Trump’s Voter Share Hits Low in Aftermath of Tape and Second Debate

ACSI Presidential Election Survey: Week of October 10 to 13, 2016

Republican Donald Trump drops 3 percentage points to reach a new low in voter share, sinking to 36% in polling by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Hillary Clinton’s projected voter share now stands at 50%—14 percentage points ahead of her GOP opponent.

Immediately following the second presidential debate, amid the fallout from the leaked audio of Trump’s widely reported comments about sexually aggressive behavior, the candidates clearly move in opposing directions. The results are based on surveys of 634 registered voters nationwide, conducted by the ACSI from October 10 to 13, 2016.


For the election survey, the ACSI is applying an economic model of buyer choice to voting behavior. Like consumers, voters choose candidates based on the expected satisfaction (or utility) that a candidate will deliver once in office. As candidates have not yet served as president, the ACSI uses a proxy: satisfaction with each candidate and his or her campaign.

Along with predicting voter share, the ACSI survey assesses the strength/weakness of a candidate’s support. Supporters are categorized as “strong” or “weak” depending on the gap in satisfaction and expectations between candidates. By this measure, strong supporters are unlikely to shift. Clinton continues to hold a substantial edge in strong supporters, 36% to Trump’s 25%.


Looking at polling conducted since August 1, Trump’s current level of strong support represents a new low. Over the past week, his weak support also slips (-1% to 11%). Clinton dips to 36% for strong support, but this is offset by a gain among weak supporters to 13%. Undecideds, or those who gave both candidates equal satisfaction scores, increase 1 point to 14 percent.


The demographic breakdowns of voter share for each candidate during the week of October 10 to 13 show Clinton ahead in every age, gender, and ethnic category. This includes both older voters (55 and above) and non-college graduates—the categories where Trump had an advantage before the leaked tape and second debate.


The ACSI has surveyed a total of 12,072 registered voters from August 1 to October 13. New results for the ACSI Presidential Election Survey will be issued weekly through Election Day. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points for voter share.

Press Release: ACSI Poll: Clinton Lead Grows to 14 Points Following Second Debate and Trump Tape »

Clinton Maintains Voter-Share Edge Leading Into Second Debate

ACSI Presidential Election Survey: Week of October 3 to 7, 2016

In the week leading up to the second presidential debate, Democrat Hillary Clinton remains 9 percentage points ahead of Republican Donald Trump for voter share (48% versus 39%). The American Customer Satisfaction Index surveyed 829 registered voters from October 3 to 7, 2016, with polling occurring before Friday afternoon’s tumultuous developments for the Trump campaign.


Since August 1, the week following debate one (September 26-30) remains the time when Clinton held the largest voter-share advantage over Trump (14 percentage points). In the first week of October preceding debate two, the shifts for both candidates are mainly in the category of “weak” supporters. In terms of “strong” supporters—who are unlikely to change their preferences—Clinton is steady at 39% while Trump slips from 28% to 27%.


The demographic breakdowns of voter share for each candidate during the week of October 3 to 7 continue to show Clinton ahead in most age, gender, and ethnic categories. Trump leads among voters who are 55 and older, as well as those with less than a college education.


The ACSI has surveyed a total of 11,438 registered voters from August 1 to October 7. New results for the ACSI Presidential Election Survey will be issued weekly through Election Day. The margin of error is +/- 3 points for ACSI scores and +/- 3 percentage points for voter share.


Clinton Gains Voter Share Following First Debate

ACSI Presidential Election Survey: Week of September 26 to 30, 2016

In the week following the first presidential debate, Democrat Hillary Clinton broadens her support, pulling further ahead for voter share, while Republican Donald Trump stagnates. In a poll of 2,798 registered voters conducted by the American Customer Satisfaction Index from September 26 to 30, Clinton widens her lead in voter share—52% to Trump’s 38%.


