We’re hearing a lot about Donald Trump’s dismal favorability numbers, also about Hillary Clinton’s and then finally a steady backdraft of commentary about how the Democrats aren’t much more united than the Republicans. This is not accurate. Clinton’s favorability ratings are not at all where you would want them to be right now if you’re a Democrat. But a look at the polls shows how differently each party sees all its candidates.
You may have seen the new Washington Post/ABC poll out this morning that shows that 67% of Americans view Trump unfavorably. Just 31% have a favorable impression of him. Notably, an identical percentage of independents view him unfavorably.
Hillary’s Clinton’s are also really bad. But they’re in the low 50%s, really weak but a world ahead of Trump.
But here are some more details about favorability ratings.
How are Trump and Cruz doing in the GOP?
Trump is at 56% and Cruz is 58%. Notably, John Kasich – the only guy who seems competitive in the general – is at 47% favorability. Now, we know that Kasich doesn’t have that much support. But this is favorability. You can think someone’s great and just not support him. But Kasich has significantly worse favorability ratings than either Trump or Cruz. Good luck making him the nominee.
Here’s another thing. As I just noted, Trump and Cruz are about equally popular among Republicans – not a great recipe for denying Trump the nomination if he’s the clear plurality winner. But here’s a point of comparison. Back in late February Gallup noted that Hillary Clinton had moved ahead of Bernie Sanders in their net favorability among Democrats – it was Hillary +55 and Sanders +44. They’ve switched back and forth and now Sanders is back ahead of her by double digits – +36 to +52.
So about the same, right?
For the Dems I’m talking about net favorability not favorability. So this is favorability minus unfavorability. In other words, among Democrats both major candidates are seen favorably by an overwhelming number. By contrast, Trump’s net favorability among Republicans is +14, Cruz’s is +20, Kasich’s is +7. Even within their own party, none of the three candidates are much better than break-even in terms of what people think of them. By contrast, among Democrats Clinton has ranged between mid-30s and low-60s; Sanders has ranged between mid-40s and low-60s.
The gist is this: Trump is by far more unpopular than any nominee in recorded history. None of Republican contenders are strong even among Republicans. Meanwhile, both Clinton and Sanders are overwhelmingly popular among Democrats. Clinton’s favorability numbers are quite poor right now. But against either of the current likely GOP nominees, she should still be fine.