Polls: Voters Face 'Mr. and Mrs. Unpopular,' As Trump Gains

Guy Benson
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Posted: May 23, 2016 10:35 AM
Polls: Voters Face 'Mr. and Mrs. Unpopular,' As Trump Gains

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released over the weekend delivers dreary news to both major parties' presumptive nominees -- which nets out in Donald Trump's favor. Both he and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are quite unpopular among the national electorate, drawing nearly identical unfavorable reviews. The Post writes that the new data portends a "hard-fought, competitive and negative" partisan battle between the two candidates between now and early November. This graphic may not look very positive for Trump, but it actually is:


This deep unpopularity stalemate represents a significant improvement for the billionaire provocateur. He's still underwater, of course, but his overall favorability score has improved by ten percentage points over this polling series' March and April findings, in which Trump was viewed negatively by two-thirds of voters.  The latest numbers also show Trump pulling ever so slightly ahead of Clinton (46 to 44 percent) among registered voters, well within the margin of error, but a marked improvement over Clinton's a nine-point advantage in March.  Trump's surge is attributable to a Clinton's gender gap problem, wherein she holds a large lead among female voters (+14) but trails badly with men (-24), as well as a shift among independents.  He now leads the latter group by 13 points.  A peek at some of the survey's internals:

There's plenty of bad news in there for Democrats -- including that generic ballot deadlock, despite the survey's D+8 partisan sample.  But the news isn't all bad by any stretch: Nearly 60 percent of respondents agree with Hillary Clinton that Trump is "unqualified" to be president.  On candidate characteristics, she leads him on honesty (+2), empathy (+11), temperament (+30), experience (+43) values (+11), and ethics (+9).  Just to reiterate, Hillary Rodham Clinton is viewed more positively on honesty and ethics than her GOP opponent-to-be.  Trump has slim leads on ability to change Washington (+6) and leadership (+1).  When it comes to policy, Clinton is tied or favored nearly across the board.  She's got the edge on the economy (+1), national security (+3), trade (+3) immigration (+9), defending the middle class (+17), international relations (+23), and "women's issues" (+44).  Trump only leads on the issue of taxes (+5).

Large majorities also say Trump should release his tax returns (67 percent) -- he's repeatedly equivocated on this point -- and that he does not show sufficient respect for those who disagree with him (76 percent).  And despite all the talk of 2016 being the "year of the outsider," an eight-point majority would prefer an experienced leader in the White House over someone from "outside the establishment."  All of these data points underscore two points.  First, Hillary Clinton is a repellent political figure.  The D+8 sample and her many issue- and character-based advantages over Trump would seem to tilt the playing field decidedly in her direction, yet she's virtually tied with the widely-disliked Trump.  It's almost impressive.  Second, with that being said, after the current Democratic ugliness is sorted out and her party eventually coalesces (which they're in a pretty strong position to do), she's likely poised for a rebound.  I'll leave you with the new NBC/WSJ poll's brand new topline result:

NBC News' write-up refers to the two likely nominees as "Mr. and Mrs. Unpopular," citing their (-29) and (-20) favorability scores, respectively. Clinton holds wide leads among women non-white voters and young people, while Trump beats her with men, whites and seniors. Independents break narrowly for Trump.  Elsewhere, a recent Fox News poll measured a three-point Trump lead, while a NYT/CBS survey showed Clinton up by six.

UPDATE - In its original infographic (embedded above) WaPo inverted its results on the 'third party' question. That number is still quite high; the NBC/WSJ poll pegged openness to an independent ticket at 47 percent.