The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The bad news for Trump? More than 60 percent of the country wouldn’t consider voting for him.

For all of the apparent good news for Donald Trump in the new Washington Post/ABC News poll -- up by 11 points, big surges in several constituencies -- there is a thread of bad news. It's the same thing that observers have pointed to for months, the kill switch on his candidacy.

A lot of voters -- 61 percent of them, in fact -- say they would never consider voting for him for president. And 39 percent of the vote is not enough to be elected president. The closest recent winner to that figure was Bill Clinton in 1992, who got 43 percent of the vote.

People have much stronger opinions on who they would not vote for than who they would. Asked about four candidates, only Hillary Clinton had more than a quarter of respondents saying they'd definitely vote for her if she was the Democratic nominee. That's mostly because 61 percent of Democrats said they'd do so.

Part of this is a function of the Democrats having a much less contentious primary. The party has coalesced around Clinton, meaning that there aren't a lot of voters who currently feel committed to someone else. Ask a Ted Cruz supporter today if he'd back Jeb Bush in a general, he's probably not going to be terribly enthusiastic about it. And, in fact, that's what the poll shows: 42 percent of Republicans would consider backing Bush, but aren't committed to it.

So who wouldn't people vote for? Trump, far and away.

The percentage of people who say they wouldn't back Clinton, Bush or Bernie Sanders is pretty steady, mostly powered by partisanship. Interestingly, it's independents that make the difference in the case of Trump -- 61 percent of that group alone says it wouldn't support him for president.

An important footnote. Bill Clinton won with 43 percent of the vote in 1992 because the race had three strong contenders: Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Ross Perot, the eccentric billionaire who ran a strange campaign that nonetheless drew a lot of support.

Which could happen again this year. In a theoretical Clinton-Bush-eccentric billionaire match-up in 2016 included in the new poll, the eccentric billionaire, here played by Trump, gets 19 percent of the vote. And once again, the Clinton wins.