In true race-to-the-bottom style, a new poll finds more Americans have a favorable view of Russian President Vladimir Putin than either front-running U.S. presidential candidate — and those who vote Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump do so only because they have a less favorable view of the other candidate. Simply put, people support warhawk Hillary because she isn’t demagogue Trump, and vice versa.
“There is no precedent for this in recent decades,” noted the Wall Street Journal, which conducted the poll with NBC News.
Protest votes have given each candidate the bulk of their success: Hillary’s actual supporters comprise 44 percent of the total, while those voting for her to thwart Trump total 52 percent. Trump’s actual fan base is slightly lower than hers, at 42 percent, but his anti-Hillary support accounts for 54 percent of his voters.
Despite heightened anti-Russia propaganda for decades, 38 percent of voters said they have a “very negative” opinion of Putin — while Clinton received a 41 percent “very negative” view, and Trump, 44 percent.
In fact, both Clinton and Trump shattered previous negative voter opinions, a dubious distinction previously held by George H. W. Bush — for nearly a quarter of a century. Bush’s polled a 46 percent negative view from voters in 1992, but Clinton has 54 percent negativity rating and Trump, 58 percent.
Over one-quarter of voters, 27 percent, don’t like either candidate, the poll found — a rather alarming figure considering Clinton and Trump have had plenty of time to cultivate positive support.
As the Journal explains, a “problem for Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton: they are universally known. Americans were still getting to know Mr. Clinton in 1992 and Mr. Obama in 2008 when their images improved in the course of the campaign. It is hard to reposition a candidate who is widely known.”
Widely known for exceedingly negative reasons, as Clinton currently sits at the heart of a criminal investigation for her notorious employment of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state — an issue many perceive as her pompous belief she is above the law.
Trump’s brazen campaign proposals — the infamous ban on all Muslims and his Wall to, essentially, keep immigrants he believes to be solely Mexican out of the U.S. — haven’t aided his support numbers. However, since becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Trump suddenly gained support from within the party — with “positive views minus negative views” now accounting for 33 percent support. During the same time period, Clinton’s party support for the same statistic marginally declined, from 43 percent in April to 42 percent now.
Among voters, the positive minus negative opinion of the candidates illustrates a remarkably different picture — both net negative favorable views. Clinton fell from negative 13 percent in March to negative 20 percent by May; while Trump’s image improved, gaining from negative 39 percent in March to negative 29 percent this month. Notably, self-declared socialist, Bernie Sanders has maintained a net positive opinion in the minds of voters — maintaining a positive 7 percent from March through May.
Contrary to previous presidential races, where mudslinging constituted the worst Americans could expect from campaigns, this year’s elections have been fraught with controversy, protests, suspected electoral fraud, and the widespread realization the system is rigged beyond reform.
Unfortunately, it seems 2016 won’t be the year we find out what happens when no one votes the other evil, as protest votes for establishment candidates shown by this poll prove fear still drives validation of the failed system. Third parties are, however, gaining momentum as November draws ever closer — another recent poll found 56 percent of those with unfavorable views of Trump or Clinton wouldn’t vote for either candidate.
Apparently the voting public’s strategy closely resembles that of Mae West, who said, “Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before” — because, as anyone voting this election might tell you: it’ll be different this time.
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