Democrat Hillary Clinton leads Republican Donald Trump by 7 points nationwide, according to a Suffolk University/USA Today poll of voters likely to cast ballots in the November presidential election. Clinton (48 percent) led Trump (41 percent), with 9 percent undecided in the two-way ballot test.

In a four-way scenario that includes Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, Clinton maintained a 7-point advantage, 42 percent to Trump’s 35 percent; Johnson was at 9 percent; Stein, 4 percent; with 10 percent undecided.

“Clinton is fueled by strong support from the East and West Coast regions and by women across the nation,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “But her commanding lead among minority voters gives her a solid advantage no matter how you slice it.”

Clinton led Trump 54 percent to 38 percent among women, 92 percent to 4 percent among African-American voters and 65 percent to 24 percent among Hispanic voters. She was ahead in the Northeast 58 percent to 34 percent and in the West 52 percent to 37 percent.

Third parties and debates

Although Johnson did not receive the magic 15 percent threshold he needs to participate in the fall debates, there is strong voter appetite to hear the ideas and visions of serious third-party candidates. When likely voters were asked whether a third-party candidate who is certified on a majority of state ballots should be included in the presidential debates, 76 percent said yes; 17 percent said no; and 7 percent were undecided.

“The U.S. electorate is welcoming – with open arms – serious third-party candidates into the national conversation,” said Paleologos.

Both Johnson and Stein are certified on a majority of state ballots for the general election.

Issues of trust

Voters indicate that they have trust issues with both major-party candidates, with 61 percent saying Trump is not honest and trustworthy and 59 percent saying the same of Clinton. Nearly 78 percent of likely voters said that Trump should follow the practice of previous presidential candidates and release his tax returns, at least for those years that are no longer being audited. Over 14 percent disagreed.

While 54 percent of voters said that Bill and Hillary Clinton didn’t take appropriate steps to avoid conflict of interest in donations to the Clinton Foundation, nearly 30 percent said that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be criticized for donations to the Clinton Foundation due to its good works.

Both candidates have high unfavorable ratings, with Trump at 59 percent and Clinton at 51 percent unfavorable. Nearly one in five voters say they dislike both candidates. Among those who dislike both, Trump led 32 percent to Clinton’s 28 percent, with 32 percent undecided and 8 percent refusing a response. In the four-way ballot test among “the haters” Johnson tops the field with 34 percent, followed by Trump (21 percent), Clinton (15 percent), and Stein (8 percent), while 20 percent were undecided.

Methodology

The nationwide survey of 1,000 voters was conducted Aug. 24-29 using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they were very or somewhat likely to vote in the 2016 general election. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. The margin of error for the 483 Clinton voters is +/-4.5 percentage points. The margin of error for the 409 Trump voters is +/-4.9 percentage points. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleologos@suffolk.edu.