Call this a capper to Hillary Clinton’s terrible, no-good, very bad week. A new Bloomberg poll shows that America is so excited about the prospect of a Hillary candidacy in 2016 that her approval figure has dropped 18 points in as many months, from a peak of 70% when she left the State Department to just 52% now. This cannot be what Team Hillary had in mind a week ago, as she prepared her national rollout of Hard Choices and instead demonstrated that she still has no answers for her record or her ambitions:
Hillary Clinton’s popularity continues to slide as she takes on a more political posture and Republicans raise questions about the deadly 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya on her watch.
Fifty-two percent of Americans view the former secretary of state favorably, down from 56 percent in March and 70 percent in December 2012, according to the Bloomberg National Poll.
The decline means Clinton wouldn’t enter a possible 2016 race as a prohibitive favorite over key Republican rivals. While she still bests them in head-to-head matchups, she doesn’t have majority support against any of them.
This sounds a lot like 2006, when Hillary was a formidable candidate … as long as she didn’t actually run. In fact, that was her strategy in the 2008 cycle — to approach it as a coronation rather than a competition, and it ended up backfiring on her. One might have thought that the experience would have taught her something about campaigning; John Heileman said this week that she had vastly improved by the end of that primary fight, but too late to win. Either Hillary has forgotten those lessons, or her improvement in the spring of 2008 was an illusion.
Hillary’s not the only one getting bad news in this poll, either. Regardless of who gets the nomination, Democrats need Barack Obama to end his term on a high note for any hope of hanging onto the White House. Instead, Obama’s numbers have begun to slide like George Bush’s approval levels did at the same point in his second term. Obama gets a 43/53 on overall job approval, but that’s the highest approval level he gets:
- Economy: 38/57
- Health care: 38/58
- Budget deficit: 28/63
Those are the highest priority issues for voters in the Bloomberg poll, by the way. Combining “unemployment and jobs” with “declining real income” into the economy (as the approval question gets asked), 44% of respondents choose the economy as their top priority for the country at the moment. The two big messaging topics for the White House, immigration and climate change, get 6% and 5% respectively. The “war on women” and “income inequality” don’t even appear on this list.
The generic Congressional ballot is tied up at 39/39, with 4% leaning to both parties, and was asked of a subset of likely voters. That shouldn’t cheer up Democrats, however — the generic ballot questions in media polls usually underestimates Republican strength. With Obama’s numbers cratering, expect the turnout to be in the GOP’s favor.