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US election seen as highly negative and you can’t trust millennials: Analyst

Justina Crabtree; special to
'Negative' voting has increased: Pew

People's perception of the upcoming U.S. presidential election is highly negative, one researcher has told CNBC, warning that whoever wins will inherit an unhappy and divided nation.

"These candidates are not viewed positively at all," Carroll Doherty, director of political research at Pew Research Center told CNBC's Street Signs Monday. "Voters are less satisfied today with their electoral choice than at any point in the last 25 years," he pointed out.

Will.I.Am: US election not speaking to young voters

The American voter's mind has been made up, according to Doherty. "Perceptions of these candidates, even among their own supporters, are pretty baked in at this point" he said. "I would not expect that to change."

Regardless as to whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump clinches victory in November's election, the incoming president will inherit a "divided nation, and an unhappy one," Doherty said. He blamed "left and right … pulling further and further apart."

Doherty discussed the rise of "negative voting," symptomatic of dissatisfaction with both the present candidates and the political establishment as a whole.

Doherty's research also highlighted the volatility of the millennial vote. According to Doherty, "very unpredictable" support from 18-35 year-olds was complicated by the unexpected popularity of third party candidate Gary Johnson. Doherty said that one in five millennial voters were in favor of Johnson, though he did acknowledge that this statistic might be inflated.

Doherty asserted that the figures were "a bad sign for Hillary Clinton" as "60 percent plus of this age group has voted Democrat in the last two elections."

Hats off to Hillary Clinton: Will.I.Am

This claim of the Clinton campaign's waning support among millennials has been backed up by a number of recent polls.

CNBC recently spoke to musician and entrepreneur Will.I.Am, who said that: "The problem is that a lot of people feel like there's no one that talks to them and because of that … they're not going to go out and vote."

He said that the situation was heightened as these were young first-time voters who "don't know the stakes."

Doherty was ambivalent as to whether the upcoming presidential debate on September 26 would alter public opinion. But, he did suggest that "Trump will raise the level of interest in this debate, if nothing else." Doherty predicted that a lot of people would tune in.

Doherty suggested that the election result itself might be controversial. "When it's over, it might not be over," he warned.

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