Clinton lead over Trump shrinks to margin-of-error: Bloomberg poll


The following is a media news analysis

Is Hillary Clinton squashing Donald Trump into oblivion in the polls? Or is her lead over him perilously shrinking? One thing we know is: there are countless ways to spin a poll. Consider the case of selective reporting on the most recent Bloomberg national poll.

On Aug. 10, Bloomberg reported “Clinton up 6 on Trump in Two Way Race.” But looking at the actual poll, Trump has moved so close to Clinton, the results are within the margin of error.

Notably, in five months, Clinton’s lead over Trump in the Bloomberg poll has shrunk from 18-points to within the margin of error.

In March of 2016, when likely voters were asked to choose between Clinton and Trump “if the election were held today,” Clinton bested Trump 54%-36% (18 percentage points).

In June, with Libertarian Gary Johnson thrown into the mix, Clinton’s lead over Trump was 5 percentage points smaller: 48% to 35% (13 percentage points).

In the most recent poll, the spread between Clinton and Trump in a two-person race was down to just 3 percentage points, Clinton at 45% and Trump at 42%. That’s within the margin of error. When Libertarian and Green Party candidates are put in the mix, it’s Clinton 42% and Trump 40% –again within the margin of error.

Clinton lead over Trump in Bloomberg poll

March 2016: 18 points

June 2016: 13 points*

August 2016: 3 points**

*including Libertarian in race
**within the margin of error

But this notable trend isn’t reflected in the Bloomberg write-up here. Instead, the reporter chose to use the poll numbers that look better for Clinton: ones that added in “leaners.” What are leaners? Respondents who were first asked who they’d vote for, then answered they didn’t plan to vote or didn’t know who they’d vote for, and then were pressed to pick a candidate they were leaning toward, anyway. This is how Bloomberg got to the 6-point spread cited in its headline…double the actual spread of 3%.

Presidential nominee, Democrat Hillary Clinton

Presidential nominee, Democrat Hillary Clinton

The graphic Bloomberg used in its news story appears somewhat misleading in this context. It depicts the 6-point spread as the result of the question “…for whom would you vote?” It doesn’t disclose that the graphic adds in “leaners” who were asked a followup question.

The article then selects one negative factoid to highlight about Trump and use in the subheadline: “The findings suggest damage has been done to one of Trump’s main calling cards, his business expertise, with 61 percent of likely voters saying they’re less impressed with the Republican nominee’s business acumen than when the campaign started.” The 61% answer was in response to a freestanding question Bloomberg chose to ask about Trump, with no equivalent question presented about Clinton. One could envision, for example, the poll could have asked, “Since the start of the campaign, are you more or less impressed with Hillary Clinton’s ability to handle the nation’s secrets and sensitive information?” Odds are, such a question could have produced a number at least as negative as Trump’s on business expertise. But the Clinton question wasn’t asked.

In fact, the Bloomberg poll shows Trump improved in eight categories when it comes to being associated with positive phrases, while Clinton is down in eight categories. Trump improved his ratings in “Would fight hard for the middle class,” “Would rein in the power of Wall Street,” “Has the right temperament to be president,” “Is ready to lead our country on day one in office,” “Could get things done in Washington,” “Would be a good role model for children,” “Is trustworthy,” and “Possesses the skills needed to conduct foreign policy.”

Read the Bloomberg poll questions and methodology

This isn’t to suggest reporting on this poll should have favored Trump; ideally, it should reflect general positives and negatives for each candidate, if they exist, and include relevant trends for context and perspective.

It’s simply another reminder that what you read in the news often comes through a filter.


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51 Responses to “Clinton lead over Trump shrinks to margin-of-error: Bloomberg poll”

  1. tom
    August 14, 2016 at 10:59 pm #

    the more i learn about ‘the donald’ the more i dislike the man. i hope i’m wrong about him being a shill and controlled opposition, but i can’t imagine a blowhard circus clown fixing the nation, or anything at all. Is he the lesser evil than clinton.. or just the other side of the same coin.. hmm..

    • ddneth
      August 15, 2016 at 9:36 am #

      TWO words as to why you should vote for Trump : Supreme Court! Hillary will appoint far left Justices and America will never be the same ! This is the MOST important reason to vote for Trump/Pence!

      Aren’t you curious HOW Trump was a successful businessman for over 30 years..NEVER was accused of ‘racism’, being ‘dangerous’ or ‘full of violence ‘ UNTIL he decided to run for POTUS against the DNC & Hillary ????? These words are from the DNC playbook recently released by wikileaks…check it out!

    • John T
      August 15, 2016 at 11:52 am #

      Where are you learning from? The man is a mega-successful business man. He positions, since running for office, are consistent clear and available. Watch a couple of rallies. Watch the economic speech from last week.

    • Tony
      August 15, 2016 at 11:57 am #

      Hillary and the Media are doing everything they can to get you to judge him based on his personality. They don’t want you to look at his policies and positions.
      There is no conservative argument against Trump if you look at his court picks and his stated positions/policies on the issues and Hillary cannot compete with him there. She has to keep it personal because that’s the only way she can defeat him and she knows it.

