It’s hardly news that presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton have serious image challenges with average voters.
The bombastic billionaire and the email-challenged former secretary of state are beset with negative ratings dangerously approaching 60 percent of all voters, according to recent polls. A majority of Americans indicated that if given the chance, they would rather not invite either Trump or Clinton to a backyard barbecue – let alone have them running the country.
According to one poll, 59 percent of Americans have a “very unfavorable” or “strongly unfavorable” opinion of Trump, while 57 percent have highly unfavorable views of Clinton.
Trump’s popularity and trust quotient hasn’t been helped recently by controversies over his handling of millions of dollars in contributions to veterans’ organizations or accusations in legal proceedings that the now defunct Trump University defrauded thousands of students.
And Clinton’s reputation took another beating last week with the release of a State Department Inspector General’s report documenting that she failed to obtain legal approval for her use of a private email server during her four years as secretary of state and followed practices that posed serious national security risks.
The 2016 presidential campaign is marked by an unprecedented credibility gap. Trust in the two major candidates has deteriorated so much that many Americans simply don’t believe anything the two candidates say or promise, according to a new survey by Quinnipiac University released on Thursday. And only 20 percent of voters believe Trump when he boasts of a net worth of more than $10 billion, according to a survey by the Morning Consult.
When Trump promises to build a security wall along the U.S.-Mexico border or expel 11 million illegal immigrants, the vast majority of voters shrug and essentially say “no way or good luck with that.” Nor do most voters believe Clinton when she says she will try to limit secret money in politics or rein in the power of Wall Street banks and financial institutions.
“No matter which candidate you pick, you can cut the cynicism with a knife,” Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement accompanying the findings. “Will Donald Trump build that border wall or toss 11 million illegal immigrants out of the country? Voters believe that as much as they believe Hillary Clinton will police Wall Street or stop the flow of outside money into the pockets of politicians.”
Here is what the poll found:
- Only 24 percent of voters surveyed believe that Trump – if elected – would make good on his pledge to build a wall and force the Mexican government to pay for it. Thirty-nine percent say he will try but fail, while 29 percent say he won’t even try.
- There is even more skepticism that Trump is serious about mass deportation of illegal immigrants. A mere 19 percent of all Americans believe he will try and succeed in fulfilling one of his most controversial promises of all. Forty-five percent say he will try but fail. And more than two in ten say he won’t even try.
- Trump does best with his pledge to temporarily bar non-citizen Muslims from entering the country until the U.S. gets a better handle on terrorist activities: Nearly 30 percent say he would try and succeed. Another 42 percent predict he would try but fail. And 21 percent say he wouldn’t even try.
- Clinton is even less credible with voters than Trump, if that seems possible. A whopping 63 percent of voters believe that Clinton would not even try to limit or remove secret PAC money from politics, as she has promised. And 18 percent say she would try but fail, while just nine percent believe she would try and succeed.
- Although she is notorious for having accepted millions of dollars in campaign contributions and speaking fees from Wall Street, Clinton has promised to rein in the practices of big banks to avert another financial crisis. Just 15 percent of voters surveyed believe she would try and succeed, while 21 percent say she would try but fail and 56 percent say she would not even try.