12th Election Report from the USA:
70% of Americans have a negative view of Trump

Published on 2016/06/17
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In just a single month, public opinion has turned negative against Donald Trump. Trump has always been unpopular, but in May it looked as if sentiment was turning in his favor. But a new NBC News opinion poll shows that his approval ratings have tumbled over the last few weeks. 70 percent (!) of Americans now have an “unfavorable opinion” of Trump, ten percent more than just a month ago.

In my 10th election report I explained how Trump had increased the pressure on himself with his statements about a judge of Mexican heritage. This is now feeding through to the opinion polls. But Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, is also struggling to find favor. 55 percent of Americans say they have an “unfavorable opinion” of Clinton.

In a head-to-head comparison of the two candidates, it is clear – unlike a month ago – that Clinton is ahead of Trump. In mid-May, ABC placed Trump on 46 percent, two points ahead of Clinton (44 percent); according to FOX, his lead was even bigger: five points up on Clinton’s 37 percent. On June 5, FOX released a survey that showed a complete reversal of earlier polls, with Trump (39 percent) three points behind Clinton (42 percent). And on June 10, Bloomberg placed Clinton (49%) a massive twelve points ahead of Trump (37%).

It’s easy to explain why the mood has taken such a massive turn against Trump: The fact that the Democratic Party’s supporters oppose Trump is a no-brainer. But Trump’s problem is that he also experiences rejection from conservative voters and politicians. This is only partly to do with his politics. His aversion to “political correctness” is shared by many Americans. But firstly, Trump gives the impression that he doesn’t have himself under control and, secondly, lots of voters view him as a narcissist and ego-maniac.

Of course, Trump has recognized that the mood has turned against him and is trying to respond. He just announced, for example, that he wants to talk with the pro-gun NRA (one of his earliest supporters) about how best to stop people on watch lists from buying guns. By this, he means people who are terrorist suspects and are therefore not allowed to fly. It is debatable whether this move will actually gain him any votes, as Americans who support tighter gun controls will vote for the Democratic Party and not the Republicans anyway.

Trump is also trying to attract voters who belong to groups that traditionally oppose him – for example women voters and the LGBT community. Trump has highlighted the fact that the foundation run by Hillary and Bill Clinton has accepted large sums from countries such as Saudi Arabia, where women have no rights and LGBT people are persecuted. Clinton has consciously avoided criticizing such countries, for the very reason that they provide her foundation with massive financial support. Trump is now arguing that he represents the rights of women and the LGBT community more effectively and credibly than Clinton.

But all of these arguments don’t seem to be doing Trump any good in the polls. These and similar claims are obviously being interpreted as transparent attempts by Trump to pander to critical groups. Yet another example:

Trump recently declared his “love” of Latinos. But this “love” is unrequited: 89 percent of Latino voters have an unfavorable opinion of Trump, according to the poll mentioned at the start of this report.

ABC NEWS has pointed out that recent opinion polls confirm that Clinton and Trump are the two most unpopular candidates since the network started its surveys – and that is more than three decades ago.

About the Author

Dr. Rainer Zitelmann is one of the leading experts for the strategic positioning and communications of companies.