    • david
      August 15, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

      funny but I haven’t heard Trump barking like a dog the way Hillary did. Do you find her barking like a dog, Presidential?

    • Mike Danger
      August 15, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

      What bothers you the most? That since the 80’s Trump has hired many women to executive positions? In the 90’s he lead a movement to integrate blacks and jewish persons into Palm Beach? His traditional approach to immigration and law and order?

      Or are you simply buying the media’s narrative, which Ms. Attikisson is exposing as biased and not to be trusted without further investigation and consideration? Would you rather have a President who will only say what he/she believes you want to hear while prepared to pursue an agenda that they know will shock you?

      Granted Trump is an imperfect mortal man but he is an extremely successful businessman. I suggest that level of success is not possible if Trump were uncontrolled and irrational as the media would lead you to believe…

    • ElectronCharge
      August 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

      Here’s the story – we know what we’d get if, God forbid, Hilliary is elected. She’ll continue the ruinous policies of 0bama, including virtually unlimited illegal immigration, and five times the number of Muslim immigrants – that would be over five million more. She would also continue his dismal economic record, most likely jacking up taxes even more in the process. Finally, she would nominate somewhere between two and four ultra-liberal Supreme Court justices who would proceed to trash the Constitution and what’s left of the United States of America. Note that none of this even mentions her total corruption – who knows what else she might do to appease her true masters, many of which are foreign.

      Donald Trump’s stated policies would either stop or undo much of the above. He has also vowed to clean up as much of the cesspool that is Washington DC as he can. That is why the only choice any responsible, patriotic American has is to vote for him.

      Trump 2016!

    • john
      August 15, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

      the more you learn from the media? Every 4 word combos can be taken out of context.. this is the art of politicians.. Trump is learning about.

    • Jed
      August 16, 2016 at 6:29 am #

      You should concede this, do you want a President who are a fraud, liar and a traitor by fact, not by hearsay? She is for sale to the highest bidder. We all know that most politicians are for sale, however a guy like Trump don’t give a damn about money, that is not why he is doing it.

      It’s like, do I want a broken leg=Trump or do I want the plague=Clinton?

    • dennis wooldridge
      August 18, 2016 at 9:45 pm #

      I don’t think he is a shill for the left. I thought about that also. But I think he is genuine about his desire to serve his country. I think he means it when said ” I am with you” as opposed to Hillary ” I’m with Hillary”. It is all about her. With Mr. Trump it is all about America.

  2. Christopher C. Guzman
    August 15, 2016 at 2:03 am #

    Oh the polls. The polls.

    • sancho panza
      August 16, 2016 at 7:19 am #

      LMAO you cant sorce facts from a Medium (another form of disqus) wordpress website as facts or even reliable. SPECIFICALY because i could write up the exact same page in 20 min with Trump in the lead.. Nice try though maybe try pasting that on another Main Stream Media. propaganda “news” source that you and other sheeple like to troll 🙂 Namaste

  3. Brian
    August 15, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    I wonder what would happen in the polls if Trump told people to do a Google search Israel did 911.

  4. James Madison
    August 15, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

    this is what many of us have suspected for a long time. The Polls ARE rigged and they are now trying to shape public opinion, not report opinions. GO DONALD. Trump is much closer to getting her butt than the media wants us to know

  5. James Bella
    August 15, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

    The more hear about Clinton, to her health problems and email scandals, her polls number should be going down further. Go vote for Trump 2016.

  6. Sam
    August 15, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

    Unfortunately, the main stream media is just an extension of the DNC. No true, objective reporting. Trump is not a politician so he says what he thinks (refreshing to many of us).

    If Trump does not win America will continue to be destroyed.

    • Kip
      August 15, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

      Sam… agreed. I believe in spite of what comes out of his mouth at times, that down in his core, he is a good, empathetic person. There are multiple accounts of his helping complete strangers over the years out of the kindness and generosity of his heart.

      No one could ever say the same about Clinton. Her core is selfish, greedy, megalomaniac, self-centered, power-hungry, completely lacking in integrity…all the characteristics one would avoid in their president.

      I think that’s all you need to know.

  7. HER
    August 15, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

    Liars, Liars..them there Polls……. Common Sense is Golden. Everybody L O V E S This Boy, Trump & his Family* And, by the way the General Public would love to know where these polls are online, We’d love to do these polls, TOO! So, daily, put it online, on Hannity radio show, Loria , Daily Mail, Infowars, Breitbart, ect. OKIE Dokie?

  8. Dan
    August 15, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

    Trump is right !!!! Rigged system. Hillary is a compasive liar and will continue to lie. So vote for her and enjoy the lies

  9. Sergio
    August 15, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

    Go see Hillary’s America from film maker Dinesh D’Souza… Voting for Hillary after seeing this movie would really mean you were stupid before and are still stupid after.

  10. MrTuvok
    August 15, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

    Thank you for reporting.

