According to a new McClatchy-Marist poll, the vast majority of likely voters think that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton did something unethical on their way to the nation’s highest office. 83% say it about Hillary and 79% say it about The Donald. The only surprise here is that the numbers aren’t higher.
But while that number may indicate a dead heat, the story gets interesting with the specific questions the voters were asked. There, the “lesser of two evils” philosophy starts to break down and we realize that most Americans do not see the candidates as equals in wrongdoing. While the majority of respondents think Trump behaved unethically, only 26% think he broke the law. On the other hand, a full 51% of likely voters believe Clinton did something illegal.
No doubt, these concerns will weigh heavily on the voters as they head to the polls on Tuesday. The survey shows that both candidates continue to hold their status as the two most unpopular individuals to ever seek the presidency. 57% of respondents view Hillary unfavorably; 61% feel the same about Trump.
“This is practically off the charts,” said Lee Miringoff, the director of the survey. “You have candidates coming before the electorate with enormous baggage.”
But the question is whether all baggage is the same. Both Trump and Clinton seem to disgust many Americans, but for different reasons.
Trump’s high-octane, take-no-prisoners rhetoric rubs millions of people the wrong way, and the sexual assault allegations hanging over his head have voters shaking their heads in dismay. He remains plagued by several of his campaign comments as well – the John McCain thing, the Khan feud, the Indiana judge, Megyn Kelly, and on and on. Controversy helped him suck all the air out of the room in the primaries, but the same controversy has hindered his general election campaign.
Clinton, on the other hand, has led a disciplined campaign with very few unforced errors. If you were to judge the candidates solely by their decorum, she would be the obvious winner. For her, the controversy comes not from bombastic speeches but from her history of corruption. Millions of Americans can’t quite understand how an individual under two separate FBI investigations could be this close to winning the presidency.
And some think her evil deeds go well beyond what’s reported in the media.
“I’m sure she’s had people killed, there’s no doubt in my mind,” a North Carolina voter told the pollsters.
To the chagrin of millions, though, one of these two people will be our next president.
If there was a “start over” option, it might win in a landslide.