To cleanse the palate. One difficult question has haunted this rancid armpit of an election above all others: Which of the two candidates best embodies the depraved malignancy of which the worst of humanity is capable?
We have our answer, my friends.
Among Trump’s voters a striking 83% would use the word “evil” to describe Clinton. Clinton voters aren’t much less willing to mince their words, with 66% describing Trump as “evil”.
However, these points of view rarely overlap. In fact, 37% of registered voters describe only Clinton as evil, and 30% describe only Trump as evil, and 24% describe neither candidate this way, but only 5% describe both candidates this way. Groups that are more likely to describe both candidates as evil are voters aged 18-34 (12%) and those who support third parties or are undecided (19%).
Only five percent say both of these phenomenally unpopular candidates are evil? I guess now we know exactly how many #NeverTrumpers there are. (Kidding. There are bound to be some Berniebros in that five percent too.) The choice on which candidate is more evil seems clear-cut, though. Many more Trump voters describe Hillary that way than Hillary voters describe Trump that way — never underestimate how much Republicans hate the Clintons — and among registered voters overall, more say Hillary alone is evil than say Trump alone is. Case closed.
Another interesting wrinkle: The numbers have shifted recently. Check the crosstabs of last week’s YouGov data and you’ll find that Trump voters split 75/20 at the time on whether Hillary is evil while Clinton voters split 72/19 on whether Trump is — nearly mirror images. Those mirror images don’t exist anymore, per the data above: There’s now a 17-point spread between partisan voters in viewing the other party’s candidate as evil. What happened to change that this week? Did Trump’s minority outreach touch some hearts? Did the latest Clinton Foundation pay-for-play revelations convince voters that Hillary’s even more a sleaze than they thought? Big news either way if true. I wonder if we’ll see Trump’s favorable rating improve in polls next week while Hillary’s dips.
Back to the new data. This partisan split on whether each word applies to the two nominees is interesting:
Most of that seems intuitive. Hillary corrupt? Sure. Even double digits within her own party think so. Trump crazy? Well, he is erratic. Fully 20 percent of Republicans agree, which I’d bet goes a long way towards explaining why he continues to underperform in consolidating GOP voters compared to Hillary consolidating Democrats. You can easily come up with arguments to support using each of these terms to describe either nominee — except, I think, “crazy” for Hillary. I’m not quite grasping that one, although 62 percent of Republicans are. Her problem, I thought, was that she’s too cold-bloodedly rational and calculating. Everything is focus-grouped, every self-enriching move is plotted. The fact that you’ve got 62 percent of GOPers calling her crazy anyway shows, I think, how most partisans on either side will grab at any pejorative to describe the enemy. If you had asked people whether Trump and Hillary are secretly vampires, you might have gotten 30-40 percent on that too.
Here’s Dolly Parton, who’s always willing to look on the bright side of life, insisting that Clinton and Trump are merely nuts, not evil.