Elections

‘Liar,’ ‘Racist,’ ‘Socialist’: Voters Use One Word To Describe Presidential Candidates

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation

An Economist/YouGov poll reveals the extent of the public’s dissatisfaction with the candidates running for the presidency.

Voters were asked to give a one-word assessment of the candidates during the February survey, and the answers were overwhelmingly negative, with no candidate sweeping the board as a popular figure.

Republican primary voters, for example, asked to give their verdict on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were unified in their negative perceptions of the Democratic front runner, describing her as a “liar,” “dishonest” and “criminal.” (RELATED: Poll: Hillary Clinton Least Honest And Trustworthy Of All Presidential Candidates)

Hillary Clinton in one word - Republican primary voters

Hillary Clinton in one word – Republican primary voters (Credit: YouGov)

Even among Democratic voters, some of the words most likely to come to mind when people are quizzed about the former Secretary of State are “untrustworthy,” “liar” and “dishonest.”

Fortunately for Clinton, however, the most common responses her name elicited were “qualified” and “experienced.”

Hillary Clinton in one word - Democratic primary voters

Hillary Clinton in one word – Democratic primary voters (Credit: YouGov)

GOP voters have a much more favorable impression of Sen. Bernie Sanders — not in terms of policy but in terms of integrity.

“Sanders has the quality Republican voters think Clinton lacks: the perception of honesty. Nearly half of GOP voters regard Sanders as honest and trustworthy,” writes YouGov’s Kathy Frankovic. Republican voters, however, strongly identify Sanders with his age, socialism and even communism.

Bernie Sanders in one word - Republican primary voters

Bernie Sanders in one word – Republican primary voters (Credit: YouGov)

Democrats share their Republican rivals’ tendency to associate Sanders with honesty and socialism.

Bernie Sanders in one word - Democratic primary voters

Bernie Sanders in one word – Democratic primary voters (Credit: YouGov)

As for the Republican front runner Donald Trump, Democrats listed everything from “facist” to “crazy” when his name was mentioned.

Donald Trump in one word - Democratic primary voters

Donald Trump in one word – Democratic primary voters (Credit: YouGov)

Republican voters were more likely to see Trump as strong and a winner, but many of them agree with Democrats that Trump is a “bully” and “arrogant.”

Donald Trump in one word - Republican primary voters

Donald Trump in one word – Republican primary voters (Credit: YouGov)

The increasingly harsh rhetoric spawning from the Republican race is having an effect on how voters view the candidates, according to YouGov.

“The other GOP candidates’ word images share the same pattern: attacks on Texas Senator [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] honesty and campaign tactics are having an impact (but mostly on Democratic voters, as Republican voters are more likely to cite him as a conservative),” said Frankovic.

Ted Cruz in one word - Republican primary voters

Ted Cruz in one word – Republican primary voters (Credit: Getty)

Ted Cruz in one word - Democratic primary voters

Ted Cruz in one word – Democratic primary voters (Credit: YouGov)

The favorite of the Republican establishment, Sen. [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore], fared poorly with both GOP and Democratic voters. Both groups said the Florida senator was “inexperienced.”

Marco Rubio in one word - Democratic primary voters

Marco Rubio in one word – Democratic primary voters (Credit: YouGov)

Marco Rubio in one word - Republican primary voters

Marco Rubio in one word – Republican primary voters (Credit: YouGov)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich was viewed as “unknown” and “moderate” by both Republicans and Democrats.

John Kasich in one word - Republican primary voters

John Kasich in one word – Republican primary voters (Credit: YouGov)

John Kasich in one word - Democratic primary voters

John Kasich in one word – Democratic primary voters (Credit: YouGov)

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