The FINANCIAL -- The tables have turned in this week’s White House Watch. After trailing Hillary Clinton by five points for the prior two weeks, Donald Trump has now taken a four-point lead.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey of Likely U.S. Voters finds Trump with 43% of the vote, while Clinton earns 39%. Twelve percent (12%) still like another candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided.
Last week at this time, it was Clinton 44%, Trump 39%. This is Trump’s highest level of support in Rasmussen Reports’ matchups with Clinton since last October. His support has been hovering around the 40% mark since April, but it remains to be seen whether he’s just having a good week or this actually represents a real move forward among voters.
Trump now earns 75% support among his fellow Republicans and picks up 14% of the Democratic vote. Seventy-six percent (76%) of Democrats like Clinton, as do 10% of GOP voters. Both candidates face a sizable number of potential defections because of unhappiness with them in their own parties.
Clinton appears to have emerged relatively unscathed from the release this week of the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s report on her actions as secretary of State in connection with the murder of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans by Islamic terrorists in September 2012. Rasmussen Reports will be releasing new numbers on Clinton and Benghazi at 10:30 a.m. Eastern today.
Trump made a major speech on jobs and trade on Tuesday that even the New York Times characterized as “perhaps the most forceful case he has made for the crux of his candidacy …. that the days of globalism have passed and that a new approach is necessary.” Some also speculate that last week’s vote in Great Britain to leave the European Union signals a rise of economic nationalism that is good for Trump. Despite the media panic and market swings that have resulted, Americans are not particularly worried that the “Brexit” will hurt them in the pocketbook.
The latest terrorist carnage - this week in Istanbul, Turkey - also may be helping Trump who is arguing for a harsher response to radical Islam than Clinton. Voters remain lukewarm about President Obama's national security policies and expect more of the same if Clinton moves back into the White House next January. Trump, if elected, will definitely change things, voters say, but not necessarily for the best.
The U.S. economy historically has had an average annual growth rate of 3.3% but has fallen short of that number in every year of Obama’s presidency. Still, his fellow Democrats give the president positive marks for his economic performance and think Clinton would do more of the same. Trump is expected to make the economy better by all voters - except Democrats.
Trump how holds a 14-point lead among men, while Clinton leads by six among women. The candidates are tied among those under 40, while Trump leads among older voters.
Clinton continues to hold a wide lead among blacks. Trump leads among whites and other minority voters.
Among voters not affiliated with either major party, Trump leads by 18 points, but 28% of these voters like some other candidates or are undecided.
Eighty-nine percent (89%) of voters who Strongly Approve of the job Obama is doing choose Clinton. Trump has 86% support among those who Strongly Disapprove of the president’s job performance.
Events in recent weeks suggest that Trump is already running a third-party candidacy against the establishments of both the Democratic and Republican parties.
Clinton has called for more gun control following the recent terrorist killings in an Orlando, Florida nightclub; Trump disagrees. Support for additional gun control has risen to its highest level ever, but voters are evenly divided over whether more gun buying restrictions will help prevent future shootings like the one in Orlando.
Fewer voters than ever think the government gives the right amount of attention to the threat of Islamic terrorism here at home.
A tie vote in the U.S. Supreme Court last week upheld a lower court ruling that halted Obama’s plan to exempt millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. Clinton has vowed to take the president’s amnesty plan even further. Trump wants to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and deport many of those who are here illegally. Most voters continue to oppose Obama’s plan as they have from the start and believe instead that the U.S. government needs to more aggressively deport illegal immigrants.