NH poll: Both presumptive nominees are "exceptionally unpopular"

A new head-to-head presidential poll from WBUR puts Hillary Clinton just barely in front of Donald Trump. It also puts them tied on favorability, and that’s not good news for either candidate in the key swing state of New Hampshire. And since both have almost 100% name recognition in the Granite State, expect plenty of attack ads in New Hampshire to highlight — er, lowlightthe opponents:

According to the survey, Clinton leads Trump 44 percent to 42 percent among likely Granite State voters, with about 7 percent still undecided.

The new WBUR poll is consistent with several recent surveys from around the country that suggest the general election race would be competitive.

The reason this race is so close is that both Clinton and Trump are exceptionally unpopular across New Hampshire.

“Very few people like either of them by comparison to other presidential candidates,” said Steve Koczela, president of the MassINC Polling Group, which conducted the WBUR survey.

How bad is it? Exceptionally bad, and for both. While Hillary has a slight edge in favorable rating (35% to 33%), they both get the same 58% unfavorable rating. The slight difference in favorability shows up in the undecided column, but for both candidates those percentages are in single digits. Their “honest and trustworthy” ratings are also similar at 26% for Hillary and 27% for The Donald. If either of them had to run against someone else as the major-party nominee, they’d get creamed in New Hampshire. That becomes very obvious with WBUR’s H2H results for Bernie Sanders, who trounces Trump 53/36, and 54/38 with leaners.

Mitt Romney, who lost New Hampshire by six points in 2012, even gets a special mention in this poll, although it’s unclear why. Among undecideds, the pollster asked about support for an alternative candidate. Hillary won that matchup 42/40/6, but when the generic alternative is replaced with Romney, the numbers shift to 36/30/20, giving Hillary a six-point lead. In a straight-up choice between Hillary and Trump among undecideds, though, Hillary leads by four points, which suggests that Trump’s not likely to exceed Romney’s 46%.

This brings up another point, which is the difference in the status of the races. The GOP nomination has been sewn up, but at least for now Sanders is still contesting the Democratic nomination. According to the crosstabs, the likelihood that Trump will get a boost from Sanders supporters in New Hampshire is about nil. Hillary gets a 61/32 favorable rating from Sanders supporters in the Bernie/Donald matchup, while Trump gets a 9/86. When Hillary wraps up this nomination, she’ll benefit from the inevitable rapprochement on the Left, while Trump has little on which to count for additional support.

The only good news in the poll is that Trump doesn’t appear to be weighing down Kelly Ayotte’s Senate re-election bid. Even that is tempered good news, as this is also the first poll that shows Ayotte trailing against Gov. Maggie Hassan, but it’s still within the margin of error.

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