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Terrorism, trustworthiness and temperament: Trump or Clinton?

Posted: 7:47 PM, Sep 22, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-22 20:47:44-04

Just a sliver of a difference separates Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton from Republican nominee Donald Trump on who fairs better on terrorism and Homeland Security in a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

Registered and likely voters surveyed in the poll give Clinton a 44 percent to 43 percent edge.

The poll was conducted September 16 - 19, and therefore overlaps acts of terror in New York and New Jersey.

The two candidates had very different approaches to addressing the bomb blasts.

Donald Trump announced “a bomb went off” moments after stepping off a plane at a rally in Colorado Saturday night. The announcement came as police were still responding to the blast and before New York officials released details.

“Boy, we are living in a time,” said Trump. “We better get very tough, folks. We better get very, very tough. It's a terrible thing that's going on in our world, in our country and we are going to get tough and smart and vigilant."

Clinton responded later Saturday night, offering condolences for victims and responding to Trump’s comments by saying it is, "important to know the facts about any incident like this."

"I think it's always wiser to wait until you have information before making conclusions, because we are just in the beginning stages of trying to determine what happened," said Clinton.

Kansas City Star political reporter Dave Helling said this highlights the candidates’ opposite styles.

“I think Trump in some ways understands we’re in kind of a Twitter world where people expect an immediate reaction and don’t necessarily discount those reactions if they’re wrong and turn out to be inaccurate,” said Helling.

Helling thinks the election could come down to a choice between Trump’s temperament and Clinton’s trustworthiness.

If that’s the case, the NBC/WSJ poll provides insight into the outcome.

When asked who is better on being honest and straightforward, Trump polls better than Clinton by 10 percent: 41 percent Trump to 31 percent Clinton.

But the temperament factor shows a huge shift in Clinton’s favor. She trumps Trump by 33 percent in having the right temperament to be president: 56 percent to Trump’s 23 percent.

When matched in a 2-way race, Clinton leads Trump overall 48 percent to 41 percent in the poll.

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Brian Abel can be reached at brian.abel@kshb.com. 

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