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Voters dislike Clinton and Trump about as much as they did in January

Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump listen during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.
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Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump listen during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.

Voters' dislike for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has barely budged in months, even amid a brutal final stretch of the presidential election.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll this week showed 40 and 29 percent of voters held positive views of Clinton and Trump, respectively. That proportion was unchanged from January polling, when both candidates still faced challengers in their parties' primaries.

Half of voters now have negative views of Clinton now, up only 1 percent from January. Negative perception of Trump has grown more, but not by much — 62 percent of voters now have an unfavorable view of him, up from 58 percent in January.

Those entrenched views underscore just how many voters could have made up their minds early on Clinton and Trump, both of whom have been in the public eye for decades. The bizarre campaign's most damaging storylines — including Trump's repeated assertions that Clinton enriched herself at government posts and multiple sexual assault allegations against Trump — have only marginally affected how voters view the candidates.

Despite swings throughout the election, polling in a head-to-head race between Clinton and has also ended up right where it was in January. Clinton had a 10-point advantage over Trump this week, 51 percent to 41 percent, the same as January.

— CNBC's John Harwood contributed to this report