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Why millionaires like Clinton and Sanders better than Trump

Millionaires should be for Donald Trump. After all, he's one of them, and is the candidate who says he has the business savvy to Make America Great Again. But it looks like millionaires are just like the rest of us.

A new poll of investors with at least one million dollars of investable assets, conducted by Spectrem Group on behalf of CNBC, shows even this group is turned off by the bombastic presumptive frontrunner. He trails Hillary Clinton by 13 points in a general election matchup, and has the lowest support when compared to the fuller field at the time the survey was conducted (the end of March).

Demographics do not explain Trump's weakness. This sample of millionaires is overwhelmingly white and college-educated, and they're disproportionately Republican, male, and older. Yet Clinton wins with men, gets more cross-party appeal than Trump, and bests him among independents.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Presidential Candidates
Lucas Jackson | Reuters and Kena Betancur | ARP | Getty Images
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Presidential Candidates

Her support extends beneath the surface. She leads (or ties) the pack on a variety of issues, like climate change, unemployment, immigration, foreign policy, health care, energy and oil, cybersecurity, the financial markets, foreign trade, the middle class, and the economy overall.

And these millionaires are clearly not voting based solely on their economic interest—Trump leads the field as the candidate with the best policies for business, large corporations, and the wealthy. Although even here, there is some skepticism. Clinton fares better on who would provide a good investment climate, and only 1 percent say that Trump has "proven himself as a business leader" is the main reason for his popularity.


Lest you think Bernie Sanders' talk of "millionaires and billionaires" have hurt him with this group, think again. Sanders actually garners slightly more support than Trump with investors, even if the poll overwhelmingly shows they feel Sanders would not create a good investment climate.

If these millionaires really had their druthers, their GOP candidate would be John Kasich (remember the poll was conducted before Kasich dropped out). Kasich's up 22 points over Clinton—even leading with women and independents. Maybe that's why so many New Yorkers searching Google for information about Kasich before that state's primary also searched for filet mignon recipes.


So with Kasich out, how will millionaires make up their minds? Almost half (47 percent) rate "someone honest and trustworthy" as their top priority, with "a unifier who can work with all parties and groups" a distant second.

Although self-report of voting decision-making is sometimes fickle, these results are consistent with polling among voters overall. Although unlike GOP primary exit polls, it's worth noting that among these high-wealth investors, only 2 percent say "someone who is not afraid to say what he or she really thinks" is the top trait they look for in a candidate.

Of course, just like you can't step in the same river twice, the campaign for president is not the same now as it was in late March, and for sure won't be the same come November. But if people who likely know a thing or two about job and wealth creation are still rejecting Donald Trump, that's an obvious warning sign.

If someone claiming to be a successful businessman, able to create jobs and "Make America Great" isn't supported by his peers, then just how successful could he be? And what does his lack of support from investors say about the deal-making skills Trump promises will be the key to his success? Hopefully, we won't have the chance to find out.

Margie Omero is a Democratic pollster and strategist with twenty years of experience working with Democratic candidates, progressive causes, and major brands. She's the executive vice president of the public affairs practice at PSB Research. She is a regular political commentator in print and on television and is also the creator and co-host of the podcast The Pollsters . These are her own personal views. Follow her on Twitter @MargieOmero.

Disclosure: Margie Omero's husband is a media consultant to Sanders for President.

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