In a head-to-head match-up, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has a three per cent advantage nationally over her Republican rival Donald Trump, according to a new poll.
The latest George Washington University Battleground (GW Battleground) poll puts her ahead at 46 to 43, with 11 per cent of the voters undecided.
Interestingly, though, Senator Bernie Sanders, who has mounted a spirited but now seemingly futile challenge against Clinton, fares much better against Trump nationally, with an 11 per cent advantage at 51 to 40, with the rest undecided.
The bipartisan poll, conducted in partnership with The Tarrance Group and Lake Research Partners, found that among “likely voters” an overwhelming 89 per cent have been following the nomination process of the two parties closely – and that they have “negative views of almost all major candidates”.
The poll found that of the five candidates still in the race for the highest office, only two – Vermont Senator Sanders and Ohio governor John Kasich – have an unfavourable rating below 50 per cent, at 44 and 29, respectively.
The three others – former Secretary of State Clinton (56 percent), Texas Senator Ted Cruz (55 per cent) and businessman Trump (65 per cent) – are all mostly disliked, with a majority of voters saying they would not consider voting for them for president.
Interestingly, the poll found that former president Bill Clinton, who has been campaigning for his wife, has a higher favourability rating than four of the five contenders: with 54 per cent favourable and 41 per cent unfavourable.
The current president, too, fared better than the candidates. President Barack Obama’s job approval rating was at 51 per cent. This is the first time since December 2012 that the GW Battleground Poll found a higher approval than disapproval rating for President Obama.
“There is bad news aplenty here for both parties. Voters are disheartened, discouraged about the future and disdainful of the leading candidates in both parties,” Christopher Arterton, founding dean of the GW Graduate School of Political Management was quoted as saying in a release.
“On many important issues, the public seems to lean toward the Republican party… But since the two candidates with the best chance of receiving the Republican nomination are viewed even more unfavorably at this point than Secretary Clinton, there’s a good chance we are headed into an election where voters will see their choice as between the lesser of two unhappy options.”
The poll surveyed 1,000 “likely voters” nationwide from April 17 to 20. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.