Clinton-Trump race tightening, new poll shows

Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, 2016 presidential election
AP file photos of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The race for the White House is tightening in Michigan, according to a new EPIC-MRA poll commissioned by WOOD TV8.

EPIC-MRA surveyed 600 potential voters between Sept. 10 and Sept. 13. When asked who they would vote for if the presidential election were held today, the results were a virtual tie.

EPIC-MRA web poll
Results from an EPIC-MRA poll released Sept. 15, 2016.
LEFT: Dr. Jill Stein, presumptive Green Party presidential nominee. RIGHT: Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson.
LEFT: Dr. Jill Stein, presumptive Green Party presidential nominee. RIGHT: Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

A total of 38 percent said they would vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, compared to 35 percent for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. However, the results are well within the survey’s 4 percent margin of error.

Third party candidates also took a larger share of the vote compared to last month’s poll. Libertarian Gary Johnson earned 10 percent of the vote and Green Party candidate Jill Stein captured a 4 percent share.

PICKING A SIDE

A total of 59 percent said they would vote for Hillary Clinton because of who she is, while 34 percent said they would do it as a vote against Trump.

At 33 percent, Trump supporters’ top reason for voting for him was because they felt Clinton was liar, crook, and/or criminal; at 13 percent, the second most popular reason was his non-political, business background.

Trump fared best in the eyes of potential voters when it came to maintaining a strong military force, defeating Islamic State militants and strengthening the economy; Clinton had higher ratings in temperament, improving social programs and foreign relations.

However, a large share of people felt neither candidate fit the presidential mold. A total of 30 percent said neither candidate was honest or trustworthy, 23 percent said neither candidate would defeat ISIS, and 22 percent said neither candidate would provide affordable health care for all.

ON THE WRONG TRACK?

Those surveyed generally had a positive view of Michigan’s condition. About 47 percent said the state is generally heading in the right direction; another 38 percent said Michigan is on the wrong track, with an expanding wage gap and job-depleting trade agreements as the top reasons.

The majority had a darker view of the country’s state. While 33 percent said the nation is heading in the right direction, 57 percent said they thought the country was on the wrong track. Of those who held a negative view, the top reason was the economy, jobs and wages. Morals/values and President Barack Obama were the second and third most popular reasons, respectively.

JOB REVIEWS

Despite an overall rosier view of Michigan, the majority of those surveyed had an unfavorable opinion of the state’s leader. A total of 51 percent gave Gov. Rick Snyder negative marks compared to 40 percent who liked Snyder. They painted an even dimmer outlook of Snyder’s job performance, with 66 percent giving him a negative rating.

Gov. Rick Snyder, Flint water crisis
Gov. Rick Snyder drinks Flint water from a glass between answering questions during a press conference with media on Monday, May 2, 2016 in Flint, Mich.

Snyder did fare better than the presidential candidates. A total of 63 percent had an unfavorable view of Trump and 56 percent viewed Clinton unfavorably.

Obama was the only political figure mentioned to earn a favorable opinion from the majority of those surveyed, at 52 percent. However, 54 percent of those surveyed gave him a negative job rating.

The third party presidential candidates remain relatively unknown, with 46 percent not recognizing the Green Party’s Jill Stein and 37 percent unsure of who Libertarian Gary Johnson is.

WEIGHING IN ON WAGES

Protesters rallied at a McDonald's in Detroit pushing for higher wages. (Courtesy WDIV; Dec. 4, 2014)
Protesters rallied at a McDonald’s in Detroit pushing for higher wages. (Courtesy WDIV; Dec. 4, 2014)

Potential voters were generally split about raising Michigan’s minimum wage from $8.50 per hour to $15 per hour; 46 percent favored the pay hike while 48 percent opposed it.

At home, 68 percent said they felt satisfied with their financial situation. A total of 45 percent said their income had increased within the past five years, compared to 23 percent who reported a decrease in take-home pay.

MINORITIES IN AMERICA

The bigger issue among those surveyed was race relations in the country, with 84 percent saying it’s a national concern.

A total of 56 percent said race relations nationwide have worsened since Obama took office. However in Michigan, the concern dropped to 66 percent, with the majority of the predominantly white respondents saying race relations are generally good.

Syrian children walk between destroyed buildings in the old city of Homs, Syria, Friday, Feb. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Syrian children walk between destroyed buildings in the old city of Homs, Syria, Friday, Feb. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

When it came to immigration, 49 percent said immigrants strengthened the country, compared to 31 percent who said they’re a burden. A total of 74 percent also favored reforming federal immigration laws to allow illegal undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States to remain there as long as they abided by the law and met certain requirements.

However, the majority of those surveyed opposed the recent increase in how many refugees can enter the United States, 53 percent to 36 percent. The cap increase came earlier this year in light of the war in Syria.

BEHIND THE SURVEY

While 39 percent said they were extremely enthusiastic about voting in this year’s presidential election, another 28 percent were not very excited about the race.

The majority of those surveyed, 82 percent, identified as white. A total of 43 percent identified as Democrats, 6 percent more than Republicans. However, 36 percent described themselves as conservative, followed by moderate (35 percent) and liberal (20 percent).

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