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A Survey of 801 Likely Voters - Virginia, Statewide - August 24-28, 2016

Executive Summary

With only 67 days remaining before the November 8th Presidential Election, Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is leading Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump by only two percentage points, according to a Hampton University poll released today. If the election were held today, 43% of Virginians say they would vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton, and 41% say they would vote for Republican Donald Trump.

Both candidates for President continue to struggle with high unfavorable ratings (Trump 55%, Clinton-54%), while their picks for Vice-President both share high favorable ratings (Kaine 50%, Pence – 39%) among Virginians over relatively lower unfavorable ratings (Kaine 40%, Pence 32%).

The economy and jobs remain a number one concern and 52% of Virginians surveyed want the next president to make that issue a priority.

Plus, Virginians weigh in on the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons in the Commonwealth of Virginia. More than half of those surveyed (51%) oppose changing the law that allows convicted felons the right to vote.

The poll was conducted by the Hampton University Center for Public Policy (CPP) from August 24-28, 2016 and included 801 registered voters who said they were "likely" to vote on November 8, 2016 in the Virginia General Election.

The Presidential Tickets - Unfavorable ratings and the Issue of Trust

The November Election
The Democratic ticket of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine has a slight edge over the Republican ticket of Donald Trump and Mike Pence while a great number of likely Virginia voters remain undecided. When asked if the election were held today, 43% of those surveyed chose the Democratic ticket of Clinton and Kaine, while 41% responded they would choose the Republican ticket of Trump and Pence, 16% were undecided.


Q4. If the election were held today, for whom would you vote:

The Democratic ticket of
Hillary Clinton & Tim Kaine
43%
The Republican ticket of
Donald Trump & Mike Pence
41%
Don't know/Refused 16%
TOTAL 100%

Presidential Candidates

Both candidates for President are viewed as either unfavorable or very unfavorable by over half of likely voters in Virginia. While 55% view Donald Trump unfavorably, 54% have an unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton. Both candidates' unfavorable ratings have remained higher than their favorable ratings consistently in every poll conducted by the Center for Public Policy during the 2016 presidential election season.

The notion of trust continues to plague both campaigns as both Clinton and Trump continue to be viewed as not trustworthy by a majority of Virginia's likely voters. While 61% view Hillary Clinton as not trustworthy, that number dropped slightly from the CPP poll conducted in July (64%). It is 56% of Virginians surveyed that feel similarly about Donald Trump finding him to be untrustworthy.


Q10 & Q11. Do you believe Hillary Clinton / Donald Trump is trustworthy or not?

February July (D)Clinton-
August 2016
February July (R)Trump-
August 2016
Trustworthy 42% 32.1% 35% 28.5% 36.7% 40%
Not 56% 64.4% 61% 67.5% 58.1% 56%
Don't Know/Refused 2% 3.5% 3% 4% 5.2% 4%

Vice Presidential Candidates

On the other hand, 57% of likely voters in Virginia view Democrat Tim Kaine as trustworthy and 50% feel the same about Republican Mike Pence.

While Senator Kaine may have the "home state" advantage over the Indiana Governor in the Commonwealth of Virginia, both Vice Presidential candidates also have higher favorable ratings than unfavorable ratings. Republican Mike Pence is viewed as either favorable or very favorable by 39% of Virginians, while Democrat Tim Kaine garners 50% of Virginians' favorable or very favorable views.

However, 8% of Virginians have never heard of Mike Pence and another 16% have heard of him but have no opinion. This compares to 1% and 5%, respectively for Tim Kaine, who has been a Virginia Senator since 2013.

Important Issues to Virginians

Virginians surveyed by the Center for Public Policy since February are consistent about the most important issue that the next President of the United States should tackle first. With 52% saying improving the economy and creating jobs for Americans should be a priority. That number is up 10 points from July and at its highest mark to date.

Virginians remain steady by choosing Terrorism and Healthcare as potentially the second and third priority for the next President. The size of government and immigration round out the bottom.


Q5. Please tell me which one issue on this list should be the top priority of the next President of the United States, no matter who it is.

February 2016 July 2016 August 2016
Working to improve the Economy and create jobs 47.8% 42.1% 52%
Terrorism 17% 23.9% 18%
Healthcare 15% 9.8% 16%
Size of Government 8.8% 9% 5%
Immigration 7.6% 9.5% 4%
Don’t Know/Refused 3.8% 5.7% 4%

Between the presidential candidates, there is only a one percentage point difference when respondents were asked which candidate has the better economic plan. More Virginians see Donald Trump as having the better plan for the country's economy, with 46% choosing Trump's plan compared to 45% choosing Hillary Clinton's economic plan. However, Clinton's number is up from the 41% captured in July's poll by the CPP.


Q16. Which presidential candidate do you think has a better plan for our country's economy?

July 2016 August 2016
Donald Trump 46.9% 46%
Hillary Clinton 41.3% 45%
Don’t Know/Refused 11.8% 9%
TOTAL 100 100

The majority (56%) of Virginians support increasing regulations on gun purchases.


Q17. Do you think there should be increased regulations of any kind placed on gun purchases?

July 2016 August 2016
Yes 60.8% 56%
No 34.6% 42%
Don’t Know/Refused 4.6% 3%
TOTAL 100 100

And while the debate and contentious court battles continue in Virginia over the restoration of voting rights to felons, just over half (51%) of Virginians would oppose changing the law to allow convicted felons the right to vote. As this issue has been front and center in the news throughout Virginia, responses by likely voters in Virginia whether they favor or oppose the idea have increased from the July CPP poll.


Q18. Currently, convicted felons in the U.S. are not permitted the right to vote. Would you favor or oppose changing that law to allow convicted felons the right to vote?

July 2016 August 2016
Favor 41.5% 45%
Oppose 50.2% 51%
Don’t Know/Refused 8.2% 4%
TOTAL 100 100

The President of the U.S. and the Governor of Virginia

Approval ratings for both President Barack Obama and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe remain high. Half of Virginians (50%) approve of the job President Obama is doing as President of the United States, and slightly more than half (55%) approve of the job Terry McAuliffe is doing as Governor of Virginia.

Methodology:

The statewide survey was conducted by a professional call center (SSRS) for the Hampton University Center for Public Policy under the general direction of Kelly Harvey-Viney, J.D.

SSRS fielded a survey of likely voters in Virginia (persons living in the State who are registered to vote and said they are almost certain or very likely to vote in the next election).

Live interviews were conducted by telephone from August 24-28, 2016. The Sample was attained from the registered voter list for Virginia. The data was weighted to reflect the voter registration population of Virginia ages 18 years of age and older. This weighting combined with rounding is responsible for percentages not always equaling exactly 100%.

The sample is also weighted to reflect the distribution of phone usage for registered voters of Virginia (ie: cell phone only, landline only, and mixed users). Following application of the weights, the sample is post-stratified and balanced by key demographics such as age, race, sex, education, marital status, and party affiliation.

A total of 801 interviews were conducted; 401 using Landline sample and 400 using Cell sample.

The margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.7% for the full sample.