New Hampshire: Franklin Pierce: May 2016

Surveys from states that comprise my Swing State Symphony continue to come in and I am most happy for it.

The latest example comes from New Hampshire. Franklin Pierce University (FPU) and The Boston Herald released a poll last month (405 likely voters, margin of error 4.9 percentage points, report here, results here) that showed a statistical tie between the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, and the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, Donald Trump. In the poll, Clinton wins 44.4% of the vote of a sample of New Hampshire’s citizens while Trump wins 43.7% (and most news outlets round those figures to a 44%-44% tie).

In a previous post (seen here) on this blog,I wrote about a WBUR poll that showed that a sample of New Hampshire voters favor Clinton over Trump by 2 percentage points (44%-42%). In that post, I compared the WBUR poll (done in May) to an April survey performed by WMUR which showed a Clinton victory of 19 percentage points. In that comparison attempting to explain why the Democratic Party nominee’s lead evaporated by 17 percentage points, I highlighted the role of men, party identification, the young, and older voters.

With the FPU-Herald survey showing a tie, do those demographics still help explain the disappearance of Clinton’s lead in the Granite State?

Trump’s share of the male vote continues to expand in New Hampshire. In the May WBUR poll, male voters preferred Trump over Clinton 50%-35% with 14% selecting another option (7% don’t know, 5% another candidate, 2% refused). Later in the month, with the FPU-Herald poll, male voters now prefer Trump over Clinton 55%-33% with now only 9% unsure. Trump grew his share of the men’s vote by 5 percentage points.

However, Clinton also increased her share of the female vote. The WBUR poll showed women voting for Clinton over Trump by a margin of 49%-30% with 21% selecting another option (11% don’t know, 7% another candidate, 3% refuse). The FPU-Herald survey shows female voters now choosing Clinton by a margin of 53%-32% with 15% unsure. Clinton grew her share of the women’s vote by 4 percentage points.

Taking the difference between Trump’s growth in the male vote (5 percentage points) and Clinton’s growth in the female vote (4 percentage points) shows a net gain for Trump of a single percentage point.*

Unsure Republican voters in New Hampshire are moving closer towards Trump also. Early in May, in the WBUR survey, 68% of Republican voters chose their party’s nominee while 13% selected his opponent (with 19% choosing another option). With the FPU-Herald survey, Trump’s share of GOP voters increased slightly to 72% (an increase of 4 percentage points). While 13% of GOP voters still vote for Clinton, the percentage of “unsure” Republican voters dropped to 15% (a drop of 4 percentage points).

Clinton’s share of Democratic Party voters did increase 9 percentage points from 78% in the WBUR poll to 87% in the FPU-Herald survey. However, Independent voters increased their support for Trump from 39% (WBUR) to 42% (FPU-Herald). Clinton’s slice of Independent voters moved from 41% (WBUR) to 43% (FPU-Herald). The difference between Trump’s increase in support from Independent voters (3 percentage points) and Clinton’s increase in support from Independent voters (2 percentage points) shows a net gain for Trump by a single percentage point.

When it comes to comparing ages, the brackets used by the two polls are not the same so an exact comparison cannot be precise. The young moved away from Trump between these two surveys. In the earlier WBUR poll, 47% of voters between the ages 18-29 would vote from Trump (33% for Clinton). In the later FPU-Herald survey, Trump now won 43% of that age bracket and so did Clinton. However, the FPU-Herald survey also has a 25-34 age bracket and Trump wins a majority of that age bracket with 51% of that vote to Clinton’s 43%.

For the elder set, the WBUR survey had a bracket for voters 60-and-over. In that poll, Trump defeats Clinton by two percentage points (42%-40%). In the FPU-Herald survey, the age bracket used is for voters 65-and-over. With that group, Clinton wins 46%-45%, but in the bracket right below it (55-64), Trump again wins a majority (51%-43%).**

Since the age brackets between the WBUR and the FPU-Herald figures are not a one-to-one comparison, I don’t feel I can make a judgement as to whether Trump’s increase (or Clinton’s decrease) among the various ages help to explain the 44%-44% tie that the latest poll in New Hampshire has found.

I will go so far to say that Trump’s gains among men and fellow Republicans helped his cause to coming closer to winning the four votes in the Electoral College that New Hampshire holds.

 

*While both candidates expanded their share of their respective genders, Trump comes out better in the FPU-Herald survey because more men (206) were respondents than women (199). The earlier WBUR had more female respondents (269) than male (232), which helped the Democratic Party nominee.

**The April poll done by WMUR (report here) did have an age bracket for voters 65-and-over. In that survey, Clinton won 54% of that vote to Trump’s 35%. Therefore, from April to late May, Trump saw his support among the 65+ group increase by 10 percentage points and Clinton’s support dropped by 8 percentage points.

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