Who’s Leading Prez Race In NC? Nobody Really Knows

Less than two months before Election Day (and less than a month and a half before the start of early voting), where do things stand in the presidential race in North Carolina?

With contrasting results from different polls, all we know is that it’s close.

A survey this week from Quinnipiac University shows Hillary Clinton with a four-point lead on Donald Trump, 47-43 – or 42-38, with Gary Johnson included. (Johnson gets 15 percent.) That’s good news for Clinton – but another survey out this week, from Suffolk University, shows Trump with a three-point lead in North Carolina, 44-41. (Gary Johnson only gets 4 percent in the Suffolk poll.)

What can we tell about the state of the presidential race, in North Carolina and nationwide? WCHL’s Aaron Keck spoke this week with Tom Jensen, director of Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling. (PPP’s latest North Carolina survey showed Clinton with a one-point lead, 45-44.)


The Quinnipiac survey also asked voters about the other two high-profile state races in North Carolina, for Governor and U.S. Senate. There, the results were quite varied: incumbent Republican Senator Richard Burr has a six-point lead on Democratic challenger Deborah Ross, 49-43 – but incumbent Republican Governor Pat McCrory trails Democratic challenger Roy Cooper by seven points, 51-44.


Duke Beats Trump, But Trump May Still Beat Clinton

North Carolina continues to be a tight battleground state in the race for President – and the fact that the race is tightening nationwide only makes our state that much more important.

In the latest survey conducted by Public Policy Polling – this one commissioned by the National Employment Law Project – Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 45-44 in North Carolina. (This particular survey did not include Gary Johnson or Jill Stein as options.) Trump and Clinton each win 79 percent of the vote from members of their own party; Trump holds a 48-29 lead over Clinton among independents.

There are clear demographic gaps as well: Clinton leads Trump by 13 points among women (52-39), while Trump leads by 14 points among men (50-36); Trump has a huge lead among white voters, 59-29, but Clinton leads among African-Americans by an even more staggering margin of 90-1. (Clinton leads among Hispanic voters too, but by a narrower margin of 47-33.)

Nationwide, PPP’s August survey shows Clinton with a 5-point lead on Trump, 42-37 (with 6 percent for Johnson and 4 percent for Stein). The 5-point margin is unchanged from PPP’s July survey – but the number of undecided voters doubled in the space of a month, from 5 percent in July to 10 percent in August. That’s unusual for a presidential election: typically, the number of undecided voters declines as Election Day draws nearer.

More results from PPP’s August national survey here.

Why are there more undecided voters now? PPP director Tom Jensen says he thinks it’s because the two major candidates are extremely unpopular. (In fact, their already-low approval ratings are still in decline.) Clinton’s approval rating is only 41 percent (with a 52 percent disapproval rating) – but Trump is even more unpopular, with only 33 percent of voters approving of him and 60 percent disapproving.

(How unpopular is Donald Trump? PPP tested him head-to-head against other notably unpopular things and found he’s slightly more popular than junk mail, mosquitoes, and Ryan Lochte – but less popular than public restrooms, the middle seat on an airplane, and Duke University.)

Tom Jensen discussed the latest national numbers – as well as the NELP-commissioned North Carolina survey – on WCHL with Aaron Keck.


Other recent survey results:

  • PPP continues to find that Trump voters distrust the democratic process to a shocking degree: though there’s still no evidence of widespread voter fraud, 59 percent of Trump voters nationwide believe that about 10-25 percent of the votes that get counted are fraudulently cast. (And 67 percent of Trump voters believe that if Clinton is ultimately declared the winner this fall, it will only be because the election was rigged.)
  • In addition to the predictable demographic gaps, there’s also a gap between voters who’ve visited a public library this year (54-37 for Clinton) and voters who haven’t (53-39 for Trump).
  • 67 percent of voters believe Donald Trump should release his tax returns – but it’s not clear whether his refusal to do so will actually sway any of their votes.
  • What might sway voters is how the candidates stand on a minimum wage increase. In North Carolina, Republican incumbent Richard Burr narrowly leads Democratic challenger Deborah Ross, 46-43, in the race for US Senate. But 72 percent of North Carolinians support an increase in the federal minimum wage, 62 percent support increasing it to $15 per hour – and Ross actually takes a lead on Burr, 45-42, when voters are informed that Burr opposes a minimum wage increase. (Fair warning on that result, though: it’s from the survey that was commissioned by NELP, which favors a $15 minimum wage.)

