By Glynn Wilson –
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On the eve of the first major general election presidential debate, American voters are not confident either party’s candidate would make a great president, according to the latest Gallup poll on the subject.
Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will go into the debate Monday night as the two most deeply unpopular presidential candidates in modern history, according to the Washington Post. “Both hope to discredit the other, and both hope to emerge from the debate having burnished the public’s view that they are better qualified to be commander in chief.
Only 33 percent of Americans say Hillary Clinton would make a “great” or even a “good” president, while only 25 percent say the same about Donald Trump, according to the Gallup numbers which show the two candidates in a virtual tie in the popular vote, with 46 percent supporting Clinton and 44 percent for Trump, well within the 3 point margin of error.
More Americans think either candidate would make a “poor” or “terrible” president. A majority, 51 percent, say Trump would be a poor or terrible president, compared to 39 percent who say the same about Clinton.
It is not entirely clear why, but the public’s pessimistic views of Clinton have improved since May, when 47 percent said they did not like her chances of being a good president, while Trump’s numbers have not changed significantly since then.
Some Democrats who initially showed resistance to Clinton’s nomination by supporting Bernie Sanders rate her in a slightly less negative light now, but her most ardent support still comes from minority voters and women, while Trump does best with white males without a college education.
Sanders supporters are still out there working for what is being called “Our Revolution,” and some say if the Democrats had nominated the Senator from Vermont, Trump would not have a chance.
“Bernie could have won this thing hands down,” said Walter Simon, an ardent Sanders supporter who got involved in the campain down in Alabama. “It’s really too bad that the race is even close at this point. Trump would clearly make a terrible, disastrous president.”
Gallup’s Bottom Line
“The past four months have been eventful for the presidential race, but clearly not consequential in terms of Americans’ outlooks for either a Clinton or Trump presidency,” Gallup concludes. “The public is no more likely to view a Clinton presidency positively than in May, but fewer now have negative expectations if she were to win. But views of a Trump White House have hardly budged, and a majority continues to think he would be a poor or terrible president.”
Gallup attributes this to the “incredibly negative tone” of the campaign says it will be nearly impossible for anything to happen in the next two months that would change either candidates’ “dismal” assessments from voters, unless something striking happens in the world or the debates.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Sept. 14-18, 2016, with a random sample of 1,033 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60 percent cellphone respondents and 40 percent landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.
© 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.