A new Colorado presidential poll shows Hillary Clinton holding her lead over Donald Trump even as the presence of third party candidates and the preferences of unaffiliated voters create lingering uncertainty that will continue through Election Day.
The poll from Louisville-based Magellan Strategies found that, overall, 41 percent supported Clinton compared to 36 percent for Trump. Libertarian Gary Johnson got 13 percent and the Green Party’s Jill Stein got 3 percent. One percent preferred some other candidate, and 6 percent were undecided.
Magellan notes that 5 percent is the same margin by which Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney, but in 2012, Obama had more support from unaffiliated voters than Clinton does at this time. And while Magellan shows less support overall for third party candidates than some recent national polls, Johnson in particular is doing well with unaffiliated voters, 22 percent of whom prefer the former Republican governor of New Mexico.
The results give Clinton a wider lead here than a recent online poll conducted by the Washington Post and Survey Monkey but a smaller one than polls conducted earlier in August.
The results are based on landline and cell phone conversations with 500 registered voters in late August. The results are weighted by age, gender and party turn-out in the 2012 election. Magellan notes that party turn-out may be different this year, but it’s too early and too speculative to change how the results are weighted.
There are some interesting, though not shocking, demographic differences in voter opinion.
Women prefer Clinton 43 percent to 32 percent, while Trump just barely wins men, 39 percent to Clinton’s 38 percent. Men also were more likely to prefer a third-party candidate, with 16 percent going for Johnson and 4 percent for Stein. Those numbers are 11 percent and 2 percent, respectively, for women.
Democrats like Clinton more than Republicans like Trump. The poll found 83 percent of Democrats planning to vote for their party’s nominee compared to 78 percent of Republicans. That’s an opening that Democrats are trying to exploit with the use of prominent Republican surrogates like California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and the testimony of ordinary Republican voters who fear a Trump presidency.
One of the questions of this election is whether third-party candidates are taking more support from Clinton or Trump. Magellan found that 12 percent of Republicans preferred a third-party candidate — mostly Johnson — while just 8 percent of Democrats did.
Where Clinton may be hurt, at least compared to Obama in 2012, is with unaffiliated voters.
Obama did well with this group in Colorado, and only 24 percent of them preferred Trump in Magellan’s poll. But 22 percent of them said they were voting for Johnson.
Johnson also has relatively high support — 18 percent — with voters younger than 55, but that support drops off significantly with older voters.
In the Washington Post/Survey Monkey poll, support for Johnson was high enough overall to create a tie between Clinton and Trump.
As Magellan notes, turn-out will be a major factor in how this plays out on Election Day.
Subscribe to Denverite’s newsletter here.