By Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer
October 3, 2016
Hillary Clinton has opened up a six-point lead over Donald Trump, erasing the New York billionaire's slim national edge with five weeks until Election Day, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll of likely voters.
Clinton leads Trump 42-36 in the four-way race for the White House. Gary Johnson garnered 9 percent, Jill Stein got 2 percent and 10 percent remain undecided. It's a dramatic bump for Clinton: Trump led by one point before the debate, and in a POLITICO/Morning Consult survey conducted immediately after the debate, Clinton led by four points.
In a head-to-head race between Trump and Clinton, Clinton leads by seven points, 46 percent to 39 percent.
Clinton's lead comes at the tail end of a particularly tough week for Trump. His debate performance was uneven and widely panned by Republicans and Democrats alike. He then spent a few days chiding Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe, for gaining weight nearly two decades ago.
The episode broke through — 74 percent heard of Trump’s comments about Machado — and it appears to have hurt Trump's standing with women. Fifty-five percent of women said it gives them a less favorable view of Trump, and 43 percent of voters said the incident makes them less likely to support Trump.
As the week came to a close, Trump called the New York Times to suggest that he was considering spending more time attacking his opponent for Bill Clinton's infidelity in the White House.
But, according to the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, there's peril in that approach. Fifty-six percent of voters say it would be inappropriate to bring up Clinton's affairs. Sixty-two percent of females say it would be inappropriate. Sixty percent said it's inappropriate to discuss the other candidate's spouse.
Both Trump and Clinton will hit the campaign trail Monday morning, with Trump in Pueblo and Loveland, Colorado, and Clinton in Toledo and Akron, Ohio. They don't meet for another head-to-head matchup until Sunday's debate at Washington University in St. Louis. But the vice presidential candidates will go head to head on Tuesday evening at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.
Most voters say they will watch the contest, but few have expectations about who will prevail. Sixty-eight percent of those polled said it was very likely or somewhat likely they'd tune in to the debate. But 52 percent say they don't know or don't have an opinion on who will win.
Clinton is widely expected to win the next debate on Oct. 9 — 44 percent of those polled said the former secretary of state would best Trump, while just 22 percent said Trump would prevail.
Whoever wins the election in November will be facing a public that's deeply concerned about the nation's safety. Fifty-six percent of those polled say it's somewhat or very likely there will be a terrorist attack in the United States over the next few months.
The online poll of 1,991 likely voters was conducted between Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.
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