According to the poll, 57 percent of Republicans say they have a “good or excellent impression of the candidates” running for the GOP nomination.Dear Mr. Mullings:
Why is this newsworthy? Don’t Republican voters always like Republican candidates?
The Captain Obvious Association
Well … no. According to the poll, four years ago when Mitt Romney became the nominee only 44 percent of Republicans liked their choices. Four years before that, in 2007 (Sen. John McCain became the nominee) 50 percent of Republicans felt good about the field.
On the Democratic side, 54 percent say they have a positive impression of their field. Inasmuch as the Democratic field is pretty much one person – Hillary Clinton – that can’t be seen as a major boost for her campaign.
When the respondents were asked about individual candidates (and presumed candidates) the results were interesting.
In the D side, 77 percent of Democrats had a favorable view of Hillary Clinton – compared to 49 percent of the total population. But even that 77 percent has some gathering clouds. Pew’s analysis shows that her approval rating among Democrats and overall have both fallen nine percentage points since last summer.
Bill Clinton’s favorability appears to have taken a big hit as well, falling from a high of 68 percent in September 2012 to 58 percent now.
Both Clintons are at their low points since 2008.
Among the Republican candidates Mike Huckabee came out on top in this poll with 62 percent of conservative Republicans having a favorable opinion of him and 20 percent unfavorable. Among moderate/liberal Republicans the numbers for Huckabee were still a positive 48-27.
At the other end of the spectrum, 54 percent of conservatives like Jeb Bush, while 37 percent do not. Among the moderates Bush’s numbers were a similar 51-34.
Among the other candidates here are the numbers among conservatives:
Marco Rubio – 60-15
Rand Paul – 58-22
Scott Walker – 54-14
Ted Cruz – 51-25
The fact that every GOP candidate is over 50 percent favorable among conservative Republicans may tell us that they like having a choice from among a large group of qualified candidates.
The poll shows that Hillary Clinton is popular across the board among Democrats with the interesting exception of “younger Millennials” – those who were under 18 years old in 2007. Only 65 percent have a favorable view of Clinton.
“Only” 65 percent sounds like I’m grasping at straws, but it is a full 12 percentage points below the 77 percent of all Democrats who approve of her. If younger voters are less-then-enthralled with Clinton it will have a dramatic effect on her campaign’s trying to resurrect the “Obama Coalition” of 2008 and 2012.
Democrats are all too aware that without President Obama on the ballot in 2010 and 2012 Republicans made gains at all levels from the U.S. Senate to state legislatures.
s story after story after story continues to be published about the possible connections between the Secretary of State and the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton’s speaking fees, and the continuing e-mail issues, it is those younger voters who may be turned off the most.
Further, with President Obama’s approval ratings apparently stuck in the mid-40’s (45-50 in the RealClearPolitics.com average), it is not likely he will be helpful in a Clinton general election campaign assuming (a) there IS a Clinton general election campaign, and (b) the Clintons and the Obamas are still speaking to one another by then.
All this – Republicans trending positive and Democrats trending negative – might just be a blip in the mass of polls taken and yet to be taken. To quote Macbeth, it might all be “sound and fury signifying nothing.”
Or, it might mark the moment when the bloom began to fade from the rose named “The Clintons.”
Mr. Galen is a veteran political strategist and communications consultant. He blogs at www.Mullings.com.