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Hillary Clinton Vs. Donald Trump — A Tough Battle

As reported in U.S. News & World Reports, if Democrats are tempted to think that an election match-up between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would be an electoral cakewalk, new research from Mercury Analytics shows that they should be careful for what they wish for.

Mercury Analytics, a technology-driven consumer research and political polling firm based in Washington, D.C. conducted a survey and ad “dial-test” of Trump’s first campaign spot among a national sample of n=916 “likely voters”.

The results show, that if the election were held today, between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has the edge, but would be facing a very tough competitor.

Almost 20% of likely Democratic voters would today cross parties and vote for Donald Trump, while only 14% of Republicans would cross parties to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Additionally when crossover voters were asked how sure of their votes they were, 63% of Democrats who would crossover to vote for Mr. Trump today were “100% Sure” of their vote while only 39% of Republicans who would crossover to vote for Ms. Clinton today were “100% Sure”, demonstrating that potential Republican defectors to Hillary are significantly less sure of their intention versus Democratic defectors.

Don’t Kill (or “Cut Off The Head”) of the Messenger

Mercury Analytics also dial-tested Trump’s first campaign ad, allowing voters to react to each moment of the commercial, and found that even among a significant segment of Democrats and Independents who are turned-off by Trump’s personality and style, the primary messages of Trump’s campaign ad resonated more than Democratic elites would hope.

Nearly a quarter (25%) of Democrats “agree completely” that the ad raised some good points; nearly half (44%) of Democrats agree “completely” or “somewhat”.

And 21% of Democrats “agree completely” that the ad represents “how I feel”; nearly one-third (32%) of Democrats agree “completely” or “somewhat”.

Ron Howard, CEO of Mercury Analytics and a Democrat himself stated “We expected Trump’s first campaign spot to strongly appeal to Republican Trump supporters, with little impact – or in fact negative impact – on Democratic or Independent voters.  However, what we see is that among a segment of Democratic and Independent voters who don’t like the “messenger” of Trump – the issues he is raising (Immigration, Terrorism) are real concerns they share.

“The challenge to Hillary, if Trump is the nominee and pivots to the center in the general election as a problem-solving, independent minded, successful “get it done” businessman – is that Democrats will no longer be able to count on his personality and outrageous soundbites to disqualify him in the voters’ minds.”

Trump’s Challenge

Trump’s challenge is more obvious: Voters today have strong concerns about Donald Trump’s style.

When it comes to Donald Trump’s style, temperament, and the way he expresses himself, a total of 66% of Democrats are very concerned, as are 32% of Republicans and 41% of Independents.  A total of 65% of Democrats believe that the prestige of the United Sates would be hurt by his being elected President, along with 19% of Republicans and 29% of Independents.

Mr. Howard explains, “Mr. Trump’s style today concerns and turns off many.  However, the issues he raises are real to many voters, and if he gets the nomination, reduces his hyperbolic comments while remaining straight talking, and presents a smart problem-solving and successful business persona, he has the opportunity to reduce the Trump fear factor and raise his acceptability, while Hillary’s negatives may be much harder to reduce.”

Survey Methodology

Results are based on an online survey conducted January 6, 2016 – January 8, 2016.  The study has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.