The race for the White House has narrowed. A new Fox News Poll finds Donald Trump gaining ground in the head-to-head matchup, despite improvements from Hillary Clinton on top issues.
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In addition, this is the first time the poll offers a four-way presidential ballot (it preceded the two-way ballot).
The poll finds Clinton garners 41 percent to Trump’s 39 percent, while Libertarian Gary Johnson receives 9 percent, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein gets 4 percent.
The third-party candidates take more from Clinton than Trump, as she holds a six-point lead in the two-way matchup: 48-42 percent. That’s at the edge of the poll’s margin of error.
She had a 10-point head-to-head advantage earlier this month (49-39 percent), in the wake of the Democratic convention and Trump’s clash with the parents of a Gold Star soldier.
Clinton does well in the four-way ballot among blacks (+68 points), women (+15), and Hispanics (+19).
Trump is favored by whites (+13 points), men (+13), whites without a college degree (+23), and white evangelical Christians (+55).
Independents go for Trump (38 percent) over Clinton (26 percent) and Johnson (20 percent), with Stein trailing (7 percent).
Party unity remains a problem for Trump, as only 74 percent of self-identified Republicans back him, while 81 percent of self-identified Democrats support Clinton.
The four-way contest is also tight among just those who are “extremely” or “very” interested in the presidential race: Clinton 43 percent vs. Trump 42 percent, with Johnson at 7 percent and Stein at 3 percent. That’s driven by the fact that Democrats (79 percent) and Republicans (80 percent) are about equally likely to say they are at least “very” interested.
The poll finds pros and cons for Trump. His favorable rating hit a new high-water mark (42 percent). Plus, the narrowing of Clinton’s lead in the head-to-head matchup is mostly due to Trump gaining ground rather than her losing support. Yet he’s lost his advantage on handling top issues.
More voters trust Clinton than Trump on terrorism by a three-point margin (49-46 percent) and the two candidates tie on handling the economy (48 percent each). Trump led by 12 points on each of these issues as recently as May.
On immigration, by a wide 77-19 percent margin, voters support setting up a system for illegal immigrants currently working in the United States to become legal residents over deporting them, and those supporting legalization back Clinton over Trump by 18 points.
“Trump has an opportunity to attract more support by moving off his hardline position on immigration. Nearly half of Johnson and Stein supporters say they’d be more likely to vote for him if he did,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News Poll along with Republican pollster Daron Shaw. “Some of Trump’s supporters will be frustrated if he eases his promise of mass deportations, but they won’t find a more aggressive anti-immigration candidate elsewhere, so they’ll likely stick with him.”
And don’t expect major movement in the race over the next few weeks, as most Clinton (87 percent) and Trump (88 percent) supporters feel certain in their choice. Plus, almost all non-Clinton supporters (87 percent) say they would “never” consider voting for her, and almost all non-Trump folks say the same about him (85 percent).
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,011 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from August 28-30, 2016. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.