Trump and Clinton, the White House race’s unpopular winners

May 5, 2016 9:24 pm
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How in the world did these two become their party's presumptive nominees?/AFP
How in the world did these two become their party’s presumptive nominees?/AFP

, NEW YORK, United States, May 5 – It’s the paradox of the 2016 US presidential elections: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are virtually assured of facing off against each other in November, and yet both are widely unpopular.

Two thirds (65 percent) of voters have unfavorable opinions of the Republican billionaire, and only a quarter (24 percent) think positively of him, according to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC survey.

In Clinton’s case, 56 percent are down on her, while only 32 percent see her in a favorable light, the same poll found.

Overview
  • Two thirds (65 percent) of voters have unfavorable opinions of the Republican billionaire, and only a quarter (24 percent) think positively of him, according to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC survey.
  • In Clinton's case, 56 percent are down on her, while only 32 percent see her in a favorable light, the same poll found.
  • A CNN poll this week put their unpopularity at 56 percent and 49 percent respectively.

A CNN poll this week put their unpopularity at 56 percent and 49 percent respectively.

“Historically, we haven’t seen this kind of thing before,” said Jeanne Zaino, a political scientist at Iona College. “It would be one thing if you had one, but this is… the two frontrunners.”

Trump, 69, an unpredictable political outsider who has never held elected office, has antagonized substantial portions of the electorate with his insults against women, Mexicans and Muslims.

The very experienced and circumspect Clinton, meanwhile, has struggled to win over many voters who have trouble relating to the 68-year-old White House aspirant.

How in the world did these two become their party’s presumptive nominees?

“It has to do with the way we select candidates,” said Columbia University professor Robert Shapiro.

In 2012, only about 16 percent of Americans eligible to vote participated in party primaries.

“Those who vote in primaries and caucuses are more often activists and extremists within the party. The average American barely votes,” Shapiro said.

With 17 candidates in the race for the Republican nomination, Trump only needed “a very small segment of the American electorate” to become his party’s standard bearer, he added.

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