Aside from the qualifications and policy proposals of the two major-party presidential nominees, Americans say it's important that the country's next president has a sense of humor. But 40 percent said neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton is funny.
The two candidates took turns making jokes and jabbing at each other at Thursday's Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in New York City, a tradition for presidential candidates every four years, although this year's event had an edgier tone.
ABC News partnered with SSRS survey research firm to ask Americans how important it is for the next president to have a sense of humor.
Seventy-four percent said it is somewhat to very important for the president to have a sense of humor, with 55 percent saying it is somewhat important, and 19 percent very important. Only 7 percent said it's not at all important for a president to have a sense of humor.
Asked which of the two major candidates in this election has a better sense of humor, respondents gave the Democratic nominee a slight edge. Thirty percent of Americans say Clinton has the better sense of humor of the two candidates compared to 28 percent who chose Trump. Forty percent said neither is funny.
In contrast, more than two-thirds of respondents, 68 percent, said President Obama has a good sense of humor. Obama has showcased his comedic timing at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner over his two terms as president, and at the most recent dinner in April poked fun at both Trump and Clinton. The president has also shown his gift for comedy as a guest on late-night talk shows.
The ABC News/SSRS Poll was conducted using the SSRS Probability Panel. Interviews were conducted online from October 21 – October 22, 2016 among a nationally representative sample of 250 respondents age 18 and older. The margin of error for total respondents is +/-7.8% at the 95% confidence level. Design effect is 1.6. The SSRS Probability Panel is a probability-based, online panel of adults recruited from random digit dialed landline and cell phone numbers. For more information, visit http://ssrs.com/research/ssrs-probability-panel/.
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