Election 2016

Trump Leads Clinton on Top-Ranking Economic Issues

Trump Leads Clinton on Top-Ranking Economic Issues
by Lydia Saad

Story Highlights

  • Trump leads Clinton as better able to handle the economy, jobs
  • Education is highest-ranking issue on which Clinton leads
  • Candidates each favored on eight of 17 issues; tied on trade

PRINCETON, N.J. -- If the race for president comes down to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Trump could benefit from an edge in public confidence on the issues Americans are prioritizing most this election. A slight majority of Americans choose Trump as better able to handle the economy (53%) and jobs (52%), and 50% choose him -- versus 46% who choose Clinton -- on terrorism and national security.

Americans' Preference for Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton to Handle Each of Top Five Election Issues
Regardless of which presidential candidate you support, please tell me if you think Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would better handle each of the following issues.
High importance to vote^ Prefer Trump on issue Prefer Clinton on issue Advantage
% % %
The economy 92 53 43 Trump +10
Employment and jobs 89 52 45 Trump +7
Terrorism and national security 87 50 46 Trump +4
Education 86 35 61 Clinton +26
Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act 83 40 56 Clinton +16
^ Percentage saying the candidates' positions on the issue will be extremely/very important issue to influencing their vote for president
Gallup, May 18-22, 2016

At the same time, the Democratic front-runner boasts commanding leads over the presumptive Republican nominee in public perceptions of who can best handle education and healthcare, with 61% and 56%, respectively, choosing Clinton over Trump on these issues. Both issues rank among the top five Americans say will influence their vote for president.

These findings come from a May 18-22 Gallup poll in which U.S. adults were first asked to rate how important each of 17 prominent national issues will be to their vote for president this year, and then to say whether Clinton or Trump would best handle each issue. As Gallup reported previously, most of the issues Americans rate as highly important are economic and national defense-related. By contrast, most of the bottom eight involve social policy, trade and the environment. (See the full list in the table at the end of the story.)

Overall, Trump leads Clinton in public perceptions of who would better handle eight of the 17 issues. Beyond his modest leads on the economy (+10) and jobs (+7), and slight edge on terrorism (+4), he leads on several lower-ranked concerns: the federal budget deficit (+18), the size and efficiency of the federal government (+14), regulation of banks and Wall Street (+11), taxes (+8) and gun policy (+5).

Donald Trump Issue Advantages
Based on U.S. adults
High importance to vote^ Prefer Trump on issue Prefer Clinton on issue Advantage
% % %
The economy 92 53 43 Trump +10
Employment and jobs 89 52 45 Trump +7
Terrorism and national security 87 50 46 Trump +4
The federal budget deficit 78 57 39 Trump +18
Taxes 71 52 44 Trump +8
The size and efficiency of the federal government 64 55 41 Trump +14
Gun policy 63 50 45 Trump +5
Government regulation of Wall Street and banks 59 53 42 Trump +11
^ Percentage saying the candidates' positions on the issue will be extremely/very important issue to influencing their vote for president
Gallup, May 18-22, 2016

Meanwhile, Clinton has advantages on eight other issues. However, aside from education (+26) and healthcare (+16) these tend to be lower-ranking concerns: climate change (+38), the treatment of minority groups in the U.S. (+38), social issues such as gay marriage and abortion (+33), foreign affairs (+21), income and wealth distribution (+8), and immigration (+8).

Hillary Clinton Issue Advantages
Based on U.S. adults
High importance to vote^ Prefer Clinton on issue Prefer Trump on issue Advantage
% % %
Education 86 61 35 Clinton +26
Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act 83 56 40 Clinton +16
Foreign affairs 74 59 38 Clinton +21
Immigration 69 52 44 Clinton +8
The treatment of minority groups in this country 66 67 29 Clinton +38
The distribution of income and wealth in the U.S. 65 51 43 Clinton +8
Social issues such as gay marriage and abortion 48 64 31 Clinton +33
Climate change 47 66 28 Clinton +38
^ Percentage saying the candidates' positions on the issue will be extremely/very important issue to influencing their vote for president
Gallup, May 18-22, 2016

Trade, a relatively low-ranked election issue, is the one area where the candidates are tied. Neither Clinton's foreign policy credentials nor Trump's business credentials and emphasis on trade policies in his campaign have given either candidate an advantage on the issue. Both Trump and Clinton are on record opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership now being debated in Congress.

Trump Leads on Higher-Profile Issues, but by Slimmer Margins

On average, 75% of Americans rate the eight issues Trump leads on as extremely or very important to their vote, slightly higher than the 67% who rate the eight issues Clinton leads on this highly.

At the same time, Clinton tends to have much larger advantages on the issues on which she is favored than Trump has on the issues on which he is favored. Clinton leads on her eight issues by an average of 24 points, while Trump leads by a 10-point average on his eight. Clinton's ratings on the issues may also be somewhat suppressed to the extent supporters of Bernie Sanders are reluctant to say positive things about her while he is still actively contesting the nomination.

Bottom Line

More Americans prefer Trump than Clinton to handle the issues of utmost importance to voters this fall -- the economy in general as well as employment and jobs, specifically. More broadly, Trump's center of gravity on the issues is a little higher on the priority scale than Clinton's. On the other hand, the candidates are tied in the sheer number of issues on which each is preferred. And while Clinton tends to lead Trump by wide margins in the issues for which she is favored, Trump's leads are a bit tenuous and could more easily dwindle or disappear. Still, as of today, the issue advantage seems to go to Trump.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 18-22, 2016, with a random sample of 1,530 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 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 complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

2016 Election Issues and Americans' Preference for Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton to Handle Each
Based on U.S. adults
Extremely/Very important to vote Prefer Trump on issue Prefer Clinton on issue Candidate advantage
% % % pct. pts.
The economy 92 53 43 Trump +10
Employment and jobs 89 52 45 Trump +7
Terrorism and national security 87 50 46 Trump +4
Education 86 35 61 Clinton +26
Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act 83 40 56 Clinton +16
The federal budget deficit 78 57 39 Trump +18
Foreign affairs 74 38 59 Clinton +21
Taxes 71 52 44 Trump +8
Immigration 69 44 52 Clinton +8
The treatment of minority groups in this country 66 29 67 Clinton +38
The distribution of income and wealth in the U.S. 65 43 51 Clinton +8
The size and efficiency of the federal government 64 55 41 Trump +14
Gun policy 63 50 45 Trump +5
Trade with other nations 61 49 48 Trump +1
Government regulation of Wall Street and banks 59 53 42 Trump +11
Social issues such as gay marriage and abortion 48 31 64 Clinton +33
Climate change 47 28 66 Clinton +38
Issues ranked by % extremely/very important to vote
Gallup, May 18-22, 2016


Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/192104/trump-leads-clinton-top-ranking-economic-issues.aspx
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