Gotta agree with Bill Kristol on this. Not good, especially when you consider that the poll was taken within the last week, with media coverage of her e-mail corruption peaking.
This is way early, all adults, etc–but GOP should worry about these numbers Poll: Hillary Clinton still tops in 2016 http://t.co/WW7JrqlLsV
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 18, 2015
You’ll be hearing this a lot more over the next 20 months (eeyores gonna eeyore), but here’s the inaugural version of the 2016 campaign: Dude, I’m nervous.
But none of the top candidates in this field gets within 10 points of Hillary Clinton in a series of hypothetical general election matchups.
Rand Paul comes closest, with 43% saying they’d be more likely to back him while 54% choose Clinton. The two candidates who currently top the GOP field, Bush and Walker, match up equally against Clinton, with each carrying 40% to her 55%. Huckabee gets 41% to Clinton’s 55% and Carson has 40% to Clinton’s 56%…
On the Republican side, Bush leads the pack with 16%, Walker follows at 13%, Paul nearly matches him at 12% and Huckabee holds 10% support. Huckabee’s backing has dipped significantly since February, from 16% to 10%, while the others near the top have generally held steady. In single digits, Carson holds 9%, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has 7%, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has 7%. The rest of the field lands below 5%, including 2012 candidates Rick Santorum at 1% and Rick Perry at 4%.
“But AP,” you say, “head-to-head polls this early are useless. The Republican contenders are total unknowns to swing voters.” Right, but Hillary isn’t. She’s as close as you get in American politics to 100 percent name recognition. Everyone knows her and everyone has an opinion about her, which means that early polls like this one tend to operate as a measure of her “job approval” (for lack of a better term). Essentially, low-information voters are being asked here whether they prefer Hillary Clinton, baggage and all, or a Republican to be named later as their next president. Upwards of 55 percent prefer Hillary. She’s entering the race as acceptable to a sizable majority of the public, even in the midst of a legit scandal about her attempts to conceal records from the federal government. That’s what the GOP is up against as this campaign begins. Gulp.
Here’s how she polls against the other dynasty case in the race, the only Republican with a fairly strong “brand.” Which number jumps out?
Actually, two numbers jump out at me. One is her lead among non-whites, a group with whom Jeb’s supposed to be a bit more competitive than the average Republican due to his support for amnesty and Latino family ties. At 14/85, he actually does a few points worse than Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul do. But the big number, of course, is the gender split. Hillary leads Jeb by seven points among men but by 21 points(!) among women. And believe it or not, that’s the closest any Republican gets to her among that group. Women prefer her to Rubio by 22 points, to Christie and Mike Huckabee by 24 points, to Scott Walker by 27 points, and to Rand Paul by 28 points. (Although Paul is the Republican who’s most competitive with Hillary overall, his outreach to young adults and minorities hasn’t paid off with numbers appreciably greater within those groups than some of his rivals’.) Male voters trend Republican so they’ll likely end up tilting GOP as the race sharpens, but “tilting” won’t be good enough given Hillary’s huge advantage among women. The Republican nominee will have to win men in a landslide and/or somehow knock 10 points or so off of Hillary’s female base. How do you do that?
There may be only one hope, my friends. To stop this freight train, we need a hero to derail it before it gets going. And luckily, for us and for America, that hero is out there.