The results may say more about the people who support him than the candidate himself.
In a national poll conducted by NBC and the Wall Street Journal, 387 likely voters were asked to summarize Donald Trump as a candidate in one word or phrase.
The results were gathered and put into the context of a word cloud to give a sense of the responses. For those unfamiliar, a word cloud presents the phrases pertaining to something in various sizes. The more frequently a word appears, the larger it is in the word cloud.
Here’s the word cloud of responses from the poll:
Hart Research Associates
Clearly, the words occupying the most real estate are “racist” and “sexist.” Bear in mind the respondents weren’t asked to name Trump’s biggest faults, but rather just the word that encapsulates him best. Along those lines, the Republican candidate is far better known for being sexist and racist than he is anything else – good, bad, or otherwise.
In fact, it takes a bit of squinting to track down a positive connotation, with the most frequent (largest) one being “Better than Clinton.” Both “Not a politician” and “Businessman” are larger in the cloud, but I think it would take some truly dizzying spin to pass those off as virtuous qualities.
This representation of his candidacy can be parsed in countless different manners, as can his candidacy itself. It’s not exactly a revelation in terms of how he’s viewed; in fact it may actually serve as more enlightening when used to examine his supporters.
An earlier word cloud was created based on responses from a UMass-Amherst poll with distinct results for both candidates, rather than just Trump. It suggests the more recent one isn’t an anomaly:
Ostensibly, around 45% of the people responding to these polls would classify themselves as Trump supporters, which begs the question: Why are the positive comments so disproportionately low (and, for the purposes of this word cloud, small) even among people voting for him?
The likely explanation is that when Trump’s voters do have positive things to say about him, they don’t agree on what those positive things are. There’s a real chance that, despite the earlier assertion, his voters find common ground in “Not a politician” and “Businessman” as high praise as well as a point of differentiation compelling enough to earn their vote.
But ultimately, it may be they don’t view him in an overwhelmingly positive light, but rather see “Better than Clinton,” as “good enough to vote for.”