Donald Trump slumps in polls after Orlando

Donald Trump, the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee, has seen his numbers continue to slide since the shootings in Orlando — despite some polls showing Americans trust him more than Hillary Clinton to fight terrorism.

The presumptive GOP nominee trails Hillary Clinton by 6 per cent in weighted average of U.S. polls

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is sinking in the polls. (Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

If Donald Trump believed that the Orlando shooting and a renewed focus on terrorism would help boost his sagging presidential campaign, polls suggest it has had no such impact.

In fact, his reaction to the tragedy may be hurting him.

The presumptive Republican nominee is now trailing rival Hillary Clinton in CBC's weighted average of U.S. polls by a greater margin than two weeks ago. His support stands at 43.2 per cent among decided registered or likely voters, compared to 49.3 per cent for the presumptive Democratic nominee.

This represents a drop of 1.7 points for Trump in the weighted average of polls since June 8.

Trump's campaign has taken a downward turn following his comments in the wake of the deadly shooting at a gay night club in Orlando, which was carried out by a man who reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS in calls to 911. (Partial printed transcripts of his 911 calls were released this week.)

Trump has trailed Clinton by an average of 7.3 points in polls conducted partially or entirely since then.


More broadly, he has trailed in more than two dozen consecutive national surveys, and is faring worse in the polls than the last two defeated Republican presidential candidates were at this point of the 2008 and 2012 campaigns.

On the face of it, Americans' increased concerns about terrorism — both at home and overseas — might be expected to boost Trump. There are some indications that the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino last fall were an important factor in rejuvenating what was a flat-lining primary campaign.

A Monmouth University poll published Monday showed Americans were split on whom they trusted more to handle the threat of terrorism on U.S. soil: 46 per cent chose Clinton and 44 per cent selected Trump. That's a far narrower margin than gap in voting intention, where Monmouth estimated Clinton had a seven-point lead.

A Bloomberg poll conducted just after the shootings gave Trump a five-point edge as the candidate respondents felt would best combat terrorist threats. And by a margin of 45 to 41 per cent, Americans said they had more confidence in Trump than Clinton to deal with a similar situation as in Orlando.

Nevertheless, polls still show a large majority of Americans disagree with many planks of Trump's post-Orlando plan to combat terrorism. They also find Americans felt Clinton and President Barack Obama's responses to the shootings were more on the mark than Trump's.

Americans disagree with Trump on Muslims

Two polls, from CBS and YouGov, found that 44 per cent of Americans approved of Obama's response to the Orlando shootings, compared to 36 or 38 per cent for Clinton, and just 25 or 35 per cent for Trump, respectively. Bloomberg's polling found 69 per cent of respondents disagreed that "law enforcement agencies should increase surveillance of all American Muslims, even if it conflicts with civil liberties."

According to Monmouth, 57 per cent of Americans oppose a blanket ban on immigration from countries with a history of terrorism against the West. More than two-thirds said they opposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States.

Dragging Trump down are not only his policies related to Muslims, but that he is found wanting in comparison to Clinton on a number of important characteristics. By a 32-point margin, respondents to the Bloomberg poll thought that Clinton, not Trump, had the right temperament to be president. She was seen as the good role model for children by a 29-point margin.

Clinton was viewed as ready to lead and to fight hard for the middle class, and as having the skills needed to conduct foreign policy. Trump only beat Clinton on job creation and changing the way Washington does business.

In addition, Trump's unfavourable ratings remain very high. Over the last five national polls, he has averaged a favourability rating of just 33 per cent, against 60 per cent unfavourable. Clinton has an average favourability rating of 40 per cent over the last five polls, with a 53 per cent unfavourability rating.

In the most recent Bloomberg/Selzer poll, Obama enjoyed a favourability rating of 55 per cent — 12 points more than Clinton and 24 points more than Trump.

Clinton's electoral college advantage

Hillary Clinton's lead over Donald Trump in the electoral college remains wide, according a projection based on the latest polls.

It found that if the election were held today, Clinton would get 332 electoral college votes while Trump would receive just 206. (A candidate needs 270 electoral college votes to win.) Both of these numbers are unchanged since June 8.


But the projected ranges (281-347 for Clinton against 191-257 for Trump) have shifted, and no longer envision a likely scenario where Trump prevails. His chances at winning if the election were held today are projected to be about 13 per cent.

Nevertheless, some swing states remain close. Public Policy Polling puts Trump ahead of Clinton by one point in Florida, which — along with New Hampshire, North Carolina and Ohio — currently is considered a toss-up state. 

PPP also put the gap in Virginia at three points and in Pennsylvania at one point in Clinton's favour, respectively.

Potentially tight races also have been emerging in places the Republicans may not have expected. A recent Zogby poll put Clinton ahead by seven points in Kansas and SurveyUSA poll showed them tied in Utah. Republican candidate Mitt Romney won these states by 22 and 48 points four years ago.

Not quite the political disruption Donald Trump may have had in mind.

This average of U.S. presidential polls includes all published mainstream surveys, a list of which can be found here. The polls are weighted by sample size and date, as well as the reliability of each pollster as rated by FiveThirtyEight.com. The electoral college is projected by applying the same weighting standards to state-level polls and combining this with a uniform swing model, based on how the current national polling average compares to the 2012 presidential election. Surveys included in the model vary in terms of sample size and methodology and have not been individually verified by the CBC. A full methodological explanation can be found here.


Éric Grenier

Politics and polls

Éric Grenier is a senior writer and the CBC's polls analyst. He was the founder of ThreeHundredEight.com and has written for The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post Canada, The Hill Times, Le Devoir, and L’actualité.


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