The US presidential battle is too close to call, but one element is clear: Americans have soured on candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, a poll released Wednesday showed.
Respondents to the latest Quinnipiac University national poll put Clinton ahead of Trump just 42 percent to 40 percent, a narrowing from Clinton’s four-point margin in the organization’s June 1 survey.
It is also considerably closer than the 12-point Clinton advantage in an ABC News/Washington Post poll published Sunday which highlighted Clinton capitalizing on Trump’s recent mis-steps.
The Quinnipiac survey of 1,610 registered voters notably showed that 61 percent believe the 2016 election “has increased the level of hatred and prejudice in the US.”
Of that group, two thirds blame the Trump campaign, with just 16 percent blaming Clinton’s team.
Overall the survey shows less-than-flattering views of both candidates in the months before the November 8 election to determine who succeeds President Barack Obama in the White House.
“Voters find themselves in the middle of a mean-spirited, scorched earth campaign between two candidates they don’t like. And they don’t think either candidate would be a good president,” Quinnipiac poll assistant director Tim Malloy said in a statement.
Trump has made several incendiary statements during the campaign, including a call for banning Muslims from entering the United States, and describing Mexicans as rapists and criminals.
It has been a tumultuous week for Trump, a political novice who recently fired his campaign manager and faced criticism for having a paltry $1.3 million war chest at the end of May.
Following the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the brash businessman earned rebukes for tweeting out self-congratulations over “being right on radical Islamic terrorism.”
Respondents said by 58 percent to 33 percent that former secretary of state Clinton is better prepared to be president than Trump.
But they said Trump would be better at creating jobs (52-40 percent) and at handling Islamic State extremists (52-39).
The poll has a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.