The conventional wisdom throughout 2014 was that the GOP was going to have to seriously buckle down if they were to find a candidate next year who could solve the Hillary puzzle. Many of the contenders have their own charms and a built-in camp of followers, but they all share one common trait. America loves Hillary Clinton, and she will enter the race with a massive, double digit lead no matter who is nominated. But how durable were those seemingly insurmountable numbers?
At Investors Business Daily, Andrew Malcolm flips through some recent polls well below the top line numbers and finds that the Inevitable First Female President’s support has actually already begun the process of cratering.
In just the past month, when no one with a real life was thinking about the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton’s massive poll lead over every single potential Republican opponent has collapsed.
In a hypothetical match-up, her margin over Jeb Bush, the closest GOP president, was cut in half to eight points this month, 45%-37%, according to Zogby. That’s down from a whopping 15-point lead in December. Similarly, the former first lady’s 15-point margin over Mitt Romney slid to nine points, 46%-37%.
Still sizable margins, to be sure. But trending uncomfortably in the wrong direction even before an announcement, as Clinton goes to ground to plot her campaign, assemble staff and devise a credible rationale other than gender for why Americans should let her move back into the White House, this time in the West Wing.
At this stage, any polling of head to head numbers is worthless beyond giving pundits and cable news anchors something to talk about, though a persistent lead against an entire field of opponents is a trend to keep an eye on. But how the voters feel about any given hypothetical match-up which is still more than twenty months away is less important than how the public is feeling in terms of the individuals. For those with very low name recognition (think Cruz or Walker) there is less to worry about because the formal introductions are yet to be made. But Hillary comes into this as a household name. Her personal approval numbers tell a much larger story.
As Andrew discovers in the cross tabs, the former First Lady may have more to worry about than the Ready for Hillary crowd is willing to let on. Among women, for example, she held a staggering 25% lead over Jeb Bush last fall. It’s now 48%-34%. Among young voters (always a key Democrat constituency… thanks, millenials) her former 35 point lead has wilted by more than half to 16%. And in perhaps the biggest story in the January numbers, Hillary held a 20 point lead over Bush among Catholics. As of this week, she is losing that demographic by six points.
We have readers here at Hot Air who have been predicting this for the last two years in the comments section. There have been more than a few bits of analysis offered which claimed that Hillary was a paper tiger who would come quickly back to Earth when voters had to actually assess her qualifications to take a seat in the Oval Office. I’ll confess to having been skeptical, likely because I’ve had my hopes dashed by Ms. Clinton too often.
Give me a few more months of this type of movement and I just might begin to allow for a slight bit of enthusiasm.