Tom Jensen and Aaron Keck also discussed the results of PPP’s recent survey in Utah – which showed Trump with a sizable lead on Clinton, despite being unpopular among Mormon voters – as well as the state of the gubernatorial race in North Carolina, where recent polls show Roy Cooper with a lead on Pat McCrory.


PPP Survey: If Trump Says It, His Supporters Will Believe It

Two and a half months from Election Day, national surveys generally show Hillary Clinton with a steady lead on Donald Trump.

But many Trump supporters don’t believe it – instead they’re insisting that the polls (yes, all of them) are biased.

Earlier this week, some people took that belief to a new level. A website called RealTrueNews claimed to have discovered a secret “internal memo” from Public Policy Polling finding Trump with a 65-point lead on Clinton in Florida (not a typo) and discussing how best to cover up the “truth.” The “memo” is obviously a phony – among other things, it includes an obscenity-laden paragraph about how to obtain “Bernie-grade weed” from other polling outfits – but PPP director Tom Jensen says they spent the day handling tweets and emails from people who actually believed it was true.

“It’s really a commentary on the credulity of Trump supporters that so many think this memo could be real,” PPP said on Twitter.

But Jensen also says it’s not a surprising commentary. In poll after poll, he says, PPP has found that Trump supporters are convinced that most Americans favor their candidate – and that any survey suggesting otherwise must be biased. And all year long, PPP has found that Trump’s supporters are willing to agree with just about anything he says, no matter how extreme.

PPP’s actual survey this week, for instance, looked at voters in Texas – where 71 percent of Trump supporters say that “if Clinton wins the election…it will just be because the election was rigged.” (Specifically, 40 percent of Trump supporters believe the election will be rigged by ACORN – even though that organization no longer exists.)

Tom Jensen discussed the Texas survey – and the fake Florida poll – on WCHL with Aaron Keck.


The bad news for Donald Trump is that even in red-state Texas, he doesn’t have that many supporters – at least not right now. PPP’s survey does show Trump leading Clinton there – but by only six points, 44-38. (Mitt Romney won the state by 16 points in 2012.) And Trump’s lead appears to be limited to senior citizens: he’s up 63-33 on Clinton among seniors, but Texans under the age of 65 favor Clinton, 49-45. (And among voters under 45, Clinton leads Trump 60-35. Jensen says that’s not just the usual generational gap – it suggests Texas may become less of a GOP lock over the next couple decades, particularly considering the state’s growing Latino population.)

More on the presidential race in Texas here.

And PPP’s survey also finds widespread support for progressive/Democratic policies on a variety of issues across party lines: 72 percent favor an increased minimum wage; 63 percent want the Senate to hold Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland; and 83 percent want people on the government’s terror watch list to be banned from buying guns. Considering Texas’ gun-friendly reputation, there’s a surprising level of support for several gun-control policies: 89 percent of Texans also want to see background checks on all gun purchases, and there’s even plurality support for an assault weapons ban (48 percent in favor, 43 percent opposed).

More on PPP’s Texas survey here.



PPP: Few North Carolinians Feel Safer Under HB2

North Carolina’s House Bill 2, commonly known as HB2, remains unpopular among North Carolinians, according to a newly released survey from Public Policy Polling.

The new results show that 43 percent of North Carolinians are opposed to the law, which advocates continue to call among the worst pieces of anti-LGBT legislation in the nation. That compares with 30 percent of respondents who support HB2.

