Nearly three-fourths think the U.S. is either stagnating or falling behind
Most voters are unhappy with the current state of the country and disappointed with their choices this November, but on key issues they narrowly favor Hillary Clinton, according to a TIME/SurveyMonkey poll.
In an online tracking poll of 5,478 registered voters taken Sept. 28-29 after the first presidential debate, nearly three-fourths felt the country was either stagnating or falling behind, while roughly a fourth thought it was making progress.
When asked to choose which emotions described how they feel about the election, nearly half chose disappointed or scared, while only nine percent said they were satisfied.
And when asked how the policies of President Obama had affected them and their family, 38 percent said they had made life harder, 30 percent said they had no effect and 30 percent said they had improved life.
But if those results indicated an opening for Republican nominee Donald Trump in the presidential election, other responses showed he has not capitalized on it, especially on his key criticisms of Clinton’s approach to ethics, immigration and terrorism.
• When asked who they trust more when it comes to ethics in government, 37 percent chose Clinton and 32 percent chose Trump, with 29 percent saying neither.
• On immigration policy, 42 percent said they would trust Clinton more, while 39 percent chose Trump and 17 percent said neither.
• The two candidates were essentially tied on who they would trust to handle the Islamic State and international terrorism, with 40 percent choosing Clinton and 38 percent choosing Trump, and 20 percent saying neither.
Respondents also gave Clinton high marks for her approach to policy.
Nearly half felt that she had done a better job explaining her policy positions to voters, while 30 percent said neither and just 23 percent thought Trump had done a better job.
The election was not an abstract issue for most in the survey. Eighty-one percent said the outcome of the presidential election will affect their personal safety either some or a lot, while 79 percent said the same about their personal economic situation.
Respondents were also asked to choose their top three priorities for the next president. Sixty-one percent said the economy and jobs, 58 percent said terrorism and national security and 38 percent said health care, followed by 28 percent for immigration, 22 percent for the budget deficit and 21 percent for gun control.
The survey also indicated more support for trade.
When asked to decide between two views of U.S. involvement in the global economy, 54 percent agreed with the statement that it’s a good thing “because it provides the U.S. with new markets and opportunities for growth,” while just 43 percent said it’s a bad thing “because it lowers wages and costs jobs in the U.S.”
Despite a contentious election, respondents largely said they aren’t afraid to voice their opinion. Eighty-four percent said they were somewhat or very comfortable sharing their vote preference with friends and family, while only 15 percent said they were somewhat or very uncomfortable doing so.
The SurveyMonkey Election Tracking survey was conducted online in cooperation with TIME magazine on those two days. Respondents were chosen from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on SurveyMonkey each day. The poll has a bootstrap confidence interval—a measure of the pollsters’ confidence in the results—of plus or minus two percentage points for registered voters. You can read more about the methodology here.
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