And well they should. A new CNN poll released last night shows a staggering 19-point drop in Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers over the last two months. That’s taken her from a commanding 56/19 lead in July over Bernie Sanders to just a 37/27 lead. It’s also dropped Hillary into a three way race with Joe Biden, who now gets 20% of the poll — and 35% for second choice, beating both Hillary and Sanders.
Chuck Todd says that Hillary donors — who thought she was unbeatable — must be panicking by now. With each poll now, Todd says, “it feels like there is a new bottom“:
Todd called the poll another low for Clinton. “Every time you think, okay, when is she at bottom, it feels like there’s a new bottom,” he said.
“A month ago when she was having bad poll numbers, when it was starting to go down, one of the things they hung their hat on is, ‘Well, as bad as her numbers may look, she’s still in better shape when matched up against any one Republican,’” Todd noted. “Well, that’s not happening anymore, right? This is just pile after pile after pile.”
Todd said that donors who would still be loyal when Clinton’s numbers drop in the primary can’t ignore poll numbers showing her doing terrible in the general. “Suddenly if her electability is in question, then that’s when the handwringing truly begins and when donors start panicking. And I think they are panicking.”
If not, they should be, although this poll has some issues, too. It’s a sample of 395 Democrats or Democrat-leaners, a subset of a larger 930-respondent sample, most of which we covered yesterday. (The Republican and GOP-leaning sample was larger, 474 respondents.) The margin of error in this subsample is listed at five percentage points. That doesn’t eliminate Hillary’s plunge, but it does call into question whether it’s really quite this steep — or whether it might even be worse.
The small sample size also makes hash of the demos, which makes it a little more difficult to analyze where the crash is occurring. Interestingly, Sanders has a 39/30 lead among white voters, although CNN’s sample apparently didn’t have enough non-white voters to present statistics on them. Hillary has higher leads among voters 50 and older, and that suggests a problem among younger voters … but once again, it seems that the poll didn’t have enough of them.
Oddly, though, Hillary gets the highest enthusiasm numbers in the poll, at 43%. Bernie Sanders gets a surprisingly low 31%, considering his arena-size events. Biden splits the difference at 37%. Martin O’Malley continues to be invisible in polling.
There is an interesting difference between the two partisan subgroups, too. CNN asked about the importance of on-the-job experience in determining a vote. In the Republican sample, it fell far short in importance than agreeing on issues, 23/65, and slightly worse among supporters of Donald Trump, 21/71 — even though Trump’s positions on issues are significantly different than the conservative agenda. For Democrats in general, experience takes a more significant position, 40/45, and for Hillary supporters, it’s the main consideration at 58/32. I’ll have more on that later.