The law requires transgender individuals to use the bathroom and changing facility that corresponds with their birth certificate rather than their gender identity in government owned buildings, schools and universities. The law also bars localities from extending nondiscrimination ordinances beyond the state policy and keeps local governments from being able to increase the minimum wage locally.

That negative outlook on HB2 may be playing a role in how North Carolinians view those associated with the law, specifically Republican incumbent Governor Pat McCory in his battle for the Governor’s Mansion with the Democratic challenger Attorney General Roy Cooper. PPP director Tom Jensen wrote when summarizing the numbers, “There’s a good chance that if not for HB2 McCrory would be favored for reelection at this point.”

As it stands, the survey results show Cooper with a one-point lead over McCrory.

Among those surveyed, 58 percent said they felt HB2 was hurting North Carolina, overall, and an identical 58 percent believe it is hurting the state’s economy.

Those who believe HB2 is hurting the economy is up from the last survey in June when 49 percent felt it was a drag on North Carolina. Since then, the National Basketball Association has moved the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte due to HB2.

Beyond disliking the law and its impact on North Carolina, 50 percent of respondents said they did not believe the law was accomplishing what lawmakers said was the intended goal – to make North Carolinians safer. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said the law did make them feel safer.

Supporters have maintained HB2 is “common sense” legislation that will keep women and children safe in North Carolina. Of the women who were surveyed, 54 percent said it has not made them feel safer.

HB2 is being challenged in court. At a recent court hearing on a motion arguing for a preliminary injunction, the judge asked why the law was in place since there is no enforcement mechanism.

Among other topics surveyed, North Carolinians would like to see the United States Senate move forward with Merrick Garland’s nomination to the US Supreme Court by a 60/23 margin. There is also bipartisan support with 71 percent of those surveyed in favor of increasing the minimum wage to $10 per hour and 78 percent support for barring those on the Terror Watch list from buying a firearm. In fact, a higher percentage of Republicans (81) supported that Terror Watch list ban than Democrats (78). The survey shows North Carolinians would also support a ban on assault weapons by a 51-39 margin.

You can see the full results here.


PPP: Roy Cooper Leads Pat McCrory in Race for NC Governor

Democratic challenger Roy Cooper holds a slight lead over Pat McCrory in the race for North Carolina governor, according to an upcoming Public Policy Polling survey.  Tuesday afternoon, Public Policy Polling director Tom Jensen revealed the new data to WCHL’s Aaron Keck.

Cooper leads McCrory by one point.  Cooper, the current North Carolina Attorney General, received 43 percent in the new survey.  Incumbent Governor McCrory received 42 percent.  Libertarian challenger Lon Cecil received 4 percent of responses.

The race for North Carolina governor has been close for months.  In a June Public Policy Polling survey, Cooper and McCrory were tied at 41 percent.

Listen to Jensen’s conversation with Aaron Keck on WCHL.


HB2 appears to be impacting McCrory.  Only 30 percent of North Carolina voters support the controversial law while 43 oppose it.  Forty-three percent of North Carolinians approve of McCrory’s job as governor while 47 percent disapprove.

In the race for one of North Carolina’s seats in the United States Senate, Republican incumbent Richard Burr holds a four point lead over Democratic challenger Deborah Ross.  In the poll, Burr receives 41 percent and Ross gets 37 percent.  Libertarian Sean Haugh is getting 5 percent.

Public Policy Polling released a survey Tuesday on how the presidential election is looking in North Carolina.  In that poll, Hillary Clinton holds a small lead over Donald Trump, 43 percent to 41 percent.  It is Clinton’s first lead in the state since March.

Jensen says, “It’s hard to imagine there’s any state in the country this year that is more closely divided as North Carolina.”

You can look through the full results from Public Policy Polling’s North Carolina survey.


