To say there’s a lack of enthusiasm for the two major party presidential candidates would be a monumental understatement — and a new study from the Barna Group proves just how somber the electoral situation truly is.
The survey found most Americans aren’t voting for Republican candidate Donald Trump or Democratic contender Hillary Clinton because they’re passionate about either of them; instead, they’re voting “against candidates rather than for them.”
It’s no secret that both Trump and Clinton have struggled on a multitude of fronts, with their trustworthiness and the genuine nature of their Christian faith being incessantly questioned by massive factions of Americans throughout the campaign.
Just consider the fact that, when asked which candidate best exhibits trustworthiness, a whopping 40 percent of Americans selected “neither,” with equal proportions — 25 percent — saying either Trump or Clinton best fit that bill.
And when it comes to the public’s view on which of the candidates is the most “authentically Christian,” only 18 percent selected Clinton and 12 percent selected Trump, while 38 percent said “neither” and an additional 26 percent didn’t know.
Beyond that, it’s important to note that the Barna data revealed a massive enthusiasm gap — a paradigm that likely won’t be all that shocking to anyone paying attention this election cycle.
Just 33 percent of likely voters who plan to choose Trump on Nov. 8 said they “really like” him, while 40 percent said they’ll choose him due to their dislike of Clinton; an additional 23 percent simply said he’s the “lesser of two evils,” according to the Barna report.
And the same dynamic exists on the Clinton front, though a slightly higher proportion of likely voters who plan to choose her — 40 percent — said they’re doing so because they like her. An additional 30 percent are choosing the Democratic nominee as a direct vote against Trump, while 27 percent simply see her as the “lesser of two evils.”
Barna’s survey also yielded some important faith indicators as well, finding that born-again Christians aren’t too enthusiastic about either candidate. Only 43 percent of born-again Christians who support Clinton said they truly like her, while 41 percent said they don’t. Among born-again Trump supporters, just 26 percent said they really like him.
When voters were asked to compare Trump and Clinton based on a variety of traits, Clinton came out on top for six of the eight indicators, as she was seen as more presidential, more respected by leaders, more able to work with those who share divergent views, seen as an effective communicator and was more likely to be viewed as a “strategic thinker.”
And the gap was quite wide on some of these fronts, with 42 percent of likely voters saying she’s presidential, compared to just 23 percent for Trump. Additionally, 44 percent said they believe Clinton has the ability to work with people who disagree with her, while just 22 percent said the same for Trump.
These proportions are quite different, though, when looking at responses from born-again Christians, who have a more favorable view of Trump on effective communication, strategic thinking, trustworthiness and patriotism. While Clinton wins out among likely voters on six of the eight attributes, she doesn’t top Trump on any of them among the born-again cohort.
But that doesn’t mean these born-again believers see Trump as “authentically Christian,” as nearly half say neither candidate can be described in that manner. Read all of the results for yourself here.