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Poll: Clinton Loses Edge in N.H., Is Tied With Trump

Sununu Has Slim Lead for Governor, Senate Race Too Close to Call

Person conducting poll

11/03/2016
By Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 (w), 978-758-4664 (c)

With less than a week to Election Day, the race for president in New Hampshire is tied, the contest for U.S. Senate is too close to call and a slight lead has emerged in the run for governor, according to a new UMass Lowell/7News poll released today.

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are in a dead heat with 44 percent among likely voters in the new poll, which was conducted entirely after last week’s revelation by FBI Director James Comey that new materials are being reviewed in connection with the investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server. Libertarian Gary Johnson is at 5 percent among likely voters and Green Party candidate Jill Stein is at 2 percent, with 4 percent of likely voters still undecided. 

The tie between Clinton and Trump is in contrast to the UMass Lowell/7News poll conducted in mid-October, which found Clinton had a six-point lead in the four-way race. Since then, Clinton has dropped only one percentage point, but Trump has gained five and appears to be drawing stronger support from Republicans (up four points to 81 percent). 

The independent, nonpartisan poll by the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion surveyed 901 New Hampshire registered voters and 695 likely voters via live telephone (landline and cellphone) interviews between Oct. 28 and Nov. 2. New Hampshire is home to approximately 10,000 UMass Lowell graduates, 2,000 students and 400 employees.

With only days left in the campaign, New Hampshire could be critical to either candidate reaching the all-important 270 electoral votes.

“Once again, the four electoral votes in New Hampshire could potentially decide the winner of the 2016 presidential election. In a race that is essentially a dead heat, the candidates’ get-out-the-vote operation becomes all the more crucial,” said Prof. Frank Talty, co-director of the Center for Public Opinion and assistant dean of UMass Lowell’s College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

“As New Hampshire moves to pure toss-up status, the reality is setting in that Granite State voters, who play a large role in selecting the major party’s candidates in the first in the nation primary, may also have the last word on who is ultimately elected to the White House on Tuesday,” said Prof. Joshua Dyck, co-director of the Center for Public Opinion, who wrote and analyzed the poll.

Most voters polled said they have made up their minds, with 90 percent of Clinton supporters and 87 percent of Trump supporters saying they “will definitely vote for” their candidate. However, 13 percent of Trump supporters, compared with 8 percent of those for Clinton, say they could still change their mind before Election Day.

Clinton’s support is coming from women and younger voters, along with those with college degrees. Trump does best among men, voters who did not attend college and those who are 40 to 49 years old. Among women voters, Clinton leads by 16 points and Trump leads by 19 points among men. 

The poll also found a shift in voters’ sense of how the race will turn out. While a majority believe Clinton will win the election, that 52 percent is down eight points from the October UMass Lowell/7News poll. The number of voters who believe Trump will win has increased from 26 percent last month to 34 percent in today’s poll.

Regardless of the outcome of the election, 71 percent of New Hampshire voters said they believe the country will remain divided. A majority (77 percent) said that it is important that the losing presidential candidate accepts the results of the election and concedes to the winner. 

The poll also asked voters about three notable campaign events: the revelation of the continued FBI investigation of Clinton’s emails; the accusations by 11 women that Trump has engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior; and the effect of the three presidential debates.
  • On the FBI’s review of the additional Clinton emails, 68 percent of likely voters said it did not make a difference while 28 percent said they are less likely to vote for Clinton as a result of the news. Among Democratic likely voters, 89 percent said it makes no difference and 4 percent said it made them more likely to support Clinton, while 6 percent said it made them less likely. Among other likely voters, the news appears to have had a greater impact: 33 percent of independents and 44 percent of Republicans said the news makes them less likely to vote for Clinton. However, Clinton continues to lead Trump among independents, 38 percent to 32 percent.
  • On the allegations of inappropriate behavior by Trump, 69 percent of all likely voters polled said the news makes no difference to them, 26 percent said it makes them less likely to vote for Trump and 3 percent said it makes them more likely to vote for Trump. Among Republicans, 86 percent said it makes no difference, 8 percent said it makes them less likely to vote for Trump and 6 percent said it makes them more likely to vote for him.
  • On the debates, New Hampshire voters agree by a wide margin that Clinton was the winner (55 percent to 25 percent for Trump); only 4 percent said the debates changed their vote. 
“The FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s emails appears to have affected New Hampshire voters. While Democrats are unmoved and Clinton’s standing remained steady from three weeks ago to today, the scandal appears to have sent Republicans home to the Republican candidate,” said Dyck. “Libertarian Gary Johnson, who was polling at 9 percent in early October, now sits at just 5 percent and Donald Trump is the major beneficiary of that drop.”  

The poll also asked voters for their opinion on a range of policy issues. Majorities of Granite State voters said they trust Trump more than Clinton on the economy (52 percent to 41 percent), immigration (50 percent to 46 percent), terrorism and national security (50 percent to 46 percent), creating the kind of change we need (49 percent to 40 percent) and understanding the issues that are most important to New Hampshire (44 percent to 43 percent). Majorities of voters said they trust Clinton more than Trump on foreign policy (54 percent to 41 percent), the United States’ relationship with Russia (46 percent to 45 percent), abortion (53 percent to 38 percent), Social Security and Medicare (49 percent to 43 percent), race relations (56 percent to 36 percent) and women’s issues (63 percent to 30 percent).

The UMass Lowell/7News poll also asked likely New Hampshire voters how they will vote in the races for U.S. Senate and governor. 

For U.S. Senate, the race remains too close to call. In the UMass Lowell/7 News poll last month, incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte led Democratic challenger Maggie Hassan by just one percentage point. In today’s poll, Hassan is now up by one point, 47 percent to 46 percent, over Ayotte. Libertarian Brian Chabot remains at 4 percent and only 3 percent of likely voters said they are undecided. While there is potential that the presidential campaign might affect the outcome of this race, Trump has gained support in New Hampshire while Ayotte has not, according to Dyck.

In the race to replace Hassan as governor, Republican Chris Sununu is up 4 percentage points over Democrat Colin Van Ostern, 47 percent to 43 percent, a narrow lead that is inside the poll’s margin of error. Libertarian Max Abrams has 5 percent of likely voters’ support. The biggest change in this race since the October poll is that fewer voters, 4 percent, are now undecided, compared with 14 percent last month. The 10 percent shift was distributed evenly between the candidates, with Sununu up six points and Van Ostern up four points, with Sununu winning among independents, 38 percent to 34 percent. 

Results of the UMass Lowell/7News poll are based on interviews with a random sample of 901 New Hampshire registered voters and a subset of 695 likely voters conducted via landline and cellular telephones Oct. 28 through Nov. 2. The survey was conducted via live interviews using an overlapping, dual-frame landline and cellphone random-digit dial (RDD) design. Final results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies based on the 2014 American Community Survey. The margin of error for registered voters is plus or minus 3.78 percent and plus or minus 4.28 percent for likely voters. More information on the poll methodology, as well as detailed polling data, is available at www.uml.edu/polls.

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 17,500 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers.