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Clinton Holds Clear Edge on Having Presidential Qualities

Clinton Holds Clear Edge on Having Presidential Qualities

Story Highlights

  • Just over half say Clinton has presidential character; 32% say Trump does
  • Trump is the worst-rated candidate on this dimension in Gallup's trend
  • Candidates rated similarly on voters agreeing with them on issues

PRINCETON, N.J. -- U.S. registered voters give Hillary Clinton a clear advantage over Donald Trump in terms of having the personality and leadership qualities a president should have. The two candidates are essentially tied when voters are asked if they agree with the candidates on the issues that matter most to them.

Personality and Leadership Qualities and Agreement With Candidates on Issues
Please tell me whether you agree or disagree that -- [Hillary Clinton/Donald Trump] -- has the personality and leadership qualities a president should have. Please tell me whether you agree or disagree with -- [ROTATED: Hillary Clinton/Donald Trump] -- on the issues that matter most to you.
%
Has personality and leadership qualities a president should have
Clinton 51
Trump 32
Agree with candidate on issues that matter most to you
Clinton 45
Trump 46
Among registered voters
Gallup, Oct. 27-28, 2016

The results are from Gallup interviewing conducted Oct. 27-28. News broke Friday that the FBI would review whether a new set of emails belonging to Clinton's top aide Huma Abedin are related to the FBI's investigation of Clinton's private server while Clinton was secretary of state. Americans' responses to these questions on Friday did not differ significantly from Thursday. Moreover, there were no immediate signs that the news was affecting the two candidates' images over the weekend.

Voters rate Trump worse than any other presidential candidate in Gallup's records on having the personality and leadership qualities a president should have. Previous readings were taken in late October in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 campaigns. In those years, between 52% and 61% of registered voters said the two major-party candidates had the right personality and leadership qualities -- a sharp contrast to Trump's current 32%. Clinton's rating of 51% is one percentage point below the previous low score.

Personality and Leadership Qualities a President Should Have -- Gallup Historical Trend
Please tell me whether you agree or disagree that -- [Hillary Clinton/Donald Trump] -- has the personality and leadership qualities a president should have.
Agree Disagree No opinion
% % %
2016 Oct 27-28
Registered voters
Hillary Clinton 51 47 1
Donald Trump 32 67 1
For comparison: Final pre-election measurement, based on registered voters
2008 Oct 23-26
Barack Obama 61 37 2
John McCain 60 38 2
2004 Oct 22-24
John Kerry 52 44 4
George W. Bush 57 41 2
2000 Oct 20-22
Al Gore 59 37 4
George W. Bush 57 39 4
Gallup

In contrast, U.S. voters' agreement with candidates on issues today is similar to what Gallup measured in late October 2004 and 2008. Historically, voters have been about evenly divided on whether the two major-party candidates' issue positions align with their own, as they are in this election.

Trump and Clinton on Issues, Plus Historical Trend
Please tell me whether you agree or disagree with -- [ROTATED: Hillary Clinton/Donald Trump] -- on the issues that matter most to you.
Agree Disagree No opinion
% % %
2016 Oct 27-28
Registered voters
Hillary Clinton 45 54 1
Donald Trump 46 53 *
For comparison: Final pre-election measurement, based on registered voters
2008 Oct 23-26
Barack Obama 51 46 3
John McCain 48 50 3
2004 Oct 22-24
John Kerry 49 49 2
George W. Bush 50 48 2
* Less than 0.5%; Note: Question not asked in 2000
Gallup

Gallup did not ask these two questions in October 2012, but did in the summer of that year. The results were generally similar to those measured in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Fifty-four percent of voters said in July 2012 that Barack Obama had the personality and leadership qualities needed in a president; 57% said Mitt Romney held these qualities.

Trump's deficit on perceived personality and leadership is also evident in the views among party groups. Sixty percent of Republican voters and independent voters who lean Republican say Trump has presidential personality and leadership qualities, substantially lower than the 87% of Democratic voters and leaners who say that about Clinton. This corresponds to the less positive image Republicans have of Trump and Democrats' more positive views of Clinton. For the two days of interviewing, Oct. 27-28, for example, 80% of Democratic registered voters on average had a favorable view of Clinton, compared with 65% of Republican voters who had a favorable view of Trump.

Republicans are just as likely as Democrats to say they agree with their respective nominee on the issues that matter most to them.

Personality and Leadership Qualities and Agreement With on Issues: Clinton and Trump
Democrats/Leaners Republicans/Leaners
% Agree % Agree
Has personality and leadership qualities to be president
Clinton 87 16
Trump 6 60
Agree with candidate on issues that matter most to you
Clinton 82 11
Trump 12 83
Among registered voters
Gallup, Oct. 27-28, 2016

Implications

Trump and Clinton are about equal in voters' agreement with them on the issues, in line with what Gallup has measured previously and reflecting the general division of the U.S. electorate on political matters. From this standpoint, Trump is no different from prior GOP or Democratic nominees.

However, Trump stands out for his low ratings on having the personality and leadership qualities a president should have, relative to Clinton and to any other presidential candidate Gallup has measured.

Trump's approach to campaigning may be what made it possible for a businessman with no government credentials to become the Republican nominee for president. But his unique style and personality could also be holding him back in his quest to defeat Clinton in the general election.

Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 27-28, 2016, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 945 registered voters, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of registered voters, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View survey methodology, complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup U.S. Daily works.

Gallup


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