Historic Hatred for Both Candidates Could Impact 2016 Election
This year’s presidential election which is now less than a month away, could turn out to be historic…because so many voters can’t stand either one of the major party candidates.
According to Rider University political science professor Ben Dworkin, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the most unpopular presidential candidates in modern history, and perhaps in the history of the United States of America.
“There might have been people who were unpopular back in the 1800s but we had no way of actually knowing that because no one was polling back then,” he said. “Modern polling started back in the 1950s and clearly since then, which is the time we learned to measure public opinion, we’ve never seen anything like this.
Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Harrison agrees.
“This election is unique in that you have such high disapproval ratings for both of the candidates,” she said.
So what kind of an effect will this have on voting in the Garden State? Dworkin still believes we will see bigger voter turnout than in years when there is not a presidential race.
“People know about the race, people are motivated and they will come out to vote, but there isn’t going to be a lot of enthusiasm,” he said.
According to Dworkin, New Jersey is not a targeted state, meaning both sides expect Hillary Clinton to win easily, so there isn't an overabundance of resources being put into the race here to motivate people. This is in stark contrast to neighboring Pennsylvania, which is considered a battleground state.
Harrison believes voter turnout, in some instances, may also be depressed.
She said that a lot of voters in their 20s headed to the polls for the in 2008 and 2012 elections, but this year we could see “many of those young voters who are disenchanted with the political process, many who are disappointed that their choice Bernie Sanders didn’t win the Democratic nomination will be choosing to stay at home.”
If that happens, though, Harrison said the impact will be fairly negligible.
“That is because there are so few competitive elections, particularly for Congress this year,” said Harrison.
Dworkin said party identification, especially these days, is a very strong indicator of how people will vote in an election.
“We have become more polarized than ever before, so we can expect Democrats are going to vote for Democrats all the day down, and Republicans are going to vote for Republicans all the way down," Dworkin said. "There are very few independent voters who are out there that can swing to either side.”