Election 2016

Most Americans Dislike Hillary Clinton, But They Like Her More Than Donald Trump

What does it means when each party's frontrunner is detested by a majority of Americans? That we are smarter than we vote.


Gallup has new, "unaided reactions" reactions to the words Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner for her party's presidential nomination.

It's not good, with "Dishonest/Liar/Don't trust her/Poor character" pulling 21 percent among U.S. adults. The next thing that comes to mind? "Dislike her," at 9 percent.

In addition to the 21% of responses in the "dishonest/don't trust her" category, another 7% of Americans use even stronger words in a similar negative vein, including "criminal," "crooked" and "thief." Nine percent say they dislike her.

A slight majority of us (51 percent) express "something negative" about Clinton while just 29 percent have kind words to say about her. Her rival in the Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders, engenders both more positive and less-intense feelings, with 29 percent saying something positive with only 20 percent saying something negative.

Read more here.

Here's the kicker: As bad as the numbers are for Clinton, she's doing better than the Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump. Three weeks ago, Gallup found that a whopping 60 percent of Americans viewed Trump negatively and only 33 percent felt favorably toward him. Out of recent presidents, only George W. Bush pulled higher negatives and that came after he'd been in office for seven years (in April 2008, Bush managed a record 66 percent disapproval rating).

What does it mean that the two frontrunners are broadly disliked by the electorate? The short version: It means real and continuing trouble for the major parties, who have worked overtime to alienate the average voter.

As I've noted before, party identification is at or near historic lows for the Democrats and Republicans. Just 29 percent of us tell pollsters that we're Democrats and just 26 percent admit to being Republicans. The 2016 election is not going to reverse that. If fact, it may even drive those numbers into single digits (here's hoping).

This is precisely the situation that Matt Welch and I wrote about in The Declaration of Independents. The major parties have stuck to the same scripts and coalitions that worked well enough for them in the 20th century. The Dems patched together private and public-sector unions and various minority groups while the GOP called out to social conservatives and small business owners, among others. Neither those interest groups nor concerns are relevant enough in the 21st century to keep broad-based parties solvent. The Democratic Party has become a party fetishizing the past of industrial jobs that will never come back. Both Clinton and Sanders attack the few bright spots in the economy, such as Uber and Airbnb, as somehow cheating the workers who flock to those services and the customers who love them. They each now oppose school choice, the single-most-obvious way to help poor inner-city kids get a chance in life. The GOP is ready to shut down the government not over out-of-control spending by the government but over $500 million given to Planned Parenthood for birth-control and contraceptives. If we're lucky, the next debate might feature Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio speaking in Spanish about which one is more dedicated to keeping Latinos out of the country. The GOP speaks the language of liberty but talks only of building walls and, increasingly, trade restrictions and war. Most of its leaders are in perpetual pants-pissing mode over the end of "mainstream" America and the rise of alternative everything.

The major parties can keep running on fumes because they are effectively the only electoral game in town and unlike duopolies in the private sector, they get a huge stream of taxpayer cash to sling around and eke out win after win at the ballot box. But when your two top candidates are disliked, distrusted, and disapproved of by a majority of Americans—and when shrinking numbers of people will identify with you—there comes a moment when a reboot will happen.

That's the opportunity for those of us with alternative approaches to politics, whether coming from the broadly defined right or the left. Obviously, I'm convinced that a broadly libertarian approach to politics—one that combines social tolerance and fiscal conservativism—is the way to go. Somewhere on this page is a 2014 meme put out by Tim Moen, a Canadian politician. It's seemingly a parody of a libertarian politician's stances but each is wildly popular among American voters at large. Throw in dislike of heavy regulation, skepticism of the U.S. acting as the world's policeman, and concern over national debt and the need for entitlement reform, and you could win just about every election at every level of government.

NEXT: What Unmarried Women Want: Big Government?

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  1. Does anyone get the impression that Nick does not like Trump?

    1. I'm pretty sure he's a big cruz guy.

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          1. I know I'm replying to a bot, but this "next generation" stuff has to stop. if the chip exists, it is the current generation.

