U.S. Voters' deep dislike for both major-party candidates remain same as in January: poll

2016-10-20 16:59:30 GMT2016-10-21 00:59:30(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- American voters' deeply dislike for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her Republican rival Donald Trump has barely changed from January polling at the very beginning of the two major parties' primaries, according to a new national poll issued Thursday.

Currently only 40 and 29 percent of voters held positive views of Clinton and Trump, respectively, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds. The proportion is the same as in January.

Half of voters now have negative views of the former secretary of state, up one percent from January.

Meanwhile, negative perception of the New York billionaire has increased to 63 percent of voters, up from 58 percent in January.

Despite venomous exchanges of personal attacks which have defined the campaign, polling in a head-to-head race between Clinton and Trump also ends up right where it was in January, according to the poll, showing Clinton has a 10-point advantage over Trump, 51 percent to 41 percent, the same level as in January.

However, the poll suggests that Clinton has made some progress in improving her image -- She trailed Trump by 16 percentage points on the question of which candidate was more honest and straight forward, now she trails by only 4 points.

It comes as little surprise that neither candidate has succeeded in making more people enthusiastic about a Trump or Clinton presidency, said a Wall Street Journal report, quoting Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster working on the poll.

"If you think the basic tenet of a campaign is to destroy your opponent, then in that case they have fulfilled their duties," said Hart.

Impressions of Clinton and Trump, both household names long before they started their campaigns, "had already been formed over years, if not decades," said Jeff Horwitt, another Democratic pollster working on the Journal/NBC poll, noting such longstanding views can be hard to change.

"We're going to elect, no matter who it is, the most unpopular president in the history of polling going back to the 1930s," Horwitt was quoted as saying.

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