Clinton Takes Big Lead into Debate, But With a Trustworthiness Deficit (POLL)

Hillary Clinton maintains a commanding lead for the Democratic nomination

Clinton’s advantage over Sanders exactly matches its average in ABC/Post polls since September. That said, a candidate’s standing today is not necessarily predictive of his or her performance tomorrow: Clinton led Barack Obama by a similar margin, 28 points, in an ABC/Post poll at this time in 2007. Yet Obama rebounded to win the nomination.

See PDF with full results here.

And Clinton does have a prominent difficulty –- a trustworthiness deficit. Even with her overall lead, 44 percent of leaned Democrats say Sanders is more honest and trustworthy, vs. 38 percent who pick Clinton. She’s particularly vulnerable in this area among whites (a 26-point Sanders advantage) and political independents (Sanders +25).

Clinton’s support is very near her average, 63 percent, in 10 ABC/Post polls to include her and Sanders this cycle, with a range from 56 to 69 percent. Sanders, for his part, peaked at 34 percent last month before slipping back in this survey. O’Malley’s 5 percent, low as it is, is a new high for him.


Sanders’ gain last month was propelled by improvements among younger adults, women, nonwhites, liberals and those without a college degree. This month he’s seen a pullback in those same groups, and trails Clinton by double digits in all but one – leaned Democrats under age 40, among whom Sanders and Clinton run evenly.

Clinton, for her part, peaks with a 49-point lead over Sanders among nonwhites, 48 points among those 40 or older and 48 points among those who prefer someone with political experience over an outsider. She benefits heavily from the fact that leaned Democrats prefer experience by a broad 76-18 percent -– a vastly different picture than the Republican contest.

Clinton’s also ahead of Sanders by 38 points among Democrats, 33 points among moderates, 36 points among women and 34 points among those without a college degree.


This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Dec. 10-13, 2015, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,002 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect, for the full sample, and 5.5 points for registered leaned Democrats. Partisan divisions are 33-23-34 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.