Fox News Poll: Clinton and Trump in a one-point race among likely voters

By Dana Blanton Published September 15, 2016

The presidential race is tight. Hillary Clinton tops Donald Trump by just one point among likely voters in the four-way ballot. In the head-to-head matchup, Trump’s up by one point.

Clinton receives 41 percent to Trump’s 40 percent, according to a new Fox News Poll, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 8 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 3 percent.

In a two-way matchup, likely voters give Trump the edge over Clinton: 46-45 percent.

The poll, released Thursday, was conducted Sunday through Wednesday evenings, at a time when Clinton faced new questions about her health after falling ill at a 9/11 memorial event.

It’s the first Fox News Poll this season that includes results among likely voters, so a direct comparison can’t be made to previous polls.

An apples-to-apples comparison is possible among registered voters, and the two-way vote trend shows the race has definitely tightened: Clinton was up by 10 points at the beginning of August (49-39 percent). By the end of August she was up 6 points (48-42 percent) -- and now she’s up by just 3 points (46-43 percent).

Likely voters are those registered voters who report a high probability they will cast a presidential ballot this year. At this point, fewer non-white and younger voters are saying they intend to vote compared to other groups -- and that hurts Clinton.

“It’s clear what the Clinton campaign needs to do, and that’s make sure non-white and younger voters show up on Election Day,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson. “If these traditional Democratic voters turn out at past rates, she probably wins.”

Both tickets have the backing of most of their key voting blocs. In the four-way race, Trump has the advantage among white evangelical Christians (+52 points), whites without a college degree (+31), and men (+13).

Clinton is preferred among non-whites (+51 points), women (+13), and those voters living in households earning less than $50,000 (+16).

Independents prefer Trump over Clinton by 36-31 percent, while 16 percent go for Johnson and 7 percent Stein. Eighty percent of Republicans back Trump, and 81 percent of Democrats support Clinton.

"Lately Trump’s avoided the sort of controversy that undermined his efforts throughout August," says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll along with Anderson. "By allowing Clinton's problems to be the story, he may finally be consolidating Republican support."

Fewer Democrats (77 percent) than Republicans (86 percent) are “extremely” or “very” interested in the presidential election right now.

Even so, supporters on both sides are about equally enthusiastic about their candidate. Almost all of those backing Clinton feel certain they’ll vote for her in November (87 percent) and say it’s important to them she win (91 percent). That’s matched among Trump supporters, as they overwhelmingly say they’re certain to vote for him (90 percent) and it’s important he win (87 percent).

In addition, 53 percent of Clinton’s backers strongly favor her, while 24 percent have some reservations. For Trump, 50 percent strongly favor him and 27 percent have reservations. On both sides, about one in five says their support is driven by dislike of the other candidate.

Seven in ten voters don’t like the way the government is working, including 44 percent who are dissatisfied and 27 percent who are “angry.”

Over half would go even further: 57 percent say the world’s “going to hell in a handbasket.”

“Angry” voters prefer Trump over Clinton (by 54 points), as do “handbasket” voters (by 35 points). That’s driven by the fact that Republicans are nearly three times as likely as Democrats to feel angry about the way the government is working, and about twice as likely to feel the world’s going to hell.

Likely voters trust Trump over Clinton on handling the economy (+7 points) and corruption in government (+11). They favor Clinton on race relations (+24 points), immigration (+5), nominating the next Supreme Court justice (+1), and terrorism/national security (+1).

On immigration, while there’s been some back-and-forth on Trump’s position on deportation, he’s been consistent on building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Over half of likely voters disagree with the GOP nominee and oppose building a wall. The same is true among registered voters, which is a change in sentiment. In the past, half or better favored the wall. That shift is mainly due to a double-digit increase in opposition among Democrats.

Seven-in-ten Republicans favor the wall, and a recent Fox News Poll found nearly three in ten favor deporting as many illegal immigrants as possible (August 28-30).

The new poll finds many voters think those favoring deportation are motivated by racism (37 percent say racism is a major factor in favoring deportation and 32 percent minor factor).


Among registered voters:

-- Republicans split over their nominee, as 50 percent are happy with Trump, while 48 percent wish it were someone else. That’s mostly unchanged since June.

-- 52 percent of Democrats are happy with Clinton at the top of their ticket. That’s down from 58 percent in June. Forty-three percent would rather have Bernie Sanders, up from 37 percent.

-- 12 percent of Republicans who preferred someone else as their nominee defect to Clinton in the four-way ballot. Only five percent of Sanders backers back Trump.

The Fox News Poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,006 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from September 11-14, 2016. The survey includes results among 867 likely voters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for results among both registered and likely voters.