six-point lead is notably small considering voters almost universally think Trump is hot-headed and obnoxious, and most think he’s inexperienced,” says Anderson. “This race is nowhere close to breaking open, despite some huge perceived deficiencies in Trump’s character.”
Libertarian Gary Johnson captures 10 percent in a hypothetical three-way vote. That causes both Clinton and Trump to lose ground, although for the most part she maintains her edge (41-36 percent). Another 14 percent is up for grabs.
Fully 92 percent of those backing Clinton in the two-way race also back her in the three-way matchup. For Trump, 89 percent stick with him.
The contest for the Congress looks similar to the presidential race. When voters are asked to choose between the Democratic and Republican candidates in their district, Democrats are up by five points, 46-41 percent.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,017 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from June 26-28, 2016. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.