Trump Is the Second Most Unpopular Presidential Candidate Since 1984

First place goes to former Klansman David Duke, who was disliked by slightly more Americans in 1992.


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When Israelis ask me how someone like Donald Trump could be so popular among Americans, I tell them he really isn't very popular. Support from one-third to one-half of Republican primary voters (depending on the state) is not the same as support from Americans in general, most of whom do not like the guy. The latest evidence on that score comes from ABC News/Washington Post poll numbers released today, which indicate that, based on survey results during election years, Trump is the most unpopular presidential candidate in the poll's 32-year history, unless you include former Ku Klux Klan leader (and current Trump supporter) David Duke, who got just 119,000 votes in the 1992 Republican primaries.

According to the survey, 67 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of Trump, just two points shy of Duke's record 69 percent in 1992. The corresponding number for Ted Cruz was 53 percent—still nothing to brag about but only slightly worse than Hillary Clinton's 52 percent in a survey conducted last month. Given the margin of error, Cruz and Hillary are equally unpopular, and both are doing substantially better than Trump. John Kasich seems to be getting on fewer people's nerves: 39 percent took a negative view of him, the same as the proportion with a positive view.

Favorable ratings for Cruz and Trump were lower than Kasich's—36 percent and 31 percent, respectively, compared to Clinton's March rating of 46 percent. As you might expect for two people who have been in the public eye for decades, almost everyone has made up his mind about Trump and Clinton. In both cases, just 2 percent of respondents had no opinion about the candidate, compared to 11 percent for Cruz and 22 percent for Kasich.

Clinton was disliked by 54 percent of Americans back in April 2008, making her the seventh most unpopular presidential candidate in the poll's history, after Duke, Trump, Pat Buchanan (60 percent in 2000), Ross Perot (58 percent in 1996), Jeb Bush (58 percent this year), and Newt Gingrich (56 percent in 2012). That puts Cruz in eighth place, followed by Mitt Romney (52 percent in 2012).

As I said, these rankings are based on poll results during an election year. Trump is actually doing better than he was a year ago, when 71 percent of respondents disliked him.