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Politics & Government

Marquette Poll: Voter Dissatisfaction Remains High in Presidential Race

John Sommers II & Alex Wong/Getty Images

There's a lot riding on the upcoming national party conventions. The events might be one of the best chances Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have to polish their images, as they head into the final months of the campaign. Both candidates have a lot of work to do to win over voters, according to the latest Marquette Law School Poll.

Poll Director Charles Franklin says among registered voters in Wisconsin, 63 percent view Trump unfavorably, while 58 percent have negative views of Clinton.

"The fact that both candidates have such high negative ratings means that they face a very uphill battle in convincing voters, generally, to see them in a different light," Franklin says. Yet he adds, at the conventions, "there's the setting of the message and the tone, and an opportunity to -- even with two very well-known candidates -- reintroduce them to voters, to frame them and their careers in a way that voters who are tuning into the conventions can get those messages."

Franklin says not only must Clinton and Trump shift voters' perceptions, they also must try to unify their splintered parties. He sees a couple of approaches they could take: "One is emphasizing the messages that unite the party, rather than that divide the party. The other is to have opponents come out and strongly endorse -- without any reservations."

One of Clinton's opponents was Bernie Sanders. He endorsed her this week, and now Peter Rickman hopes fellow backers of Sanders do the same. Rickman attended the poll release Wednesday, and had worked on the Sanders campaign in Wisconsin.

"I think the national convention is going to have a lot to do with building Democratic unity, because we have the most progressive platform to ever come out of the Democratic Party being adopted in the next two weeks," Rickman says.

While Rickman will be focusing on developments among Democrats when they hold their convention later this month, Tom Klein says he’ll also be cued into the outcome of the GOP gathering next week, "really interested to find out whether Trump can put anything together; he seems to be bouncing along but not doing much, and so you wonder which one is going to start going up in votes."

The Milwaukee County resident also attended the poll roll-out Wednesday, saying he finds the results intriguing.

Although the Marquette Law School Poll only surveyed voters in Wisconsin, Director Charles Franklin says results compare to polls elsewhere, when it comes to party unity and voter dissatisfaction with the presidential hopefuls.

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