      2. That's sarcasm right? If it's true, I've missed any indication of it.

    2. Give me a break. Trump hasn't even really put the hammer down on Hillary, besides that one time when the stupid bitch called him a sexist and he shut her up real fast by telling the world she enabled Bill to continue his reign of molesting and raping women. She came out the next day and said she wasn't going to talk about Mr Trump anymore.

      Trump will destroy Hillary within the first week after he gets the GOP nomination.


      Seriously Gillespie, haven't you got better things to do than ATTEMPT to insult our next president?

  2. You were doing so well until the last part of your last sentence. Sorry, entitlement reform is not a winner. Public pension reform can be.

    1. Yep. SocSec and Medicare are still the third rail of American politics.

      I would go for tax reform (budget neutral, massive simplification at a minimum) and pubsec pension reforms "to guarantee that our public servants have the retirement we have promised them." The pension reforms would actually be to migrate our pubsecs to defined contribution, not defined benefit, plans.

      1. Yes to both please.

        1. Then vote Democrat. They support the former and would easily trade for the latter if you offered the right deals.

          Republicans? Just budget-busting, irresponsible tax cuts.

  3. If the GOP top men have any brains they will pull the plug on the Trump nomination as quickly as possible regardless of how butthurt it makes the trogs. Fuck 'em. Not worth alienating the non-trailer trash part of America for a generation.

    1. There is no way for "top men" (if they actually existed) to accomplish this.

      1. I believe what he's saying is "SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING!"

        1. You should try reading my comment again with your brain on this time.

          1. Like that would help.

            1. I larfed, cyto is a sixteen year old with way too much time on his hands.

          2. You should try commenting again with your brain plugged in to begin with.

        2. There is. Someone needs to go to a Trump rally as a protest and make sure they get the shit kicked out of them. Maybe even take some folks along to get the shit-kicking party started.

          I think someone getting beaten half to death while Trump says he wishes he could have punched the guy will do the trick.

          Not sure why it hasn't happened yet, honestly.

          1. Honestly? Not sure that Trump's supporters wouldn't see that as a positive.

    2. Yeah! Fuck democracy and te will of the people. Let's ram something they vocally oppose down their throat.

      Hey, should the Dems just tell America that Obama is gonna be their nominee again, constitution be damned?

      1. As a dem super delegate, I like the sound of that.

      2. Damn right. "The People" are morons.

        Constitutional law =/= how the GOP runs itself

        1. We live in a representative republic. What you propose is to turn that in its head because one party is about to nominate a buffoon while the other is about to nominate a crook.

          Why not, you know, let the system correct itself? It seems a whole lot better than upending one of the more democratic parts of it.

          1. I propose no such thing. I propose that the adults exert control over the GOP.

            1. Oh yes. The Top Man theory of government.

              Worked so well through the centuries.

              1. Oh Christ how dense can you be? Running the GOP =/= Top Man theory of government

                1. Well played Tulpa, well played.

            2. How. Without making the election even MORE of a thing where the main two parties simply decide who will run the country, voters be damned, how would you accomplish such a thing??

              The scenario you propose isn't a good one. If there was a way for people who control the GOP to "exert control" over it in such a manner, it would prevent ANY candidate who wants to challenge the Republican or Democratic establishment from ever winning.

          2. What does it means when each party's frontrunner is detested by a majority of Americans?

            The system is broken. The only competent candidate, IMHO, was Rand and he didn't make it very far at all.

            We live in a representative republic.

            No, do not. We used to live in a representative republic. The system is not going to correct itself because it is broken beyond repair. The corptocracy/illuminatii/elite/banksters or what ever you want to call them, have nestled themselves into the controls of the once for republic, and they are not going to give it up. This is no rule of law for everyone, just the rule of men.

            If we lived in a representative republic the GOP would, you know, represent the interest of those who elected them. Trump's very fucking existence as a candidate and popularity is because there is a disconnect between the represented and representative. The GOPe has done whatever the fuck they want for a few election cycles and it has taken the serfs this long to get riled up.

            When Hiilary is indicted, cops are prosecuted for murder, and IRS chiefs are sacked for insubordination, SCOTUS rules in accordance to the constitution at least 1/2 the time, give me a call. Until then, let's stop with this nonsense of pretending we live in a republic of limited enumerated powers and acknowledge we live under the boothills of a ubiquitous leviathan the likes of which Machiavelli could not even imagine.

