Trump or Hillary? Americans Will Vote For Who They Dislike Less

A poll finds that Democrats and Republicans may vote only to block the other party from winning.

4 min read

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz,  and Ohio Gov. John Kasich  during the Republican Presidential Primary Debate, 25 February  2016. (Photo: AP)

The U.S. presidential election may turn out to be one of the world’s biggest un-popularity contests. Nearly half of American voters who support either Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump for the White House said they will mainly be trying to block the other side from winning, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday.

The results reflect a deepening ideological divide in the United States, where people are becoming increasingly fearful of the opposing party, a feeling worsened by the likely match-up between the New York real estate tycoon and the former first lady, said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

Trump has won passionate supporters and vitriolic detractors for his blunt talk and hardline proposals, including his call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, and his promise to renegotiate international trade deals.

US presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks in New York. (Photo: Reuters)
US presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks in New York. (Photo: Reuters)

Former Secretary of State Clinton’s appeal to voters seeking continuity with President Barack Obama’s policies, has won her a decisive lead in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, but finds strong opponents among those disillusioned by what they see as lack of progress during Obama’s tenure.

The poll asked likely voters about the primary motivation driving their support of either Trump or Clinton heading into the general election on Nov. 8.

Findings of a poll conducted by reuters/Ipsos. (Photo: Reuters) 
Findings of a poll conducted by reuters/Ipsos. (Photo: Reuters) 

About 47 percent of Trump supporters said they backed him primarily because they don’t want Clinton to win. Another 43 percent said their primary motivation was a liking for Trump’s political positions, while 6 percent said they liked him personally.

Similar responses prevailed among Clinton supporters. About 46 percent said they would vote for her mostly because they don’t want to see a Trump presidency, while 40 percent said they agreed with her political positions, and 11 percent said they liked her personally.

To be sure, voters’ opinions could change over the next several months. Candidates will be feted at party conventions, will square off in a series of national debates, and will be targeted by millions of dollars worth of advertisements. But the negative atmosphere is likely to reign, says Alan Abramowitz, an Emory University professor who has studied the rise of negative partisanship in America.

Both campaigns probably will decide their best strategy is to work even harder to vilify each other. “It’s going to get very, very negative,” Abramowitz added.

Meanwhile, according to the online political stock market PredictIt, Clinton has a higher probability than Trump of becoming the next U.S. president, but the gap between the pair narrowed this week.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters at her election night watch party. (Photo Courtesy: AP/Gerald Herbert)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters at her election night watch party. (Photo Courtesy: AP/Gerald Herbert)

Clinton’s probability on Friday was 61 percent, down from 65 percent seven days ago, according to the site, which allows users to wager small amounts of money on “yes” or “no” predictions of future events. The probability that Trump will win the Nov. 8 election was 40 percent, up from 34 percent.

Trump’s sweeping victory in this week’s Indiana primary prompted his remaining Republicans rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich to drop out of the race, cementing the businessman’s status as the party’s presumptive nominee. Clinton is in a fight with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination and holds a clear lead in delegates. Trump is now testing out themes to use against Clinton to persuade disgruntled Republicans to get behind his campaign. On Friday, he criticized her use of a private email server while she was U.S. secretary of state.

Not only does Trump’s ridicule of his opponents manage to stir things at political rallies, the fact that he scorns as many republicans as Democrats is an indication of the cracks within the GOP, according to a report from Yahoo news.

Trump doesn’t mince words when it comes to Republicans who have declared they aren’t voting for him, “among them former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., both one-time rivals for the nomination he has all but won”, the Yahoo news report adds.

Bill Clinton was the worst in history and I have to listen to her talking about it? Just remember this: She was an unbelievably nasty, mean enabler. And what she did to a lot of those women is disgraceful. So put that in her bonnet and let’s see what happens.
Donald Trump

As the Yahoo news report points out, it was expected that Trump would be “slamming” Democrats. But his issues within the GOP reflect a peculiar display of “Republican vs. Republican discord”.

Though Democrats generally distanced themselves from the Republican in-fighting, however President Barack Obama did say “This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show, and candidates need to show they have the qualities to lead the world’s strongest nation”.

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