PPP: Clinton Holds First Lead Over Trump in North Carolina Since March

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is leading Republican Donald Trump in North Carolina by a 43-41 margin, according to a survey released by Public Policy Polling on Tuesday.

PPP director Tom Jensen writes when summarizing the results that this is the first lead Clinton has held in the Tar Heel state since March.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson (7) and Green Party candidate Jill Stein (2) garnered support from nine percent of respondents combined.

The two-point margin favoring Clinton shrinks to a 47-46 lead in a head-to-head matchup with Trump.

North Carolina has been called a “must-have state” for Trump to have a chance at winning the White House.

While Clinton now leads Trump, Jensen writes that is not due to a change in favorability among those surveyed. Clinton had a 39/55 favorability rating when North Carolina was last surveyed by PPP; she now has a 40/55 rating in the newest results. But Trump saw a seven-point decline in his net popularity over that same time period, now registering at 37/58.

PPP finds that North Carolinians polled have a similar feeling to other Americans in other recent surveys, preferring a continuation of the Obama administration rather than Trump’s vision for the country at a 50/45 rate.

The undecided voters in North Carolina would be overwhelmingly in favor of a third term from President Obama rather than a Trump presidency by 33 points in a hypothetical matchup. Those same undecided voters have a 45/28 favorability rating of Clinton’s Democratic rival in the primary Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

To further state how the group of undecided voters feels about Trump, PPP reports the Republican candidate has a 1/94 favorability rating among the group.

Jensen writes that means that these voters will likely either get behind the Clinton campaign or stay home in November. Jensen adds, “At any rate it’s more likely that they’ll build Clinton’s lead than eat into it when they come off the fence, and that’s good news for Clinton given the advantage she already has.”

PPP polled several questions among Trump supporters based off of claims that he has recently made regarding the election. Those results are posted verbatim from PPP below:

-69% of Trump voters think that if Hillary Clinton wins the election it will be because it was rigged, to only 16% who think it would be because she got more vote than Trump. More specifically 40% of Trump voters think that ACORN (which hasn’t existed in years) will steal the election for Clinton. That shows the long staying power of GOP conspiracy theories.
-48% of Trump voters think that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton deserve the blame for Humayun Khan’s death to 16% who absolve them and 36% who aren’t sure one way or the other (Obama was in the Illinois Legislature when it happened.) Showing the extent to which Trump supporters buy into everything he says, 40% say his comments about the Khans last week were appropriate to only 22% who will grant that they were inappropriate. And 39% of Trump voters say they view the Khan family negatively, to just 11% who have a positive opinion of them.
-Even though Trump ended up admitting it didn’t exist 47% of his voters say they saw the video of Iran collecting 400 million dollars from the United States to only 46% who say they didn’t see the video. Showing the extent to which the ideas Trump floats and the coverage they get can overshadow the facts, even 25% of Clinton voters claim to have seen the nonexistent video.
-Trump said last week that Hillary Clinton is the devil, and 41% of Trump voters say they think she is indeed the devil to 42% who disagree with that sentiment and 17% who aren’t sure one way or the other.
We’ve been writing for almost a year that there’s a cult like aspect to Trump’s supporters, where they’ll go along with anything he says. Trump made some of his most outlandish claims and statements yet last week, but we continue to find that few in his support base disavow them.
The public as a whole is a different story though. A number of the things Trump has been in the news for lately have the potential to be very damaging to his campaign overall:
-Vladimir Putin has a 9/63 favorability rating with North Carolinians, and Russia as a whole comes in at 14/51. By a 49 point margin they’re less likely to vote for a candidate Russia is perceived to prefer for President, and by a 33 point margin they’re less likely to vote for a candidate seen as friendly toward Russia. This issue is not doing Trump any favors.
-58% of voters think Trump needs to release his tax returns, compared to only 31% who don’t think it’s necessary for him to. In every state we’ve polled recently we’ve found an overwhelming sentiment that he needs to release them- independents say he needs to 54/33.
-Even though Trump’s own voters might support the approach he took to the Khan family, only 19% overall think it was appropriate to 54% who think it was inappropriate.
-And after his reported comments last week only 38% of voters think Trump can be trusted with nuclear weapons, to 54% who think he can’t be trusted.

