That's the troubling explanation provided by Quinnipiac University on Wednesday as its latest national poll showed that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are in a statistical dead heat.
The latest survey (pdf) published Wednesday finds the contest between two frontrunners "too close to call," with Clinton securing 42 percent of votes to Trumps' 40 percent. An NBC News/ Survey Monkey tracking poll released Tuesday showed Clinton with a slightly wider 8-point lead.
The latest Quinnipiac survey of U.S. voters, which was conducted June 21 - 27 with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points, speaks to an unsettling trend—particularly as it was taken amid the United Kingdom's shock decision to leave the European Union.
Despite many indications that Trump's campaign is "failing"—with its struggle to win establishment GOP support, fundraising woes, and staff shake-ups—his message continues to resonate, at least according to these numbers, with with large numbers of potential voters.
Though his acerbic, xenophobic rhetoric has increasingly alienated large swaths of the electorate, Trump's quote-unquote populist stances against corporate trade agreements and political cronyism—which he says that Clinton embodies—has won him solid backing.
According to Quinnipiac: "Women back Clinton 50-33 percent while men back Trump 47-34 percent. White voters back Trump 47-34 percent. Black voters back Clinton 91-1 percent and Hispanic voters back her 50-33 percent. Voters 18 to 34 years old go Democratic 48-23 percent, while voters over 65 years old go Republican 51-35 percent."
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What's more, the survey notes, 61 percent of American voters say that "The 2016 election has increased the level of hatred and prejudice in the U.S.."
Observers say that this is the same recipe that fueled the unexpected win for the Leave campaign in Britain.
While Clinton has the clear support of large demographics, she has not been able to galvanize those who remain skeptical over her policies and record.
Throughout the campaign, both candidates have maintained negative favorability ratings, with Quinnipiac showing 34 percent of voters holding a favorable opinion of Trump, versus 57 percent who do not. In comparison, 37-57 percent perceive Clinton favorably. Further, 58 percent of respondents said Trump will not be a good president while 53 percent said Clinton will not be a good president.
"It would be difficult to imagine a less flattering from-the-gut reaction to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll. "This is where we are. Voters find themselves in the middle of a mean-spirited, scorched earth campaign between two candidates they don't like. And they don't think either candidate would be a good president."
In a New York Times op-ed published late Tuesday, Clinton's rival Bernie Sanders warned that unless the Democratic Party can "make clear that we stand with those who are struggling and who have been left behind" —by denouncing the TPP, ending corporate tax breaks, and fighting "for an economy that protects the interests of working people, not just Wall Street, the drug companies and other powerful special interests"—the United States may suffer the same fate as the U.K.
"Millions of American voters, like the Leave supporters, are understandably angry and frustrated by the economic forces that are destroying the middle class," Sanders wrote. "The notion that Donald Trump could benefit from the same forces that gave the Leave proponents a majority in Britain should sound an alarm for the Democratic Party in the United States."