In the first post-primary survey of federal employees of the 2016 presidential election, Democrat Hillary Clinton opens with a narrow lead over her general election opponent Republican Donald Trump.
The former State Department secretary leads the businessman by 5 percentage points, with 42 percent of federal respondents saying they would vote for Clinton if the election were held today, compared to 37 percent who said the same for Trump. Nearly one in 10 respondents were still undecided, while 3 percent would vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Another 4 percent would write in another candidate. The poll was released Monday by the Government Business Council, the research arm of Government Executive Media Group.
Clinton holds her lead despite being viewed in an overwhelmingly negative manner by the federal workforce; 62 percent of respondents held an unfavorable view of the presumptive Democratic nominee, compared to 37 percent who viewed her favorably. Trump was viewed favorably by one-third of federal employees and unfavorably by 64 percent.
Trump led his Republican opponents throughout the primary process, with more Republican and Republican-leaning feds choosing Trump than any other candidate in several GBC polls in 2015 and 2016. Both Clinton and Trump’s underwater favorability has remained steady since it was last measured in January.
Federal employees have a fairly accurate gauge of how their coworkers would vote, with 31 percent saying their colleagues would support Clinton and 27 percent predicting Trump. More than four in 10, however, declined to make a guess.
Some feds prefer their current boss to the candidates before them; 46 percent said they would choose President Obama to serve a third term if he were allowed to run and facing Trump. Thirty-eight percent said the same if the choice came down to Obama and Clinton.
The poll was sent to a random sample of Government Executive subscribers from July 12-18. 768 federal employees, representing over 30 civilian and defense agencies, completed the survey. Of those, 33 percent said they identify as Democrats, 30 percent as Republicans, and 28 percent as independent (independent respondents leaned Republican by a 44 percent to 35 percent margin). The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent.