WASHINGTON, June 9, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With two flawed presidential candidates in the lead--one extremely experienced, and the other a brash businessman new to politics--voters have few alternatives in a race that polling expert Ron Faucheux noted has "a lot of banana peels" for Republicans and Democrats alike.
Faucheux, who serves as the President of Clarus Research Group, stated in an interview with Focus Washington host Chuck Conconi that American voters have an extreme dislike for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in numbers never seen before. "We've never had two presidential candidates with such high negative ratings," said Faucheux. For both main parties, dramatic triumphs and landslide victories are a thing of the past.
This election, Faucheux hinted, may point to larger political problems than the candidates themselves: Republicans are facing an internal crisis over Donald Trump as GOP nominee, while the Democratic Party risks losing their preferred candidate to an ongoing FBI investigation. Though the nomination of Trump and Clinton has divided their respective parties, members have been forced to accept the legitimacy of the process itself. To voters frustrated by the popularity of two imperfect candidates, political restructuring may be the only solution to a system spoiled by in-fighting and voter marginalization.
While Faucheux predicted that the American people will "follow the party line" and elect Hilary Clinton, many voters are unhappy about the lack of choices available to them. Those who feel disenfranchised and out of options, Faucheux advised, may cast their vote for a third-party candidate from the Green Party or Libertarian Party.
Though the path to the White House seems straightforward for Democrats, Party members may aim to collect another prize: 24 seats will be open in the Senate, and increasing competition with the GOP has shown Democrats that they must regain their place in the House to temper the Republican rise. Faucheux cautioned that a Democratic win may not usher in votes for other Democratic candidates, as Clinton's political allies are unlikely to ride the coattails of her projected success.
With five months left until the presidential election, Faucheux's polling will continue to reflect changing circumstances. The pre-election wild card that many voters want may not happen, underscoring the nature of American politics that Faucheux made clear: though this election is meant for the people, many simply do not see their interests reflected in this year's ballot.
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FOCUS WASHINGTON | INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT | 08 JUNE 2016
(CHUCK CONCONI AND RON FAUCHEUX)
CHUCK CONCONI: Welcome to Focus Washington. I'm Chuck Conconi, and my guest today is Ron Faucheux who is head of the Clarus research group. Ron, thank you for being here today.
RON FAUCHEUX: Thank you.
CC: Ron, you've been watching all the polls and all the political polls. Were the polls accurate in any way at all over this period of time? Did they predict it?
RF: Yeah, generally...well first of all polls aren't supposed to predict. They're supposed to just tell you where things are at the time of the poll being taken because subsequent events can change circumstances. But generally speaking
CC: What an easy way out for you but go ahead…
RF: Oh no, it's the accurate way but most of the polls were accurate I think in terms of the polls that were taken right before the election. There are examples of some bad numbers I think on the part of a few polls here and there but generally speaking I think that if you follow the polls and if you looked at the polling averages we do at LunchTime politics you would generally have been able to have predicted the winner in most every contest so far.
CC: Well now that we have Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and all the predictions that are taking place and all the polls when I read your daily poll every day, there's an indication that are there coat tails? Does Hillary have coat tails or does Trump have coat tails?
RF: Well, you know you have coat tails if you win the presidency by a big margin. If somebody wins by one or two points, there's really no coat tail. But if one of these candidates wins by seven or eight points or more than there would be coat tails. So that's one of the things that we have to look for. I think the Republican members of the senate who are seeking reelection right now are scared to death that Trump ultimately won't do well and he'll bring them down with him. So that's the big thing most people in politics are looking at.
CC: Well within the volatility of this campaign do the Democrats have an opportunity to win back the senate and gain seats in the house? It's not going to be a bloodbath.
RF: Well, I think the Democrats have an opportunity to win back the senate not just because of the presidential candidates but because of their exposure. They have more than twice as many Senate seats on the ballot. They have twenty-four senate seats on the ballot whereas the Democrats only have ten so they have greater exposure to loss and a number of their incumbents right now are polling very close with their challengers or behind. So I think there's a real opportunity for the Democrats to pick up.
CC: And one of those is John McCain.
RF: One of those is John McCain.
CC: Who looks like he's running scared.
RF: Yeah, and he not only has a general election problem against Democrats but he has a Republican primary problem as well.
CC: So it's interesting to me that there's really a possibility coming up of a brokered convention.
RF: No, there's no more brokered convention.
CC: Well I know, but that you're going to have a convention floor fight.
