The Post seemed almost dismissive regarding the latest poll results. Instead of a big banner headline stating that Trump had made an 11-point gain on Clinton since their March poll to take his first presidential contest lead, the Post carried the story “below the fold” with a headline, “Poll: Election 2016 Shapes up as a Contest of Negatives.”
The Post is correct that “[n]ever in the history of the Post-ABC poll have the two major party nominees been viewed as harshly as Clinton and Trump.” Both Trump and Clinton are seen among registered voters as unfavorable by 57 percent, while Clinton leads in favorability by only 41 to 40 percent for Trump.
But that is a stunning change from the Post’s March Poll, which found Clinton leading Trump by 16 percentage points in favorability, 46 to 30 percent, while Trump was seen as 15 points more unfavorable than Clinton, 67 to 52 percent.
Having already become the “presumptive nominee”, Donald Trump has been on a goodwill tour to burnish his credentials among the same Republican establishment he used effectively as a whipping boy to gain viral credibility with Republican rank-and-file.
Clinton remains locked in the political equivalent of a cage match with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who was able to spend $160 million from January through April tattooing Clinton as “the establishment candidate.”
Clinton’s efforts to turn her attention to Trump have been upended by Sanders’s fundraising prowess. Sanders communications director Michael Briggs said in an email late on Friday, May 20, “We’ve made fundraising history, and we’re still going strong.”
As an avowed socialist who is now the darling of youth and the “social justice warrior” base of the Democrat Party, Sanders vows to stay in the race and “fight for every vote.”
The only reason Clinton kept close to Sanders in fundraising is tapping over 99 percent of the $60 million raised by the “Hillary Victory Fund.” The so-called joint fundraising committee is comprised of Clinton’s presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and 32 state party committees. It was advertised as building state infrastructure for a grassroots get-out-the-vote effort in the November general election.
The Victory Fund did make transfers of $3.8 million, or 6 percent, to the state parties. But $3.3 million, or 88 percent, was wired within two days to the Democrat National Committee by the Clinton staffers that control the DNC, according to POLITICO.
The only optimistic spin for Ms. Clinton in the Washington Post-ABC News poll is that she is favored by U.S. residents 44 to 37 percent over Trump, while Trump seen as more unfavorable by 60 to 53 percent. But only registered voters can vote.
Perhaps more illuminating, Sanders is favored over Clinton by 51 to 44 percent, while Clinton’s unfavorability is 53 to 38 percent versus Sanders.
In the last few days, Sanders has been barnstorming across California in a bid to win the state’s 475 pledged delegates. While Sanders is drawingtens of thousands of rabidly cheering fans at packed arenas, Hillary surrogate former President Bill Clinton has brought out smaller crowds at his rallies.
The latest Real Clear Politics California poll survey has Clinton leading Sanders by 51 to 41.3 percent. But if Sanders upsets Clinton, she will limp into the Philadelphia Democrat National Convention as the least popular nominee since President Carter’s 1980 reelection bid.
Both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns agreed in February to hold debates in California, but dates were never scheduled. Sanders on May 18 accepted Fox News’ offer to hold a Democrat debate ahead of the June 7 California primary; Clinton declined on May 23.
Clinton’s advisers told The Hill that regarding debates, “We have had enough of them. The only one that would benefit from another is Trump.”
But if Sanders and Trump both portray Clinton as a coward too afraid to face the American people, her favorable ratings will continue to fall and her unfavorable ratings will continue to rise.
This post has been updated.