POLITICS

Donald Trump’s Temperament Could Explain His Abysmal Poll Numbers

Research shows that voters are more focused on candidates' personalities and statements than their policy positions.
Donald Trump's frequent outbursts probably aren't reassuring to voters worried about his temperament.
Donald Trump's frequent outbursts probably aren't reassuring to voters worried about his temperament.

New polling shows that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is consolidating her lead over GOP nominee Donald Trump: In the last two weeks, she’s hit 50 percent in five out of 13 national polls and has extended her lead to double digits in some of them.

The post-convention pattern is clear: Trump’s poll numbers are palpably suffering. And a new Pew Research Center poll might help explain why.

According to Pew, 6 in 10 voters say that their conversations about the 2016 election have focused on candidates’ personalities and comments, while only 32 percent say they’re talking more about policy positions. 

That’s not great news for Trump. After all, 67 percent of respondents say the real estate mogul does not have “the kind of personality and temperament it takes to serve effectively as president,” according to a ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday ― while 6 in 10 respondents say Clinton does.

A Monmouth poll had similar results, finding that 67 percent of registered voters polled believe Trump lacks the right temperament to be president ― up from 61 percent in July. Once again, Clinton’s numbers show the exact opposite: Sixty-one percent say she does have the right temperament to be president, up nine percent from July.

The ABC News/Washington Post and Monmouth polls are particularly significant in light of the Pew study ― perception of a candidate’s personality and temperament matters to voters.

Despite Trump’s claim that he possesses “one of the great temperaments,” his consistent (and seemingly more frequent) outbursts reflect poorly on his disposition and could affect voters’ decisions.

Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort says the real estate mogul is now attempting to “pivot” his campaign strategy (again) and start focusing on policy. The success of that reorientation remains to be seen. 

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.

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