The word cloud above is a visual representation of that question — via the final NBC-Wall Street Journal national poll. The larger a word is, the more often it came up among the 387 likely voters who were asked the question. And I can say with confidence that I've never seen a word cloud quite like this one.
The two most common words people come up with when asked to describe Trump are “sexist” and “racist.” Think about that for a minute. This is the nominee of one of the two major parties in this country. And “sexist” and “racist” are the most common words that come to mind about him.
Some of that is due to a very effective effort by Hillary Clinton's campaign to highlight Trump's comments on women and minorities. But a whole heck of a lot of it is Trump's repeated willingness to make those sorts of comments — time and time again putting himself front and center (and not in a good way) in the campaign. (Also, look at how tiny “cares about people” is in the word cloud — a sign of Trump's inability to bridge the empathy gap.)
There's also some evidence in that word cloud of Trump's strengths and, if he loses Tuesday, the missed opportunities of this campaign for him and the Republican Party. The prominence of “not a politician” and “businessman” are a very good thing for any candidate running in a “throw the bums out” sort of political climate like this one. But Trump's anti-politician image is overshadowed — in this word cloud and in the campaign more broadly — by the negative assessments of his personality and views.
The simple fact is that it is very hard to imagine Americans choosing a president about whom the two words that jump to mind first are “racist” and “sexist.” That Trump let himself be defined that way speaks to the lack of message discipline in the candidate and his campaign. It's also why he is looking at an uphill road to 270 electoral votes.