  11. Sandra Blessing
    August 15, 2016 at 6:55 pm #

    Trump must win, he is not your ordinary candidate, he is not a politician, he is a very successful business man and the country needs some one like him to clean up the past mess and get us headed in the right direction, .we don’t know what he will do but he does love this country that his own family is living in, we do know what mrs. bill clinton is capable of doing and believe me it will not be in your best interest,Please educate yourself on Trump, not what the media says, and please consider voting for this man that is investing his own money to help America, May God Bless us all!!

  12. HMC
    August 15, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

    I have been a Trump supporter from day one although I cringe at a lot of the things he says. As Sam notes, he is not a politician so his words are not scrubbed to come out politically correct. He is a true patriot and loves this country. He has been in the public eye for as long as Clinton and not once until he ran for office did anyone imply he was a racist, bigoted, anti-gay, anti-woman, etc. He has employed thousands of people. If he was any of those things you would be hearing about it and trust me the media is in overdrive trying to find them. He has exposed the true corruption in both of our political system which is aided by our media and billionaires. Americans are seeing for the first time that it never was about us but it has always been about them and making sure they hold onto their power. I do hope he wins. America will be unrecognizable if Clinton wins and not in a good way.

  13. Steve
    August 15, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

    Sharyl Attkisson, thanks for fighting for truth, justice, and the American way!

  14. SafeTea
    August 16, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    What “lead?” Those false numbers the polls are presenting as genuine?

  15. Miguel
    August 16, 2016 at 12:24 pm #


    In Spain all polls failed miserably before June general election. All journalists complained that it was a disgrace and that they would never look at polls again. Those same journalists today are happy that Trump is doing so bad in the polls…

    Is this foolishness or gallows humor? I can’t decide.

  16. jerry Dietzel
    August 16, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

    Every online poll I take has Trump beating her ass. ABC, NBC, CBS …ALL OF THEM. I take screen shots of them so I have the real results after they rig them for TV. Killary has 100 people, half of them paid to be there at her rallies, Trump has had up to 10 thousand PLUS.. NO WAY she is winning. The reason they are doing this with the polls is so when they steal the election, it dont seem as bad because they always showed her ahead. DONT forget what obama said RIGHT BEFORE the polls went to Hillary, he said “If Trump is up 10-15 in the polls and looses, then maybe it is rigged” then all of a sudden, killary is up 10 in the poll.. WAKE UP!

    August 16, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    I find it very curious that trump/Clinton poll is being conducted by BLOOMBERG ORGANIZATION!! The very same BLOOMBERG that endorsed Clinton!! MR TRUMP rally’s
    consist of a almost 10 to 1 vs Clinton!!! Then how could anyone think the POLLS are close!

  18. tom
    August 17, 2016 at 2:28 am #

    trump has been playing ball with the filthy elitist politcians of this country for a very long time. he’s not an outsider at all, and in real life is very good friends with Hillary. I’ve heard a lot of his talks and speeches, and yes they sound real nice with the whole anti-globalist theme, but like i say trump is anything but an outsider, and Adolf Hitler also gave pretty speeches. Also, trump has been a media darling since the day he announced his running. I know they pretend to oppose him, but you don’t get that much free media without some very powerful backers–billionaire globalist elitists, the same type of crew backing hillary. To sum it up: none of you should get your hopes up over this loud-mouth, redfaced caricature. the time of expecting a vote to change anything might be gone.

  19. Carol
    August 17, 2016 at 2:31 am #

    This election boils down to a simple question for each voter: Am I for free enterprise (Trump) or socialism (Clinton)?

  20. Scott
    August 17, 2016 at 11:51 am #

    For some “reason” polling operations seem not to want honest results by try to game them with dishonest polling populations and questions designed to push response.
    Reminds me of the first day of class in a college course dealing with polling where the professor greeted us and immediately made this statement, “Tell me the result you want and I can design the poll to give it to you”. Never accept a poll’s results until you examine who it polls and what it asks.

  21. John Duncan
    August 17, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

    I believe everyone is missing the point, is Hillary the only Secretary of State never to receive a top secret or confidential email or message, that is beyond belief, who did receive those messages, was nothing confidential during her term as Secretary of State

  22. Bill
    August 18, 2016 at 5:48 am #

    Everyone knows that polls are designed to give the results that the pollster wants to get. You learned this back in high school and college. Anyone that trust poll results are not thinking but just accepting results. They publish tainted poll results to try to influence uninformed voters to go with the poll “winner” so they can be on the winning side. Our schools have stopped teaching critical thinking skills as they don’t want people to be able to make their own decisions but accept what is feed to them. The dumbing down of America agenda is fully in operation with our young people.

  23. Sheila
    August 18, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

    Funny comments! Polls were all we heard about during the GOP primary. Now they are bogus. You people are knee slappers. Trump is an embarrassment and will lose by a landslide. Keep talking Connie!

  24. Bazinga!
    August 20, 2016 at 2:11 am #

    A popular vote poll in an electoral election is meaningless. FOR EXAMPLE: Gore won the popular vote but not the electoral vote. Why do we get subjected to polls that don’t tell the true picture? Looked at electorally, Drumpf is in a very deep hole…


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