Hillary Clinton’s Political Decline Continues… but it’s Trump that’s Helping her Stay Afloat

Hillary Clinton campaigned with Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, a potential pick as her running mate, in Annandale, Va., on Thursday. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Hillary Clinton campaigned with Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, a potential pick as her running mate, in Annandale, Va., on Thursday. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

If it weren’t for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton would be the most disliked major-party presidential nominee in recent American history.

That qualifier, of course, is important here. Clinton doesn’t need to be liked; she needs to be liked slightly more than Trump in what will very likely boil down to a two-candidate race.

But it’s hard to overstate just how bad Clinton’s numbers are. And a new Washington Post-ABC News poll is the latest to suggest they just keep getting worse — so much so that they are in some ways about as bad as Trump’s.

The poll shows 54 percent of all Americans have an unfavorable view of Clinton and 44 percent have a “strongly unfavorable” view of her. When you boil it down just to registered voters, those numbers tick up to 57 percent and 47 percent, respectively.

Either way you slice it, Clinton’s image is as bad or worse than it has ever been. Below is the trendline on her “strongly unfavorable” number among all Americans. That 44 percent figure is an all-time high — as is the 47 percent figure among registered voters.

In a campaign between two candidates neither of whom a quarter of Americans say they like, it seems apparent this race will come down to whom they dislike less and whom they trust to be president — despite their personal distaste. But while many Americans will basically have to vote for someone they dislike, there are degrees of dislike. And voting for someone you strongly dislike is a much tougher haul.

Which brings us to this: Nearly half of registered voters strongly dislike Hillary Clinton, and nearly half of registered voters strongly dislike Donald Trump. As we noted for Clinton, it’s 47 percent. For Trump, it’s 49 percent. A virtual tie. That suggests getting majority support — or close to it — as most presidential elections have required will be a struggle for both major-party candidates this year.

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SOURCE: Aaron Blake
The Washington Post