Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Face Hurdle Not Seen in Modern History

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tags: Hillary Clinton, election 2016, Trump



In the battle over image, the two likely presidential nominees face a challenge not seen in modern history. No modern candidate has entered the fray at this point of the race with deeper negatives than either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. And if history is any guide, their room for improvement is scant, especially because of their nearly 100% name recognition. ...

Since 1992, the only soon-to-be nominee who went into May with even faintly similar numbers was Bill Clinton, who registered 11 points under water in that year. His next closest competitor on the negative index: Mitt Romney in 2012, who came in at three points below water.

So is there precedent for any sharp reversal of fortune on the image front? Yes, but it doesn’t bode well for either Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Clinton managed to improve by 18 points between May and November. But his image that spring was still relatively fresh, with a quarter of respondents saying they either didn’t know him or had no opinion either pro or con. For Mr. Trump, by comparison, just 11% fell into category. And for Mrs. Clinton, 12%.

Even among independents, where both of this year’s front-runners have even worse net negatives (43 for Mrs. Clinton and 49 for Mr. Trump), the past suggests there’s only so much room for improvement.




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