The results of a new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University in Connecticut confirm what many people have been feeling for several months: that the current presidential campaign is definitively a negative one, where the race is close and most people are not so much voting in favor of a presidential candidate, but rather against candidate(s) they do not support. 

The poll found that in a head-to-head race, Hillary Clinton currently leads Donald Trump 48 percent to 43 percent among likely voters. This is a narrower margin than Clinton held over Trump (51 to 41 percent) in an August 25 survey also conducted by Quinnipiac. But once third party candidates are thrown into the mix, the race is too close to say which of the major party candidates holds the lead. 

When libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are included, Clinton polled at 41 percent among likely voters, leaving Trump with 39 percent, Johnson with 13, and Stein with 4.

Perhaps the most eye-opening finding is that more than half of likely voters who said they will vote for Clinton in November (54 percent), said that they are primarily voting against Donald Trump, compared to 32 percent who said they are primarily voting for Clinton. Likewise, 66 percent of likely Trump voters said they are casting their vote against Clinton, and only 23 percent said they are voting in favor of Trump. 

In the press release for the poll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll Tim Molloy said,

It's the definition of 'damned by faint praise,' a presidential contest where a vote for a candidate is less an endorsement of that candidate than a stinging rejection of his or her opponent. 

Priority one for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as the election looms: lure the cynical, disaffected, downright disgusted electorate into their camp. That's no mean feat as clouds of distrust loom over both campaigns.

Molloy further added, in colorful metaphor, "Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton may be King and Queen of the prom, but they are showing up solo and their dance cards are blank. The winner who waltzes at the Inaugural Ball will be the candidate who finally gets the other kids to like him or her."