New email inquiry impacts Hillary Clinton’s support in Virginia, still holds 7-point lead over Trump

Roanoke-CollegeHillary Clinton holds a 7 point lead over Republican rival Donald Trump in Virginia, according to the latest Roanoke College Poll. WLNI’s Ian Price has details:

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Continue reading to see the poll results in full

Full Poll Results From Roanoke College: Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton holds a 7 percentage point lead over Republican nominee Donald Trump among likely voters in Virginia (45%-38%), according to the latest Roanoke College Poll. Libertarian Gary Johnson trails with 5 percent of likely voters, Green Party candidate Jill Stein captures 2 percent, and Independent Evan McMullin garners 1 percent, while 9 percent remain undecided. In a two-way Clinton-Trump match up, Clinton’s lead extends to 9 points (49%-40%). Clinton led by 9 percentage points in the last Roanoke College Poll (45%-36%) in early October

The Roanoke College Poll interviewed 654 likely voters in Virginia between October 29 and November 1 and has a margin of error of +3.8 percent. The Poll was conducted after the announcement by FBI director James Comey that the organization was reopening the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Small differences mask larger swings

 IPOR was in the field with a poll when Comey made his announcement on October 28. At that time, we had interviewed 766 likely voters, and Clinton enjoyed a 50%-32% lead over Trump. The decision was made to continue interviewing but treat subsequent days as a “new” poll because of the potential impact of the announcement. Some questions were deleted in order to complete the poll on a timely basis, but the overall protocol was unchanged.

 We think that Clinton’s margin decreased by so much for two reasons. First, as we shall see, there is evidence that the renewed email investigation did impact some voters’ decisions. Second, we do not think the entire shift was caused by that announcement, but we believe that the 18-point margin both represents the zenith for Clinton support (because the headlines had been dominated by negative Trump stories for weeks) and the results were probably at the top of the margin of error in Clinton’s favor.

 Is the renewed FBI inquiry important? Respondents who said they would vote for another candidate were asked if the announcement influenced them to switch from Clinton to another candidate; 7 percent reported that it had influenced them. Similarly, 10 percent of those who were undecided said the investigation had influenced them to switch from Clinton to undecided. Not surprisingly, only 2 percent of Clinton supporters said they were now thinking about supporting another candidate.

Both candidates still viewed in unfavorable light

 Both candidates are still viewed unfavorably by voters. Clinton’s favorable ratings (40% favorable; 47% unfavorable) and those of Trump (25% favorable; 58% unfavorable) are statistically unchanged from the last RC Poll.

 Clinton is still thought to be more qualified to be president by 69 percent of respondents (41% very qualified; 28% somewhat qualified) compared to 42 percent who said Trump is qualified (10% very qualified; 32% somewhat qualified). A majority of respondents said she at least somewhat understands the problems of people like them (54%), while 44 percent said the same about Trump. Again, a majority (53%) said that Clinton represents their issue and policy preferences, while 47 percent said the same of Trump.

Economic issues continue to be uppermost in voters’ minds, judged as most important by 24 percent of likely voters. Other issues mentioned as most important to voters include character/honesty (10%), health care/Obamacare (9%), and immigration (6%). Nearly three in four respondents (73%) are at least somewhat confident that the nation’s votes will be accurately counted, but 14 percent are not too confident and 11 percent are not at all confident they will be accurately counted. Fully 93 percent of Clinton supporters are confident all votes will be counted accurately compared to 51 percent of Trump supporters who are confident.

Candidate support “gaps”

 The most evident and intuitive gaps in support are race (whites favor Trump 47%-37%; blacks favor Clinton 79%-6%), marital status (those who are married favor Trump 47%-38% while those never married support Clinton 60%-17%), and gender (men favor Trump 41%-39%; women favor Clinton 50%-35%). Clinton still leads among ideological moderates 47%-30%, but Trump barely leads among Independents (38%-36%). Clinton claims the support of 89 percent of Democrats, while Trump claims 80 percent of Republicans.

President Obama; direction of the country

 A majority (57%) of likely voters think the country is on the wrong track, while 35 percent think it is headed in the right direction. A majority (55%) has a favorable view of President Obama, while 35 percent hold an unfavorable view.

Analysis

 “Clinton’s lead is narrowing,” said Dr. Harry Wilson, director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research. “If Donald Trump can rally the reluctant Republicans who still do not support him, then the race could be very close.”

“Few people thought this race would tighten to this degree, but this campaign has had more twists and turns than switchbacks on a steep mountain road.

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