Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton are locked in a virtual dead heat, with a majority of voters viewing both of them unfavorably, according to the latest public opinion polls.
One poll released Sunday, The Washington Post-ABC News survey, showed Trump with a narrow edge, while an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll had Clinton with a slight lead.
Both polls showed, as other surveys have in recent days, Trump gaining ground on Clinton after becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in early May.
The Post survey showed registered voters giving Trump, a brash real estate mogul, a 46-to-44 percent edge over Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state seeking to become the country’s first female president. That marked an 11-point shift since March toward Trump, a one-time television reality show host who has never held elective office.
The NBC News poll gave Clinton a 46-to-43 percent lead, down 8 points since April.
Both pollsters noted that voters appear energized as much by whom they dislike as by whom they like.
Last week’s Fox News poll showed Trump ahead of Clinton, 45 to 42 percent, while a New York Times/CBS News poll showed Clinton in the lead, 47-41.
U.S. analysts say Trump’s surge in political polls stems from Republican voters coalescing behind his candidacy, after many of them supported one of his rivals in state-by-state nominating contests before Trump defeated them.
Even so, some long-time Republican figures have declined to endorse Trump, including the party’s 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, claiming Trump does not represent the party’s conservative values and policies. Some wealthy Republican donors say they will sit out the 2016 presidential race, or even vote for Clinton in the November election to pick the successor to President Barack Obama when he leaves office in January.
Sanders remains in race
Clinton remains the heavy favorite to claim the Democratic nomination on June 7, when six more states hold Democratic nominating contests. But her lone challenger, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, remains in the race, saying he has a narrow path to overtaking Clinton, the wife of former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Clinton told NBC’s Meet the Press show Sunday that Sanders “has every right to finish off his campaign however he chooses,” but that she is focusing her attacks on Trump because she said his candidacy poses “immediate dangers” to the country.
In recent days, she has said Trump is “not qualified” to be the U.S. president. Trump has disparaged her foreign policy judgment as the country’s top diplomat from 2009 to 2013, particularly her support for the West’s effort to overthrow Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi and her handling of a 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans.
The NBC poll showed 20 percent more registered voters had a negative view of Clinton than favorable. But Trump’s standing was worse, with a 29 percent negative gap.
Nearly six in 10 voters in the Post‘s poll said they have negative views about both candidates, with slightly more disliking Trump. He surged to the top of a crowded field of Republican presidential candidates over the months-long campaign with calls to deport the 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States, temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country, and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to halt the stream of migrants entering the United States.