            1. bootheels....fuck me

            2. 'Trump's very fucking existence as a candidate and popularity is because there is a disconnect between the represented and representative.'
              Nailed it.

            3. The problem is that our government stopped being truly representative (if it really ever was) the moment we started referring to shadowy political cabals as "parties" and started rooting for them like football teams.

            4. Ubiquitous Leviathan would be a darn good name for a band.

      3. Truthfully I've never found voting essential to the process

    3. pull the plug on the Trump nomination as quickly as possible regardless of how butthurt it makes the trogs

      Backroom deals to clear the way for an "electable moderate" have been working so well for them. Its practically the win button for Republicans.

      1. It has vastly better chances than Trump who will not only lose but stink up the GOP brand for a generation.

        1. He will be replaced in less than one election cycle should he get the nomination and lose to Hillary. (Which I'm not convinced would happen). It happens every time one of the two "major" parties puts a bad nominee on the ballot.

        2. who will not only lose but stink up the GOP brand for a generation

          I find that to be a best case scenario. We're about to hit another recession and Hillary will have that hanging around her neck into 2020, if she doesn't stroke out again before then. Either the Dems get smoked now by someone who says "fuck you" to their PC whinging, or they get smoked by the economy later on. And if the GOP brand gets sent into the gutter along with Trump or Hillary, so much the better.

          The Bushes are now persona non grata in the party despite blowing $100 million to get Jeb in office. The GOP "brand" they represent should take a dive right along with them.

          1. You know what would be better? A candidate who is not a criminal or mentally ill becoming president.

            1. You know what would be better? A candidate who is not a criminal or mentally ill becoming president

              Tough shit. The ruling class has become the Roman Senate during the rise of the Gracchi. "The adults" gave up their ability to properly run the country and Trump and Hillary are the result. That's what happens when liberal societies put superficial bullshit like keeping the GDP going up 2% a year above bolstering social and cultural cohesion.

            2. No love for Hillary or Bernie?

            3. Well, yeah, that WOULD be better, but this is America. So we're gonna get either a criminal or mentally ill person. We're gonna get one of the two either way.

    4. "If the GOP top men have any brains they will pull the plug ...."

      So, you're appealing to the Top Men to save us from the bad man. Ok.

    5. I'm pretty sure GOP top men have been trying to get rid of him already, and meeting with catastrophic failure.

      Democracy can be a bitch sometimes.

    6. If they had the power to do this, our democracy would be in a much sadder state then it is already in. It would suggest the Two Parties have even MORE control over everything.

  4. I'm convinced that a broadly libertarian approach to politics?one that combines social tolerance and fiscal conservativism?is the way to go.

    It might be the "right" stance but if the preferences of younger voters is a guide is it not more likely that social tolerance and socialism is the direction that the Unites States is going.

    (and I daresay that about half of Libertarians would settle for that)

    1. Ah, the old "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" trope. You know, the one that people who actually vote big gov every chance they get like to use. Such a shame that "socially liberal" includes so many big spending programs, and when they come in conflict with "fiscally conservative", well, if you have to choose, why choose the heartless fiscal conservatism?

      1. You really killed that strawman.

        1. Point to the place on this strawman where Mr Dean touched you.

  5. If libertarians have anything, it's their finger on the pulse of the electorate.

    1. The fact that a large proportion of people here actually think Trump has any kind of chance indicates that one of the reasons libertarians aren't that powerful is that they are completely hopelessly out of touch.

      1. Bush got elected. I am not sure Trump is any more hated on the left than Bush was. The right will vote for anyone running against Hillary, and Trump seems to have some appeal with the Blue Collar Democrats. Much as I dislike Trump, I am not so sure he cannot get elected against Hillary.

        1. Bush's negatives at election were nothing like Trump's.

          "The right will vote for anyone running against Hillary"

          I don't know about that, and you can't win with 'The Right' alone. You need independents, who overwhelmingly loath DT.

          1. Independents overwhelmingly loath Trump? According to whom?

        2. Trump favorability ratings

          It would take a crapton of independents changing their minds. Not just going from neutral to positive, mind you. Going from "hate the guy" to voting for him.