Strong supporters are unlikely to shift their preferences, and Clinton’s edge continues to grow. Trump now trails his opponent by 11 percentage points for strong supporters (28% compared to Clinton’s 39%). Even as the voter-share gap between the two candidates grows, voter satisfaction with both campaigns recedes. Each candidate drops 3%, with Clinton scoring 75 on a scale of 0 to 100 and Trump falling to 73.


Voter share is a spectrum of support, stronger on the edges and more ambivalent in the middle. Voters that shift into one camp or another are typically in the middle of the spectrum. The effect for Clinton is that adding voter share is diluting average voter satisfaction. In contrast, Trump’s voter share remains the same, with his weakened voter satisfaction stemming from a poor performance in the first debate.

The demographic breakdowns of voter share for each candidate during the week of September 26 to 30 continue to show Clinton ahead in every age, gender, and ethnic category. The change for the post-debate survey week is the new lead that Clinton has grabbed among voters with less than a college degree—up to 48% versus Trump’s diminished share of 44%.



Since August 1, the ACSI has surveyed a total of 10,609 registered voters and new results for the ACSI Presidential Election Survey will be issued weekly through election day. The margin of error is +/- 2.5 points for ACSI scores and +/- 2.5 percentage points for voter share.

Press Release: Clinton Lead Widens over Trump as Voter Satisfaction Declines for Both Candidates, According to ACSI Poll »

Leading Up to Debate, Trump Trails Clinton in Strong Supporters

ACSI Presidential Election Survey: Week of September 19 to 23, 2016

In the week leading up to Monday’s presidential debate, Republican Donald Trump continues to lag behind Democrat Hillary Clinton for strong supporters, indicating the GOP candidate’s need to broaden his appeal. In a poll of 1,619 registered voters conducted by the American Customer Satisfaction Index from September 19 to 23, Clinton holds onto a sizable lead in voter share—50% to Trump’s 38%.


While voter share for Clinton is stable compared with the prior week, Trump’s slips slightly (down 1%). Coinciding with this dip in voter share, the satisfaction level of Trump’s supporters increases, up from 73 to 75 on a 100-point scale. During the same period, the satisfaction level of Clinton supporters is unchanged at 77. While this keeps Clinton ahead in voter satisfaction, the gap to Trump has narrowed.


While there is not a lot of movement for the candidates in the week before the first debate, ACSI data continue to show stronger support for Clinton than most national polls. What may be the most troubling for Trump is the 10-point deficit in what the ACSI characterizes as strong supporters. Clinton holds a considerable edge in strong supporters—and these voters are highly unlikely to shift. In addition, there is still a large contingent of voters who are yet undecided (12%, up from 11% in the prior week).


The demographic breakdowns of voter share for each candidate during the week of September 19 to 23 show Clinton ahead in every age, gender, and ethnic category. Among college-educated, Clinton holds a 22-point lead, but the two candidates are tied among voters with less than a college degree, polling at 45% each.



Since August 1, the ACSI has surveyed a total of 7,811 registered voters and new results for the ACSI Presidential Election Survey will be issued weekly through Election Day. The margin of error is +/- 3 points for ACSI scores and +/- 3 percentage points for voter share.

Press Release: Voter Share Unchanged in the Week Before Debate,
According to ACSI Presidential Election Survey »

Clinton Pulls Further Ahead for Voter Satisfaction

ACSI Presidential Election Survey: Week of September 12 to 16, 2016

Democrat Hillary Clinton widens her lead in voter satisfaction over Republican Donald Trump, according to new poll data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. For the week ending September 16, Clinton surges to a 4-point lead, scoring 77 on a 100-point scale over 73 for Trump. The scores correspond to a voter share split of 50% to 39% in favor of Clinton.


Applying an economic model of buyer choice to voters faced with a choice of two alternatives, voters will pick the candidate they expect will give them greater satisfaction, or utility. If voters are reasonably rational and follow their expectations, it would seem that Clinton has a large advantage over Trump.

