Joint forum on foreign policy shows that both candidates have a lot of homework to do before the first presidential debate.
Feelings of frustration, disgust and fear are mounting among US voters, a poll has found, as many Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump supporters say their presidential choice is driven by a dislike of the other candidate.
The Pew Research Center survey, which was released on Wednesday, found that far more respondents felt frustrated (57 percent), disgusted (55 percent) or scared (43 percent) than interested (31 percent), optimistic (15 percent) or excited (only 10 percent).
Trump and Clinton supporters expressed similar levels of frustration, 55 percent and 53 percent respectively, and differed little in their feelings of disgust, 53 percent and 48 percent.
According to the poll, 33 percent of Trump supporters said the main reason for supporting the Republican candidate is that “he is not Clinton”, while 32 percent of Democrat Clinton supporters back her because “she is not Trump”.
The same percentage of Clinton supporters also listed her political experience as the main reason to vote for her, while 27 percent of Trump’s supporters chose him because he is a political outsider they believe will bring change, according to the poll.
— Pew Research Center (@pewresearch) September 21, 2016
The research centre said that it characterised the views expressed as signs of “a negative campaign”.
“Majorities of Americans describe themselves as ‘frustrated’ and ‘disgusted’ with the campaign, while few declare themselves ‘interested’, ‘optimistic’ or ‘excited’. And these negative takes have only become more widespread over the course of the summer,” Pew said in its report on the survey.
Pew also noted that the majority of supporters of both candidates express concerns about their own candidate.
“I don’t like most things about him but I can’t stand Hillary,” said a 73-year-old supporter of Trump who took part in the survey.
A 36-year-old Clinton supporter, on the other hand, said: “She [Clinton] would make a fine president, but I am concerned about her trustworthiness”.
In general, Trump supporters said that they were worried about his character and personality, while Clinton supporters said that they were concerned about her honesty or her associations with outside businesses or groups.
Many voters also had unqualified praise for their preferred candidate.
A 78-year-old woman supporting Clinton described her as “a seasoned veteran” who “can get things done”.
A 43-year-old man who backs Trump, on the other hand, said: “He [Trump] is not a career politician, and he doesn’t owe politicians anything. He’s got real-world experience that most career politicians lack”.
Only 11 percent of respondents said that they would be excited if Trump wins the November 8 presidential election, while 12 percent said that they would be excited if Clinton prevails.
Pew surveyed 4,538 adults, including 3,941 registered voters online and by mail between August 16 and September 12.