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A Survey of 800 Likely Voters - Virginia, Statewide - October 26-30, 2016

The decision recently made by the FBI to reopen the email investigation is having a clear impact on likely voters in Virginia and their views of the presidential candidates.

Hillary Clinton trails for the first time in this election cycle in the CPP polls. When respondents were asked if the election were held today, 44% chose Trump and 41% selected the Clinton. However, a great number of likely Virginia voters remain undecided (15%), a number that is down 5% since the last HU Center for Public Policy poll just three weeks ago. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.57% .

The HU Center for Public Policy poll was conducted October 26-30, 2016, and at the start of the poll, Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had a two point lead prior to the release of the email news story breaking on Friday, October 28th. After the FBI email news story, the numbers changed dramatically, and following the five day tally, Clinton now trails Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump by three percentage points.

It must be noted that this poll began on the evening of Wednesday, October 26th and in the two days of data collection before the FBI email news story, the majority of interviews were completed. In that time, the data reflected a slim lead for Clinton over Trump (43% to 42% with 15% undecided). In the three days of data collection after the news, 257 interviews were conducted which reflected a wider Trump lead over Clinton of 48% to 39% with 13% as yet undecided. After all of the numbers from the 5 day poll were added, averaged and weighted, the total puts Trump ahead. The numbers below reflect the 5 days of interviewing for this poll and 802 total interviews.

While this election season has been unpredictable, what has been consistent is the presidential candidates unfavorable ratings which remain high among Virginians surveyed (Clinton – 57%, Trump 54%). Plus, despite campaign rhetoric of a flawed democratic system, with just six days before the 2016 Presidential election, 82% of likely voters surveyed express their confidence in the integrity of the voting process in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Presidential Candidates

The Republican ticket of Donald Trump and Mike Pence (44%) has a three point edge over the Democratic ticket of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (41%) with the undecided voter numbers remaining high (15%) in the last few days before the election.

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

The Republican ticket of
Donald Trump & Mike Pence
44%
The Democratic ticket of
Hillary Clinton & Tim Kaine
41%
Don’t Know/Refused 15%
TOTAL 100%

It must be noted that the poll began on Wednesday, October 26th, with 13 days to go before the election. During this time, the news story about the FBI reopening the investigation into email servers used by Hillary Clinton was released on Friday, October 28th. While details were scarce, the news did have an impact on the data collected during this time.

There were 802 interviews conducted and 545 interviews were completed in the two days before the FBI email story broke (October 26 & 27). The data collected on Wednesday and Thursday had Clinton (43%) with a slight lead over Trump (42%). The remaining 257 interviews were conducted in the three days after the news story broke (October 28 – 30). It was in the days following the email story that Trump's numbers surged in the CPP poll and at the end of the survey moved Donald Trump ahead by three points.

The Issues

Likely Virginia voters have remained consistent in the past months regarding the priority of the next president being improving the economy and creating jobs (47%). In this current CPP poll, the issue of Healthcare (19%) moved up the priority list to number two, followed by Terrorism (12%) as priority number three of the next United States President.

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 September 2016 October 2016
Working to improve the Economy and create jobs 47.8% 42.1% 52% 56% 47%
Terrorism 17% 23.9% 18% 17% 12%
Healthcare 15% 9.8% 16% 11% 19%
Size of Government 8.8% 9% 5% 6% 9%
Immigration 7.6% 9.5% 4% 6% 7%
Don't Know/Refused 3.8% 5.7% 4% 5% 5%

Consistent Unfavorable and Untrustworthy Ratings

Throughout the presidential election cycle, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have had high unfavorable ratings. The October CPP poll continues the trend. Both candidates are viewed as either unfavorable or very unfavorable by over half of Virginian likely voters. Clinton's unfavorable rating of 57% is higher than the 54% of respondents who view Donald Trump unfavorably.

What also has been consistent is the high Favorable ratings of the Vice-Presidential candidates. Mike Pence has the higher rating and is viewed favorably by 54% of Virginians, while Tim Kaine garners 52% of Virginians' favorable views.

Trustworthiness has been another consistent low in this Presidential Election cycle. Both Presidential candidates are viewed as not trustworthy by a majority of Virginia's likely voters with 64% viewing Hillary Clinton as not trustworthy while 56% feel the same about Donald Trump.

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

August 2016 Sept. 2016 (D)Clinton-October 2016 August 2016 Sept. 2016 (R) Trump-October 2016
Trustworthy 35% 37% 34% 40% 31% 42%
Not 61% 59% 64% 56% 65% 56%
Don’t Know/Refused 3% 4% 2% 4% 4% 2%

The Voting Process in Virginia

With accusations in this campaign of a rigged system, we asked Virginians about their confidence in the voting process and system in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The majority (82%) of likely Virginia voters responded overwhelmingly about their confidence in the integrity of the voting process.

Q15a. How confident are you in the integrity of the voting process and system in the Commonwealth of Virginia?

Interviews Percentages
Very Confident 370 46%
Somewhat Confident 291 36%
Not very confident 104 13%
Not at all Confident 33 4%
Don’t Know/Refused 4 1%
TOTAL 802 100%

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, 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 October 26-30, 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%. This phenomenon is most obvious in the allocation by county as the very large number of response categories provided a multitude of opportunities for rounding and resulted in totals of significantly less than 100% (92%) overall.

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 802 interviews were conducted October 26- 30, 2016; 401 using Landline sample and 401 using Cell sample.

The margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.57% for the full sample.