After last week’s horrific Orlando terrorist attack, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump issued a strong message against ISIS and the need to control immigration from parts of the world that have a history of hostility towards America.
Unfortunately, since the attack Trump has received a flurry of bad polling, especially unfavorable ratings, which show a mere 29% of Americans having a positive view of the Republican, down from 37% last month.
Trump is setting modern records for political toxicity — at least for a major-party candidate this far out from an election. Seventy percent of Americans surveyed in an ABC News/Washington Post poll out this week had an unfavorable opinion of Trump, up 10 points over the past month. The poll showed Trump’s favorable rating cratering at 29 percent, down from 37 percent last month.
The numbers were similar in a Bloomberg Politics poll: Trump’s favorable rating is just 31 percent, with 66 percent viewing him unfavorably. That’s only marginally better than in March, when 29 percent viewed Trump favorably, and 68 percent had an unfavorable opinion.
Gallup’s latest figures show Trump at 31 percent favorable/63 percent unfavorable – significantly worse than Clinton’s 41 percent favorable/54 percent unfavorable.
Those high unfavorables extend to the battleground states: A Marquette Law School poll out Wednesday found 64 percent of Wisconsin voters view Trump unfavorably — compared to only 26 percent who have a favorable opinion of him.
But it’s not just the overall unfavorable numbers — it’s the intensity of the antipathy toward Trump, and the lack of enthusiasm for him. In the ABC News/Washington Post poll, 56 percent of respondents had a “strongly unfavorable” opinion of Trump, compared to just 15 percent who had a “strongly favorable” opinion. In the Bloomberg poll, 51 percent had a “very unfavorable” opinion of Trump, with only 11 percent having a “very favorable” opinion.
Trump’s unpopularity is without historical peer in the modern era of presidential campaigns. Mitt Romney averaged a 46-percent unfavorable rating in mid-June 2012, according to the HuffPost Pollster database. John McCain’s unfavorable rating four years prior was only 40 percent, and more voters had a positive opinion of the Arizona senator than a negative one. In June 2004, then-Sen. John Kerry had a 58-percent favorable rating, according to Gallup, with only 35 percent viewing him unfavorably. Also from Gallup: Al Gore, in late June 2000, had a 52-percent favorable rating, and Bob Dole had a 55-percent favorable rating in June 1996.
Then-President George H.W. Bush is the last candidate to have a majority-unfavorable rating in June of an election year (51 percent unfavorable in June 1992), according to Gallup. But Bill Clinton’s unfavorable rating that year (47 percent) was also high. In May 1988, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, Michael Dukakis had an otherworldly 67-percent favorable rating, with just 10 percent viewing him unfavorably.
The Dukakis figures offer a historical warning: The former Massachusetts governor had a significant lead over Bush entering the summer of 1988, but Bush overtook and soundly defeated Dukakis later that year. By early October, Dukakis’ stellar image rating had been slashed in half: More voters in a CBS News/New York Times poll by that time viewed Dukakis unfavorably than favorably.
But Gallup editor in chief Frank Newport sees some parallels in the 1992 campaign. Unfavorable opinions of Bush reached as high as 57 percent “in the fall, when he was in the heat of combat,” Newport said.
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