Sanders Extends Gains on Clinton As Biden Remains Undecided About Running
The Democratic race has become far more interesting than many expected, but we are seeing variations of the same stories the last few weeks: Clinton’s support falling, including in Iowa, New Hampshire, and among women, along with continued questions about whether Joe Biden will run as the Democratic establishment gets more nervous about Clinton as a candidate.
Among recent polls, ABC News/The Washington Post show non-career politicians Donald Trump and Ben Carson dominating among the Republicans while support for establishment candidate Hillary Clinton is slipping among Democrats:
In the Democratic contest, Clinton’s drop is dramatic, yet not enough to threaten her clear lead. She’s supported by 42 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who are registered to vote, down from 63 percent in July, while Sanders has gained 10 points, to 24 percent, and Joe Biden’s up by 9 points, to 21 percent. If Biden doesn’t run, most of his support moves to Clinton, boosting her to 56 percent – exactly double Sanders’ support in this case.
Even if still in a strong position, Clinton’s trajectory leaves no question that she has trouble. Just 39 percent now see her as honest and trustworthy, matching her career low; that has dropped by 14 points since last summer. At 46 percent, her rating for empathy –- understanding the problems of average Americans -– is at a career low (albeit by a single point). Her support in the primary has tanked in particular among women, previously a mainstay of her candidacy, from 71 percent in July to 42 percent now.
The e-mail imbroglio is part of it. Fifty-five percent of Americans in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, disapprove of Clinton’s handling of questions about the matter, 54 percent think she’s tried to cover it up and 51 percent think she broke government regulations by using a private server for work-related e-mail during her time as secretary of state…
In the Democratic contest, Clinton and Sanders run essentially evenly among whites, 31 vs. 33 percent; Clinton’s lead relies on nonwhites, among whom she has 57 percent support, to Sanders’ 13 percent. It’s the only major demographic group in which Clinton still maintains a clear majority.
Clinton’s support from nonwhites has dropped, by 14 points, from 71 percent in July. But her support from whites has fallen farther, by 25 points, in the same time.
As noted, too, Clinton’s support among women has cratered by 29 points since July. Among men she’s lost 9 points in the same period, from 52 to 43 percent. Her gender gap has evaporated.
While Clinton still maintains an overall lead nationally for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders continues to show increased support in Iowa and New Hampshire, with victories there likely to impact the polls nationally should he hold onto these leads. The YouGov/CBS News Battleground Tracker showed a continuation of the trend seen in other recent polls:
The new poll finds Sen. Sanders with 52% support among Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire, while former Secretary of State Clinton, long considered the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic nomination, receives 30%. Recent polls have shown Sanders’ lead growing in the Granite State, but this would be the first to show the Vermont Senator over 50%.
Possibly more worrying for the Clinton campaign is her performance in Iowa, where Sanders now leads by 10 points, with 43% to Clinton’s 33%.
Nate Cohn has a series of charts which demonstrate the drop in Clinton’s support, noting:
…Mrs. Clinton’s decline now extends beyond what I, at least, would have expected. It is still not enough to call her advantage into question, but it suggests that many analysts might have underestimated the resonance of the controversy surrounding her private email account and server at the State Department. And it creates a real quandary for Mr. Biden.
For the first time in Mrs. Clinton’s two decades in national politics, more Americans see her unfavorably than favorably. Her net-favorability rating — now a dismal minus-10 or perhaps worse — is at least 15 points worse than it was at this time in 2008.
She hasn’t lost ground only among Republicans or Republican-leaning independents, but also among Democratic voters. I don’t have a comprehensive data set of Mrs. Clinton’s old favorability ratings among Democrats, but a quick survey of polls from August and September 2007 showed Mrs. Clinton with 80 percent to 88 percent favorability ratings among Democrats. Today, they range from 65 percent to 77 percent. That shouldn’t be a surprise, given how far her national ratings have slipped…
Politico reports that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is now trying to flood the internet with old pictures of Hillary to make her seem more “relatable.” Joe Biden, who has no problems in that area, remains undecided about running.
The entry of Joe Biden into the Democratic race would have a major impact, with Biden dividing the establishment vote, possibly creating a better chance for Bernie Sanders to win the nomination, or in any event decreasing the chance of Clinton winning. At this time Biden has given out mixed signals, I suspect largely because he has not decided what he is going to do. Bloomberg provides further evidence that he is seriously considering the possibility of running:
The 28 hours Joe Biden spent in New York City at the end of last week were a whirlwind of activity—much of it feeding the mounting speculation that he is inching ever closer to launching a late-starting presidential campaign. Biden stood alongside Attorney General Loretta Lynch and announced an $80 million plan to clear the backlog of rape kits in police departments around the country. He appeared with Governor Andrew Cuomo at a rally with some of the city’s most powerful unions to support Cuomo’s push to hike the minimum wage. He made his now-famous appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He took part in an evening roundtable for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. And, the next day, he delivered remarks at a 9/11 memorial aboard the Intrepid Museum, at which firefighters, cops, and other first responders chanted, “Run, Joe, run!”
Each of these events was freighted with political meaning. For some, the turn on Colbert, with Biden expressing his enduring anguish about the loss of his son Beau and his heartfelt doubts about his ability to rise emotionally to the rigors of a campaign, was the most telling, signaling what many in the political establishment have believed for weeks: that for all of Biden’s dalliances with a bid, he would in the end find himself unable to get to yes.
And that may still prove true. But fewer than 12 hours after the Colbert interview aired, Biden partook in a meeting that signaled something entirely different. The meeting appeared nowhere on his public schedule. It was held in secret at his hotel in Midtown Manhattan and lasted for more than 90 minutes: a private, one-on-one session with one of the most prominent and powerful fundraising stars in the Democratic firmament—a mega-bundler who happens to be, at least for now, publicly committed to Hillary Clinton.
The bundler in question was Robert Wolf: the former chairman and CEO of UBS Americas, a prodigious buck-raker on behalf of Barack Obama in two successive campaigns, a four-time appointee to economic panels in the Obama administration, and perhaps the only person in the American business community—and certainly the sole Wall Street potentate—with whom Obama during his time in office has developed a deep and genuine friendship…
Updated from a post at Liberal Values