How awful are Trump and Clinton? Obama and Mitt Romney would crush them, poll suggests

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 November, 2016, 9:02am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 November, 2016, 9:02am

It’s often said that the only candidates who could lose to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Here’s one indication that it’s more than a wry joke.

The latest Bloomberg Politics national poll asked voters who they’d support in hypothetical matchups between Trump and President Barack Obama, and between Clinton and the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

The result: Obama would clobber Trump and Romney would trounce Clinton.

Obama can’t run for a third term, but if he could he’d pulverise Trump by 12 percentage points, 53 per cent to 41 per cent, according to the poll. Romney would crush Clinton by 10 percentage points.

The survey, conducted Friday night through Sunday, showed Clinton leading Trump by three percentage points. Obama was judged favourably by 54 per cent of respondents, an approval rating that easily beat Clinton’s (46 per cent) or Trump’s (41 per cent). The president couldn’t, however, match the 58-per cent approval rating of his wife, Michelle.

“In an election about change, voters would like to change the candidates,” said Ann Selzer, the Des Moines pollster who conducts the survey for Bloomberg Politics. “In a heartbeat, the nation would elect Barack Obama all over again if he were able to take on Trump. Romney looks like the right choice against Hillary Clinton.”

If Trump loses, the poll result fortifies Republican contentions that a better and more qualified candidate could have won. That’s likely to make it easier for Congressional Republicans to oppose most everything a President Clinton would try.

Similarly, a victory by Trump would not give him anything close to a governing mandate in the eyes of Democrats, who would regard it as a referendum on Clinton’s personal weaknesses rather than a rejection of policies comparable to the ones Obama championed.

The yearning for other candidates shows up among various voting groups in the poll. For example, it shows that 50 per cent of voters under 35 years old favour Clinton, giving her an advantage among those voters of 15 percentage points. But in the hypothetical contest, Obama would win the same group of young voters by 35 percentage points. Among non-whites, Obama runs 17 percentage points further ahead of the Republican nominee than she does.

On the Republican side, Clinton beat Trump in the survey among those with a college degree, 52 per cent to 37 per cent. But it showed her losing those voters to Romney, 50 per cent to 43 per cent. Romney even runs slightly ahead of her among women.