Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton maintains the same lead over GOP opponent Donald Trump that she had before FBI Director James Comey announced that the bureau is investigating newly obtained emails that might be relevant to Clinton’s handling of sensitive government information as secretary of state, according to a new national poll from Politico/Morning Consult.
The poll, conducted Saturday and Sunday after the revelations, found Clinton leading Trump by 3 percentage points, 46 percent to 43 percent. That margin was unchanged (Clinton up 3 points, 42 percent to 39 percent) when Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein were included in the poll.
On Thursday and Friday, prior to Comey’s letter to congressional leaders, polling from Politico/Morning Consult showed very similar margins: Clinton led Trump by 3 points in the four-way race and 5 points in the head-to-head matchup, within the poll’s margin of error.
Nearly all poll respondents ― 89 percent ― had heard at least some about the Friday bombshell. But a 39 percent plurality said it made no difference in their vote. Another 39 percent said it made them somewhat or much less likely to vote for her, but that’s driven by nearly two-thirds of Republicans who say they’re less likely to vote for the Democratic nominee. Forty-two percent of independents said the events make them less likely to vote for Clinton.
Those numbers are consistent with the ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll and the CBS battleground poll released Sunday, which both had some data from Friday night and Saturday that indicated the announcement might have little effect on vote choices except among those already not likely to vote for Clinton.
Clinton’s lead remains steady over Trump in the HuffPost Pollster average. She leads by 7 points in the two-way matchup and 6 points when third-party candidates are included. The margins of the Politico/Morning Consult poll are below those averages, but the numbers are consistent in showing a narrower Clinton lead than other polls both before and after the Comey letter. This is just the first poll, though, and opinion could shift in the coming days.
Voters are split on whether Clinton’s email use or Trump’s comments about women and minorities are worse. Forty-five percent say Clinton’s email practices are worse, and 48 percent say Trump’s comments are more egregious. Not surprisingly, 85 percent of Democrats say Trump’s comments are worse, and 82 percent of Republicans say Clinton’s email use is worse.
But voters are worried about Clinton’s email issues following her into the White House. Sixty-one percent expressed concern that the investigation would continue to plague her if she’s elected. That includes 37 percent of Democrats and 88 percent of Republicans.