Election 2016

Trump's Image Slips; Clinton's Holds Steady

Trump's Image Slips; Clinton's Holds Steady
by Frank Newport

Story Highlights

  • Trump's image is at -33 net favorable, compared with -28 in early May
  • Clinton's image, at -13 net favorable, is little changed in last month and a half
  • Americans see both candidates less positively now than 11 months ago

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Americans' views of Donald Trump have drifted slightly more negative over the past month and a half, with his net favorable rating slipping to -33 for June 13-19 from -28 in the first week of May. Americans' views of Hillary Clinton have remained significantly less negative than their views of Trump -- and have been more stable, with her current -13 net favorable rating almost identical to her -14 from early May.

160621_Clinton_1

These results are from Gallup Daily tracking of the two candidates, with each estimate based on a seven-day rolling average of about 3,500 interviews.

The last month and a half has been an eventful period for both candidates. Trump secured the 1,237 delegates he needed to win the nomination the week of May 23. Shortly after, he attracted a great deal of attention by questioning the impartiality of the federal judge hearing a case related to Trump University because of the judge's Mexican heritage. Clinton basically secured the Democratic nomination on June 7 with her wins in California and other states. Both candidates also made highly publicized comments following the tragic shootings on June 12 in Orlando that left 49 dead, offering glimpses into how each would handle such an event as commander in chief.

Americans' views of Clinton improved modestly after she secured her party's nomination, but that basically represented a return to where her image had been in early May. The broad picture throughout the last month and a half for Clinton has been one of stability. On the other hand, Americans' views of Trump began to worsen in the final weeks of May and have continued to slip since. Importantly, the trend reflects a slow slide, rather than an abrupt change in response to any specific event of the past month and a half. Graphs showing the full trends in favorable and unfavorable ratings for both candidates appear at the end of this article.

Both Candidates' Images More Negative Now Than Last Summer

Gallup has been tracking the public's views of Clinton and Trump since mid-July 2015. Since then, both candidates' images have become more negative. Americans' views of Clinton have consistently been more positive than those of Trump, with the exception of a brief period in late August.

Americans held equally positive and negative views of Clinton in July 2015, but their views of the eventual Democratic nominee soured shortly thereafter, and her negative ratings have outweighed her positive ratings from last August to the present -- although with significant ups and downs over that period. Americans' views of Clinton have been generally steady since mid-April.

Trump's image peaked in late August, although it remained more negative than positive, and then generally drifted downward through April, reaching a low of -39 net favorable. His image improved through mid-May and then began yet another downward slide to where it is today.

160621_Clinton_2a

Despite the changes that have taken place over the past 11 months, the gap in the net favorable ratings of the two candidates is essentially the same now (20 points) as it was in July 2015 (21 points), when Gallup began tracking the candidates.

Implications

As the campaign has gone through its debate and primary-voting stages -- with all that accompanies these political events -- Americans have ended up with less positive views of both candidates compared with last July.

By this point in an election cycle, when each party's nomination has been clinched, candidates typically have more positive images than is the case for Clinton and Trump. Since 1992, Gallup has tracked few presidential candidates with negative net favorable ratings in June and July of an election year. The exceptions include Mitt Romney's -9 net favorable score in July 2012, as well as Bill Clinton's -6 and George H.W. Bush's -7 net favorable scores in June 1992. None of these candidates had net favorables in the summer as negative as Clinton's or Trump's today, however, and Clinton's and Romney's images became more positive closer to the election.

Americans can certainly change their minds about the candidates going forward, particularly during the party conventions that begin in mid-July. The public's views of Clinton have undergone significant shifts over the 25 years in which she has been in the national public eye as she has moved into and out of various political and nonpolitical roles, suggesting the possibility that views of her could shift once more. Trump is newer to the national political scene, and how much Americans will change their minds about him remains to be seen.

DT favorability

HC favorability

These data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for the latest Gallup poll estimates are based on telephone interviews conducted June 13-19, 2016, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 3,560 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how Gallup Daily tracking works.


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