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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Our Next President Will Be Really Unpopular


Our next President will be really unpopular. It doesn't matter who wins: Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Both have unprecedented unfavorable ratings. In fact, if either one were to run against any recent presidential candidate (winner or loser), they would almost certainly lose. Lucky for them, though (but not necessarily for us), their opponent is almost as or just a little more unpopular than they are. Consider, for instance, the FiveThirtyEight analysis ("Americans’ Distaste For Both Trump And Clinton Is Record-Breaking") that found that Clinton and Trump's "strongly unfavorable" ratings (not their "somewhat unfavorable" ratings) were historically high compared to previous candidates (see the graph below):


The Economist reached a similar conclusion in its analysis of the two presumptive candidates ("How unpopular are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton?"):
A glimpse at how the presidential contest is developing was summed up nicely by a recent headline in the Los Angeles Times: “A Trump-Clinton general election poses a question: Which one does America hate less?” The parties’ putative candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are unloved by most voters, consistently chalking up negative favourability ratings this year. 
The following chart of net unfavorability ratings pretty much captures how the two contenders stack up against previous years' candidates.


In fact, these ratings are often called "net favorability ratings" because most candidates' favorability ratings outweigh their unfavorability ones. But not this year. No. Both Hillary and Trump are widely disliked by the voting (and non-voting) public, which is why our next President is going to be really unpopular.

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