Thank the lord for a little easy Hillary content on a slow news day.
“Some in Clintonworld say Hillary fully intends to be the nominee,” wrote Maureen Dowd yesterday of her chats with Clinton cronies. “Her consigliere, Philippe Reines, has prodded reporters on including her name when they write about 2020 candidates.” Bill has allegedly told friends that she knows how she’d run next time, with a scaled-down campaign in which she speaks from the heart instead of scripting everything. Which raises a horrifying question: What would Hillary Clinton speaking from the heart sound like?
Anyway, it’s not happening. Early primary polls are nothing more or less than tests of name recognition and there may be no person alive today in America apart from ex-presidents whose name is recognized as much as Hillary Clinton’s is. If she’s not leading in the early polls, she surely won’t surge in later ones. In fact, her favorable rating here is a cozy 39/55, which ought to remind Democratic voters of one of her most dubious distinctions from 2016: Somehow she lost a popularity contest to Donald Trump. She may be the only Democrat in the country with a national profile who was capable of doing so.
When Clinton is factored into the poll, she bumps [Beto] O’Rourke down to fourth place, though his support grows from 7 percent to 9 percent.
Biden and Sanders — who have positive favorability ratings — remain in first and second respectively in that scenario, but their numbers slightly shrink. Biden then has 25 percent, while Sanders garners 15 percent.
Clinton comes in third place, with 13 percent of support…
“Hillary jumping into this race doesn’t put her in front but gives a place from which she could grow,” Penn said.
There’s no argument for giving Hillary a second shot at Trump instead of giving Biden or Bernie (or Beto, or Kamala Harris) a first one. When she realizes that, assuming she hasn’t already, she’ll conclude that she’s better off with a legacy as the first woman major-party nominee and winner of the national popular vote instead of one as the has-been who didn’t know when to quit and was humiliated in her third run for president. I can sort of imagine a scenario in which Bernie is ruled out as too old and Biden stumbles over issues relating to insufficient wokeness (the Clarence Thomas hearing, his support for the crime bill) and Democrats are forced to take a second look at Hillary. What I can’t imagine is why, having taken that second look and remembering that she’s the only candidate who’s proved she’s capable of losing to Trump, they wouldn’t keep on looking and opt for O’Rourke, Harris, Warren, etc.
Speaking of which, Hillary’s not the would-be candidate who’s received the worst polling news lately. That distinction goes to Elizabeth Warren, noted Harry Enten recently, after a poll of Warren’s home state turned out relatively grim for her:
A UMass/YouGov study of Massachusetts Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents finds former Vice President Joe Biden at 19% to Sanders’ 14% to Warren’s 11% in a hypothetical Democratic presidential primary. A large 27% answered “don’t know.” YouGov’s polling does not meet CNN’s standards because it doesn’t use probability sampling…
[Y]ou would think that candidates who just ran major statewide races in their home states would be favorites in their home states. In this case, Warren isn’t only not in first place, but she’s also not even in second place. A full 89% of Massachusetts Democrats are not behind her at this point.
The lack of home state love should, in theory, be worrisome for Warren. These are the voters who know her best. If she is underperforming with them, then it follows that she may do worse than expected when exposed more fully to Democrats nationally.
Historically, home-state polling is actually a decent indicator of a candidate’s national strength early on, notes Enten. Warren looks weak here, just as she’s looked surprisingly weak in some early national polls. Not only that, but Enten points out that she actually underperformed in her Senate race in Massachusetts this year relative to expectations. Hillary won the state by a wider margin against Trump two years ago than Warren, an incumbent senator and presidential hopeful, did against her no-name Senate challenger last month. She’s not personally likable the way O’Rourke is, she’s not as progressive as Bernie is (or maybe as Harris is), she’ll be in her 70s when the caucuses begin in a state where Democrats are clamoring for next-generation candidacies. What’s the argument for her?
Exit question: Does Joe Biden, who’s hoping to line up support from ObamaWorld, already have a Beto O’Rourke problem?