Poll: RNC boosts Trump – and Clinton supporters’ resolve

July 26, 2016

The Daybreak Poll this week will track day by day the impact from the Democratic National Convention on eligible voters’ opinions on the presidential race.

Contact: Emily Gersema at (213) 361-6730 or gersema@usc.edu

June 25, 2016 — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is steadily gaining over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the wake of the Republican National Convention, according to the USC Dornsife/LA Times Presidential Election Daybreak Poll.

Just before the convention began, the daily poll had shown the two candidates were tied at 42 percent. Now, 46 percent of the poll’s participants say they would vote for Trump, compared with 41 percent for Clinton. However, the difference is well within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.

“Trump continues to lead among some eligible voter groups, and may now have a slight edge on Clinton among young people and those with moderate incomes,” said Jill Darling, survey director of the Understanding America Study at USC Dornsife’s Center for Economic and Social Research. “However, he does not yet have enough new supporters to lift his overall lead over Clinton outside the poll’s margin of sampling error.”

“Even while the race remains very close, there’s no question that Donald Trump has benefited from a steady increase in our poll since the close of his party’s convention,” said Dan Schnur, director of USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. “The combination of the attention that his acceptance speech received and the weekend controversy over the Democratic National Committee email leaks has given him a small but growing lead heading into the Democratic convention. We’ll see over the next few days whether Hillary Clinton and her allies are able to reverse this trend.”

Since the poll began, most participants believed that, come November, Clinton would prevail. But her advantage has eroded from 12 percentage points to nearly 6 percentage points, with 50 percent now predicting Clinton, versus 44 percent predicting Trump.

Demographic differences

Trump now edges Clinton among young eligible voters aged 18 to 34, 42 percent to 40 percent. He also has a slight advantage among people with a household income of $75,000 a year or more, 46 percent to 43 percent.

But Trump has a nearly 11 percentage point advantage over Clinton among eligible voters 65 and older. He has a 17 percentage point advantage among those whose annual incomes fall between $35,000 to $75,000. He holds a statistically significant lead among whites (56 percent to 32 percent) and among men (53 percent to 37 percent).

Clinton fares better among eligible voters who hold a college degree (50 percent to 29 percent), Hispanics (54 percent to 32 percent) and African Americans (82 percent to 3 percent).

The margin is tight among women voters: 46 percent for Clinton versus 40 percent for Trump.

A detailed breakdown of the poll demographics is here.

About the Daybreak Poll

The Daybreak Poll is a probability poll that will provide a best estimate of how America plans to vote in the November election. Updated nightly, results are based on repeated participation by a large panel of Americans representing a random sample of diverse households nationwide.

Only a few such daily probability polls exist in the country. The Daybreak Poll is part of the ongoing Understanding America Study at the USC Dornsife’s Center for Economic and Social Research. It is conducted in partnership with the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics (also at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences) and with The Los Angeles Times.

More than 3,200 participants in the Understanding America Study are on the election panel. Of those, 450 are invited daily to participate in the Daybreak Poll to ensure a balanced sample. Each day at midnight, researchers update the results, which are based on a week’s worth of responses. Learn more about the methodology here. A detailed demographic breakdown of the latest poll results are here.

The Daybreak Poll results are publicly available on three sites: election.usc.edu, at the Unruh Institute site and the LA Times politics page.


Dan Schnur is the director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, where he works to motivate students to become involved in politics, government, and public service and teaches popular classes in politics, communications, and leadership. He also is the founder and director of the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times poll series.

Jill Darling is the survey director for the Understanding America Survey at USC Dornsife’s Center for Economic and Social Research. She also is a research health scientist at the Veterans Health Administration Health Services Research and Development Center for Healthcare Innovation, Implementation, and Policy (CSHIIP), for which she was previously survey director. A former associate director of the Los Angeles Times poll, she holds a bachelor’s in mathematics from Sonoma State University and a master’s in health sciences from George Washington University.


USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social ResearchAbout USC Dornsife’s CESR: The Center for Economic and Social Research is dedicated to discovering how people around the globe live, think, interact, age, invest, and make important, life-changing decisions. CESR’s in-depth research and analysis deepen the understanding of human behavior in a wide range of economic and social contexts. CESR’s ultimate goal: to improve social welfare by informing and influencing decision-making in the public and private sectors. Along the way, CESR is leading a creative revolution in how scientists conduct social science and economic research through the use of innovative technology.

The Understanding America Study at CESR is a panel of more than 3,200 randomly-selected respondents around the country who answer researchers’ queries approximately twice a month through an online survey. The panelists are all adults, 18 and older. (Additional details are here.)

Surveys conducted for the study are commissioned by USC clients, international universities and government researchers who are studying issues such as consumer behavior, social and economic policy and health. Researchers worldwide create the surveys. CESR’s team designs and tests them, and then it sends them to panelists to respond.

USC Dornsife Jesse M. Unruh Institute of PoliticsAbout the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics: The Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics is dedicated to bridging the academic study of politics with practical experience in the field. The Unruh Institute channels its efforts by offering courses in applied politics, a variety of speaker series, and an extensive political internship program. Its goals are to engage public officials with the USC community and to facilitate discussion of relevant issues across campus.

USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times PollAbout USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences: USC Dornsife is the heart of the university. The largest, oldest and most diverse of USC’s 19 schools, it is composed of more than 30 academic departments and dozens of research centers and institutes. USC Dornsife is home to approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 750 faculty members with expertise across the humanities, social sciences and sciences.

About the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll: The poll is a series of statewide public opinion polls in California, designed to survey voter attitudes on a wide range of political, policy, social and cultural issues.

Conducted at regular intervals throughout the year, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll is the largest statewide poll of registered voters and has been widely cited, helping to inform the public and to encourage discourse on key political and policy issues.

About the Los Angeles Times: The LA Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of 2 million and 3 million on Sunday, and a combined print and interactive local weekly audience of 4.5 million. The fast-growing latimes.com draws over 10 million unique visitors monthly.

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