The polling keeps getting worse and worse for the Democratic presidential frontrunner, no matter how many “relaunches” her campaign keeps staging. Hillary Clinton’s favorables have sunk again in another polling series, this one from AP-GfK. In fact, she’s ten points underwater overall, far below Barack Obama’s current -1 favorability, and it gets worse when the poll gets specific (via Jeff Dunetz):
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s standing is falling among Democrats, and voters view her as less decisive and inspiring than when she launched her presidential campaign just three months ago, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.
The survey offers a series of warning signs for the leading Democratic candidate. Most troubling, perhaps, for her prospects are questions about her compassion for average Americans, a quality that fueled President Barack Obama’s two White House victories.
Just 39 percent of all Americans have a favorable view of Clinton, compared to nearly half who say they have a negative opinion of her. That’s an eight-point increase in her unfavorable rating from an AP-GfK poll conducted at the end of April.
The drop in Clinton’s numbers extends into the Democratic Party. Seven in 10 Democrats gave Clinton positive marks, an 11-point drop from the April survey. Nearly a quarter of Democrats now say they see Clinton in an unfavorable light.
Bear in mind that this is a poll of adults, not limited to likely or registered voters. The wider sample type should be giving Hillary a boost, but if it is, it’s not enough.
At 39% favorability, she outranks every Republican on the list, but only 9% of respondents haven’t made up their minds about Hillary. Republicans on this list have far more potential upside (with one notable exception), ranging from 23% unknown for Jeb Bush (at 31% favorable, tops among GOP) to 75% for John Kasich. Scott Walker, who announced this week, has a 17/22 favorable rating with 58% undecided. If that split 50/50, he’d get a 46% favorable rating, well above Hillary’s.
The exception? Donald Trump, who gets an atrocious 28/58 with 43% viewing him very unfavorably, and only 12% undecided about how they see him. Trump gets the highest “very unfavorable” score in the poll, nine points above Obama and ten above Hillary.
Hillary’s decline in this series reflects a truth about her that has been shown in every electoral cycle since 1992. The more people see of her, the less they like her. The same series had Hillary at 46/41 in April, which means that today’s result is a 15-point flip in the gap.
The same trend can be seen in the personal-qualities measures:
- Decisive: 47/50 (56/42 in April)
- Compassionate: 40/58 (no previous rating)
- Honest: 31/66 (37/61 in April)
- Inspiring: 37/61 (44/53 in April)
- Likeable: 41/58 (44/54 in April)
- Competent: 48/49 (no previous rating)
The biggest shift here is in decisiveness, perhaps the fallout from refusing to commit to anything on the campaign trail, but the most dangerous of the group are the poor ratings on compassion and inspiration. Those are the two qualities that fueled Obama’s rise at Hillary’s expense eight years ago. If those qualities don’t emerge in 2016, Democrats can kiss their turnout model goodbye, perhaps especially in states off of both coasts.
For any other candidate, this would be a collapse. In the 2016 Democratic primary, it’s difficult to call it that, since a collapse would presume that there was a viable alternative. Let’s just call Hillary a millstone around Democrats’ necks.
Update: I wrote “two years ago” when I meant “eight years ago.” Thanks to Gary Gross for the correction.