Speed Reads

Poll Watch

Clinton roars ahead in national poll as most voters call sexual assault accusations against Trump 'credible'

Most Americans believe that the women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct are credible, a new poll by Monmouth University has found. A whole 62 percent of voters believe that the allegations of Trump's unwanted sexual comments or groping are credible, with 22 percent saying the accusations were "definitely true" and 40 percent saying they are "probably true."

Fifty-eight percent of voters said they were not surprised by the content of a recently released tape in which Trump bragged about groping and kissing women; about 4 in 10 voters said that Trump's "locker room talk" excuse explains his language. Another 40 percent of those polled said "most men" speak that way in private.

"This is a chicken and egg problem. Is Trump's base really comprised almost entirely of voters who engage in or condone the kind of sexually aggressive language he used? Or are his voters constructing a post hoc defense of Trump to rationalize their continued support of him? It's really not clear, but either way it speaks to the divisiveness that has characterized this election," said Monmouth polling director Patrick Murray.

Still, the damage has been done. As of Monday, Clinton leads with likely voters at 50 percent to Trump's 38 percent per that same nationwide Monmouth poll, which surveyed 805 registered voters over the phone between Oct. 14 and 16. In a similar Monmouth poll released Sept. 26, Clinton led just 46 percent to Trump's 42 percent. Nationwide, the RealClearPolitics average of polls shows about 45 percent support for Clinton and 39 percent for Trump.

Other major polls released Sunday and Monday with different polling windows, sample sizes, and margins of error showed Clinton up 8 points, 11 points, or 4 points. Monday's Monmouth University Poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percent.