USC Dornsife/LA Times “Daybreak” poll which tracks about 3,000 eligible voters of all races religions and party affiliation from July until election day, has made a startling announcement today. The Polls staff said that with less than one week until the election, Donald Trump has jumped out to a 6 point lead among persons most likely to cast a ballot.
The polls data is updated each day based on the weighted average of poll responses over the previous week. It should be mentioned that the poll methodology is weighted with about 10% more Democrats than Republicans. According to the company, that means results have less volatility than some other polls, but also means the poll lags somewhat in responding to major events in the campaign. More about the poll and why it differs from others.
The USC Dornsife/L.A. Times Presidential Election “Daybreak” Poll asks more than 400 people each day about their voting intentions. The poll is part of the Understanding America Study (UAS) at the University of Southern California’s Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research.
Each day’s poll respondents are a subset of the UAS election panel, roughly 3000 U.S. citizens who were randomly recruited from among all households in the United States. Respondents are asked three predictive questions: What is the percent chance that (1) you will vote in the presidential election? (2) you will vote for Clinton, Trump, or someone else? and (3) Clinton, Trump or someone else will win?
Results are weighted to match demographic characteristics, such as race and gender, from the U.S. Census Current Population Survey, and are aligned to the 2012 presidential election outcome using self-reported votes in that election. The poll consists of three questions although sometime other questions are added to better reflect the feelings of voters. The primary questions are:
Voters are asked; “What is the chance you will vote for Trump, Clinton or someone else, using a 0-100 scale.” The overall level of support for each candidate reflects the weighted average of those responses. Voters 35-64 have so far shown the least volatility, splitting about evenly between Clinton and Trump.
Trump holds the advantage among those 65 or older. The two candidates have exchanged leads among younger voters. Trump holds an advantage among voters without a college degree. White voters who have not graduated from college are a core source of support for Trump. By contrast, Clinton has done better among voters with college degrees than previous Democrats.
It is probably no big surprise that Clinton holds a distinct edge among lower-income voters that are expecting more “something for nothing” if she is elected. This reflects her strong support among blacks and Latinos. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has a lead among middle-income voters that have traditionally footed the bill for the cost of such freebee programs.
When voters are asked; “Who they expect to win, regardless of which candidate they support.” People of all ages admit that they are afraid Mrs. Clinton will win the election. That is a change from right after the Republican convention, when a majority of voters 65 and older briefly said they thought Trump would win. As a side note to this observation, it should be noted that as education levels increase, so do voters’ fears that Clinton will win regardless of which one they support. Meanwhile, voters with annual incomes of more than $75,000 are closely divided on which candidate they support. But by a significant margin, they think Clinton will win.
Likewise when it comes to Race, no matter who they are supporting, none of the racial or ethnic groups currently has a clear majority that believes Mr. Trump will win the election. That fact alone is reason for the country to fear the outcome of the election. The country seems to be about evenly split on the two candidates, but they majority of them literally “fear” that Hillary Clinton will win which could result in violence, especially if there is any hint that the election was not fair or if there appears to be massive voter fraud.
According to the LA Times, it appears that the main factor in this election is going to be “Turnout,” more so than in most elections. If one candidate’s supporters are less committed to turning out than the others that factor could swing the election from a close one to a total blowout nationwide.
LA Times poll numbers are updated daily (just after midnight) with an average of all of the prior week’s responses. The Daybreak Poll began on July 4, 2016, and will run through the November election. It is being conducted in partnership with the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics and the Los Angeles Times. For more information about the survey’s methods and to download the source data please visit http://election.usc.edu/.
The LA Times contributed to this report.
©2016 R. L. Grimes, All Rights Reserved.