OTR Interviews

Are voters conflicted about Trump and Clinton?

New poll finds voters feel that Trump would better handle ISIS, but favor Clinton in an international crisis. Voters also believe Clinton is better prepared to be president, but that Trump is a better leader. Karl Rove goes 'On the Record' to examine


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 1, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Brand new 2016 polls showing just as you might have guessed, conflicted voters.

New Quinnipiac University National polls of registered voters shows 49 percent say Donald Trump would be more effective in handling ISIS. Compare that to just 41 percent who say Secretary Hillary Clinton would be more effective.

But when asked who would be better to respond to an international crisis, Secretary Hillary Clinton is ahead of Trump 53 percent to Donald Trump's 40 percent.

And when asked about making the right decisions regarding nuclear weapons, again, it is Secretary Hillary Clinton at 55 percent, Trump at 33 percent.

Former senior advisor to President George W. Bush, Karl Rove, goes ON THE RECORD.

Good evening, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Karl, sort through this stuff with me.

What do these polls mean? And have they changed dramatically in the last couple of months, or we're still where we have been for months?

ROVE: Well, I think we are pretty well where we have been for a while. And think about this, Trump has had very strong language on ISIS. We are going to bomb them back to the Stone Age. You know, we are going to beat them. We're going to do this. This creates a sense of strong leadership and America is going to win. We're going to have a victory.

And so you can understand why he leads on that question. It's not unusual that Hillary Clinton would lead on the question of who would be better in handling an international crisis or making the right decisions about nuclear weapons, because, she is a former secretary of state.

She has demonstrated a certain gravitas in that. And so he leads by 8 points on the question of who is going to wipe out ISIS. She leads by 13 points on the question of handling an international crisis. And by 12 points on the question of making the right decisions by nuclear weapons.

Now this is all part of a bigger picture. And we don't know what's relative weights of these things among each other. We do know that the race has tightened up a lot and that both of these candidates are pretty close to each other in the polls.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. We are about 160 days out from the general election. I'm assuming it will be Clinton who is the nominated Democratic Party and Trump on the Republican.

They both have pretty -- they are both pretty even on unlikability. What does that mean, big picture?

ROVE: Well, they are both in pretty bad shape. But I would point out this. Since sort of the -- or first of April, Donald Trump's numbers have been improving slightly. Her numbers have been getting worse slightly. So he has got the trend line going in the right direction. She doesn't.

Now, that may be partly because he was, in essence, coming to the end of his own primary contest. But if I were in the Clinton camp, I would be worried about her numbers getting worse while his are getting slightly better. And I would be looking for ways to keep, you know, to stop his improvement, modest as it is, and find ways to give her, you know, bend the arc in her direction.

It may naturally bend after the 14th of June or the 7th of June, final primary for the Democrats is in D.C. on the 14th. We got the big monstrous set of primaries on 7th.

After that point, it may begin to bend a little bit. But if I were in the Clinton camp, I would be a little bit more worried about what has naturally been occurring over the last five or six weeks than to her and to him going in contrary directions.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, next Tuesday is a big night. New Jersey and California. And we're going to travel to one of them. Anyway, that's the big secret. I won't tell you where.

Karl, thank you.

ROVE: Don't forget Montana is out to vote.