“Despite everything,” the often interesting analyst Jamelle Bouie writes in Slate — “everything” includes “the email controversy, foreign donors and the Clinton Foundation” — “Hillary is in good shape.” Good enough to leave her party “still positioned for victory.”
Bouie is writing in response to the ABC News/Washington Post and CNN/ORC polls released last week, which show Hillary Clinton’s favorable/unfavorable numbers plunging. ABC/WaPo puts them at 45-49 percent negative, the lowest since April 2008. CNN/ORC puts them at an almost identical 46-50 percent negative, the lowest since March 2003.
The most significant thing about these results is that Clinton evokes favorable feelings from less than 50 percent of respondents. Bouie is right to say that it is unrealistic to expect Clinton to be as favorably regarded as she was when she held the relatively unpolitical office of secretary of state. But it’s a stretch to say that a candidate with 100 percent substantive recognition but less than 50 percent favorables is “positioned for victory.” Such a candidate could win, especially if her opponent has exploitable flaws. But there is a nontrivial possibility she will lose.
The internals — the responses to subsidiary questions — point in that direction, as well. ABC/WaPo says that only 33 percent of voters approve of her relationship with the Clinton Foundation, that only 31 percent approve of her private email system, that only 33 percent approve of her conduct on Benghazi, Libya, and that between 48 and 55 percent believe these are legitimate issues.