Summer is almost over, the National Conventions have come to a close, and it’s less than three months until we choose our next President. With all the drama surrounding the election, the team at Lab42 conducted a third wave of political research (Wave 1 – September 2015; Wave 2 – April 2016) to identify trends in voters’ perceptions and opinions of the election and the candidates.
As we analyzed the results from this latest research, there were several data points and trends that struck us as interesting. For example, while the Top 5 issues for voters stayed the same through all three waves of research, there were fluctuations in the order of importance across the waves. While Jobs & the US Economy and Healthcare remained as the top 2 issues throughout all waves, National Security gained 2 spots (from 5th to 3rd) from September 2015 to July 2016. Taxes and Education remained in the 3rd and 4th spot from September to April, but Education then dipped to the 5th most important issue in July (while Taxes remained in the 4th position in July).
When we asked the respondents for their top choice for president, 43% chose Hillary Clinton and 34% chose Donald Trump, while 23% selected a third party candidate or were undecided. Interestingly, there are a large percentage of voters who are choosing sides – not because they support their candidate – but rather as a vote against the other candidate. 40% of Clinton supporters and 39% of Trump supporters say their motivation is to vote against the other candidate.
While Clinton does hold a slight lead over Trump in the 18-24 year-old age group (31% Clinton / 26% Trump), 43% of respondents in this age group reported that they would vote for a 3rd party candidate or were undecided. Trump has majority support (55% vs. 27% Clinton) among respondents older than sixty-five years old. However, at this point, only 60% of voters are locked into their Presidential candidate.
As the election cycle progressed and the candidate field narrowed, we also noticed that both Democrats and Republicans were significantly less willing to vote across party aisles (as of July 22% of Republicans would vote for a Republican and 19% of Democrats would vote for a Democrat). Comparatively in September, 47% of Republicans were willing to vote for a Democrat, and 65% of Democrats were willing to vote for a Republican.
In addition to being split about the presidential candidates, respondents were also split when it came to selecting their preferred campaign slogan, with 52% selecting Trump’s “Make America Great Again” and 48% choosing Clinton’s “Stronger Together” slogan.