You can see the full results of the survey here.


Trump Got Post-RNC Bounce, But Will It Last?

Even in this wild, loopy, unprecedented election year, some things never change.

Historically, the week after every major party convention, the party’s presidential candidate gets a fairly sizable bump in the national polls. (No surprise – conventions are basically week-long infomercials for the party, and human beings are susceptible to good advertising.) That proved to be the case last week too: this year’s Republican National Convention was unconventional in many ways, but Donald Trump’s post-convention bounce (about 3-4 points, give or take) was right in line with past candidates in previous years.

Supporters of the opposing party got worried – also no change from previous years – but pollsters say not to worry: Hillary Clinton will probably get her own post-convention bounce when polls start to come in next week.

Earlier this week, Public Policy Polling released a survey of voters in Ohio – the host of the Republican convention, and an important swing state in its own right. (No Republican has ever won the presidential election without winning Ohio – and in fact, the last candidate of any party to lose Ohio and still get elected was John Kennedy, 56 years ago.) PPP’s post-RNC survey showed Trump with a narrow lead over Hillary Clinton, 42-39, a seven-point swing from June – but PPP director Tom Jensen says there’s a lot of good news for Clinton in the survey too.

For one thing, Jensen says, nearly one in five Ohio voters still haven’t made up their minds between the two major candidates. Nearly half of them say they’re supporting a third-party candidate (Gary Johnson polls 6 percent, Jill Stein polls 2 percent) – but the rest say they’d choose Clinton over Trump, by an 18-point margin, if they were forced to make a choice today.

Undecided voters also favor Barack Obama over Trump by a 30-point margin, Jensen says, so Clinton needs only to win over those voters who support the current administration. (That was clearly one of the primary goals of this week’s DNC.)

Tom Jensen spoke with WCHL’s Aaron Keck on Thursday, a few hours before Hillary Clinton’s DNC address.


PPP’s Ohio survey also found that both Trump and Clinton have consolidated their respective bases: notwithstanding the “Bernie or Bust”-ers and the #NeverTrump-ers, 82 percent of Republicans say they’re voting for Trump and 84 percent of Democrats say they’re voting for Clinton. (The survey was conducted before the DNC, so that latter number may have risen: Jensen says parties typically unify around their nominee after conventions.)

Visit this link for more numbers from PPP’s Ohio survey. (PPP is currently conducting a post-DNC survey of Pennsylvania, where the Democrats held their convention.)


Election 2016: PPP Says Don’t Freak Out About Polls – Yet

It’s still too early to be sure how the Republican convention has affected the presidential race, but it’s probably safe to say Donald Trump will get a fairly significant bounce in the national polls. That’s what we typically see in the days immediately following a national party convention – and while the RNC had its chaotic moments, Trump himself gave a speech that was generally well-reviewed. (Relative, at least, to his usual efforts.)

But should this be a major concern for Democrats and #NeverTrumpers? Public Policy Polling director Tom Jensen says no – at least, not yet.

Jensen says PPP is still finding the 2016 race shaping up much like the 2012 race, with Trump and Hillary Clinton polling about the same, from state to state, as Mitt Romney and Barack Obama did four years ago. Trump will get a post-convention bounce in the polls – he’ll likely take the lead in some surveys, if not all – but Clinton will almost certainly get a post-convention bounce of her own in a week.

And even though Election Day is rapidly approaching, Jensen says it’s still too early for the polls to be a reliable indicator of the final outcome. (Pre-RNC polls showed Clinton with about a four-point lead on Trump. That’s roughly the same lead Obama had on John McCain at the same stage in 2008, the same lead Obama had on Romney at the same stage in 2012 – and the same lead John Kerry had on George W. Bush at the same stage in 2004.)

