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Hillary Clinton opens up a commanding 11-point lead over Donald Trump | PRRI/The Atlantic Survey

Clinton Expands Lead Among Likely Voters

Hillary Clinton has opened up a commanding 11-point lead over Donald Trump, finds a new PRRI/The Atlantic Survey—with field dates (October 5-9) spanning the fallout from a tape of Donald Trump making lewd comments about women. Nearly half (49%) of likely voters report they are currently supporting or leaning towards supporting Clinton, while fewer than four in ten (38%) likely voters favor Trump.1 The new findings mark the second week in a row that Clinton has strengthened her lead over Trump. As recently as two weeks ago, Trump and Clinton were tied among likely voters (43% vs. 43%, respectively). Since that time, Trump’s support among likely voters has fallen while Clinton’s support has edged upward.

Continued Racial/Ethnic and Class Divides

Trump edges Clinton among white voters by a narrow margin (45% vs. 41%, respectively), while non-white voters overwhelmingly favor Clinton over Trump (72% vs. 17%, respectively). However, there is a substantial divide among whites by educational attainment. A majority (53%) of white voters with a college degree favor Clinton, compared to 37% who support Trump. Conversely, a majority (52%) of white voters without a four-year college degree are backing Trump, while fewer than one in three (31%) support Clinton.

The Gender Gap Expands

Trump is facing a historic deficit among female voters. Fewer than three in ten (28%) female voters say they would vote for Trump if the election were held today, compared to six in ten (61%) who say they are backing Clinton—a 33-point gap. In sharp contrast, Trump still holds a substantial lead over Clinton among male voters (48% vs. 37%, respectively).

Compared to last week, Trump’s support among female voters has dropped five points to 28%, while Trump’s support among male voters is down only one point to 48%.

The gender divide among whites is pronounced and crosses class boundaries. Among all white female voters, Clinton leads Trump by 17 points (52% vs. 35%, respectively). More than two-thirds (68%) of white female voters with a college education are supporting Clinton, compared to only 29% who say they are voting for Trump. White female voters without a college education are divided, with equal numbers supporting Trump (40%) and Clinton (40%). Notably, 16% of white female voters without a college degree report being uncertain of who they will support in the election.

In contrast, among all white male voters, Trump leads Clinton by 28 points (57% vs. 29%, respectively). Trump holds an advantage over Clinton among white male voters with a college education (46% vs. 39%, respectively), and he retains an even more considerable lead over Clinton among white male voters with no college degree (65% vs. 22%, respectively).

White Evangelicals Remain Committed to Trump

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of white evangelical voters remain committed to supporting Trump, while only 16% say they favor Clinton. However, Trump fares much worse among other white Christian voters, a notable shift from support patterns in recent elections. White mainline Protestants voters are split between the two candidates with an equal number supporting Trump (42%) and Clinton (42%). White Catholic voters are closely divided with roughly equal numbers in favor of Clinton (46%) and Trump (42%). Clinton leads Trump among all Catholics voters (55% vs. 34%, respectively) and among unaffiliated voters (70% vs. 20%, respectively) by considerable margins.

Political Independents Flip

While self-identified Democratic and Republican voters continue to strongly support their parties’ respective nominees, independent voters have shifted their support from Trump to Clinton over the past week. Currently, roughly four in ten (44%) independent voters favor Clinton, compared to one-third (33%) who are supporting Trump. Last week, Clinton trailed Trump among independent voters by eight points (36% vs. 44%, respectively).

Gender and Society

The survey also finds Americans divided on attitudes about gender. Among all Americans (not just voters), 41% agree that society as a whole has become “too soft and feminine,” compared to 52% who disagree. Not surprisingly, there is a significant gender divide, with half (50%) of men but only about one-third (32%) of women agreeing with this statement. But the partisan divides are even larger: Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Republicans, compared to only 28% of Democrats, agree that society has become too soft and feminine. White evangelical Protestants (59%) are the only religious group among whom a majority agree with this statement. By contrast, roughly two-thirds (66%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans disagree.

More than one-third (36%) of Americans also agree that “these days society seems to punish men just for acting like men,” compared to 56% who disagree. Men are nearly twice as likely as women to agree with this statement (46% vs. 24%, respectively). There are also large partisan divides on this question: Forty-three percent of Republicans agree that society seems to punish men for just acting like men, compared to only about one-quarter (26%) of Democrats. White evangelical Protestants are roughly divided on this question (45% agree, 43% disagree), while other religious groups and the religiously unaffiliated strongly disagree.

A plurality (45%) of those who agree with the statement “these days society seems to punish men just for acting like men” are Trump supporters, while 34% back Clinton. On the opposing side, most (55%) of those who disagree that society today punishes men for being men are Clinton supporters, while 30% support Trump.


1 The current survey was conducted from Oct. 5-9, 2016. Close to half (44%, unweighted) of all interviews were conducted after news broke of a video of Trump’s controversial comments toward women. All references to “voters” are “likely voters” in this analysis.

Recommended citation:

Jones, Robert P., and Daniel Cox. “Hillary Clinton Opens Up a Commanding 11-Point Lead Over Donald Trump | PRRI/The Atlantic Survey.” PRRI. 2016. http://www.prri.org/research/prri-atlantic-oct-11-poll-politics-election-clinton-leads-trump/.