I’m surprised, not because I think Hillary’s wildly more popular than O but because, in year six of an increasingly lame lame-duck presidency, you’d think “anyone but Obama” sentiment would be high on both sides. And since Hillary’s the Democratic nominee-in-waiting, she’s the obvious “anyone” in a poll like this. Democrats can idealize her and pretend that she would have avoided all of the mistakes that Obama’s made; Republicans, having concluded that no one could possibly be worse than The One, can prefer her on those grounds alone.
But that’s not what we see.
The obvious explanation for the Democratic numbers, I suppose, is loss aversion. They made a choice with momentous consequences in nominating Obama; given the size of their investment in him, it’d be wrenching psychologically to admit now that they backed the wrong horse. And of course liberals are suspicious that Hillary would have been/will be a hawkish Clintonian centrist once in office. They might prefer O on principle, for the same reason they prefer Elizabeth Warren to her. (Check the crosstabs and you’ll find that self-identified liberals are slightly less likely than Democrats to say they wish she had won in 2008, 21/59 versus 26/59.) As for Republicans, I thought “anyone but Obama” sentiment would be so intense that a clear majority would say they wished Hillary had been president six years ago instead of him. Instead, 31/49. That may be proof that GOPers are already getting into battle mode for 2016, convincing themselves that Barack Obama is the worst conceivable person we could have as president except of course for the person the Democrats are likely to nominate next. (Hillary’s favorable rating here is 51/42, not much better than Obama’s 46/49, which suggests partisan feelings are hardening as her image morphs from statesman to candidate.) And maybe some Republicans are treating this as a more basic question about the 2008 election: They have no preference between Hillary and Obama because they wanted McCain/Palin to win. A Democratic president is bad news no matter who the Democrat is.
More from YouGov:
There are a number of areas where few Americans see major differences between Clinton and Obama. Not only do just one in five believe she would do a better job handling the fighting in Syria, but similar low percentages say that about whether she’d be better dealing with Israel and Palestine, ISIS in Iraq, or the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
Most see no impact of a Clinton Presidency on relations with Congress, which are at a stalemate. Just about as many think Republicans in Congress would have opposed Clinton less than they oppose the current President as think they would have opposed her more. For the majority, there would have been no difference.
Most Republicans agree there would be no difference, though more claim the GOP would have opposed Clinton less than say the opposite.
That surprises me too. It’s an article of faith within lefty media racism helps drive the GOP’s staunch opposition to Obama. If you believe that then, I would think, you’d also believe that President Obama faces more Republican opposition than President Hillary would have. And yet:
More Democrats say GOP opposition to Hillary would have been worse than independents or Republicans do(!). When you put this same question to blacks, fully 32 percent think Republican opposition to Hillary would have been less than it is to Obama, among the highest numbers for any subsample but still a small minority compared to those who think Republican opposition to her would have been the same or worse. Maybe that shows that Democrats aren’t as comfortable with the “racist Republican” meme as liberal media is, or maybe it simply shows that lefties are already transitioning to a “Republicans are sexist” narrative ahead of 2016 as an all-purpose explanation for why the GOP will oppose President Hillary too. Two years of “war on women” rhetoric may be paying yet another dividend.
Via the Free Beacon, and in honor of YouGov’s findings, MSNBC would like you to know that the GOP is guilty of delegitimizing this president and unprecedented obstruction.