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Voters Question Clinton's Qualifications, Now Rate Trump Equal

Monday, July 11, 2016

Most voters have difficulty swallowing President Obama's superlatives for Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail last week and now rate her and Donald Trump equally when it comes to their preparedness for the White House.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that just 22% of Likely U.S. Voters agree with Obama's statement that "there has never ever been any man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary Clinton." Sixty-five percent (65%) disagree with the president's statement. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

It's important to note that the question did not identify the person who made the statement. Obama praised Clinton while campaigning with her in North Carolina on the same day that FBI Director James Comey announced his agency would not seek any indictments of the former secretary of State despite her "extremely careless" handling of classified information. Most voters disagree with Comey’s decision.

Not surprisingly, just five percent (5%) of Republicans and 15% of voters not affiliated with either political party agree with the president's high praise of the likely Democratic presidential nominee. But even Democrats aren't convinced: 42% of voters in Clinton's and Obama's party agree with the statement, but 36% do not, with another 21% who are not sure. 

When given the choice, 41% of all voters think Clinton is better qualified to be president, but just as many (40%) say that of Trump. A sizable 19% are undecided.

That's a noticeable shift in Trump's favor from April when 50% said Clinton is qualified to be president, but only 27% felt that way about the billionaire businessman.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 6-7, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

The race between Clinton and Trump has grown tighter in our latest White House Watch survey.

Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans see Trump as the more qualified candidate, while 77% of Democrats say that of Clinton. Forty-one percent (41%) of unaffiliated voters think Trump is more qualified, compared to 31% who feel that way about Clinton, but 28% of these voters are undecided.

Blacks are closely divided over Obama's characterization of Clinton as the most qualified person ever to run for the presidency. Most whites (70%) and other minority voters (64%) disagree.

A plurality (45%) of self-identified liberal voters agree with the president about Clinton's qualifications, but 87% of conservatives and 62% of moderates disagree. Eighty-five percent (85%) of liberals and moderates by a 45% to 30% margin believe Clinton is more qualified for the White House; 68% of conservatives view Trump as more qualified.

The gender gap is here, too. Women see Clinton as more qualified; men feel Trump is better for the job. The older the voter, the more likely he or she is to consider Trump more qualified.

Among voters who consider Clinton more qualified than Trump for the presidency, 52% agree that there has never been a candidate more qualified than her. Ninety-eight percent (98%) of those who say Trump is more qualified disagree with the president’s statement.

Generally speaking, when it comes to national security, the economy and other major issues, voters expect Clinton to continue Obama's policies and Trump to change them, for better or worse.

The president is garnering unusually high approval ratings lately, but voters are closely divided as to whether his support would help or hurt candidates running in their state.

Back in January, voters said a candidate endorsement from Obama will not impact their voting decision this November, but most in his own party said it would.

Following the release of a final report by the special congressional committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, 49% of all voters believe Clinton lied to the families of those killed in Benghazi about the cause of their deaths.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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