March 22nd, 2019


Hillary: The Teflon Rubs Off

Dick Morris

By Dick Morris

Published June 5, 2015

 Hillary: The Teflon Rubs Off

Think the scandals aren't having an effect on Hillary Clinton's ratings? Think again.

The latest polls from The Washington Post and from CNN both show Hillary slip sliding below 50% in both vote share and favorability. This is strategic turf in our evenly divided country. It means that in order to win you need to persuade people who don't like you to vote for you -- a tough sell.

The most dramatic falloff has been in her favorability ratings. Hillary has been in public life so long that there are decades of polling to compare.

Overall, her favorability has bounced back and forth from the low 40s to the low 60s during her political career. During her low periods -- when HillaryCare crashed and the Dems lost Congress, during the post White House scandals -- she hovered around 47%. During her 2008 presidential run, she scored consistently in the mid-50s. As Secretary of State she enjoyed favorability in the 60s. But since she has crashed back to 46% at the end of May, her historic low point. Fifty percent have an unfavorable opinion of her.

So far, since 2013, she has lost her winnings over her past career and finds herself back where she was fifteen years ago. But from now on, any drop comes out of her core favorability and she will feel every point's loss intensely.

But Mrs. Clinton finds herself underwater in more than just favorability. CNN shows her honest and trustworthy rating down at 42-57 (a crash from 56-43 in March of 2014). They have her rating for "cares about people like me" down to 47-52 (from 53-45 in July of 2014). And she inspires confidence in only 49% -- down from 58% a year ago.

Her drop below 50% is especially evident in the head-to-head matches with various possible Republican rivals in the CNN poll.

  • Against Rand Paul, she leads by only 48-47, down from 58-39 in April.

  • Against Scott Walker, her lead is 49-46, down from 59-30 six weeks ago.

  • Against Marco Rubio, her lead is only 49-46, down from 66-45.

  • Against Bush, she leads 51-43 (down from 56-39 in April).

  • Against Cruz, her lead is 52-43 (down from 60-36 in April).

And the chances are that she will slip further, cutting deeper into her traditional base of supporters. The polling suggests that voters find the inquiries into her various scandals to be appropriate and expect further bad news.

CNN found that the percent that disapprove of her handling of Benghazi has risen from 53% in June of 2014 to 58% now. The Washington Post poll showed that "half of all Americans disapprove of the way she has handled questions about the Clinton Foundation" and 55% disapprove of how she has handled questions about her emails as Secretary of State.

As Hillary sinks below 50%, the Democratic angst is palpable. At the moment, it takes the form of depression and lamentation that they have no other candidate. But, increasingly, Democrats are turning toward Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) as a possible liberal alternative.

The coming presidential debates will boost Sanders and drop Hillary further.

At that point, beating Hillary will come within reach.

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Dick Morris, who served as adviser to former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and former President Clinton, is the author of 16 books, including his latest, Screwed and Here Come the Black Helicopters.