The primary race on both sides continues, but many are already looking ahead to what a general election matchup might look like between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — the two that many are calling the presumptive nominees.
One common criticism of a Donald Trump candidacy is the notion that he could not win the general election — that nominating Trump will all but hand the presidency to Hillary Clinton.
A fresh poll out today suggests otherwise, however. For the first time since October, Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head matchup 41% to 39%. Compare this to the same poll in early March — just about two months ago — that showed Clinton with an advantage of 41% to Trump’s 36%.
Via Rasmussen Reports:
Last week, Rasmussen Reports gave voters the option of staying home on Election Day if Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the big party nominees, and six percent (6%) said that’s what they intend to do for now. Clinton and Trump were tied with 38% support each; 16% said they would vote for some other candidate, and two percent (2%) were undecided.But Trump edges slightly ahead if the stay-at-home option is removed. Trump also now does twice as well among Democrats as Clinton does among Republicans. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters finds Trump with 41% support to Clinton’s 39%. Fifteen percent (15%) prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
This is the first time Trump has led the matchup since last October. Clinton held a 41% to 36% advantage in early March.
Trump now has the support of 73% of Republicans, while 77% of Democrats back Clinton. But Trump picks up 15% of Democrats, while just eight percent (8%) of GOP voters prefer Clinton, given this matchup. Republicans are twice as likely to prefer another candidate.
Among voters not affiliated with either major party, Trump leads 37% to 31%, but 23% like another candidate. Nine percent (9%) are undecided.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 27-28, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Of course, this is just one poll in a sea of many. Trump currently still loses to Clinton in head-to-head matchups overall, according to the Real Clear Politics average.
One worrisome aspect of the Rasmussen poll is the percentage of people who say they will stay home if given the option. As the poll suggests, if these people stay home, the race becomes a head-to-head tie between Trump and Clinton. Some argue the people who stayed home in 2012 cost Republicans the White House. Not to mention, this phenomenon can have an impact down-ticket as well — something we all need to consider as strength at the state and local levels becomes ever more important with a federal government prone to overreach.
Whomever the nominee ends up being, we can’t let large chunks of our electorate sit this one out.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]