Hello, I'm Will Jordan and welcome to The Pulse.
A shift in the 2016 campaign's momentum, as the UK goes to the wire on the Brexit question. Here's what you need to know:
- Where do things stand now?
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the presumptive nominees of their respective parties. In YouGov’s latest national poll, conducted over the weekend, Clinton leads Trump 43% to 39%, her widest lead yet. Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson receives only 4% support. In polling averages, Trump is hovering around his lowest level of support since last summer.
- So, how did we get here?
Just a few weeks ago, as Trump basked in the glow of primary success and Clinton slogged on against Bernie Sanders, a series of polls showed Trump gaining on – or even surpassing – Clinton. Then Clinton clinched her own nomination and won several big endorsements; meanwhile, Trump battled bipartisan criticism over remarks about a federal judge and his response to the Orlando shootings. It’s hard to know how much events like these move voters, if at all (only about 40% of voters are following the election very closely right now). But YouGov’s polling has shown 51% of Americans thought Trump’s comments about the judge were ‘racist’, and 47% disapproved of his response to Orlando, versus 36% for Clinton. If anything, the conversation has shifted.
- Are Democrats are rallying to Clinton?
Not so fast. Her support among Democratic primary voters is now about 80%, versus 72% in late May, which is a nominal boost. But 43% of Sanders supporters – whose candidate of choice last week pledged to continue the "political revolution" (instead of dropping out) – still refuse to say they will support Clinton. That’s unchanged from two weeks ago. Of course, most of these voters do not actually call themselves Democrats. Most are independents, though many lean towards the Democratic Party when pushed. As 538’s Nate Silver noted in May, this might make a certain type of Sanders voter resistant to “party unity” pitches. The revolution continues.
- Are Republicans dumping Trump?
Not quite. Despite grumbles about a delegate “coup” against Trump at the Republican Convention in July, Republican voters remain fairly unified: 79% of GOP primary voters back the nominee against Clinton, unchanged from late May. Some of the nominee’s shine may be coming off – from a May peak there’s been about a small (8-10pt) decline in the number of GOP voters who are enthusiastic about Trump as nominee, who are strongly favorable about him, and who think he could “possibly win” the November election. This puts things back around where they were in April.
- What's a Brexit?
On Thursday, voters in the United Kingdom will vote on whether to “Remain a member of the European Union” or “Leave”. YouGov UK’s latest data on the so-called Brexit (Britain + Exit = Brexit) campaign shows the race essentially tied. Betting markets continue to favor Remain (based on the assumption that undecided voters will break towards the status quo).
There are some interesting parallels between the unexpectedly successful Leave campaign in the UK and the similarly surprising Trump candidacy in the US – both characterized by anxieties about globalization, national identity and immigration; both reliant on a voter base of of older, non-college educated whites. Beyond these similarities, a Leave win would send “shock waves” through the US economy, according to some reports – which might boost support for Trump, who is trusted more than Clinton when it comes to the economy. (Also: Trump has publicly endorsed Brexit, and will be visiting a new Trump golf course in Scotland on the day of the referendum.)
Until next week!
The Pulse is a weekly newsletter YouGov has launched ahead of the 2016 primaries and general election to give readers a one-stop-shop for the latest polling-related news from the campaign. In addition to YouGov’s own extensive coverage of the election, The Pulse gives you the five things you need to know about the state of the campaign each week.