Hillary Clinton Expectations Taking Media Pounding

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Photo With the caucuses close, the one-time front-runner scrambles and the longtime underdog feels insurgent.
Photo: Composite image by Politico.com Two reports out today offer hope to those for whom the notion of a Hillary Clinton presidency is unbearable.

First, a new Zogby poll shows Clinton losing in a general election matchup against the top five Republican contenders — and her chief rivals, Barack Obama and John Edwards, winning those races.

Second, Mike Allen and Carrie Budoff Brown are getting traction with a piece, strangely lacking in facts, arguing that Clinton and Obama have switched roles in Iowa, with the former displaying “a front-runner’s swagger” while the latter “scrambles like an underdog.”

Meanwhile, virtually every other poll shows Clinton winning every primary and caucus state handily and with a lead over every potential Republican challenger. Indeed, with the exception of Iowa, where her average lead is a mere 2.3 points, she’s blowing out her challengers in all states by margins reminiscent of the New England Patriots.

It’s true that an Obama upset in Iowa could shatter the sense of inevitability that surrounds Clinton and blow the race wide open. Still, that seems incredibly unlikely. She’s not Howard Dean, after all. She’s been in the national spotlight for sixteen years and has the support of the Democratic Establishment. Nor is she prone to unscripted public screams.

On the other hand, her incredibly high negatives — and the fact that something like 40 percent of the electorate will vote for the Republican nominee regardless — put the general election up for grabs. It’s quite conceivable that, even with the wild unpopularity of President Bush, the Iraq War, and the Republican Congress, the GOP nominee could pull out a victory. It’ll be an uphill fight, though.

Photo credit: Politico

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    Zogby is not the most reliable of pollsters, so I would take his poll with a grain of salt.

    What is interesting to me is the left trying to eat it’s own. For the GOP, there is no clear leader. