AP Shock Poll: 56 Percent of Voters Fear a Trump Presidency

Poll respondents also described the candidates in terms of character traits, and Trump performed worse than Clinton on every issue besides corruption and honesty. Only 23 percent considered the Republican civil, compared to 51 percent who said the Democrat was. Only 24 percent found him compassionate, while 43 percent said so of her. Only 28 percent found Trump qualified, while 54 percent saw Clinton that way.

A full 51 percent described the Republican nominee as "very or somewhat" racist, while only 21 percent said so of Clinton.

More Americans saw Clinton as corrupt (48 percent) than saw Trump that way (44 percent), and only 28 percent described her as honest, while 30 percent said Trump was.

This slight Clinton advantage held on policy issues as well. She leads Trump narrowly on the economy (45 percent to 43 percent), protecting the country (46 percent to 41 percent), and handling the threat from the Islamic State (43 percent to 41 percent).

Her victory proved more substantial on issues like immigration (46 percent to 39 percent), health care (50 percent to 35 percent), handling the U.S. image abroad (52 percent to 30 percent), Supreme Court vacancies (50 percent to 42 percent), international trade (49 percent to 40 percent), working with Congress (51 percent to 33 percent), improving race relations (54 percent to 25 percent), uniting the country (41 percent to 28 percent), and even in negotiating with Russia (47 percent to 37 percent).

Americans only trust Trump more when it comes to jobs (46 percent Trump to Hillary's 44 percent). The candidates tie on gun laws, on which 40 percent of Americans trust each candidate (and 5 percent trusted both of them!).

Clinton still led overall, with 42 percent to Trump's 34 percent. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson took 9 percent. A full 61 percent said they had not heard enough about Johnson to have an opinion, a knowledge gap which is only likely to grow with the Libertarian candidate excluded from the first presidential debate on Monday.

Trump will need to improve his image in Monday night's debate. While it may be acceptable for him to rank behind Clinton on issues like health care and the U.S. image abroad, her lead on the economy, protecting the country, and the Islamic State should be deeply troubling to the Republican's campaign. He will need to surpass her on some of these key issues, and make up some character-trait deficits in order to continue his recent polling upswing.

The past few weeks have shown that Trump can win in November, but it is still an uphill battle. No matter who takes the White House in January, a large segment of Americans will be angry — and it is not unlikely that many will still view 2016 as a bad dream years hence.