Hillary Clinton has vaulted to a double-digit advantage in the inaugural ABC News 2016 election tracking poll, boosted by broad disapproval of Donald Trump on two controversial issues: His treatment of women and his reluctance to endorse the election’s legitimacy.
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Likely voters by a vast 69-24 percent disapprove of Trump’s response to questions about his treatment of women. After a series of allegations of past sexual misconduct, the poll finds that some women who’d initially given him the benefit of the doubt have since moved away.
Fifty-nine percent of likely voters, moreover, reject Trump’s suggestion that the election is rigged in Clinton’s favor, and more, 65 percent, disapprove of his refusal to say whether he’d accept a Clinton victory as legitimate. Most strongly disapprove, a relatively rare result.
All told, Clinton leads Trump by 12 percentage points among likely voters, 50 to 38 percent, in the national survey, her highest support and his lowest to date in ABC News and ABC News/Washington Post polls. Gary Johnson has 5 percent support, Jill Stein 2 percent.
The results mark a dramatic shift from Clinton’s +4 points in the last ABC/Post poll Oct. 13. That survey was conducted after disclosure of an 11-year-old videotape in which Trump crudely described his sexual advances toward women, but before the events that have followed: A series of women saying he sexually assaulted them, which Trump has denied; his continued refusal to say whether he’d accept the election’s legitimacy; and the final debate, which likely voters by 52-29 percent say Clinton won.
This inaugural 2016 ABC News tracking poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, was conducted Thursday through Saturday among 1,391 adults, including 874 likely voters. This is the first in what will be daily ABC News tracking poll reports from now to Election Day. The Washington Post will join ABC’s tracking survey later this week.
The previous ABC/Post poll found a sharp 12-point decline in enthusiasm for Trump among his supporters, almost exclusively among those who’d preferred a different GOP nominee. Intended participation now has followed: The share of registered Republicans who are likely to vote is down 7 points since mid-October.
Vote preference results among some groups also are striking. Among them:
• Clinton leads Trump by 20 percentage points among women, 55-35 percent. She's gained 12 points (and Trump's lost 16) from mid-October among non-college-educated white women, some of whom initially seemed to rally to Trump after disclosure of the videotape.
• Clinton has doubled her lead to 32 points, 62-30 percent, among college-educated white women, a group that’s particularly critical of his response to questions about his sexual conduct. (Seventy-six percent disapprove, 67 percent strongly.)
• That said, Clinton's also ahead numerically (albeit not significantly) among men, 44-41 percent, a first in ABC News and ABC/Post polling.
• Trump is just +4 among whites overall, 47-43 percent, a group Mitt Romney won by 20 points in 2012. Broad success among whites is critical for any Republican candidate; nonwhites, a reliably Democratic group, favor Clinton by 54 points, 68-14 percent.
Even with the gender gap in candidate support, the results show damage to Trump across groups on the issue of his sexual conduct. While 71 percent of women disapprove of his handling of questions about his treatment of women, so do 67 percent of men. And 57 percent overall disapprove “strongly” – 60 percent of women, but also 52 percent of men. By partisan group, 41 percent of Republican likely voters disapprove of Trump on this question, a heavy loss in one’s own party. That grows to 70 percent of independents and nearly all Democrats, 92 percent.
For comparison, 59 percent of likely voters disapprove of Clinton’s handling of questions about her email practices while secretary of state, including 31 percent of Democrats, 65 percent of independents and 84 percent of Republicans. Forty-five percent overall disapprove strongly, again a high level, if well fewer than strongly disapprove of Trump on the misconduct issue.
On Trump’s claim of a “rigged” election, 23 percent of Republican likely voters say he’s trying to make excuses in case he loses, rather than raising a legitimate concern; this view swells to 57 percent among independents and 91 percent among Democrats. That said, 74 percent of Republicans, and 84 percent of Trump supporters, say it’s a legitimate issue.
Further, one in three Republicans – 34 percent – disapprove of Trump’s refusal to say whether he’d accept the election’s outcome if Clinton won. That jumps to 65 percent of independents and, again, 91 percent of Democrats. Not only do 65 percent overall disapprove, but 53 percent feel strongly about it.
This ABC News poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Oct. 20-22, 2016, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 874 likely voters. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 36-27-31 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.