Law and Politics

Is Hillary’s Election Inevitable?

December 31, 2014
By John Zogby

If the Democratic primaries were today and the general election tomorrow, the answers would be "YES, she is inevitable". But neither is today or tomorrow. And this could be the biggest hurdle that Hillary Clinton faces.

Expectations for her candidacy are very high; expectations for her Presidency will be even higher. We have seen what too high expectations can do for a President – or undo. Let's start with real numbers for Hillary.

In a poll of likely Democratic primary voters nationwide by Zogby Analytics, she leads her closest opponent Vice-President Joe Biden by 32 points, 46%-14%. After that, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who swears she is not running (but appears to be crisscrossing the country running) gets 7%. Governor Jerry Brown of California (who ran in 1976 and 1992) receives 6%, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ( who is 23 years younger than Brown) gets 4%, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is at 2%, former San Antonio Mayor and new Secretary of HUD Julian Castro 1%, and outgoing Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley at 1%. Others tested included former Virginia Senator Jim Webb and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick who received less than 1%.

The new poll of 464 likely Democratic primary/caucus voters was conducted by Zogby Analytics December 17-18 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percentage points.

Mrs. Clinton leads all candidates among all demographic groups. Her slimmest leads are among 18-29 year olds (35%-17%) against Biden, 12% for Brown, and 9% for Warren. She pounds the field among all other age groups as well as among both liberals (49% to Warren's 15% and Biden's 9%) and moderates 49% to Biden's 15% and Warren's 6%. She is triumphant among Hispanics (44% to Brown's 20% and Biden's 18%), African Americans (46% to Biden's 13% and Warren's 5%), union household voters (46% to 13% and Warren's 8%), and the Creative Class (44% to Biden's 18% and Warren's 12%).

There is both good news and bad news for Mrs. Clinton in this new Zogby Analytics poll.

First the bad: she is polling under 50%. She benefits by the highest name recognition, widest experience, and magical name (among Democrats), but she has dropped at least well below her high of 64%. At the same time, being under 50% is the best news for her. If she were still polling in the 60s the expectations level would be too high and she would have to match expectations – something she is unlikely to do. The Democratic party is torn asunder.

Progressives will mount a challenge and take her to task for being close to Wall Street, for earnings that put her into the top 0.1%, and for being on the wrong side of income inequality and foreign policy. She is sounding very much like a neo-conservative. She is also vulnerable by being a very well-known person, but not a well-known persona. Just who is Hillary Clinton? What are her core beliefs, not her stated positions yesterday or today? While her husband is very popular, and could be re-elected himself to the Presidency, voters seem to tire of him when he is campaigning for his wife. He is also, in the immortal words of Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, "The Devil With the Blue Dress" and voters may just have had too much of that.

Its significant to note that in our national numbers (also December 17-18, 881 likely voters) she simply trounces all GOP wannabes by solid double digits.

December 31, 2014

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