Stressed About the Election? If So, You've Got Company (POLL)

PHOTO: A voter casts his ballot during early voting at the Beatties Ford Library in Charlotte, North Carolina Oct. 20, 2016.PlayChris Keane/REUTERS
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For all their sharp differences, supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have one thing in common: election-related stress.

Nearly half of likely voters in an ABC News tracking poll, 46 percent, describe the election as a source of stress in their lives, including roughly equal numbers of Clinton and Trump supporters. Nearly a quarter, again among both candidates' camps, say the stress is serious.

See PDF with full results here.

Voter preferences in the latest tracking poll, based on a four-day survey through Sunday night, remain the same as in a three-day result reported Sunday: 50 percent support Clinton, and 38 percent Trump, with 5 percent for Gary Johnson and 2 percent for Jill Stein.

Clinton's 12-point margin over Trump holds at 53 to 41 percent in a two-way matchup, indicating that Johnson and Stein aren't drawing disproportionately from either of the two major-party candidates.

Other results also hold in a Clinton-Trump pairing, including for the important element of turnout. Republicans are less likely now than earlier in the campaign to indicate that they intend to vote. Clinton leads by 19 points in turnout among women, while she and Trump are virtually tied among men, reflecting worse results for Trump among all but his core supporters, white men who lack a college degree.

Stress

Election-related stress is, interestingly, particularly high in two quite different groups, standing at 57 percent among liberal Democrats (despite their preferred candidate's lead in polls) and 56 percent among evangelical white Protestants, a core Republican group perhaps faced with questions about Trump's character and values.

Stress over the election is more common among women than men, at 51 percent versus 39 percent. It's not clear whether more women feel stress or they're simply more apt to recognize and report it. There's a difference among whites, depending on their gender and education, with non-college-educated white men the least likely to say the election is causing them stress, at 38 percent, and college-educated white women the most likely, at 59 percent, with other groups falling between those two.

As widespread as stress over the election is, it trails stress about the economy during the Great Recession, which peaked at 61 percent in March 2009. But the recession and its aftermath had no clear end date; the election, at least, does.

Issues

Underlying dynamics in the presidential race, with Trump coming off a difficult two weeks, continue to boost Clinton. She has her own challenges: 60 percent of likely voters disapprove of her handling of questions about her use of email while secretary of state, and 46 percent disapprove strongly. But 70 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, disapprove of how Trump has handled questions about his treatment of women, with strong disapproval at 57 percent.

Sixty-four percent of likely voters, moreover, disapprove of Trump's refusal to say whether he will accept the outcome if Clinton wins. And 58 percent think that by calling the election rigged, he's making excuses in case he loses, not raising legitimate concerns.

Groups

Sizable numbers of men as well as women disapprove of Trump's response to questions about his treatment of women — 66 and 73 percent, respectively. Women, though, are more likely to strongly disapprove, by 12 points. While Clinton has 3 fewer points than her largest lead among women in ABC News and ABC News/Washington Post polls, she has improved among men, to 44 to 42 percent against Trump in the latest data. He led by 19 points among men as recently as Sept. 22.

Much of this movement has occurred among whites, with notable shifts when results are further broken down by gender and education. Trump peaked at 59 points ahead of Clinton, 76 to 17 percent, among non-college-educated white men in late September. He's now at 61 to 29 percent among this group, up by 32 points, which is the usual advantage Republican candidates had in that cohort in recent elections.

Among college-educated white men, Trump topped out with a 12-point lead in July but is now 4 points behind Clinton — one of her best showings to date with this group. Democratic candidates since 1980 have lost college-educated white men by double digits, with the exception of Bill Clinton, who lost this group by just 6 points in 1992.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is at a peak among college-educated white women, leading Trump by 63 to 30 percent. That far surpasses the best exit poll result among this group by a Democrat in the past 36 years — which was Al Gore winning them by 8 points over George W. Bush in 2000. Clinton is 19 points ahead among all white college graduates, a group no Democrat presidential candidate has won in exit polls since 1980.

Methodology

This ABC News poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Oct. 20 to 23, 2016, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,155 likely voters. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 36-27-31 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

Question 12 was asked Oct. 22 to 23 among 611 likely voters; that result has a 4.5-point error margin.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York City, with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York City. See details on the survey's methodology here.