Clinton Holds Clear Edge on Having Presidential Qualities

Clinton Holds Clear Edge on Having Presidential Qualities

Clinton Holds Clear Edge on Having Presidential Qualities

The FINANCIAL -- U.S. registered voters give Hillary Clinton a clear advantage over Donald Trump in terms of having the personality and leadership qualities a president should have. The two candidates are essentially tied when voters are asked if they agree with the candidates on the issues that matter most to them.

The results are from Gallup interviewing conducted Oct. 27-28. News broke Friday that the FBI would review whether a new set of emails belonging to Clinton's top aide Huma Abedin are related to the FBI's investigation of Clinton's private server while Clinton was secretary of state. Americans' responses to these questions on Friday did not differ significantly from Thursday. Moreover, there were no immediate signs that the news was affecting the two candidates' images over the weekend.

Voters rate Trump worse than any other presidential candidate in Gallup's records on having the personality and leadership qualities a president should have. Previous readings were taken in late October in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 campaigns. In those years, between 52% and 61% of registered voters said the two major-party candidates had the right personality and leadership qualities -- a sharp contrast to Trump's current 32%. Clinton's rating of 51% is one percentage point below the previous low score, according to Gallup.

In contrast, U.S. voters' agreement with candidates on issues today is similar to what Gallup measured in late October 2004 and 2008. Historically, voters have been about evenly divided on whether the two major-party candidates' issue positions align with their own, as they are in this election.

Gallup did not ask these two questions in October 2012, but did in the summer of that year. The results were generally similar to those measured in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Fifty-four percent of voters said in July 2012 that Barack Obama had the personality and leadership qualities needed in a president; 57% said Mitt Romney held these qualities.

Trump's deficit on perceived personality and leadership is also evident in the views among party groups. Sixty percent of Republican voters and independent voters who lean Republican say Trump has presidential personality and leadership qualities, substantially lower than the 87% of Democratic voters and leaners who say that about Clinton. This corresponds to the less positive image Republicans have of Trump and Democrats' more positive views of Clinton. For the two days of interviewing, Oct. 27-28, for example, 80% of Democratic registered voters on average had a favorable view of Clinton, compared with 65% of Republican voters who had a favorable view of Trump.

Republicans are just as likely as Democrats to say they agree with their respective nominee on the issues that matter most to them.

Implications

Trump and Clinton are about equal in voters' agreement with them on the issues, in line with what Gallup has measured previously and reflecting the general division of the U.S. electorate on political matters. From this standpoint, Trump is no different from prior GOP or Democratic nominees.

However, Trump stands out for his low ratings on having the personality and leadership qualities a president should have, relative to Clinton and to any other presidential candidate Gallup has measured.

Trump's approach to campaigning may be what made it possible for a businessman with no government credentials to become the Republican nominee for president. But his unique style and personality could also be holding him back in his quest to defeat Clinton in the general election.