Support for Donald Trump has slipped to its lowest in 10 days and enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton has recovered from its apparent damage by the latest FBI email investigation. Yet the race between them remains close in the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll.
Forty-seven percent of likely voters support Clinton with 43 percent for Trump in the latest four-night results. Whether it holds is an open question: Monday night’s results, the best for Clinton in the series, will roll out tomorrow.
While the shifts have been within the survey’s margin of sampling error, the contest has gone from +1 Trump, 45-46 percent, Oct. 30, to +4 Clinton today. Trump’s support now is numerically its lowest since Oct. 25.
Other shifts, all slight, are in sync. With the controversial FBI email announcement fading back a bit, Clinton has regrouped on strong enthusiasm -- up 6 points in just two days, and now essentially even with Trump for the first time since before the Comey letter.
Moreover, Clinton’s deficit on who’s more honest and trustworthy has eased in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. It was Trump +8 points immediately post-Comey, Trump’s first significant lead on this attribute, but has narrowed to a non-significant Trump +4 now.
These results signal how, with so much reluctant support for both unpopular candidates, vote intention and preferences are vulnerable to events. Trump suffered after the height of sexual misconduct allegations against him, then recovered; initial signs of damage to Clinton after the FBI announcement, now, likewise, seem to be pulling back.
There’s a little time for further influence, but not for 30 percent of likely voters: They’ve already voted, by 50-44 percent, Clinton-Trump, in the ABC/Post tracking estimate.
Enthusiasm has followed a far more variable path in Clinton’s case than in Trump’s. As few as 36 percent of her supporters, in mid-September, were very enthusiastic about their choice. That advanced to 52 percent by the start of tracking, apparently motivated by controversy over Trump’s sexual conduct. Clinton’s strong enthusiasm then lost 7 points after the Comey letter announcing a renewed email investigation, only to rebound now.
Strong enthusiasm for Trump among his supporters has followed a steadier path recently, after peaking at 55 percent, in mid-September and sliding to 47 percent three weeks later. It’s held between 49 and 53 percent since.
Support for Trump has weakened a bit among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, down to 82 percent support in this group, near his low; 6 percent are going to Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. Clinton, by contrast, has support from 87 percent of leaned Democrats, with just 2 percent to Johnson.
By region, Clinton is unusually competitive in the South, 46-45 percent, a region Mitt Romney won by 10 points in 2012 and John McCain won by 9 in 2008. Women and minorities are boosting there. (Bill Clinton ran about evenly in the South with his opponents in 1992 and ’96.) It’s also close in the Midwest, 43-46 percent, Clinton-Trump; Obama won this region by 10 points in 2008, and ran evenly there with Romney in 2012.
Notable, too, is that Trump’s advantage among white women who don’t hold a four-year college degree has advanced to 29-63 percent, Clinton-Trump, his widest margin in this group since mid-October, and even numerically exceeding his margin among his mainstay group, non-college white men, 29-59 percent.
Clinton, for her part, has a 25-point lead among college-educated white women, 58-33 percent, while the contest among college-educated white men is essentially a tie. In all, it’s a 38-52 percent race, Clinton-Trump, among whites, while it’s 75-17 percent among nonwhites.
Also of note is the battleground suburbs, now 47-43 percent overall, with Clinton boosted by suburban women, 54-38 percent.
Finally, given its size, the tracking poll -- now with 4,613 interviews of likely voters since Oct. 20 -- can be used to evaluate preferences in groups too small for analysis in most surveys. One such group is nonwhites who are neither black nor Hispanic, 6 percent of likely voters. After a lukewarm result for Clinton earlier in tracking, they’ve moved to 62-28 percent support for her, nearer where they were for Obama in the 2012 exit poll.
Another is Jews, just 2 percent of likely voters. They favor Clinton by 73-18 percent, a wider gap for the Democrat than in 2012 (69-30 percent) but about the same as in 2008. That’s fairly similar to results among non-religious voters, 63-25 percent, with evangelical white Protestants across the spectrum, 16-78 percent, Clinton-Trump.
Sample sizes are inadequate for other small religious groups, e.g. Mormons and Muslims.
This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2016, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,419 likely voters. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 37-30-29 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.
The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y. See details on the survey’s methodology here.