The most recent presidential debate started off with an age-old political appeal: Think of the children.
“The last debate could have been rated as MA, mature audiences, per TV parental guidelines,” Patrice Brock, an undecided voter, said as she addressed Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. “Knowing that educators assign viewing the presidential debates as students’ homework, do you feel you’re modeling appropriate and positive behavior for today’s youth?”
The answer, according to the nation’s parents? Not really.
Neither presidential nominee is seen by a majority of parents as a good role model, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll, but Trump raises substantially more concerns. The survey was taken after a tape of Trump bragging about sexual assault was published last Friday, but before newer accusations about his conduct came to light.
A 75 percent majority of Americans who have kids under the age of 18 say Trump is not a good role model for children, while just 12 percent say he is. In contrast, opinions on Clinton are about evenly split, with 42 percent saying she is a good role model and 43 percent saying she isn’t.
GOP parents are considerably less likely to want their children looking up to their party’s nominee. While nearly 7 in 10 Democratic and Democratic-leaning parents think Clinton is a good role model, fewer than one-quarter of Republican and Republican-leaning parents say the same about Trump.
Americans as a whole say by a 52-point margin that Trump isn’t a good role model, and by an 11-point margin that Clinton isn’t either.
Even if they don’t want to see their children grow up emulating Trump, however, most parents aren’t too concerned about the effect the election is having on their kids.
Forty-nine percent of parents say they’re “very comfortable” talking with their kids about the election, while 86 percent are at least somewhat comfortable doing so.
A small group ― 11 percent ― say their kids are disturbed or upset by the elections.
“My 16-year-old son is afraid that Donald Trump will start WWIII with the Muslims and all of the boys his age will be drafted into military service,” one Democratic parent said in response to the survey. “My 11-year-old daughter is frightened every time they put Trump on TV.”
“They do not like any of the choices available,” a Republican parent wrote. “Everyone is rude to one another and no one really answers the questions.”
However, 50 percent of parents say their kids are aware of the election but not troubled by it, while 28 percent say their kids aren’t paying much attention at all, and 11 percent aren’t sure what their kids think.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Oct. 8-Oct. 10 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.
The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls.You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.
Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.