The ACSI characterizes supporters as “strong” or “weak” depending on the gap in satisfaction between candidates. Clinton’s strong support improves to 38%, up from 35% last week. Trump drops to 28% for strong supporters (from 30%) and to 10% for weak supporters (from 12%). Voters who gave the same marks to both candidates remain at 11%, suggesting that there is still opportunity for both candidates to convert support through higher satisfaction.


Since the start of ACSI’s presidential election survey in August, voter support for each candidate has fluctuated over time.


The demographic breakdowns of voter share for each candidate during the week of September 12 to 16 show significant gains for Clinton among male voters compared with the prior week. The only demographic with greater support for Trump is voters aged 55 and over.



As a predictor of consumer behavior, the ACSI is applying its methodology to the presidential race to gauge voter preferences. The ACSI surveyed 881 registered voters nationwide between September 12 and September 16, 2016, for a total of 6,192 since the survey began on August 1. The margin of error is +/- 3 points for ACSI scores and +/- 3 percentage points for voter share. The ACSI Presidential Election Survey will report results weekly through Election Day.

Press Release: Clinton Widens Lead Over Trump in Voter Satisfaction in ACSI Presidential Election Survey »

ACSI Launches Voter Satisfaction Survey

ACSI Presidential Election Survey: A Measure of Voter Satisfaction With the Major Party Candidates and Their Campaigns

Week of September 5 to September 9, 2016

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) launches a new study tracking “voter satisfaction” with the race for U.S. president, to be updated each week with new data until November 7, 2016 (the day before the election).

Customer satisfaction is a proven predictor of purchases of goods and services; therefore, it should have predictive power for presidential elections as well. Like consumers, voters may pick candidates based on the “expected satisfaction” that a candidate will deliver. Expected satisfaction, in turn, is predicted by current satisfaction. Accordingly, the ACSI will track expected and current satisfaction with the two major party candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

In markets for goods and services, current satisfaction is determined by a customer’s “consumption experience.” In the absence of any such actual experience prior to the inauguration of a new president and a period of actual governing, the ACSI uses a proxy that measures satisfaction with each candidate’s campaign. From these two measures—expectations and satisfaction with the candidates and their campaigns—both the breadth (“market share” or voter share) and depth (satisfaction) of support are derived for each candidate. An algorithm for estimating voter share and satisfaction is used to group registered voters into “strong” and “weak” supporters of each candidate and to identify both the size and satisfaction levels of those groups.

Beginning with data from the week of August 1 to 5 for the first wave and ending with the week of September 5 to 9, a total of 5,311 interviews were conducted thus far. During the first week of August, voter satisfaction was 74 for Clinton and 72 for Trump. These results do not represent percentages but rather ACSI scores on a scale from 0 to 100. The corresponding estimated voter share (or market share) in week one for Clinton was 49% versus 39% for Trump. Thus, not only was Clinton’s satisfaction score higher than Trump’s, her share of the vote also was substantially higher.

Following the first week of August, voter satisfaction for Trump slipped, rebounded, and peaked, and then declined for two consecutive weeks. During the same period, Clinton’s voter satisfaction was mostly flat, but then also declined for two weeks. According to the most recent data, Clinton’s satisfaction score has dropped to 73 (-1), while her voter share has receded 2%. Meanwhile, Trump’s satisfaction is unchanged since the first week of August, although he has gained in voter share (+3% to 42%). Nevertheless, Clinton continues to lead in both voter satisfaction (73 vs. 72) and voter share (47% vs. 42%).



Unlike traditional trial heat polls, measuring current and expected satisfaction with the major party candidates allows researchers to group voters into “strong” and “weak” support groups. In the diagram, “strong” supporters are those defined as being much more satisfied with one candidate and much less so with the other. “Weak” supporters are defined as those only somewhat more satisfied with one candidate over the other. “Undecideds” express equal satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the two candidates.


For Clinton, 35% are strong supporters. For Trump, 30% are strong supporters. When combining strong and weak supporters, Clinton currently has a voter share of 47% and Trump has 42%. 11% are equally satisfied or dissatisfied with the candidates.

