A new national poll offers a brightly lit road map to the presidency for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump — keep talking about security, the economy, and the prosperity an improvement in both will bring.
Overall, the Quinnipiac University poll shows Democrat Hillary Clinton leading 42 percent to 40 percent in head-to-head matchup — a statistical dead heat. But the survey, which is full of warning signs for the New York billionaire, offers two key data points likely to cheer Trump’s campaign team — the economy is the top concern among voters, and Trump whips Clinton on that question.
Asked who they trust more to do a better job creating jobs, 52 percent list Trump, compared with 40 percent for Clinton … independents pick Trump, by 19-point margin.
Combined, jobs and the economy show up as the top concern of 19 percent of respondents; immigration is next-highest at 8 percent. Asked who they trust more to do a better job creating jobs, 52 percent list Trump, compared with 40 percent for Clinton. More than 9 in 10 Republicans say that, and independents also pick Trump, by a 19-point margin.
“It’s just one more sign that the extent to which Trump can make this election about the economy, as opposed to various other statements he’s made during the campaign … he has got a very good shot,” said Alan Tonelson, an economic policy analyst and LifeZette contributor who favors trade reform.
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Tonelson said Trump’s populist stances on trade and immigration, as well as his experience as a businessman, give him an edge over Clinton.
“It seems people clearly think he has more built-in credibility on those matters than Hillary Clinton does,” he said.
The survey of 1,610 registered voters, has a margin of errors of 2.4 percentage points. It was conducted before Trump delivered a well-received economic speech Tuesday in Pennsylvania. Tonelson said Trump would do well to keep the focus on the economy and stick to detailed, fact-laden pronouncements.
On no other issue was Trump’s advantage over Clinton as great in the Quinnipiac poll — except on the question of handling the Islamic State terrorist group, where voters favored him 52 percent to 39 percent.
Tonelson said Trump needs to keep his “eye on the ball” and refrain from erratic performance that “obviously is still a major issue for him, even among Trump voters.”
The poll reflects those concerns, as well. Voters by a wide margin believe Clinton is smarter and better prepared to be president.
Those numbers, consistent with other surveys, suggest the Trump should steer the debate away from matters Clinton retains strength with, like diplomacy, and toward the economy and the issue that continues to be Clinton’s biggest vulnerability — her honesty (or lack, thereof). Trump beats Clinton in the poll on that question by a margin of 45 percent to 37 percent.
Both Trump and Clinton fail to rate better than 50 percent on whether they would make a good president, and majorities view both unfavorably. High numbers said they would “never” vote for either one — 45 percent for Clinton, 48 percent of Trump.
“It would be difficult to imagine a less flattering from-the-gut reaction to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton,” Quinnipiac assistant poll director Tim Malloy said in a statement.