Hillary's unpopularity now as high as Trump's among registered voters

Headshot image of Dan Calabrese
Published by: Dan Calabrese on Wednesday August 31st, 2016

Alternate headline: Something remains very wrong with 41 percent of America.

Maybe more than that, because chances are some of the 59 percent of registered voters who have an unfavorable view of Hillary will vote for her anyway, if only because they've bought the nonsense that Trump is a racist, a robber baron or whatever else he's supposed to be. Or they've bought the idea that while Hillary is corrupt and dishonest, she's somehow competent and thus a passable alternative to the wild-eye lunatic Trump - even though the track records of the two candidates support neither of those characterizations.

Either way, I guess this is progress:

Among registered voters, the two candidates have near-identical unfavorable ratings: 59 percent for Clinton vs. 60 percent for Trump.

Prior to the 2016 election, George H. W. Bush had the highest unfavorable rating for any major-party candidate for president in ABC/Post polls in July 1992, on his way to losing his re-election bid.

Clinton’s rise in unpopularity follows renewed attention on her use of a private email server and alleged conflicts of interest over her connections to the Clinton Foundation fundraising while she served as secretary of state. This metric rose among some of her core support groups, including women, post-graduates, Hispanics and liberals.

The shift erases a post-convention gain for Clinton, whose favorable rating ticked up from 42 percent in July to 48 percent in early August, before dropping to 41 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

Trump, on the other hand, had an even larger gap, with a 29-70 percent favorable-unfavorable rating in June. This nearly matches his highest unfavorability rating of 71 percent from May 2015, shortly before he announced his candidacy. Trump scored particularly low with blacks, 84 percent of whom view him unfavorably. Given the sample sizes, that’s not a significant difference from the 91 percent of this group who responded similarly in early August, despite his recent appeals for their votes.

If you're looking for hope that November is winnable, it's in the trends. Trump was at 70 percent unfavorable in June. Now he's down to 60. Meanwhile Hillary has trended up to 59. You could argue that this is just a moment in time because her corruption pertaining to e-mails and the Clinton Foundation is somewhat in the news this week, and surely the media will go silent on these things as we get close to Election Day. I think you'd be right in expecting that will happen.

But a broader look leads me to this theory: The Democrats and their media scribes have pretty much blown their entire ammo stash against Trump, and it's had as much effect as it's going to have. Not that they won't keep trying. I'm sure they will. But by now, anyone who's going to be sold on the idea that Trump is some sort of racist/sexist/ignoramus/vulgarian has already been sold. Anyone else is probably just tired of hearing it, and some might even be reconsidering their belief in the idea because they've seen evidence to the contrary. And some believe those things about Trump (or believe some of them at any rate) but still think he's the better choice compared to the corruption that Hillary represents.

The bar has now been set so low for Trump that if he merely presents some policy ideas that sound halfway reasonable, he might draw a reaction of, Gee, maybe I was too hasty in judging this guy. That assumes, of course, that anyone hears the substance of his policy ideas and not the vaccuous summations offered by the political press. But anything at this point probably works in Trump's favor.

Remember, I've always told you: Hillary's poll numbers are always better when she's out of the spotlight. They always get worse when people are more exposed to her, and they're thinking, "Good God, four years of this?"

The closer we get to the election, the harder it will be for her to hide. And for Trump, the more people get exposed to the fullness of what he says and not the snippets the media want you to see, the more opportunity he has to change the dynamics of the race.

I'm not predicting anything, but the polls are tightening, and the poll referenced here suggests that people aren't failing to notice just how awful Hillary is. As for the 41 percent of registered voters who somehow have not yet arrived at a negative view of her, I suppose everyone has to sober up at some point.

Get Dan's three-part series of Christian spiritual thrillers! And follow all of Dan's work by liking his page on Facebook.