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 matchup 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.
“This phenomenon is called negative partisanship,” Sabato said. “If we were trying to maximize the effect, we couldn’t have found better nominees than Trump and Clinton.”
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, his vow to force Mexico to pay for a border wall, and his promise to renegotiate international trade deals.
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.
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.
The April 29-May 5 poll included 469 likely Trump voters and 599 likely Clinton voters. It has a credibility interval of 5 percentage points. (For results, click http://tmsnrt.rs/1TLCbqX)
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, he said.
“It’s going to get very, very negative,” he added.
That would play into a longer-term trend.
A 2014 study by Pew Research Center found that Democrats and Republicans have shown increasingly negative views toward each other over the past few decades. In 2014 more than a quarter of Democrats, and more than a third of Republicans, viewed the opposition as “a threat to the nation’s well-being.”
Barbara Monson, 59, a Republican from Murray, Utah, is among them. “No matter who the Republican (nominee) is, I would have voted for him,” poll respondent Monson said of her support for Trump. “It’s never going to be Clinton. Never.”
Jo-Anne Michaud, 69, an independent voter from Abingdon, Maryland, told Reuters she would try to keep an open mind. Although she has voted for both Republicans and Democrats in the past, she feels repelled by Trump.
“I used to like the guy when I watched his show,” Michaud said. “But I just hate the way he talks now. I don’t think he’s a nice person deep down inside.”
(Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Clarence Fernandez)
California bill to establish nation’s second public bank applauded as ‘historic challenge to Wall Street domination’
"If California is serious about addressing racial and income inequities, we must create a banking system that centers people not profits."
In a move advocacy groups celebrated as a "historic challenge to Wall Street domination of municipal finances," a pair of California state lawmakers on Thursday unveiled legislation that would establish the nation's second publicly-owned bank and empower the institution to lend to businesses and local governments fighting to stay afloat amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
What is China doing to stop Beijing’s new coronavirus outbreak?
Over 1,000 flights have been cancelled, schools shut and residents urged not to leave Beijing, as Chinese authorities race to contain a fresh outbreak linked to the capital's largest wholesale food market.
The number of confirmed cases in the capital has shot up to 137 within the last week after two months of no cases, and four other provinces have revealed cases linked to the Beijing cluster.
How did the outbreak begin, and what measures are Beijing taking to contain it?
- What is the origin of the cluster? -
Beijing had turned into a virtual fortress at the height of the pandemic, with people arriving from other regions or countries required to undergo quarantines.
Democrats and Never-Trumpers gaming out ‘doomsday scenarios’ if president refuses to leave office: report
According to a report in the New York Times, Democratic strategists and Never-Trumper conservatives fear Donald Trump will refuse to leave office should he lose in November and are making plans and figuring out their legal options should such an unprecedented state of affairs come to pass.
The report, by the Times' Reid Epstein, begins with one such possible scenario.