Millions of Americans may find solace in the fact that in a race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, one of them will lose.
The down side, at least to the alienated, is that one of them will win.
Surveys show remarkably high "unfavorable" ratings for both these candidates as they wait to be anointed by the major parties.
A newly released Wall Street Journal-NBC poll reports 54 percent of registered voters viewing Clinton unfavorably with 58 percent rating Trump unfavorably.
When asked if they’d like a third-party candidate to emerge, 47 percent surveyed said yes. That’s up from 40 percent in 2012 and 38 percent in 2008.
The Twitter tag #NeverEither has cropped up along with posters that say “Nope and Noper.” Maybe someone will collect petitions for a new “None of the Above” party.
Nobody can spin that as an upbeat result.
No wonder Sen. Bernie Sanders, still striving for a way to prevail, issues appeals to those who don’t want “the lesser of two evils.”
Sanders’ positives exceed his negatives, according to the poll. At the moment, Vermont’s socialist senator beats Trump in a theoretical matchup by a wider margin than would Clinton.
Then again, Ohio Gov. John Kasich had the highest positives in the GOP field only last month — and led in head-to-head polling against Clinton. Trump pulverized Kasich in the primaries, assuring that a seeming nice guy finished last.
Lest you think there is solidarity in negativity, remember that the voters remain sharply divided by party, gender and race over who or what to be negative about.
According to a narrative released with the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, “Most potential voters . . . seem committed in opposition, if not in support.
“Marking the level of cross-party antipathy in this contest, 86 percent of Trump supporters say they’d never consider voting for Clinton — and 86 percent of Clinton supporters say the same about Trump.”
The poll showed Trump leading Clinton by 22 points among men and Clinton beating Trump by 14 points among women. That’s an unusually big gender gap, pollsters say.
Trump shows a 24-point lead among whites, while Clinton gets 70 percent of those identified as ethnic and racial minorities.
Pollsters may wish to start asking respondents: “Whom do you plan to vote against on Nov. 8?”
Where this race to the bottom will lead once it is run — the fallout from its nastiness — can’t be guessed. But it’s not likely to produce a new “era of good feeling” in America.