It’s becoming a trend. A variety of polls now trumpet the claim that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ran the gauntlet and emerged unscathed. Despite the best efforts of Republicans and the press, her candidacy cannot be derailed. Her hour come round at last, Hillary Clinton slouches unremittingly toward the White House.
“Hillary Clinton appears to have initially weathered a barrage of news about her use of a private email account when she was secretary of state and practices of her family’s foundation,” The New York Times reported this week in a write-up around a poll the organization conducted in coordination with CBS News. “Americans now view Mrs. Clinton more favorably and more see her as a strong leader than they did early in the year, despite weeks of scrutiny about her ethics.”
With the release of a Quinnipiac University poll on Thursday came the related assertion that Clinton maintains “an early lock on the first-in-the-nation presidential test, apparently undamaged by a nationwide flood of negative publicity.”
But The Times and Quinnipiac aren’t talking about the likely general electorate exclusively. They’re talking about Democrats.
Among self-identified Democrats in The Times/CBS survey, Clinton is seen as trustworthy, a strong leader, and the prohibitive favorite to win the nomination. The majority of Democratic poll respondents also claimed that they had heard nothing – nothing at all – about the scandals involving the former secretary of state that have dominated coverage of her candidacy.
Quinnipiac’s survey of Iowa’s Democratic caucus-goers found similar results. The vast majority of Iowa Democrats view Clinton as an honest and trustworthy figure as well as a strong leader, and 61 percent are prepared to back her at the caucuses next winter.
If the late breaking news is that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic presidential nominee, I don’t think you’ll soon see crowds forming in Times Square staring slack-jawed at the news ticker as they digest that revelation.
But even among Democrats, there are signs that committed liberals are rallying around self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as the only viable progressive alternative in the race. Quinnipiac found 15 percent backing Sanders in Iowa. While that is a minuscule amount of support compared to the former secretary’s 61 percent support, this finding confirms the Democratic survey firm Public Policy Polling’s results in April that found Sanders surging from no support to having the backing of 14 percent of Hawkeye State Democrats.
New York Times journalists crowed that Clinton’s favorability rating has “improved by nine points since the disclosure in late March that she did not use a government email account as secretary of state.” That sounds amazing, until you learn that her favorability rating in that survey is 35 percent compared to 36 percent unfavorability — two figures omitted from the paper’s write-up around that poll.
Yes, this is a marked improvement from last March when only 26 percent told Times/CBS pollsters they had favorable feelings towards Hillary Clinton. Today, another 17 percent said they were undecided and 11 percent declined to respond or did not know enough about Hillary Clinton. That’s bad news. From 2007 to 2013, the number of “did not know enoughs” about Clinton never exceeded 5 percent. Every American knows all they need to know about Hillary Clinton. It’s not that these voters don’t know enough about her; it’s that what they thought they knew isn’t true.
Moreover, this Times/CBS survey comports with NBC News/Wall Street Journal’s latest survey that found Hillary Clinton clearly tarnished by the scandalous revelations involving her tenure at state and her family’s charities.
“Clinton’s unfavorable rating has ticked up six points since March, and the percentage giving her high marks for being honest and straightforward has declined 13 points from a year ago,” NBC News’ write up read. “In the new NBC/WSJ poll, Clinton’s favorable/unfavorable rating stands at 42 positive, 42 negative (even) – down from 44 percent positive, 36 percent negative in March (+8).”
GOP pollster Bill McInturff discovered in the NBC News/WSJ poll what The Times and Quinnipiac have found: Democrats are utterly unmoved by or indifferent toward Hillary Clinton’s scandals. Only the most committed progressives, many of whom never trusted Clinton in the first place, have turned on her. The rest of the party is perfectly Ready for Hillary.
It would be dishonest to suggest that the prospective voters who will make up the 2016 electorate are not paying attention to the revelations involving Clinton’s behavior, and that those revelations are taking a toll on her image. And, yet, there appears to be a concerted effort to advance that contention.