You would never know it by reading the mainstream media or watching this morning’s or Sunday’s cable news hosts and talking heads doing their usual negativity pile-on about Hillary Clinton’s alleged troubles due to emails and a possible entry in the race, due to those alleged troubles, by Vice President Biden.
But current polling data show that former Secretary of State Clinton has substantial favorable ratings among Democrats and leads every GOP presidential candidate. So why have the media ignored these data expressing voter choices that are favorable to Clinton and focused only on the “distrust” and “unfavorables” data? Is there some impetus to prove that the “scandal” regarding emails is as serious as the media and the Republicans are trying to make it?
Here are the facts on Clinton’s continued popularity among Democrats and strength in the general election vs. all Republican candidates:
On Aug. 21, Andrew Dugan of the Gallup organization wrote an article with the following headline: “Campaign Challenges Aside, Clinton’s Image with Dems Stable.” Duggan writes: “Hillary Clinton remains the best liked among her party faithful. She enjoys a net favorable score of +60%, which is essentially where she stood in July.” Gallup reported that more than seven out of 10 Democrats have favorable views of Clinton. Gallup based its findings on a substantial sample — higher than any other published polls I have seen — of 3,000 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (using hard lines and cellphones to make the calls) over a month-long period.
Was this Gallup finding mentioned on the Sunday or Monday morning TV or cable talk shows? Not that I am aware. Let’s not let facts get in the way of predisposition.
Also virtually ignored are the results of the RealClearPolitics average of all polls between July 20 and Aug. 16, which show that Clinton leads by a substantial margin among Democrats nationally, 49 percent to 25 percent over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), with Biden in third place at 12 percent.
In the Iowa caucus, the RealClearPolitics average during this same time period has Clinton leading Sanders by 24 percent — 50.5 percent to 26 percent — and the vice president, who had 9 percent, running in third place, 17 percentage points behind Sanders and 41 percent behind Clinton.
In New Hampshire, to his credit, Sanders — from the neighboring state of Vermont — has drawn virtually even with Clinton: Clinton has 40.7 percent to Sanders’s 39.7 percent. (As I have written before, to the best of my knowledge, no neighboring state elected official from either party has ever lost the New Hampshire primary.) Biden trails in New Hampshire with 7 percent.
After New Hampshire comes South Carolina, where as of now, at least, Clinton is showing overwhelming popularity. She leads Biden by 56.5 points and Sanders by 58 points in the RealClearPolitics average of only two polls. But the most recent of those two polls, conducted between July 31 and Aug. 3, has Clinton in front by the whopping margin of 78 percent to 6 percent over the vice president, and 78 percent to 5 percent over Sanders.
Data from Nevada — the next caucus state, where Clinton shows immense popularity among the sizeable group of Latino voters — and other major state primaries show similar huge margins for Clinton.
All this can change, of course; polls are snapshots of a moving picture. But if one single poll is repeated over and over again by pundits showing high Clinton distrust numbers, why not report other data showing Democratic voters who will decide the nomination, supporting her overwhelmingly?
Without putting any stock in general election contests this early, nevertheless it is relevant to point out that despite the daily media pounding that has driven up Clinton’s personal negatives among the general electorate, she is still showing higher numbers in theRealClearPolitics average of all polls (in the same July 20 to Aug. 16 time period) over every Republican presidential candidate, including 10 percentage points over Donald Trump; 5 points over Gov. Scott Walker (Wis.); 4 points over Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.); 3 points over former Gov. Jeb Bush (Fla.); 9 points over Gov. John Kasich (Ohio); and 11 points over both former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
I have three reasons why I believe the media and GOP piling on Clinton hasn’t affected voter choices.
First, voters must make choices — and most Democrats and most voters are choosing Clinton vs. the others. Data show that voters continue to see Clinton as a fighter for everyday Americans, someone who has been the subject media/Republican hyped-up bogus “scandals” before (remember Whitewater?), but has always bounced back and continued to fight for them.
Second, while many people say they have questions about the way Clinton has handled the emails controversy, they also seem to understand that 1) she violated no laws; and 2) there is no evidence that national security was harmed by her having a private, secure server. So what’s the fuss about, other than media hype (again) and politics?
And third, men as well as women in this country happen to believe that it’s about time America elected a qualified female president of the United States. Every other major democracy in the world has; only the United States hasn’t — ever.
Any opponent of Hillary Clinton, current or future, must understand the power of this historic opportunity, given Clinton’s high qualifications for the office of president.
A reference to Vice President Biden’s poll numbers has been revised.
Lanny Davis served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton from 1996 to 1998. He is principal in the Washington law firm Lanny J. Davis & Associates and is executive vice president of LEVICK, a strategic communications firm. He has no position in the Hillary for America campaign. He is a friend and supporter of Secretary Clinton.