The following table shows how support for each candidate has fluctuated over the past six weeks. For Trump, the share of strong supporters has risen from 27% to 30%, while Clinton’s has actually declined (to 35% in week six from 38% in week one). Undecideds have shrunk from 13% of the total to 11%, although the number of undecideds is actually higher now than in the prior week.


The following tables depict voter share for each candidate for the week of September 5 to September 9 among various demographic groups. Clinton holds a strong lead over Trump among respondents 18 to 34 and a slight lead among voters 35 to 54. The two candidates are nearly even among voters 55 and above. Similarly, Clinton holds a big lead among women, while enjoying a smaller lead among men.


Clinton holds a massive lead over Trump among African Americans and a strong lead among Hispanics, but among white voters the two are tied. Finally, respondents with less than a college degree break decisively for Trump, while those with a college degree or more favor Clinton by almost 20 percentage points.


Download Free PDF of This Survey »

Press Release: Clinton Leads Trump in Voter Satisfaction, According to ACSI »

News Websites Score Record Satisfaction Amid Election Cycle

Americans are happier than ever before with online news channels as a raucous presidential election cycle keeps readers coming back for more. While internet news and opinion shows only modest fluctuations over time, the year 2016 proves record-breaking for this e-business category, with user satisfaction springing upward 4.1% to 76 on a scale of 0 to 100. People are fascinated with the news right now, and the bump in satisfaction is reflecting greater interest in opinion pieces and updates from readers’ favorite sites.


Satisfaction improves nearly across the board for news websites, regardless of political leaning, although the biggest gain goes to the group of smaller websites, up 7% to 77. This group encompasses a wide variety of outlets—from BuzzFeed and Drudge Report to the online presence of The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. retains its lead with an 4% boost to 79. Meanwhile, The Huffington Post, part of Verizon Communications’ AOL subsidiary, can’t shake last place despite a 1% gain to 72—a new high for the website.

In today’s 24-hour news cycle, the internet is the ideal vehicle for delivering content quickly and in a steady stream, and digital news sites are upping their game. Consumers of online news give the industry a high score for freshness of content (80). Key elements such as ease of navigation and information variety are up 4% from a year ago. The exception—consistent across all e-business categories—is amount of advertising, which rates quite low at 68, down 4% over the past year.

Customer Satisfaction Challenge Ahead for Charter as TWC, Bright House Phase Out

Just one year ago, Time Warner Cable (TWC) tumbled to last place for customer satisfaction among 300+ companies in the ACSI. Along with TWC, Comcast showed the biggest ACSI loss among subscription television providers, a situation that has turned around in 2016. This year’s gains for Comcast and TWC (14% and 16%, respectively), come close to reversing two years of losing satisfaction, but neither company breaks out of the bottom quartile of the ACSI. While Comcast failed to nail down a marriage with TWC, Charter Communications is tying the knot, which will bring an end to the TWC brand.


ACSI results show Charter’s customer satisfaction fluctuating, now down 6% to 60 as the company begins its stint as the second largest U.S. cable operator following acquisitions of TWC and Bright House Networks. Among broadband players, Bright House at 66 is a cut above most. Nevertheless, like all cable companies, Bright House lags behind the fiber optic leaders of the pay TV industry, Verizon Fios (70) and AT&T U-verse (69), as well as satellite operators DIRECTV (68) and DISH Network (67). As a group, cable companies bring up the rear, but the range of scores is broad—from the above-average showing of Bright House and Cablevision to the last-place performance of Mediacom (54).

