Chuck Todd reports that “a whopping 74% [of the respondents to the latest NBC-WSJ poll] say that at least 24 straight years of Bushes and Clintons in the White House won’t be much of a consideration when they vote.”
Jonathan Singer is surprised:
I have tended to believe that voters would be reluctant to elect (and perhaps even nominate) Hillary Clinton in 2008 at least in part because of the fact that she is a legatee candidate, following in the footsteps of her husband (particularly given the failure of the most recent legatee presidency, that of George W. Bush). But also, the argument that a country run by legatees is one not far off from a country run by nobility (or is moving in that direction, in effect if not in law) seemed to hold water to me.
Yet apparently, this argument is not swaying too many voters. Certainly, the fact that perhaps as much of a quarter of the electorate has a sufficient level of Bush-Clinton fatigue to hold it against Hillary Clinton this cycle is meaningful — perhaps so much so that it could sway the election in one way or another (I can’t really say until I see the actual data from the poll, and probably even the internals of the poll, if possible). Nevertheless, for the vast majority of the American public, this simply does not appear to be a salient issue.
My reaction is almost exactly opposite Singer’s. The notion that people from famous political families have a leg up in the name recognition battle isn’t particularly troubling to me; certainly, no more so than the fact that movie stars and other pop culture celebrities seem to gain a similar advantage. I’m particularly untroubled about this at the presidential level, where voters certainly know for whom they’re voting; it’s more problematic at the state and local levels, where people often vote solely on the basis of name recognition.
At the same time, to say that, “a whopping 74% say [X] won’t be much of a consideration when they vote” is to bury one’s lead. The fact that 26 percent say it will be a significant consideration is rather staggering, particularly considering that only one candidate currently in the race would be effected. One wonders if this is already factored into Clinton’s current poll numbers?