The first woman major-party presidential nominee loses the election despite winning the popular vote, to a highly unpopular opponent no less, and there’s so little sympathy for her that her own popularity actually goes down?
That almost counts as an achievement. Congratulations, Hillary!
Trump’s average favorability, incidentally, is 38.1 percent per RCP, which places him a few points higher than Clinton. For all the hype about his historically low job approval during his first year, it’s not unthinkable that between seething Republicans and unhappy Berniebros, a Hillary presidency would have been as unpopular or more unpopular.
However much the public may dislike POTUS, there’s apparently little buyer’s remorse given who the alternative was. My guess when first looking at this graph was that it was probably Donna Brazile’s book alleging Clinton-run shenanigans at the DNC at Bernie Sanders’s expense last year that was chiefly responsible. That would have further soured Democrats on Hillary, sending her numbers plunging. But I’m wrong: Clinton’s down only a point among Dems since June, per Gallup’s data. It’s independents and Republicans who have turned (even more) negative on her, with Hillary’s favorability among each group sliding six points. It’s probably scandals covered in right-wing media that have damaged her, then, mainly her campaign’s role in funding the Trump dossier and the Uranium One business. Fox News has been hammering both partly to deflect from unhappy news for Trump. Which raises another fascinating what-if: If Trump were more popular, would Clinton be more popular too because conservative media would be spending the time devoted to her scandals on his victories instead?
In fairness to her, it’s not unprecedented for a presidential loser to see their popularity decline following the election. HuffPost’s tracker of Mitt Romney’s favorability saw him go from a 46/43 rating just before the 2012 election to a 41/52 rating by March of the following year. Gallup, however, found that the favorability of various presidential losers — including Romney — dating back to 1992 increased in the year after. Hillary alone saw her ratings decline, and now they’ve declined further. How come?
The Brazile book hurt, I’m sure, as has Fox’s coverage. But Hillary’s whiny buck-passing book tour about the election surely hasn’t helped her image. And Pervnado can’t be helping either. It’d be bad enough if the only fallout from that for the Clintons was that the scumbag at the heart of it, Harvey Weinstein, was a pal and fundraiser. But it’s worse. Various Democrats, including Hillary’s replacement in the Senate from New York, have had a rethink on Bill and argued that in hindsight he should have resigned from office over his behavior with Monica Lewinsky. Click and scroll down and you’ll see that Bill’s favorability has also taken a major hit. He stood at 69 percent favorable circa the 2012 election, then dipped to 64 a year or two later, then to 59 as Hillary moved towards a presidential run. By the time Trump was inviting Juanita Broaddrick to pre-debate press conferences last year, he was down to 50 percent favorability. Today, in the wake of Pervnado? He’s underwater at 45 percent, the first time he’s been net negative in popularity since Bush 43’s first term. And unlike Hillary’s decline, most of his drop *is* coming from Democrats (and independents), not Republicans. There may be a genuine #MeToo backlash to Bill on the left. And who knows to what extent that’s reflecting on Hillary as an enabler.