RF: No, I don't think so. I think that a majority of the delegates in both conventions will follow the party line whatever that is at the time and I'm sure there will be some people dissenting from that and there will be some speeches made dissenting from that which is more than we've seen in other conventions but generally speaking I think both sides will have their people in charge.
CC: But now that Bernie Sanders, isn't he seen as a spoiler because if he carries it to the convention as he is threatening, it could make a big difference. And he is the one candidate, in the polling, that seems to do much stronger against Trump than Hillary Clinton does.
RF: Yeah, I mean Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign is over with. Hillary Clinton has more than enough delegates now to win the nomination. She's won more popular votes...and so...that race is over with. What Sanders is now doing, and it's up to him, he's the candidate and he's run a very effective campaign, but his whole strategy is to influence the future of the Democratic party and where it's going, and he wants it to go towards the populist left that he represents and because he's really not running for President anymore, he wants to bring that battle into the convention.
CC: But if he causes a lot of problems at the convention... and Donald Trump has already said he wants his people to come to him, he's welcoming them. Is there a possibility of that?
RF: Well there's always a possibility of some Sanders supporters to go to Trump. Sanders actually lost the Democratic vote in the primaries by a substantial margin. He carried the independent vote that voted in the primaries by a big margin. So I think a lot of the independent voters particularly on the left end of the spectrum, particularly among very young voters, its potential that those voters won't quickly go to Hillary Clinton and some of them may ultimately vote for the Green party candidate and the Libertarian candidate.
CC: Now, you said that in your poll and I thought that was interesting... and that Hillary doesn't do that well if they get the kind of votes that the Libertarian and the Green party candidates do.
RF: Well you know it's interesting you raise that because most of the polls now are showing what would happen in a two-way race with just Trump and Clinton and then they have four-way race with the Libertarian and Green candidate. And interestingly, both Clinton and Trump, at this point anyway, are losing about the same when you go from the two-way race to the four-way race. So it's not all coming from Trump and it's not all coming from Clinton but having these other candidates in the race in this particular instance could be very important because we've never had two presidential nominees who have such high negative ratings. I mean both of them have negative ratings of about or beyond 60% and so there are a lot of voters who will be voting in November, or who could be voting in November, who don't want to vote for either Trump or Clinton. So the question is, do they stay home or they go in the voting booth and throw their vote to a Libertarian or to a green party candidate.
CC: Is it not also unusual that both candidates are not very well liked?
RF: Yeah, absolutely. We've never seen anything like this. Usually in a presidential election, the negative rating of the major candidates at this stage of the game is probably in the mid-forty percent range. Both of these candidates, they're over sixty percent. And guess what? It's going to keep going up, because the Democratic Party hasn't spent its billion dollars attacking Trump, and the Republican Party hasn't spent its billion dollars attacking Clinton.
CC: Now the Republican leadership clearly seems frightened and nervous about Trump. But there really isn't anything they can do about it, is there? And why have they been so reluctant to take him on?
RF: Well, I think they've been so reluctant to take him on now because he's won the nomination, fair and square. He got more votes than anybody else, he got more delegates than anybody else, he's going to the convention, and is going to win easily on the first ballot. Whether they like it or not, he will be on top of their ticket. And their incumbent Senators who may be in trouble are either going to have to embrace him or run away from him; or in the case of Mark Kirk, the Republican Senator from Illinois, he flat out said he's not going support Donald Trump for President. So it makes it particularly difficult for them, and it puts the leaders of the party in a difficult position.
CC: And there's a real danger this could wreck the Republican Party.
RF: Well, there's a danger this election could wreck either party, or both parties. One of the things that people still, aren't talking about it that much, but could wreck Hillary Clinton's campaign is if there is criminal action on the part of the email scandal. If that would happen, and as time goes by the chances of that are less, but the possibility that there could be some criminal action that she's implicated in, even if she's not the subject of it, is still there and still hangs there. So that could be a blow to the Democrats. So, there are a lot of banana peels between now and November on the paths of both of these candidates.
CC: One last quick question for you. Who's going to win?
RF: If I had to predict today, i wouldn't bet my house or my car on it, but I would bet based on the current polling that we are seeing that Clinton would win. But we've yet to go to the convention; we don't know what kind of mistakes both sides make. We have no idea how Donald Trump will perform as a candidate once he's the republican nominee; that's completely uncharted territory. So who knows where it goes. But I think as it stands now, looking at the basic demographics of the electoral college, I think Clinton goes in with the advantage.
CC: We'll get back and talk to this again. Ron Faucheux, thank you for being here.
RF: Thank you.
CC: I'm Chuck Conconi and this has been Focus Washington.
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SOURCE Focus Washington