September 25, 2015

Clinton’s Early State Woes Worsening

A new CNN/WMUR Granite State Poll out this morning becomes the 7th survey in a row to show Hillary Clinton with badly damaged prospects in the first-in-the-nation primary state, losing badly to Bernie Sanders – with or without Joe Biden in the race:

Sanders has the backing of nearly half of those who say they plan to vote in the first-in-the-nation Democratic primary next year — 46% support him — while just 30% say they back Clinton.

Clinton and Sanders’ favorability ratings are moving in opposite directions too, with her unfavorables up among self-identified Democratic primary voters:

Clinton’s favorability ratings continue their slow fade in New Hampshire, according to the new poll, dipping slightly to 67% favorable, down from July’s 73%. Clinton began the year with an 83% favorable rating in February, but hasn’t come close to that since.

Sanders’ ratings, however, are shifting in the opposite direction, with 78% rating him positively, up from 69% in July.

Things aren’t going much better for Clinton in Iowa, where the Des Moines Register is out with a harsh review of her editorial board interview earlier this week:

Two weeks ago, for the first time, Clinton offered a clearly stated, but long overdue, apology for her use of the server. But in meeting with the Register on Tuesday, she seemed to find fault not with her own actions but with those who have questioned them. “I’m sorry it has been so much the subject of speculation and curiosity,” she told the editorial board, perhaps not realizing just how condescending that sounded.

The situation is so dire in the first two states that the Clinton camp is already falling back on its supposed “Southern firewall” – so it’s especially problematic that South Carolina’s largest newspaper came out swinging today with a blistering editorial blaming Clinton for the lack of Democratic debates. The Post and Courier writes:

So why are the Democrats yielding the debate ground to the GOP?

Because front-runner Hillary Clinton wants to minimize challengers’ opportunities to present themselves as viable alternatives to her — especially in the light of rising calls for Vice President Joe Biden to enter the race.

Perhaps the clearest sign of the Clinton campaign’s panic is a sudden shift in tone in television ads. Gone are the positive spots aimed at “defining” her to early state voters that view her increasingly negatively, Clinton’s latest ad new ad, released this morning, is a negative spot slamming Republicans. CNN reports:

Hillary Clinton contrasts herself with Republicans in her campaign’s newest television ad, the first time she has done so.

[…]

Clinton’s previous ads have been primarily biographical, focused more on the highlights of Clinton’s plan, not how they contrast with Republicans.

If the polls are any indication, Clinton’s new ad appears to be jumping the gun – the numbers show she has a lot more to worry about from her fellow Democrats before she can shift her focus to Republicans.