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Hillary Clinton’s approval numbers continue to tumble

by | Jul 16, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

Hillary-Clinton-favorability-decline  I had intended to write a piece yesterday about the re-re-re-launch (to borrow from an astute profile) of pro-abortion presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign . But having missed the deadline, I was going to talk about it today.

However Lisa Lerer’s and Emily Swanson’s analysis of Clinton’s latest ominous numbers from an AP-GfK poll means another one-day delay.

The headline is that the former Secretary of State’s standing among her fellow Democrats is falling. In one sense her approval numbers are still relatively high–70%–but the trajectory continues downward.

It’s “an 11-point drop from the April survey,” they write. More importantly, “Nearly a quarter of Democrats now say they see Clinton in an unfavorable light.”

But it’s what’s behind the numbers that tells the real story. Here are five points from the online poll of 1,004 adults.

#1.  “Just [a total of] 39 percent of all Americans have a favorable view of Clinton, compared to nearly half who say they have a negative opinion of her,” Lerer and Swanson write. “That’s an eight-point increase in her unfavorable rating from an AP-GfK poll conducted at the end of April.”

It is absolutely true that the Republican presidential candidates have low approval numbers as well. But unlike Mrs. Clinton, they have room (and space) to grow. They aren’t nearly as well known as Clinton who has been in the public eye since the early 1990s.

And, oh by the way, of that 39%, just 18% have a “very favorable” opinion while 21% have a “somewhat favorable” opinion of Mrs. Clinton.

#2. The “re-launch” metaphor mentioned at the beginning is often paired in reporting with “reinvention.” Message?  Even reporters, who habitually trash Republicans and elevate Democrats,  understand she regularly changes “who” she is. Now, for example, Clinton tells us to see her as a grandmother.

But according to Lerer and Swanson, “The survey suggests that voters aren’t sold on her reinvention: Only 4 in 10 voters say they view Clinton as ‘compassionate.’ “

#3. What about honesty? “Just 3 in 10 [32%] said the word honest’ described her either very or somewhat well.” That is a staggeringly low number. Part of that, by the way, may be another way of saying that Americans see Clinton as shape-shifting whenever anyone tries to pin her down for a genuine–honest– answer.

Again, to break down the total 32% figure. Only 12% said “honesty” describes Clinton “very well” while 20% said only “somewhat well.”

#4. Clinton is not exactly inspiring the public to storm the gates. “The percentage of respondents calling Clinton at least somewhat inspiring also slipped from 44 percent to 37 percent,” Lerer and Swanson write.

Finding less favor with the public, with more questioning of her compassion and honesty, and a decline in the ability to inspire. What’s left?

#5. “Even the number of voters saying Clinton is at least somewhat decisive, previously a strong point for the former New York senator, fell from 56 percent in April to 47 percent in the new poll.”

The contrast to President Obama was drawn in analyses of this poll, as is routinely the case. Mr. Obama’s numbers in the “soft” categories (such as compassion) and “hard” categories (such as leadership) have slid. But he stays afloat because enough people still think of him positively to provide buoyancy.
While Mr. Obama is obviously not running again, Ed Morrissey put it well when he wrote about the significance of Clinton’s low numbers in the areas of compassion and inspiration: “Those are the two qualities that fueled Obama’s rise at Hillary’s expense eight years ago.”

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