US Elections 2016

Clinton soars in polls as support for Trump plunges

Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaking at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 27.
Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaking at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 27.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • Support for Mr Donald Trump has plunged as he has alienated fellow Republicans and large majorities of voters overall in the course of a month of self-inflicted controversies, propelling Democrat Hillary Clinton to a double-digit lead nationally.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds sweeping unease with the presumptive Republican nominee's candidacy - from his incendiary rhetoric and values to his handling of both terrorism and his own business - foreshadowing that the November election could be a referendum on Mr Trump more than anything else.

Roughly two in three Americans say they think the property tycoon is unqualified to lead the nation; are anxious about the idea of him as president; believe his comments about women, minorities and Muslims show an unfair bias; and see his attacks on a federal judge because of his Mexican- American heritage as racist.

A slimmer majority say they disapprove of the way Mrs Clinton has handled questions about her use of a personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state, and half of Americans are anxious about the prospect of a Clinton presidency, underscoring the historic unpopularity of both major- party candidates.

In fact, so strong is many Americans' opposition to Mrs Clinton and desire for a change in Washington that even some registering their disapproval of Mr Trump say that, as of now, they feel compelled to vote for him. For instance, 18 per cent of people who found Mr Trump's comments about the judge racist, 15 per cent of those who think his comments generally are biased against women, minorities or Muslims, and 11 per cent of those who think he is unqualified say they support Mr Trump over Mrs Clinton.

Nearly one-third of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say Mr Trump is unqualified for office, and 18 per cent say he does not represent their beliefs.

Nevertheless, in a head-to-head general election match-up, Mrs Clinton leads Mr Trump 51 per cent to 39 per cent among registered voters nationwide, the poll found. This is Mrs Clinton's largest lead in Post-ABC polling since the later part of last year and a dramatic reversal from last month's survey, which found the two contenders nearly even, with Mr Trump at 46 per cent and Mrs Clinton at 44 per cent.

As the hard-fought general election gets under way, Mr Trump is on dangerous ground. Fifty-six per cent of the US public say the celebrity business mogul stands against their beliefs, while 64 per cent say he does not have the necessary credentials to be president. Fifty-six per cent feel strongly that he is unqualified.

Nearly one-third of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say Mr Trump is unqualified for office, and 18 per cent say he does not represent their beliefs.

Still, Mr Trump enjoys a big lead with those who want a new direction for the country, 64 per cent to Mrs Clinton's 26 per cent.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2016, with the headline 'US Elections 2016 Clinton soars in polls as support for Trump plunges'. Print Edition | Subscribe