As mentioned in the previous posting – Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are the two names commanding the most attention and respect among the Democratic candidates for 2016.
After taking an updated look at Bernie it seems only right to devote our attention to the central candidate of the Democratic ticket: Clinton herself. Again, some of the most recent polling numbers available have been released by Quinnipiac University, and as such we’ll be considering them once more (http://www.quinnipiac.edu/images/polling/us/us07302015_U645de.pdf). Quinnipiac is showing Hillary solidly in first place with a resounding 55% of Democratic-leaning voters favoring her candidacy. Compare this to Bernie Sanders with 17%, and we’re looking at a nearly 40% difference (38% to be exact). Unlike Sanders, though, Clinton has seen a distinct downward trend in her polling numbers. In January of 2014 Clinton was polling at 65% among Democratic-leaning voters, meaning her most recent numbers reflect a 10% drop.
Unlike Sanders, where a particular cause seems easily linked to a polling surge, Clinton seems less easily entrapped. Indeed, it seems almost as if Clinton’s lack of particular causes she is especially vocal about may be her Achilles’ heel. As strong as Clinton’s public familiarity, expansive experience, and educational credentials may be – her more moderate stances and less evocative nature seem to be fairing poorly against Sanders.
One must also wonder how badly repeated scandals, often exaggerated by the media, have hurt Clinton’s polling numbers. Despite Clinton’s detractors claiming these scandals are particularly vile and horrendous, reality rarely seems to reflect such claims. Congressional inquiries around Benghazi, for example, failed to produce damning evidence against Clinton but still appeared to take a toll on Clinton supporters. Concerns have, of course, also been cited regarding the contents of Clinton’s e-mails in her use of a personal e-mail account for official, government duties.
Still – the same Quinnipiac study referenced earlier also cited polling statistics predicting a Clinton win were she to run against Republican front-runner Donald Trump. Specifically, Clinton was favored by 48% to Trump’s 36%. Similarly to Sanders again, though – Clinton appears to face less hopeful odds when matched against either Jeb Bush or Scott Walker.
Also worth noting is that Clinton’s opponents, on even the Democratic side, appear to becoming increasingly aggressive in their attacks on her. CNN, among others, has reported on that just this week (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhvsPaHUVZ8). Their report cites Martin O’Malley pushing back on Clinton regarding banking regulation, Lincoln Chafee doubting Clinton’s judgment regarding Iraq, and Bernie Sanders distancing himself from Clinton on environmental concerns. CNN’s panel goes even farther in questioning the implications of Clinton’s unwillingness to answer certain policy questions by citing her recent activities as Secretary of State. While attacks from the Right are a given for Hillary Clinton, the growing pressure from her own party seems to be a developing cause for concern.
In closing, it must still be stressed that Clinton stands alone as the clear front-runner on the Democratic side. Still – the downward trend in her polling numbers and increasing attacks from her own party make it clear that the Democratic Nominee is far from settled.