          1. Surprised Carson was +5 with indies.

            1. Carson is a nice guy so he get the nice guy pat on the head. I like him too. And would love to see him be President. But he'd never make it through the debates. Hillary would crucify him in a one on one debate and he'd come off looking incredibly weak and not very smart.

              So that + 5 is a mirage. On the other hand Trump's -27 is a mirage, drummed up by a ceaseless pounding by most of the media at every chance. Can Trump turn it into a positive? I doubt it. Can he become more popular with Independents than Hillary can? That's the central question and all that matters.

              As a point of reference, Hillary Clinton has a Net Unfavorability of -8.

          2. Look at the dates on that poll. I would hazard a guess that if you do the same polling in two months with Clinton cinching up the Dem nomination and half of the Rep candidates out of the race those numbers change. It's easy to dislike Trump when you've got a wide field of alternates, but once you've got a realistic alternative and the choice starts to become binary, the question stops being whether you like Trump and becomes would you rather Clinton was president.

      2. He has a solid lead in the primary results to date in one of the two major political parties. If he wins the nomination he has at least a puncher's chance. There's almost a year until the election, any number of bad things can happen to Hillary; some more likely than others (I vote for her having a massive stroke on the debate stage in the first Trump-Hillary debate because he stands at his podium with his fingers in his ears saying "LA LA LA I can't hear the words of liars!").

        Do I want him to be? No. Do I think he'll be? No. But I think you're every bit as ignorant as the folks you're insulting if you don't fear he doesn't have a chance.

        1. All your fantasy is missing is unicorns. He does not have a snowball's chance.


    2. more like jammed in an eye of the electorate

  6. If Trump is elected, Congress will rediscover its prerogatives and rein in the imperial presidency.
    Imagine Trump imposing his will through the EPA and OCR. The shrieking and wailing would be epic.

    We see this all the time in business. To fix something, you've got to break it first. Really break it. THEN you can start to effect real change.

    1. Trump will have his own cronies that he helps out. Those cronies will hire lobbyist just like everyone else. Our bought and paid for congress will do as they are told.

  7. But when your two top candidates are disliked, distrusted, and disapproved of by a majority of Americans?and when shrinking numbers of people will identify with you?there comes a moment when a reboot will happen.

    I'm still not clear on why the Democrats need any sort of reboot. What they're doing now seems to be working fine for them at the presidential level, at least. If anything, if Hillary wins (as I've always expected her to) despite high negatives, Dems should feel more confident than ever.

    I really don't think in January 2017 it will be necessary for them to say "Damn, we've only won the popular vote in 6 of the past 7 elections! We need to shake things up - quick, let's add some 'reduce spending' rhetoric to our formula!"

    1. Thing is, at ever other level-Congress, state- the Dems are getting killed. But I find myself agreeing with you somewhat. It's difficult to say how well the Dems would be doing if the GOP weren't self-destructing however. You're more level headed than most here.

  8. Something, something, cut spending!

    If none of the above will cut spending, then don't vote for any of the above.

  9. So is this leading to the scenario where a third party or independent presidential candidate overwhelmingly wins the popular vote, but can't capture electoral votes, thus triggering the next American revolution?

  10. Hilary or Trump, either way the Bill of Rights is in grave danger. Neither candidate has any respect for them, nor do their followers. If you thought Obozo was bad, just wait for one of these clowns. The key is to protect it from all threats both foreign and domestic. This means not panicking after a terrorist attack (probably staged) and early detection of bullying attempts to shut down free speech (e.g. twitter, facebook). The fact is, the public still responds positively to talk of 'Constitution' and 'First Amendment'. Best to leverage that without pandering, a trap which all candidates seem to get stuck in.

  11. part of me wants Cruz & Hillary to win their party nod and then have Bernie and Trump run as independents. Watching that presidential run will be hilarious.

  12. I am convinced at this point that Trump is the ONLY candidate that can defeat Hillary. Why? He will ignore any and all policy debates and take every opportunity to beat into everybody's skulls that she is corrupt and beholden to wealthy elites. Ultimately the election will come down to voting for an asshole or criminal. In that stand off; I am pretty sure the asshole wins.

    Of course, if the "Trump is a false flag" people are right he will immediately cave after the nomination and let her win.