Tom Jensen spoke last Thursday with WCHL’s Aaron Keck, a few hours before Trump’s convention speech.


Jensen says one thing is pretty certain, though: North Carolina will be a pivotal swing state in the presidential race, possibly even the decisive state. (So expect a lot of candidate visits – and irritating campaign ads – in the months to come.)


Latest Polls Show North Carolina Races Tied

There’s a familiar theme running through North Carolina this election season.

“We’re dead even in the presidential race, dead even in the gubernatorial race, we have a three point senate race,” says Tom Jensen, the director of Public Policy Polling.

“It’s really hard to think of anywhere in the country that’s going to have elections that are as competitive as North Carolina. We will be in the national spotlight for better or worse.”

The tight races begin with the presidential race. Both presumptive nominees have recently campaigned in North Carolina, but that doesn’t seem to have swayed the voters.

“We remain about as closely divided as we can be when it comes to the presidential race. We have Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump exactly tied. They’re each getting 43 percent. Then Libertarian Gary Johnson is at 4 percent, Green Party candidate Jill Stein is at 2 percent and 7 percent of voters are undecided.”

Jensen says these numbers will begin to change as Sanders supporters look to back Clinton.

“If Hillary could win over just half of the Sanders fans right now who aren’t voting for her, she’d go from this 43-43 tie up to leading by five points at 48-43.”

North Carolina’s gubernatorial race tells a similar story. The latest polls show incumbent Pat McCrory tied with challenger Roy Cooper at 41 percent each. Libertarian Lon Cecil trails at 6 percent with 13 percent of voters undecided.

“I really don’t think it’s a race where we’ll ever see anybody break away from the field. I think were in for a tight one till the very end.”

The contest for Lieutenant Governor is also tied with Republican incumbent Dan Forest and Democratic challenger Linda Coleman each at 37 percent. Libertarian J.J. Summerell stands at 4 percent and 22 percent of voters are undecided.

The North Carolina senate race is also close this year.

“We find that the Senate race continues to be very competitive, I think really surprisingly compared to what people maybe six months ago would have expected it to be.”

Richard Burr is in the lead right now, polling at 40 percent, which is only three points higher than democrat challenger Deborah Ross who stands at 37 percent. Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh trails at 5 percent.

Jensen says rumors that Burr being considered for Trump’s vice president, isn’t helping the party’s numbers. The same goes for polls that team up Elizabeth Warren with Clinton.

“What we’ve been finding when polling different running mates it doesn’t make a very big difference.”

Some of the most surprising poll numbers, Jensen says, come from the gun control debate.

“What’s really striking in our gun polling is how bipartisan some of the support for some of the measures that democrats are trying to support are.”

91 percent of independents, 84 percent of democrats and 82 percent of republicans are in favor of expanding background checks before allowing the purchase of guns.

“We talk so often about how polarized the country is right now and it is, and that’s why it’s so remarkable when you look at these issues to see over 75 percent support on both of them from democrats, republican and independents alike.”

Similar numbers are reflected in favor of banning those on the “no fly list” from purchasing guns with 89 percent of independents, 79 percent of republicans and 78 percent of democrats.

“It’s definitely a rare issue where there’s pretty strong consensus in the public about what they want to see happen. Democrats are on the right side of public opinion on this one.”

The race for control of North Carolina’s Supreme Court shows incumbent Bob Edmunds leading challenger Mike Morgan just 28 to 24, with 48 percent of voters undecided in the nonpartisan contest.

The General Assembly remains unpopular, with only 18 percent of voters approving of the job it’s doing and 57 percent who don’t.

Voters also disapprove of HB 2, with 32 percent of North Carolina supporting the bill while 43 percent are opposed. An overwhelming 50 percent of voters say it’s having a negative impact on the state’s reputation opposed to 19 the percent who say it’s improved.

As one of the largest democratic counties, Jensen says Orange County, will have great impact on the upcoming elections.

