Throughout the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump has had worse favorable numbers than Hillary Clinton. Both candidates are among the least-liked in the history of modern polling, but Clinton has been slightly more liked than Trump. No longer.
In an ABC/Washington Post poll released Monday, Clinton’s favorable numbers dropped below Trump’s for the first time during this election. Only 38 percent of voters had a favorable impression of the Democrat nominee, while 60 percent had an unfavorable one — for an overall score of negative 22 percent favorability. At the same time, 39 percent of voters had a favorable impression of Trump, and 58 percent had an unfavorable view of him, giving him a negative 19 percent favorability.
Since May 2015, more people have had an unfavorable impression of Clinton than a favorable one, according to the RealClearPolitics average. Overall, her numbers have worsened since she entered the race. Trump’s numbers, however, have improved since he entered the race with a negative 39.3 percent favorable rating (22.7 percent favorable and 62 percent unfavorable).
These numbers represent the worst favorability among the top two presidential candidates since at least 1984. The poll considered numbers from October in each election. In 2012, for instance, Obama had a 6 percent favorability (52 percent favorable-46 percent unfavorable), while Romney — whom Democrats savaged mercifully — only had a negative 4 percent favorability (47 percent favorable-51 percent unfavorable).
Most presidential candidates have had positive approval ratings, with the exceptions of Romney (negative 4), George H. W. Bush in 1992 (negative 6: 44 percent favorable, 50 percent unfavorable), and Walter Mondale in 1984 (negative 11: 40 percent favorable, 51 percent unfavorable). Even Trump’s current score (negative 19 percent) blows Mondale out of the water, and Clinton (at negative 22) now leaves even Trump in the dust.
Next Page: People don’t like Hillary or Trump, but they hate the opposing candidate.
Perhaps not surprisingly, supporters of each candidate had the strongest unfavorable opinions about the opposing candidate. The level of vitriol itself, however, should be quite surprising. Among Clinton supporters, 95 percent had an unfavorable view of Trump, and a whopping 90 percent had a “strongly unfavorable” view of him. Among Trump supporters, 97 percent had an unfavorable view of Clinton, while 90 percent had a “strongly unfavorable” one.
For comparison, only 70 percent of Obama supporters in 2012 had a “strongly unfavorable” view of Mitt Romney, and even in the throes of anti-Obama sentiment in 2012, only 74 percent of Romney supporters had such a view of Barack Obama. In 2008, people were even more civil: only 57 percent of Obama supporters and the same number of McCain supporters viewed the opposing candidate as “strongly unfavorable.”
As might be expected, Trump’s numbers are worse among non-whites, women, and college graduates, while Clinton’s are worse among whites, men, and non-grads. Perhaps surprisingly, only 36 percent of white women had a favorable opinion of Clinton, while 61 percent had an unfavorable opinion of her.
FBI Director James Comey’s surprise revelation of new documents in the case involving Clinton’s private email server is likely responsible for this popularity nosedive. The source of the leak — disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal — can’t help either.
One thing unites people like nothing else in this election — everyone wishes it was already over. In a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll, 71 percent of respondents said they strongly agree the election had already ended.