Candidates Face Angry, Dissatisfied Electorate One-Year Out

Economy Still Top Issue for Voters

No Party Holds Advantage in General Election 

NOV. 3, 2015 – A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reveals Hillary Clinton has increased her lead within the Democratic Party’s presidential race by a margin of two to one over Sen. Bernie Sanders among primary voters, 62 percent to 31 percent respectively.

With consideration to this month’s debate and the Benghazi Committee hearing, Americans continue to have a net negative impression of Clinton (40 percent positive/47 percent negative), showing little change since early October.

The poll also marks a virtual tie when it comes to the general election: 44% of voters say they prefer a Republican to win the White House, compared to 43% who prefer a Democrat.

The economy is the top issue in the presidential race for voters, followed by social issues and values.

Specific general election matchups (for example, Clinton v. Trump) will be released tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Extended political analysis is included below. Read more about Clinton’s lead over Sanders’ here: http://nbcnews.to/1WtgDns. Read more about the electorate one-year out here: http://nbcnews.to/1l5PciG.


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Clinton Increases Her Lead Over Sanders

By Carrie Dann (@CarrieNBCNews)

Hillary Clinton has increased her dominant lead within the Democratic Party’s presidential contest, now besting rival Sen. Bernie Sanders by a margin of two to one among primary voters in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.  But the Democratic front-runner remains unpopular with the general electorate, and fewer than a third of Americans give her high marks for being honest and straightforward.

In the new poll, conducted October 25-29, 62 percent of Democrats chose Clinton as their top choice to win their party’s presidential nomination, while 31 percent picked Sanders. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley received just three percent support.

That’s up from Clinton’s 25-point lead earlier in October, 58 percent to 33 percent.

In this most recent poll, more than eight in ten Democrats also say they can see themselves supporting Clinton for the nod, while only 61 percent say the same of the Vermont senator. An overwhelming majority of Democrats – 84 percent — believe that Clinton is the most likely to win the Democratic nomination, versus just 12 percent who say Sanders is the best bet. And a similar margin – 81 percent – believe that Clinton has the best chance of any Democratic candidate of winning the White House in 2016.

Despite ascendancy with Democrats – particularly after a strong debate performance, her marathon testimony on Capitol Hill regarding the Benghazi controversy and Vice President Joe Biden’s decision not to launch a White House bid – Clinton has little to show for her successful news cycles when it comes to the electorate at large.

Americans continue to have a net negative impression of her (40 percent positive/47 percent negative) – virtually unchanged from early October. Despite an effort by her campaign to present a softer side, she has not significantly improved her standing with registered voters on measures like “being compassionate enough to understand average people” or “being inspirational and an exciting choice for president.”

And a majority – 53 percent of registered voters – give her poor marks for “being honest and straightforward, while just 27 percent give her a thumbs up.

After her 11-hour testimony before a congressional committee investigating the Benghazi hearings, Clinton does appear to have significantly moved the needle with Democrats and with swing voters when it comes to how they view her handling of the controversy. But the electorate at large still remains skeptical about her response.

Before the hearing, 58 percent of Democratic primary voters said they were satisfied with Clinton’s response to questions about the Benghazi attacks, while 11 percent said they were not satisfied and 31 percent said they did not know enough about the controversy to comment. Now, 72 percent of Democrats say they’re satisfied and only eight percent say they are not satisfied with her answers.

Among swing voters, the share who say they are not satisfied with her response to the Benghazi controversy has plummeted from 84 percent at the beginning of October to 40 percent now, although only about a quarter – 23 percent – are satisfied.

But among all Americans, there is still significant reluctance to put the Benghazi controversy to rest. A third – 30 percent – say they’re satisfied that Clinton has addressed the issue, while 38 percent disagree.

One other bright data point for the Clinton campaign: She appears to have convinced more voters that her use of a private email server is not a game-changing issue. In mid-October, a plurality – 47 percent – said that Clinton’s use of  a personal email server was an important factor in determining whether or not they can vote for her for president, while 44 percent said it was not important. Now, those numbers are almost flipped: 42 percent call the email flap important to their vote, while 48 percent say it isn’t an important factor in their decision-making.

The poll of 1000 adults was conducted October 25-29, 2015. The margin of error for all adults is +/- 3.1 percent. The margin of error for registered voters is +/- 3.37 percent, and the margin of error for 400 Democratic primary voters is +/- 4.9 percent.

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One Year Out, Candidates Face Angry, Dissatisfied Electorate

By Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics)

Almost a year out from Election Day 2016, Americans have a familiar view of politics and the nation’s direction – they’re angry and dissatisfied, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Just 27 percent of them believe the country is headed on the right track, which identical to where it stood right before the Nov. 2014 midterm elections.

Fifty-four percent think the economic and political systems are stacked against them – just two points lower than where it was a year ago.

And 57 percent say they’d rather fire their member of Congress than re-elect him, which is again unchanged from the fall of 2014.

“So an electorate that voted for major change in 2014 appears once again to be dissatisfied,” says Democratic pollster Fred Yang, whose firm Hart Research Associates conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.

The 2016 popularity (and unpopularity) contest

That dissatisfaction carries over to the political parties and many of the 2016 candidates — both Democrats and Republicans.

The most unpopular political figures and institutions in the NBC/WSJ poll:

  • Donald Trump: 27 percent positive/56 percent negative rating (-29);
  • Jeb Bush: 19 percent positive/43 percent negative (-24);
  • The Republican Party: 29 percent positive/44 percent negative (-15);
  • Ted Cruz: 23 percent positive/33 percent negative (-10);
  • Hillary Clinton: 40 percent positive/47 percent negative (-7);
  • Paul Ryan: 23 percent positive/28 percent negative (-5)

By contrast, here are the most popular figures and institutions:

  • Ben Carson: 37 percent positive/24 percent negative (+13);
  • Bernie Sanders: 34 percent positive/28 percent negative (+6);
  • The Democratic Party: 41 percent positive/39 percent negative (+2);
  • Barack Obama: 44 percent positive/43 percent negative (+1)
  • Marco Rubio: 26 percent positive/25 percent negative (+1)

Obama’s overall job-approval rating in the poll stands at a pedestrian 45 percent, down a point from the last NBC/WSJ poll.

2016 election looks to be a jump ball

As for which party holds the advantage one year out before Election Day 2016 — Democrats or Republicans – the NBC/WSJ poll finds that it looks like a jump ball.

Forty-four percent of registered voters say they prefer a Republican to win the White House, versus 43 percent who pick a Democrat. (The general-election matchups featuring specific Democratic and Republican candidates will be released Tuesday night.)

And voters are split, 45 percent to 45 percent, over the party they want to control Congress after next year’s elections.

Economy is still No. 1 issue

When it comes to the issues, 38 percent say that the economy is their top issue in the presidential contest – followed by social issues and values (16 percent), Social Security and Medicare (12 percent), the federal deficit (9 percent), foreign policy and the Middle East (8 percent), health care (8 percent) and terrorism (8 percent).

But there is a difference by party: 12 percent of Democrats view health care as their No. 1 issue, versus just 3 percent of Republicans. And 14 percent of Republicans say foreign policy and the Middle East are their top concern, compared with 5 percent of Democrats.

And on the economy, a majority of Americans – 53 percent – respond that “staying where they are” best describes their own personal financial situation. By contrast, 25 percent say they’re getting ahead, and 21 percent say they’re either slipping behind or falling backward.

The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted Oct. 25-29 of 1,000 adults (including nearly 400 reached via cell phone), and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.

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For more information, please contact:

Olivia Petersen

NBC News



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