Suffolk University/USA Today Poll Shows 61 Percent Alarmed about Presidential Election

Clinton maintains lead over Trump; nearly 70 percent see Brexit-type anger in other countries, including the U.S.

Nearly 61 percent of voters nationwide described themselves as alarmed about the coming presidential election, according to a Suffolk University/USA Today national poll of likely voters. Twenty-three percent said they are excited about this year’s race, and 9 percent said they are bored by it.

“The alarm may stem from the unprecedented negative views of the candidates, with nearly one in five likely voters having an unfavorable opinion of both Trump and Clinton,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “Sixty percent of voters see Republican Donald Trump in an unfavorable light, and Democrat Hillary Clinton has an unfavorable rating of 53 percent. This is the first recent election in which both potential party nominees are upside down on favorability.”

In a two-way race, Clinton led 46 percent to Trump’s 40 percent, with 12 percent undecided. Clinton’s lead is fueled by the support of women and minority voters nationwide. She led Trump 50 percent to 38 percent among women and 72 percent to 17 percent among African-American and Hispanic voters. Trump edged Clinton 43 percent to 41 percent among men and led 47 percent to 38 percent among white voters.

However, when Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein were included in the matchup, Clinton (39 percent) led Trump (35 percent) by four points, followed by Johnson (8 percent), and Stein (3 percent), with 14 percent undecided.

Voters with a preference for one of the major-party candidates showed little likelihood of changing. When Clinton voters were asked if there was a chance they would vote for Trump, 93 percent said no, while 6 percent indicated there was a chance. Among Trump voters, 91 percent said there was no possibility of voting for the former secretary of state, while 4 percent said there was.

Brexit as indicator of spreading dissatisfaction

In the aftermath of the British vote to leave the European Union, 68 percent of likely U.S. voters said the Brexit outcome was a signal of anger and dissatisfaction in other countries, including the United States, while 16 percent said the vote was an isolated referendum outcome.

There was no consensus about whether Brexit would benefit Republican Donald Trump in the November election. Nearly 38 percent said the British referendum would have no impact on Trump; 24 percent said it would benefit him; 15 percent indicated it would hurt Trump, and 22 percent weren’t sure.

“Voters recognize that anger and dissatisfaction are driving outcomes, not only in Great Britain, but elsewhere as well,” said Paleologos. “But voters do not see transferability just yet to the U.S. elections, despite the overlapping themes of Brexit and Trump voters.”

Voters cited jobs/economy (25 percent) as the most important issue, followed by terrorism/national security (21 percent), illegal immigration (9 percent), choosing Supreme Court nominees (8 percent), and reducing the national debt (5 percent).

As the political party conventions draw closer, voters weighed in on the qualities they would like to see in their respective parties’ vice presidential choices. Fifty-four percent of Democratic primary/caucus voters said that Clinton should choose a running mate with the progressive politics of a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, while 26 percent said she should nominate a more centrist candidate. Among GOP primary/caucus voters, 61 percent said Trump should choose someone with Washington, D.C., experience, while 20 percent said he should choose another outsider to shake things up.


The nationwide survey of 1,000 voters was conducted June 26-29 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 Democratic primary/caucus subset of 340 likely voters is +/-5.3 percentage points. The margin of error for the Republican primary/caucus subset of 309 likely voters is +/5.6 percentage points. The margin of error for the 456 Clinton voters is +/-4.6 percentage points. The margin of error for the 404 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,



Nancy Kelleher