Prospective voters overwhelmingly believe Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton represent a dimming of whatever White House sunlight President Barack Obama casts, according to a new Center for Public Integrity/Ipsos poll.
Only one-in-four respondents consider Trump “honest and transparent” about his financial, business or investment dealings, the poll indicates. For Clinton, it’s about one in three.
Meanwhile, more than half consider Obama honest and transparent.
Such data indicate that most Americans “do not trust either candidate, which is further evidence that 2016 is a battle of the least popular candidates," Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson said. "This election is similar to giving a child the option of either finishing their vegetables or changing their kid brother's diaper."
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Said John Wonderlich, interim executive director for the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation: “It’s certainly a less transparent election cycle than previous cycles. A lot of our political norms are being violated.”
The task of accurately determining what a presidential candidate is hiding falls somewhere between notoriously difficult and darned near impossible.
Election Day is Nov. 8. In the meantime, there are several ways to measure — and draw conclusions from — the degrees to which Clinton and Trump have this year exposed their histories, finances, political operations and governing goals to public scrutiny.
A Center for Public Integrity analysis reveals a mixed record for both Clinton, whose campaign answered questions for this article, and Trump, whose campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
But head-to-head, Clinton usually — but not always — bests Trump in transparency issues that have direct bearing on their presidential campaigns.
The Center for Public Integrity graded Trump and Clinton on their transparency in nine categories: health records, tax returns, campaign money, personal financial disclosures, website information, social media, philanthropy, press access and other campaign-related issues, including emails and speech transcripts.
Dave Levinthal joined the Center for Public Integrity in 2013 and leads its Consider the Source project team investigating the influence of money in federal politics. For two years prior to joining the Center, Dave reported on campaign finance and lobbying issues for Politico and co-wrote the daily Politico Influence column.