Two months ago we reported on Hillary Clinton’s favorablity vs. unfavorability ratings. At the time, fully 53% of the public viewed her in an unfavorable light. Since then, her unfavorability rating has risen to 55%, with only 40% of the public viewing her favorably. Further, 49% of the public say they would not even consider voting for her.
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders’ favorability and unfavorability ratings are a mirror image of Clinton’s. The most recent poll puts his favorability rating at 55% and his unfavorability rating at 40%. The Huffington Post’s average of 10 polls over the last three weeks has Sanders’ favorability rating averaging 47% and his unfavorability rating averaging 42%.
Which candidate is more electable?
It’s all too possible that Clinton could lose the general election if, as now seems quite possible, Sanders continues to pile up victories in the remaining primaries and caucuses, and the superdelegates hand the nomination to Clinton. Fully 25% of Sanders voters say they will not vote for Clinton, should she win (or be handed) the Democratic nomination. If it is in fact handed to her following a stream of losses, that percentage would almost certainly rise.
Clinton seems to be banking on the Republicans nominating a candidate the public loathes even more than it loathes her. It could happen. They could nominate either Donald Trump (69% negative, 26% favorable) or Ted Cruz (59% negative, 26% positive.
In such a case, Clinton would probably win a squeaker, the Republicans would retain control of the House and Senate, and we’d have four more years of the status quo: no serious moves toward reducing economic inequality; no real moves toward addressing the climate crisis; continued kid-glove handling of Wall Street criminals; continuation of the disastrous Bush/Obama interventionist foreign policy; and continued assaults on civil liberties and persecution of whistle blowers.
To make this more palatable to her backers, Clinton would throw them a few sops on social issues — especially gay rights and women’s rights. These are good things, but they’re also things she could deliver without angering her corporate backers, including those who have “paid” her $5,000 a minute to deliver speeches at their events.
This is the best we can hope for if Clinton gets the Democratic nomination.
But if, as now seems certain, the Republicans have a contested convention, and if they end up nominating anyone but an ogre (such as Trump or Cruz), all bets are off. Dislike of Clinton is so high that she could well lose to any Republican who sounds remotely reasonable.