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In Four-Party Race, Clinton's Lead Takes a Hit

Lead against Donald Trump tightens when also pitted against Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein

Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein, on right, and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, on left. (Photos: Gage Skidmore here and here/cc/flickr)

Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein, on left, and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, on right. (Photos: Gage Skidmore here and here/cc/flickr)

In a head-to-head contest, Hillary Clinton has maintained a comfortable lead over her likely presidential opponent Donald Trump. However, new polling out Tuesday shows that when pitted in a four-way match-up, such as is expected come November, Clinton's advantage shrinks to just four points.

The new CNN/ORC survey (pdf) finds that when pitted against Trump, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Clinton claims 42 percent of the vote. Trump follows with 38 percent, while Johnson and Stein claim 9 and 7 percent respectively.

When pitted solely against Trump, CNN/ORC finds that Clinton leads by 5 points—which is a slightly smaller margin than the 7-point advantage posted by Monmouth University on Monday.

Only 22 percent of registered voters said they remain undecided in their support of a major-party candidate, and of that group, more than a third said would opt for either Johnson or Stein if given the choice. As CNN notes, neither third party candidate "is guaranteed a ballot slot in all states, but one or both will appear in several key competitive states, including Florida, Colorado and Ohio."

Stein's campaign is hopeful they will get the longtime environmental activist on the ballot in 47 states.

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The reluctance to back either Clinton on Trump echoes the consistently high "unfavorability" ratings that have plagued both major-party candidates.


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In this latest survey, 56 percent of respondents said they have an unfavorable opinion of the former secretary of state, while only 41 percent view her favorably. For the billionaire real estate mogul, the results are even worse: 60 percent of Americans hold an unfavorable opinion, compared with just 38 percent who see him in a more positive light.

CNN reports:

When asked whether they would be excited by a Trump or Clinton presidency, fewer than 3-in-10 muster that level of enthusiasm for either. More say they would be afraid (56% if Trump were elected, 46% Clinton) or embarrassed (56% if Trump won, 39% if Clinton did), and just a handful say they would be proud (35% say so about Clinton, 24% Trump). About half (47%) say they would be hopeful if Clinton won, while 44% say so if Trump were to win.

Neither presumptive nominee has wrapped up universal support within their own party. Among Republican and Republican-leaning voters, 51% say the party should nominate Trump, 48% would prefer someone else. On the Democratic side, 55% of Democrats and Democratic-leaners say they'd pick Clinton as their party's nominee, 43% say they would pick Democratic rival Bernie Sanders.[...]

Stein and Johnson hold particular appeal among those Democrats and Republicans who would rather see their party nominate someone other than the presumptive nominee, with Johnson holding 16% among those Republicans and Republican-leaners who would prefer to nominate someone other than Trump, and Stein at 18% among those Democrats and Democratic-leaners who favor Sanders.

CNN/ORC results are based on telephone interviews with 1,001 American adults between June 16-19, with a margin of error of plus or minus three percent.

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