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Election 2016 Features Unpopular Frontrunners in Both Parties

Election 2016 Features Unpopular Frontrunners in Both Parties

Record-setting unfavorables

I cannot recall a campaign season even remotely like this one, where the majority of American voters dislike both frontrunners.  This was hinted at following the Florida primary and is confirmed by a recent CBS News/New York Times poll:

Compared to frontrunners in previous presidential primary races, Trump and Clinton’s unfavorable ratings (57 percent and 52 percent respectively) are the highest in CBS News/New York Times Polls going back to 1984, when CBS began asking this question.


Perhaps, not surprisingly, most Democrats have negative views of Trump and a majority of Republicans view Clinton unfavorably. But more than half of independents have unfavorable views of both candidates. Clinton is viewed more positively by members of her own party than Trump is by his. Six in 10 Democrats have a favorable opinion of Clinton; just about half of Republicans have a favorable opinion of Trump.

So the difference between Hillary Clinton’s unfavorable rating and that of Donald Trump is that she has a higher favorable rating among her own party members than Trump does among his. But there isn’t a single previous candidate since 1984 that is even close in unfavorable ratings to either of this year’s front-runners. The previous high was a paltry 41% unfavorable, shared by several candidates.

Hillary Clinton tends to beat Trump in nationwide polls. Of course, in the past, polls that were taken at this point in time in a campaign have not been predictive of very much. However, unlike in many years, the public is very familiar with both of these front-runners and has been for a very long time, which might mean that attitudes towards them are more entrenched and quite recalcitrant to change. And it may well be that the biggest reason that Hillary does better in head-to-head polls against Trump is because she draws more Democratic support than he draws Republican support.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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These polls don’t mean anything. There are a lot of Bernie Sanders voters who will not give Clinton a high rating on such a poll as long as Bernie still has a chance.

Likewise there are a lot of Cruz voters who will not signal a high rating for Trump as long as the media keeps telling them that there is a way for Cruz (with 24% of the vote) to lawyer his way into the nomination by controlling the rules committee.

So Clinton and Trump have the high negatives because the heat’s on them.

    Zachary in reply to rotten. | March 28, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    the heat has been on other front runners in past elections but they never had the unfavorable ratings of Trump and Hilliary. They’re both upside down in that metric compared to past elections. We all know why Hilliary is so bad. But the Trump numbers are a mystery, eh?

There’s good reason to dislike both Clinton and Trump, which is a likely explanation for the high unfavorable ratings for each of them.

I really liked the original group of Republican contenders, because it had so many good choices. Why they chose to run a genuine RINO in that field, is beyond me. Once again, all the people I would have wanted to vote for, are unavailable, even in the primary.

Whoever wins out of this field is going to have a very hard time governing.

    RodFC in reply to Valerie. | March 28, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    No. The field of Republican candidates, while plentiful, was dreadful. Each candidate was in some way fundamentally flawed. That is why Trump is doing so well.

    If there were a couple of decent candidates Trump would never have gotten any traction. Hell, I don’t think he would have gotten in.

    tom swift in reply to Valerie. | March 28, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Whoever wins out of this field is going to have a very hard time governing.

    All a President really has to be able to do is golf. And unless he’s a notorious wimp, everyone he plays is going to let him win, even if he’s lousy.

Henry Hawkins | March 28, 2016 at 1:18 pm

About 30% of registered voters nationwide are Democrat, about 23% are Republican, and 40% are unaffiliated with either party. The percentages for Dems and the GOP are rapidly dropping year by year, while the unaffiliated plurality is rapidly growing, soon to be the majority. You won’t find clearer proof of voter disgust with both parties.

For entirely different reasons, both major parties are dying.

If neither party learns why they are dying, I predict a viable third party will emerge, displacing first whichever party most clings to its ignorance and obstinance.

If Trump and Clinton are the nominees this cycle, expect either the worst voter turnout in decades or the highest number of write-ins in history.

If you are a Republican, look to state-level political actions and candidates for salvation – it clearly isn’t coming from national level GOP-ers.

If you’re a Democrat, find a way to rid yourself of the Obamacare boondoggle, because you cannot delay the rolling out of its worst aspects forever, and when the group health insurance policy holders start feeling the burn (heh) that individual policy holders have already suffered, they will tar and feather you.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Henry Hawkins. | March 28, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Trump and Clinton are merely representative symptoms of a greater disgust and larger dysfunction amid American federal governance, all in place long before Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump desired the presidency.

    trevord in reply to Henry Hawkins. | March 28, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    I dunno about how much disgust plays a part versus how many states now have open primaries or caucuses which used to be closed to party members only.

    If these primaries went back to being closed, I think those percentages would increase.

    In open primary states like where I live, the only thing you get from declaring party affiliation is inundation with donation requests from the party.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to trevord. | March 28, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      Understood, but I don’t think people choose ‘unaffiliated’ based on whether their state is an open or closed primary. I think most choose ‘unaffiliated’ because they cannot stomach being a member of either estabished party. Hence, my use of ‘disgust’.

Actually, I have been discouraged by all the POTUS candidates. Every election has been voting the the lesser of 2 evils. Where are the candidates who value the Constitution? Where are the candidates who place country before party? Where are the candidates who will represent the people instead of pushing party agendas and power grabs? Where is that representative gov we’re supposed to have? The thing that is most different about this election is that we have and unindicted felon, a socialist and an unhinged businessman in the mix. Heaven help this country!

    tom swift in reply to showtime8. | March 28, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    an unindicted felon, a socialist and an unhinged businessman

    I don’t consider this a difficult choice.

    It’s not a wonderful choice, but it’s not a hard one, either.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to showtime8. | March 28, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    It is because we are forced to choose between the nominee from one party holding less than 30% of registered voters and the nominee from another party holding less than 24% of registered voters. The choices are dictated by dying minorities, neither of which come anywhere near representation of the majority of voters.

    This country will not change until folks stop seeing ‘the establishment’ as either Republican or Democrat. Along with a bootlicking media, it is comprised of both.

    The two-party system is killing America because each is controlled by special interests.

    Time to vote, America! Which shall it be – electrocution or hanging? It’s a free country, so choose wisely!

Hillary is a lot more unfavorable than trump is…
…though if the GOP makes the mistake like of putting forth a nominee like ted cruz …Cruz is predictable like Romney and McCain so the left has a playbook for his type. Trump goes outside the left’s playbook so they will have an extremely difficult time pinning anything to him. That terrifies them immensely.

My state is so deep indigo that if Trump gets the GOP nomination, I’ll write in or vote Constitution or Libertarian Party (if they have someone on the ballot).

This being said, I believe that President Shrillary Shroooooo, chief diplomat for the administration that all but handed the Fertile Crescent to ISIS and let Putin know there’d be no consequences for brinkmanship in Ukraine and the Baltics, will be a disaster for America, unless the Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight (the GOP in the Senate) can get its act together and successfully impeach.

Third party should be strong this cycle, which is good news for Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party.

One other thing. It’s been reported before, but early on hitlery’s popularity kept dropping the more often she was out in public.
She hasn’t held many press conferences. What will her negatives be when she’s in the full spotlight glare of a Presidential campaign?
She continues to screw up, just recently she was going to kill off coal jobs and had to retreat on that statement, although her apology was undoubtedly a bold faced lie. How many more screw ups to come?

holdingmynose | March 29, 2016 at 6:02 am

Looks like this years election will be a Hobson’s choice. Is “None of the Above” an option?

Besides high unfavorable numbers, Clinton and Trump are also not trusted. Most recent Fox News poll about 65% said ‘no’ to both when asked if they were honest and trustworthy.