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A Survey of 500 Likely Voters - Virginia, Statewide - July 6-10, 2016

Executive Summary

Both of the presumptive nominees running for President of the United States are in a statistical dead heat among Virginians surveyed about their support for the presidential candidates, according to a Hampton University poll released today.

If the election were held today, 39% say they would vote for Republican Donald Trump, and 39% say they would vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Both candidates continue to be viewed as either unfavorable or very unfavorable with Clinton having the higher unfavorable rating of 58% to Trump's 53% unfavorable rating. Trustworthiness remains an issue for both candidates too, though Virginians do not trust Trump 58% as compared to 64% of those surveyed who believe Clinton is less trustworthy.

Improve the economy and create jobs! That is what Virginians believe should be the number one priority for the next President of the United States, and 80% overwhelmingly want better enforcement of the current immigration regulations.

The frequency of violence in the country has Virginians sounding off over a federal ban on semi-automatic rifles (66%).

The poll was conducted by the Hampton University Center for Public Policy (CPP) from July 6- July 10, 2016 and included 805 registered voters who said they were "likely" to vote on November 8, 2016 in the Virginia General Election.

The Presidential Candidates

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have almost identical support among Virginia voters, with 39.2% saying they would vote for Trump and 38.8% going for Clinton.

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

Donald Trump (R) 39.2%
Hillary Clinton (D) 38.8%
Don't know/Refused 22%
TOTAL 100%

While support for Trump remains consistent from the February poll (39%), support for Hillary Clinton has dropped by ten points (from 48%) since the CPP asked respondents the same question in the February poll.

Regarding the economy, between the presidential candidates, more Virginians see Donald Trump as having the better plan for the country's economy, but only slightly with 46.9% choosing his plan compared to 41.3% choosing Hillary Clinton's plan.

Unfavorable Ratings and Trust

Both candidates are viewed as either "unfavorable" or "very unfavorable" by just over half of Virginians. More than half (53.4%) have an unfavorable view of Donald Trump, while 58.2% view Hillary Clinton unfavorably.

And with only four months before the General Election in November, Hillary Clinton still struggles with gaining the trust of Virginians with 64 % of those surveyed responding that she is not trustworthy. That number is up significantly from 56% in February.

Meantime, Virginians do not trust Trump either with 58% of the respondents saying they do not believe he is trustworthy, but the level of trust is significantly down from 68% in February.

Q8 & 9. Do you believe Donald Trump/ Hillary Clinton is trustworthy or not?

Feb. / July 2016
Feb. / July 2016
Trustworthy 28.5% / 36.7% 42% / 32.1%
Not 67.5% / 58.1% 56% / 64.4%
Don’t Know/Refused 4% / 5.2% 2% / 3.5%

Important Issues

Virginians overwhelmingly believe that the top priority of the next president of the United States should be to work to improve the economy and create jobs (42.1%) although that number is down from 48% in the CPP February poll. Terrorism was the second priority among respondents again and gained support since February as a priority for the next president at 23.9%. Healthcare was once again third with 9.8% support. Immigration and the size of government switched positions of importance from our February poll with Immigration coming in fourth at 9.5% and size of government fifth with 9% while 5.7% of those survey responded "Don't Know/Refused" in answering the question.

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
Working to improve the Economy and create jobs 47.8% 42.1%
Terrorism 17% 23.9%
Healthcare 15% 9.8%
Size of Government 8.8% 9.0%
Immigration 7.6% 9.5%
Don’t Know/Refused 3.8% 5.7%

Virginian's think that terrorism should be a priority for the next President as 54.6% of Virginians think that the United States should specifically counter terrorism by leading a ground force coalition against ISIS. Among those who do not think the U.S. should lead a coalition or do not know if the U.S. should lead a coalition, 58.3% say that the U.S. should participate in a multi-national ground force coalition.

Q16. Do you think the U.S. should lead a ground force coalition against ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq & Syria)?

Yes 54.6%
No 32.6%
Don't know/Refused 12.8%
TOTAL 100%

Q17. Do you think the U.S. should participate at all in a multi-nation ground force coalition against ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq & Syria)?

Yes 58.3%
No 26.8%
Don't know/Refused 14.9%
TOTAL 100%

About half of Virginians (52.8%) think that there should be a federal ban on automatic rifles. Among Virginians who think automatic rifles should be banned, 65.7% also believe there should be a ban on semi-automatic rifles. Plus, there is support for increasing regulations for gun purchases (60.8%).

Q13. Do you think there should be a federal ban on automatic rifles?

Yes 52.8%
No 42.7%
Don't know/Refused 4.6%
TOTAL 100%

Q14. How about semi-automatic rifles? Should there be a federal ban on semi-automatic rifles?

Yes 65.7%
No 27.1%
Don't know/Refused 7.1%
TOTAL 100%

Q15. Do you think there should be increased regulations of any kind placed on gun purchases?

Yes 60.8%
No 34.6%
Don't know/Refused 4.6%
TOTAL 100%

Virginians voiced great concern over current Immigration practices in the country. While there are regulations in place, many believe the enforcement of those regulations are lacking and 80.2% favor actual enforcement of rules and regulations that prevent and stop illegal immigration into the United States.

While nearly 60% (57.7%) of those surveyed want an increase in regulations for individuals wanting to legally immigrate into the U.S.

Q19. Currently, many regulations are in place regarding how to immigrate legally to the United States. Do you favor or oppose enforcing those regulations to prevent illegal immigration into the U.S.?

Favor 80.2%
Oppose 12.9%
Don't know/Refused 6.9%
TOTAL 100%

Q20. Would you prefer that there be decreased or increased regulations regarding legal immigration into the U.S.?

Decreased 24.3%
Increased 57.7%
Don't know/Refused 18%
TOTAL 100%

President Obama and VA Governor McAuliffe

As his two terms as President wind down, Barack Obama's approval ratings dropped two points to 50% from the CPP poll conducted in February (52%).

Virginia's Governor retains strong approval ratings with 57% of the respondents showing approval of the job Terry McAuliffe is doing leading the Commonwealth of Virginia.


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 July 6-10, 2016. The Sample was attained from the registered voter list for Virginia. These data were weighted to reflect the voter registration population of Virginia ages 18 years of age and older. 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.

The sample is also weighted to reflect the distribution of phone usage for registered voters of Virginia.

The margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.6% for the full sample.