BOSTON (CBS) – Back and forth we’ve gone for the better part of the past two years, a whirlwind of harsh charges and countercharges, attack ads, leaks and gaffes and scandals. Hot shower, anyone?
And according to the new WBZ-TV, WBZ NewsRadio, UMass Amherst poll, all the mud has succeeded in gutting the popularity of the two major-party presidential nominees.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte and her Democratic challenger, Gov. Maggie Hassan, have waged a tough battle. Yet their favorability ratings remain relatively strong, just below the magic 50% threshold. President Barack Obama, by comparison, is just a bit underwater, with a 47%/52% favorable/unfavorable split. But Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have done a thorough job of alienating many New Hampshire voters.
Clinton has a dismal 38% favorable ratings, an identical match to the 38% of the vote she drew in her landslide loss to Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary. But Trump is in even worse shape, his 31% favorable ratings four points less than his winning share of the multi-candidate GOP primary last February. Two-thirds of New Hampshire voters have an unfavorable view of him, an appalling result.
Just under 80% of likely voters told our pollsters they watched at least one of the presidential debates, and the impressions they formed there and from other exposure to the candidates seem to be outweighing the impact of media “bombshells”
The now-infamous audiotape featuring Trump bragging about groping women certainly didn’t help Trump; 33% of likely voters told our pollster it made them “much less likely” to vote for him, while another six percent said it made them somewhat less likely. Fifty-three percent said it made no difference.
And this knife cuts both ways. Asked if the Wikileaks dump of excerpts of those much-discussed speeches Clinton gave to Wall Street insiders for fat fees had influenced their vote, 31% said it made them much less likely to support her, with another ten percent somewhat less likely. Remember, Sanders made a big issue of those speeches during his New Hampshire blitz last winter. As with the Trump tape, 49% said it makes no difference to them.
Still, those stories have played their role in the unprecedented unpopularity of both nominees.
“They really are not the most popular candidates,” says Ray La Raja of the WBZ/UMass Amherst poll. “They both have things on their scoresheets that really hurt them.”
Later on today on WBZ News at 5pm, we’ll take a deep dive into the mud enveloping both Clinton and Trump when we show you word clouds showing what voters said when we asked them what one word came to mind when they think of the candidates. And tomorrow morning, the presidential horse race numbers, who has the edge in this crucial swing state with just days to go.