Mergers overwhelmingly dampen customer satisfaction in the short term, which could spell trouble for Bright House customers as the brand phases out and combines with Charter. For Charter, the challenge will be keeping satisfaction levels from falling further as it takes on a bigger slice of the market. So Long Time Warner Cable: Charter to Retire Maligned Brand »

Charlotte Observer: Customer Satisfaction Improves for Cable, Internet Providers »

CRM Buyer: Pay TV Firms Eke Out Tiny Gains in Customer Satisfaction »

Marketing Daily: Telecom Customer Satisfaction Improving, Slightly »

Multichannel News: Cable Stops Slide But Remains in ACSI Cellar » Comcast Service Ratings are Better, But Still Low »

Yahoo! Finance: New Customer Service Survey Says Comcast is No Longer the Worst »

Smartphones 2016: It’s a Galaxy and iPhone Universe

When it comes to pleasing consumers, the smartphone market is essentially a two-horse race, with Apple and Samsung running nearly neck-and-neck for the past two years. In 2014, Samsung gained an advantage in ACSI overall, posting 81 on a 0-100 scale to Apple’s 79, but the two market leaders deadlocked the next year.

Results from a recent report by the American Customer Satisfaction Index show Apple inching ahead to grab the customer satisfaction lead in 2016, propelling the cell phone industry average up to 79 (+1.3%). Lenovo’s Motorola Mobility comes in a distant third at 77 (-3%).


Drilling down to the brand level reveals a preponderance of Samsung and Apple devices at the top, led by Samsung’s Galaxy Note5 at 86. Apple’s iPhone 6s Plus is a mere point behind at 85, while two more Galaxy phones clock in at 84 (S6 edge+ and Note 4). Altogether, a dozen Apple or Samsung models score above the industry ACSI average of 79, with only Motorola’s Moto G penetrating this group at 81.


In general, phones with bigger screen sizes are more satisfying to users. The top four devices in 2016 sport displays that range from 5.5 to 5.7 inches. Among the newest iPhones, Plus models do better than their base versions (iPhone 6s Plus and 6 Plus edge 2 points ahead of 6s and 6, respectively). There are exceptions; for example, the Galaxy S III (4.8-inch display) does quite well with an ACSI score of 80. This older Samsung model ties Galaxy S6 and nudges past S4, S5, and Grand Prime (screen sizes of 5.0 to 5.1 inches).

smartphone-size Apple’s Only Thiiisss Much Better Than Samsung in Customer Satisfaction »

Investor’s Business Daily: Samsung Phones Top Apple iPhones in Customer Satisfaction »

SlashGear: Galaxy Note 5 Beats All Other Phones in Customer Satisfaction Index »

Priceline Is Most Appealing Online Booking Site

Consumers respond well to naming their own price as online travel agency Priceline surges 8% to grab the lead in the tightly grouped Internet travel service industry. While there has been considerable consolidation among online booking sites, many continue to operate as separate brands. With an ACSI score of 81, Priceline tops the three big names under the Expedia umbrella despite smaller gains for Expedia-owned Travelocity (+4% to 78) and Orbitz (+3% to 77). Nearly lockstep with its other major brands, Expedia’s namesake booking site holds steady at 77.


Smaller websites, grouped together as “all others,” tend to place at or near the top of the Internet travel industry, which makes Priceline’s ascendency in 2016 noteworthy. Nevertheless, the range of scores among all travel sites is typically quite narrow and the industry overall suffers from lack of differentiation. This year, the aggregate of smaller websites straddles the Expedia-Priceline divide with a score of 79 (+1%), perhaps reflecting the group’s conglomeration of brands that include Expedia’s and Priceline’s and

The real competition for online travel agencies may well be the websites of hotels and airlines. According to 2016 ACSI data, hotels offer a better online experience than Internet travel agencies. Airline websites, meanwhile, are going head-to-head with Internet travel sites, matching the online industry’s overall customer satisfaction level.


Both airlines and hotels are working harder than ever to boost loyalty and encourage direct booking. While online sites bring customers to these industries, the commissions they charge reduce net revenue per customer. Given the strong website satisfaction scores for both hotels and airlines, the convenience of one-stop shopping alone via online travel sites may not be enough to keep customers away from direct booking.

Travel Pulse: Priceline Is the Most Satisfying to Travelers, According to Study »

ACSI: Internet Travel Companies Outdo Airlines, Hotels »