American voters are heading to the polls in November to determine for the 58th time their country’s president for the next 4 years. While presidential elections are known to provide good theatre, the 2016 Presidential Election has been filled with some interesting twists and turns, and is undoubtedly one for the ages. The Republican nominee, Donald Trump, whose loose cannon speaking style has created a firestorm even among his own party, is viewed as a social media scandal machine. On the other side, we have Hillary Clinton, a former First Lady, Senator of New York and most recently Secretary of State, who simply can’t seem to shake some of her old ghosts – email issues, wall street and even issues with her own foundation. With less than 5 weeks left before the general election, these two candidates are keeping voters on the edge of their seats.
In order to gauge the pulse of American voters heading into the general election, we conducted two surveys to compare how the opinion of the general US population differs from those in a battle ground state like Florida. The surveys were conducted using qSample’s likely voter panels. More than 450 respondents participated in each survey, with an even split on party affiliation. The data gathered has provided critical insight regarding where voters stand on various issues, when it comes to these two candidates.
The data reveals that despite lack of experience and a series of faux pas made in his presidential campaign, Florida voters are leaning towards Trump (50%-38%) in this upcoming election. However, Secretary Clinton is holding on to a slight lead among the general US population (41%-37%). The data also shows that more than 20% of respondents cited patriotism as the reason they would vote for Trump. While Floridian voters think Trump cares more about the country than Clinton, they also indicated that she has better economic and foreign policy experience than Trump (17%). When comparing the data, both audiences seem to agree on this point – Clinton has more political experience, whereas Trump seems to care more about the country.
Voters from both panels were asked which candidate they feel is more qualified to be president and their feelings on the current state of the country. Florida voters indicated that Trump is as qualified to be president, with both candidates splitting the votes at 42%. This number is not surprising, since Floridians typically vote Republican in general elections. On the flip side, general US voters give Clinton the nod as most qualified to be president by 44%.-37%. Roughly 40% of US respondents indicated that the country is heading in the right direction or about the same direction. Despite a strong job market, universal healthcare and a strong economic recovery, a large portion of the respondents (58%) indicated that the country is not heading in the right direction.
When it comes to how respondents stay up to speed with this year’s election, both panels indicated that they follow the presidential election mainly via television (38%). Print media is not yet dead, at least for presidential elections. More than 21% of respondents in our survey indicated that they follow the election by reading newspapers, followed by social media outlets.
If the trend from 2012 continues, it appears that voters from the battleground state of Florida are leaning to vote Republican in the 2016 Presidential Election. While it will be a tight race, the data shows that the general population will help Hillary Clinton break that glass ceiling.
Read more about our survey results: 2016 Presidential Election Survey [WordClouds]
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