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Memo: Hillary Clinton’s Plummeting Poll Position

Chris Carr - August 27, 2015

TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Chris Carr, RNC Political Director
RE: Hillary Clinton’s Plummeting Poll Position
Date: August 27, 2015

As the DNC gathers for its summer meeting, their preferred frontrunner Hillary Clinton is on the ropes. After beginning the year as the overwhelming favorite to win the Democrat nomination, Clinton now finds herself trailing a 73 year-old socialist in New Hampshire and with ever shrinking leads in other states. Clinton also trails multiple GOP contenders in key battleground states and has seen her personal favorability plummet, in no small part due to the ongoing scandals over her secret email. And with Democrats starting to hit the panic button, Vice President Biden is leaning towards a bid that would complicate her candidacy even further.
 
Early State Polling
 
Recent polling has shown a complete collapse for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, where Bernie Sanders has opened up a 7-point lead according to two separate surveys. On Tuesday, Democrat pollster Public Policy Polling showed Sanders surging to a 42-35 lead over Clinton, who led by 33 points in the same poll in April. Last week, a poll by Franklin Pierce University showed Sanders turned a 39-point deficit into a 7-point lead and that just 35 percent of Democrats are excited about Clinton’s candidacy. General election matchups don’t provide much better news, with a recent WMUR/UNH poll showing Clinton trailing multiple GOP contenders. In Iowa, Clinton continues to lead Sanders but by significantly smaller margins. The most recent surveys by Quinnipiac University and Public Policy Polling both showed Clinton’s lead over Sanders drop more than 20 points and multiple GOP candidates running even or ahead of her in the general election.

 

Battleground State Polling
 
The numbers don’t get any better for Clinton in key swing states. The most recent polling from Quinnipiac University showed Clinton losing more ground and falling behind multiple GOP candidates in each of the battlegrounds of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. In those six states, Clinton’s favorability is underwater by an average of 17 points, voters say she is not honest and trustworthy by an average of 25 points, and majorities say she does not care about the needs and problems of people like them – arguably the deciding question of the 2012 election. And in reliably blue Michigan, Clinton has trailed multiple GOP opponents in two separate polls in the last week. With these states – and their 111 combined electoral votes – in play, Republicans have multiple pathways to the presidency.
 
National Polling
 
Clinton’s terrible standing in the swing states is also mirrored in national polling. The most recent national Gallup poll pegged Hillary Clinton with her worst net favorability rating since 2007. CNN found Clinton’s favorability at its lowest point since March 2001 and with independents viewing her unfavorably by a 30-point margin. The most recent Associated Press poll showed Clinton losing support among Democrats and just 39 percent of Americans viewing her favorably. Fewer than 1-in-3 voters described Clinton as honest and just 4-in-10 said she was likeable. Even Democrat pollster Public Policy Polling puts Clinton’s favorability underwater double digits in its most recent national survey.

 

The O Factor

Clinton’s chances also depend on the standing of her party’s incumbent president, Barack Obama. Historically, winning the White House three cycles in a row is a very difficult undertaking for either political party. President Obama is a long way off from being a political asset in the battlegrounds that will determine the outcome of the election to succeed him. Voters in these key states overwhelmingly want a change in direction from the president’s policies and his job approval remains stuck in the low 40’s.
 

OBAMA BATTLEGROUND JOB APPROVAL

 

   CO   

   40/56  

 (-16) 

FL

39/54

(-15)

IA

43/51

(-8)

NH

41/52

(-11)

NV

43/52

(-9)

OH

42/53

(-11)

PA

39/54

(-15)

VA

44/52

(-8)

 

(Source: Huffington Post Average Of Polls, Accessed 8/23/15)

 
Conclusion
 
With Clinton’s email scandal getting even worse, her poll numbers are unlikely to recover anytime soon. The fact that Clinton, who has universal name ID, is seen even less favorably today than when she lost the nomination in 2008 is a truly ominous sign for Democrats. It is still early in the cycle and this is not to say Clinton won’t be able to run a competitive campaign – she will have $2 billion behind her if all goes according to plan. But should Hillary Clinton win the nomination, Democrats will be in a weak position, hamstrung by an unpopular incumbent president and a standard-bearer who is, as MSNBC recently put it, “exactly the kind of candidate a majority of Americans say they don’t want to vote for.” 


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