Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are tied in the new Washington Post-ABC News Tracking Poll that finds Trump now holds an edge on which candidate is honest and trustworthy.
A 59 percent majority of likely voters disapprove of Clinton’s handling of questions about her use of personal email while secretary of state. This number, however, is no higher than the 60 percent who disapproved just over one week ago, before the FBI’s announcement Friday that it may examine additional emails after previously closing its investigation in June.
However, Trump has opened up an eight-point advantage over Clinton on which candidate is more honest and trustworthy, leading 46 to 38 percent among likely voters. The two candidates were tied on this measure the last time a Post-ABC poll asked the question in September; when asked individually, past polls found majorities seeing each candidate as dishonest.
The results underscore the decidedly mixed evidence that the FBI’s announcement has damaged her campaign. Little change would be in line with immediate reactions, including Post-ABC tracking results from this weekend finding most say it will not sway their vote and Republicans the most likely to see it as a negative.
The poll finds a dead even race in overall vote preferences, with 46 percent supporting Clinton and 46 percent backing Trump in the latest tracking wave conducted Friday through Sunday, little changed from Trump’s 46-45 percent margin in the previous tracking wave released Monday. Clinton holds a one-point edge over Trump (48 percent to 47 percent) when third party supporters are asked to choose between the major-party candidates.
While the Post-ABC poll finds a tight race, Clinton maintains at least a small advantage in most other national polls in a range of key battleground states that give her an edge in the electoral college. In Virginia, a Washington Post-Schar School poll released Tuesday found Clinton ahead by six percentage points.
Republicans are united in their criticism of Clinton’s handling of questions about her email use while secretary of state, with 90 percent saying they disapprove of her response including 85 percent who disapprove “strongly.” But while Republicans were already very unlikely to consider backing Clinton this year, the issue’s reprisal now threatens her standing with independents and enthusiasm among Democrats.
Fully 67 percent of independents in the latest survey disapprove of Clinton’s handling of questions on this issue (56 percent “strongly”), and even 29 percent of Democrats give her negative marks for the way she’s addressed the email issue.
Independents and Democrats are where Clinton has lost the most ground to Trump on the question of honesty since early fall. At that point Trump held a narrow five-point edge among independents on which candidate is more honest and trustworthy (45 to 40 percent), but in the latest poll Trump leads by 23 points with independents on this question (49 to 26 percent), a shift due mostly to a fall-off among Clinton and a rise in the percentage saying “neither” is honest.
Among Democrats, the share saying Clinton is more honest than Trump has dipped from 86 percent in early September to 76 percent today; Republicans have changed little in their view that Trump is more honest (86 percent then, 87 percent now.)
The Washington Post-ABC News Tracking Poll was conducted by telephone October 28-31 among a random national sample of 1,773 adults including landline and cell phone respondents. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 points; the error margin is plus or minus three points among the sample of 1,182 likely voters. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York.