Hillary Clinton’s leads Donald Trump by five points in a two-way ballot, 46 percent to 41 percent. | Getty
Hillary Clinton won the second debate and leads Donald Trump by five points in a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll that also shows voters perceive the Republican Party bitterly divided four weeks before Election Day.
Clinton leads Trump in the four-way race for the presidency among likely voters, 42 percent to 37 percent, with Gary Johnson at 10 percent and Jill Stein at three percent. In the initial two-way ballot, Clinton’s lead is also five points, 46 percent to 41 percent.
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But in addition to Trump’s deficit — which is actually smaller in the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll than in some other public surveys — there are other warning signs for Republicans. Democrats have a five-point on the generic congressional ballot, 44 percent to 39 percent. Three-quarters of all voters, and 76 percent of Republicans, say the GOP is divided today, compared with only 10 percent who say it is united.
“In the first poll taken since the debate, voters say Clinton performed better than Trump and we see her lead grow, but not by the same margins it did after the first debate,” said Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult’s co-founder and chief research officer. “What has skyrocketed is that three quarters of Republicans now view their party as divided. That is up 20 points since the GOP convention in Cleveland.”
It helps explain why House Speaker Paul Ryan urged his GOP colleagues on Monday to do what they can to save their own political careers — and, in turn, the party’s majority. But dealing with Trump is a tightrope walk.
Trump’s deficit is growing, as is Democrats’ lead in the generic ballot. Right before video of Trump crudely discussing groping women was published last week, Clinton only led Trump by two percentage points, and Republicans actually inched in front of Democrats on the generic ballot when undecided voters leaning toward one party were included.
But even though Trump is sliding, 77 percent of Republicans want the party to continue to support him. And only 13 percent of Republicans say Trump should drop out of the race.
Clinton’s win in the second debate was decisive. Forty-two percent of those polled said Clinton won the Sunday night contest — including 13 percent of Republicans. Just 28 percent said Trump won the debate, held at Washington University in St. Louis. But more than eight in 10 people said the contest did nothing to change their mind. Despite Trump’s protests, six in 10 of those polled said CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC News’ Martha Raddatz did a good or excellent job moderating the contest.
Voters also think very little of the candidates after the debate. More than half of those polled said Trump is racist and out of touch with average Americans and 60 percent said he is sexist. Sixty-three percent of voters said Clinton is overly secretive, 55 percent said she was corrupt and 52 percent said she was “extremely liberal.”
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll surveyed 2,001 registered voters on Monday, including 1,757 likely voters. The margin of error for both samples is plus or minus three percentage points.