It's a myth: Voters really don't hate Clinton AND Trump

Judging by all the grousing over both candidates, it's natural to think that voters hold both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in deep disdain.

That's not really true, though.

In fact, the current election is less a case of voters casting a pox on both candidates than an extraordinarily high negative perception of the other side's nominee. In other words, voters don't hate both Clinton and Trump,they hate either Clinton or Trump.

And "hate" is probably not too strong of a word.

Trump already has suggested that supporters exercise their Second Amendment freedoms to keep Clinton from office. (He later said it was sarcasm, but the line drew applause.)

Vice President Joe Biden, at a campaign stop for Clinton this week in Scranton, Pennsylvania, said Trump is "totally, thoroughly unqualified" to be president, to the wild cheers of those in attendance.

Polls indicate that both candidates have huge negatives: Gallup most recently put Trump's favorable to unfavorable rating at 31 percent to 63 percent, while Clinton's was at 41 percent to 54 percent. Just 23 percent — of Democratic-leaning voters no less — found Clinton to be honest and trustworthy, while only 36 percent of Republicans think Trump has the temperament to serve, according to survey results of 1,500 people released Thursday by NBC News and Survey Monkey. (Gallup surveys 1,000 for its daily tracking polls.)

Voters cast their ballots at the polling place at Fairfax Circle Baptist Church during Super Tuesday voting March 1, 2016 in Fairfax, United States.
Getty Images

Still, the perception that voters are ready to toss both candidates aside is mistaken.

Gallup puts Trump's favorability among Republicans at 66 percent, while Clinton is held in the same view by 75 percent of Democrats. While both are below where nominees traditionally sit with their party base, they still indicate fairly strong support levels.

However, Survey Monkey breaks the numbers down a little more, and the results aren't as dire for the candidates as the headlines would indicate.

It turns out only about a quarter — 26 percent — of voters view both candidates unfavorably.

"That's a relatively high proportion, with potential consequences for third-party candidates this year," Survey Monkey's Mark Blumenthal said in a post. "But most of the rest — the vast majority of voters nationwide — like one candidate and dislike the other."

And the numbers break down even more. Survey Monkey found that 38 percent rate Clinton and Trump unfavorably, while 33 percent hold the opposite position.

When it comes to rating the intensity of dislike i.e., "strongly" or "somewhat," it turns out only 10 percent strongly dislike both candidates.

So while it may not be much comfort as the headlines continue to roll in about the latest off-the-wall Trump proclamation, or the most startling revelation about Clinton's emails or the Clinton Foundation, most Americans haven't thrown in the towel yet on the race.