Six numbers that show why Clinton is still the favorite in 2016

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Hillary Clinton tries to turn the page on scathing email report

The 2016 general election race is now a virtual tie. Hillary Clinton is reeling from more negative headlines about her use of a private email server, while Donald Trump careens from news cycle to news cycle as fact-checkers scramble to sift through his claims.

And the big question on everyone's lips for the next 160-some days will be: So, who's gonna win?

The most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls shows Clinton clinging to a narrow lead.

But a deep analysis of data from the poll shows that Clinton is still currently the more likely of the two candidates to emerge as the winner when the voting's all over on Nov. 8, 2016.

Click through images of Hillary Clinton supporters campaign trail:

40 PHOTOS
Hillary Clinton supporters on the campaign trail
See Gallery
Six numbers that show why Clinton is still the favorite in 2016
Supporters John Nelson, 32, (L) and Dan Stifler, 32, cheer U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she arrives to speak on stage at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters cheer on U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she speaks during a campaign stop in Sacramento, California, United States June 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporter Monica Brown pins a Hillary Clinton button to her 2008 Hillary campaign t-shirt as she prepares for the arrival of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clintons visit to at a small restaurant in Vallejo, California, United States June 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake ATTENTION EDITORS - EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
Supporters await the arrival of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a campaign stop in Fresno, California, United States June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A Hillary supporter yells out with a picture of Donald Trump on her phone as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign stop in Fresno, California, United States June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Supporters cheers as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign stop at a high school in Oxnard, California, United States June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporters hold a sign as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes a campaign stop in San Bernardino, California, United States June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with supporters during a campaign stop in San Bernardino, California, United States June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporters cheer on U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she speaks at a campaign stop in San Bernardino, California, United States June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A young supporter cheers as she awaits the arrival of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a "Women for Hillary" event in Culver City, California, United States, June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A supporter wears a sunglasses adorned with logos of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a campaign event in San Francisco, California, U.S. May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A supporter listens as Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign event in San Francisco, California, U.S. May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Supporters listen to Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak at a campaign event in San Jose, California, U.S. May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Women cheer for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A supporter cheers as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters listen to U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A supporter cheers for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she speaks at the University of California Riverside in Riverside, California, U.S. May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
Marlena Steinbach, 9, (L) and her sister Ella Steinbach, 15, cheer the motorcade of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton outside the IBEW union hall where Clinton was due to speak in Commerce, California, U.S., May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Artist Gretchen Baer of BisBee, Arizona, stands next to the "Hillcar", a car she painted and decorated in support of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, as she stands on a street in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S. April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE
Six-year-old Kayla Johnson (C) her mother Andrea (L) and friend London Walters (R) react as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton enters the Garrick-Boykin Human Development Center at Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina, February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Randall Hill
Supporters cheer as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally at Hartnell College, Wednesday, May 25, 2016, in Salinas, Calif. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrive to attend a primary night event during Pennsylvania's primary election on April 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Voters cast ballots in five northeastern states, with frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both looking to overwhelm their respective Democratic and Republican rivals in the race for the White House / AFP / EDUARDO MUNOZ (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters cheer as they listen to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak during a rally at Louisville Slugger Field's Hall of Fame Pavilion in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, May 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
TOPSHOT - A car with the face of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders drives past a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Broad Street during Pennsylvania's primary election on April 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Voters cast ballots in five northeastern states, with frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both looking to overwhelm their respective Democratic and Republican rivals in the race for the White House. / AFP / EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE - In this April 19, 2016, photo, supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton celebrate at her New York primary campaign headquarters. With six months to go, the U.S. election campaign has boiled down to an unprecedented contest that could transform America's role in the world. Democrat Hillary Clinton, a fixture on the political stage for a quarter century, is set to face Donald Trump, a brash billionaire real estate mogul who has never held elected office. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
Supporters listen to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak during a rally at Louisville Slugger Field's Hall of Fame Pavilion in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, May 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Supporters listen to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaign at East Los Angeles College in Los Angeles, Thursday, May 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with a supporter after a speaking at a rally at Louisville Slugger Field's Hall of Fame Pavilion in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, May 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Supporters of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton attend a "Women for Hillary" campaign rally in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S. April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A supporter fans herself as Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at Southwest College in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A supporter holds up an action figure of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before Clinton spoke at Southwest College in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A supporter for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton boos at the mention of Donald Trump as Clinton speaks at Carnegie Mellon University on a campaign stop, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
A supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds a sign during a campaign event featuring Clinton at the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 06: Supporters look on as democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally on May 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. Hillary Clinton is campaigning in California ahead of the State's presidential primary on June 7th. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Planned Parenthood and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supporters looks to the stage during the National Anthem during a Clinton campaign event at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, Tuesday, March 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes photos with supporters in the audience after speaking during a campaign event at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, Monday, March 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 2: A members of the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA) and Hillary Clinton supporters outside Hillary Clinton rally at the Jacob Davits Center in New York, New York on March 2, 2016. Photo Credit: Rainmaker Photo/MediaPunch/IPX
Supporters cheer for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton while she speaks at a campaign event at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters after a town hall meeting at Cumberland United Methodist Church in Florence, South Carolina February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