“A heavy turnout from Orange County or not could make the difference in terms of how some of these races turn out. I think this is an election I think that nobody is going to want to sit out.”

You can see the full survey results here.


Republicans Unite Around Trump, But Clinton Still Has Edge

Donald Trump won the GOP presidential nomination over the loud objections of more than a few leading Republicans. But as our collective attention turns to the general election, most Republicans appear to be falling in line behind the nominee – even if they’re gritting their teeth to do it.

A national survey this week from Public Policy Polling finds Hillary Clinton with a four-point edge on Trump, 42-38, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 4 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 2 percent. (Johnson and Stein are actually pulling more votes from Clinton than Trump; take them away and Clinton’s lead would jump to six points.)

For all the talk about GOP disunity, though, Trump gets almost exactly as much support from Republicans as Clinton gets from Democrats. Clinton leads Trump 78-9 among Democrats, while Trump leads Clinton 78-7 among Republicans; 72 percent of Republicans say they’re comfortable with Trump as their party’s nominee, while 75 percent of Democrats say they’re comfortable with Clinton. (The number of Republicans and Democrats who say they’re uncomfortable with their party’s frontrunner? Exactly the same in both parties, 21 percent.)

Get more numbers from PPP’s presidential survey here.

Those numbers may be disappointing to Democrats who were hoping for a fractured GOP this fall – but PPP director Tom Jensen says there’s plenty of good news here for Democrats too. For one, the undecided voters in a Clinton/Trump matchup tend to be supporters of Bernie Sanders – Clinton/Trump undecideds favor Sanders over Trump by a 41-8 margin – so if Clinton does end up winning the nomination, she may be able to expand her lead in a big way merely by winning over Sanders’ supporters. (The Clinton/Sanders race has been contentious, but Jensen says he does expect the party to come together sooner or later. At this time in 2008, he says, nearly half of Clinton’s supporters were telling pollsters they wouldn’t vote for Obama that fall – far more than the number of Sanders supporters who say they won’t support Clinton now – but almost all those voters did wind up supporting Obama in the end.)

And while Clinton’s popularity ratings remain low, Jensen says Trump’s are even lower: only 34 percent of voters approve of him, against 61 percent who disapprove. (And Trump’s supporters still tend to be on the fringes when it comes to their political views: nearly two-thirds of them say they think Barack Obama is a Muslim, for instance, and nearly three-fifths say they still don’t believe he was born in the US.) To drive home the point, PPP tested Trump in head-to-head matchups with other despised things: voters prefer lice to Donald Trump by a 54-28 margin, root canals to Donald Trump by a 49-38 margin, used car salesmen to Donald Trump by a 47-41 margin, and the band Nickelback to Donald Trump by a 39-34 margin.

(Trump does win head-to-head battles with cockroaches and hemorrhoids, though. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.)

Tom Jensen spoke Thursday with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.


Jensen says even if the GOP does end up unifying around its nominee, Trump’s place at the top of the ballot may still haunt the party in the general election. Democrats lead Republicans 46-41 in a generic Congressional ballot – not enough of a lead for Democrats to regain control of the House of Representatives, but enough for Democrats to pick up several seats in both houses (and possibly retake the Senate). Voters also say (by a 45-26 margin) that they’d be less likely to vote for a candidate if that candidate endorses Trump for president.

Get more numbers on PPP’s Congressional survey here.

And the thought of Donald Trump in the White House is also making voters more likely to want the Senate to vote now on President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court. Only 38 percent of voters say they trust Trump to make a Supreme Court nomination, against 53 percent who don’t; 58 percent of Americans say they want the vacant seat filled this year (up slightly from two months ago); and 50 percent of voters say they’d be less likely to vote for a Senator if that Senator blocked Merritt Garland’s confirmation hearings. (Only 18 percent say they’d be more likely to vote for such a candidate.)

Get more numbers on PPP’s Supreme Court survey here.