    1. "I am convinced at this point that Trump is the ONLY candidate that can defeat Hillary. Why? He will ignore any and all policy debates"

      Maybe. But if the people are somewhat libertarian, they will note Trump's opposition to the Iraq War and gun-control, and Hillary's support for both. If it comes down to policy, Hillary will be at a distinct disadvantage, at least to the extent people are somewhat anti-war and pro-gun.

    2. Elections are contests between parties, not the chimpanzees the parties stick in front of the teevee cameras. Hillary is offering girls an alternative to medical mafia cartels, ku-klux birth forcers, christianofascist clinic gunmen. The Republicans promise more of all three things and the Libertarian Party (elpee.org) washes its dainty little lilywhites of the whole issue because the nationalsocialists are clearly foaming at the mouth "in good faith."
      I'll definitely vote libertarian if Austin is nominated, but will laugh out loud if Hillary's spiked heels grind stigmata through GOP hands grasping at the public till...

  13. I fear that it will come down to Clinton vs. Trump - and can't help but wonder if those two made a deal. I'm only half-serious about the deal part - but completely serious about my concerns about having to choose between Hillary and The Donald. Ugh.

  14. So, out of curiosity, I did a quick search for "Hillary Clinton" on Reason. On the first page of the latest results there were five articles where her name appeared in the headlines. "Donald Trump"? Ten. A quick glance through the headlines shows that, at least IMO, one or two of the Clinton headlines are at least neutral if not positive, while virtually all the Trump headlines are negative.

    Now, maybe I'm reading too much into that, and if I am, the editorial staff has my sincerest apologies. But if I'm not, I would just say that if you think a Clinton presidency would be anything short of disastrous--and I mean, buy gold, canned food, and ammo, and live in a cave until it's over disastrous--you're deluding yourself. This is a person who has proven, given the opportunity, that she will make horrible policy decisions and then refuse any responsibility for the results. Trump is a narcissistic dick who is probably doing this for shits and grins. Clinton is a dangerous combination of ambition, overconfidence, and utter ineptitude with just enough political capital to actually see her political will enacted.

  15. If you dislike Hillary and you dislike Trump why in the hell would you vote for either. Why not start a real voting revolution and vote for John McAfee. And if you have to hold your nose or reach for a barf bag every time you pull the lever for a Republican or Democrat then try voting Libertarian. You may not win but at least you still have some self respect. And if you really believe our politicians are always looking out for what is best for you and yours then by all means keep on doing what you been doing.

  16. The American public is dissatisfied with the major parties because they haven't delivered on their promises to provide something for nothing.

  17. As long as the two major parties continue to monopolize on 90-95% of the popular vote, the decline in party registration won't matter. Many independents will vote for a mainstream candidate. Most of the 30-40% of the dem voters (Bernie supporters, let's say) who might "strongly dislike" Clinton will vote for her in the general election.

    Discontent over the establishment is not the death of it. Lefties foam at the mouth when discussing Walmart, and yet half the clientele there is non white. The internet loves to hate on Call of Duty, and yet that brand is usually profitable.

    Both the GOP and democrat are part of America, whether you hate them or not. They're almost as old as the nation itself and generations of Americans supported their candidates and policies.

  18. Hillary Clinton supports Obama's racist war on drugs.

    She even supports the war on women who smoke weed.

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    1. piss-off

  20. the one I like least is usually the last one I hear speak, so it varies from moment to moment...dum & dummer to

  21. Trump being the lesser of two weevils.

  22. Dream on ? :

    "In your dream, Donald Trump is not a fraud,
    In your dream, Sanders is not a fraud,
    In your dream,all the rest are not frauds,
    In your dream, Obama is not a fraud,
    In your dream, Reagan was not a fraud,
    In your dream, all the rest were not frauds,

    In your dream, the constitution was not a scam,
    In your dream, the Supreme court is not a scam,
    In your dream, 9/11 was not a scam......."

    Lyrics excerpted from:

    "Dreams [Anarchist Blues]":


    Regards, onebornfree.

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  27. I'm not sure what it means in the context of this column, but I remember a couple of years ago, Hillary Clinton was the most admired woman in America with an approval rating above 60%. She hasn't changed. It's not as if no one knew about her, her history, or her positions back then. So, what has changed?

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