First, the requisite caveats: Clinton is deeply unpopular, she has a persistent and severe problem on issues of trustworthiness, she faces possible defections from Bernie Sanders supporters, she's getting absolutely demolished in the white male vote and she's (self-admittedly) a less intuitive politician than her husband, which means that an onslaught of Trump attacks are likely to change some of the dynamics of the race going forward.

But with all that on the table, here are six numbers that show why — right now — Hillary Clinton is better positioned to win the presidency than her GOP rival.

The advantage for a generic Democratic candidate over a generic Republican is 4 percentage points:

One of the most basic questions we ask in every NBC/WSJ poll is whether or not voters want to see a Republican or a Democrat elected president, no matter who the nominees of each party may be. And as recently as last fall, the generic Republican option edged out the Democratic one. Not so anymore, with 47 percent of voters favoring a Democratic president and 43 percent choosing a Republican one. If the advantage holds, it would defy the notion that Americans are reluctant to grant a party the presidency after it's held the White House for eight years. (The last time that happened? George H.W. Bush in 1988.) Nothing about the unpopular Clinton or the even-less-popular Trump is "generic," but Dems have the advantage on this fundamental measure of party strength.

The Democratic Party is nearly breaking even on favorability, while the GOP is under water.

Let's be real: It isn't a fun time to be a party establishment type, no matter what side of the aisle you're on. Both parties are pretty unpopular, but Democrats are doing a lot better than their GOP rivals. On the popularity scale, Democrats are just barely underwater, at a net negative three point favorability rating. Republicans? They can at least say they're doing better than their nominee (who's at a net negative 29 point rating) but they're not far behind, with only 24 percent of voters giving the party a thumbs up, compared to 49 percent giving it a thumbs down.

Barack Obama's approval rating is 51 percent.

Hillary Clinton is adamant that she's running for her own first term, not Barack Obama's third term. But as the Democratic Party nominee, a key part of her message is building on Obama's vision and the "progress" his administration has promoted. Even as majority of the electorate — 53 percent — say they're interested in a change candidate, the man currently steering the ship has hit his highest approval rating since his second inauguration. Obama's high rating — which includes support from a majority of independents and women as well as 82 percent of Sanders voters — means that he'll be a powerful surrogate for Clinton once the Democratic primary is in the history books.

Trump is under-performing with white women by 10 points.

It's no secret that Trump has a problem with female voters. But he *does* enjoy a slight advantage over Hillary Clinton when it comes to only white women, leading with 46 percent to Clinton's 42 percent. That might look like a boon for Trump until you compare his share of the white female vote by the margin won by Mitt Romney four years ago. Romney beat Barack Obama by 14 points with white women, winning them 56 percent to 42 percent. Trump is under-performing badly with a part of the electorate that makes up almost four in 10 voters, and it's definitely no certainty that there are enough white men out there to cut his losses.

Trump's showing a nine-point drop in the suburbs.

Plenty of experts argue that the rural-urban cultural divide is so deeply entrenched that the suburbs are where the election will be won and lost. And, as he is with white women, Donald Trump is showing significant weakness with this slice of electorate. In 2012, Obama won urban suburbs 57 percent to 41 percent, according to NBC's Dante Chinni. Clinton is matching Obama's performance at 57 percent now, but Trump has slid to 32 percent. Swing suburban areas of the battleground states — places like Fairfax County, Virginia or Bucks County, Pennsylvania — are almost sure to help determine the general election winner. Right now, Clinton is enjoying a big head start.

Clinton has a 10-point advantage on the commander-in-chief test.

This poll showed that Trump has very significant advantages when it comes to questions about economic issues. He handily beats Clinton when voters are asked which candidate would better on trade, dealing with Wall Street or managing the economy. But Clinton has a ten point advantage (43 percent to 33 percent) when voters are asked who would be the best commander-in-chief. Yes, Clinton's disadvantage on the economy is a big deal, particularly for the significant portion of voters who still aren't feeling any impact from the economic recovery. But an advantage on the commander-in-chief test is something any candidate covets, particularly in courting late deciders and swing voters.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners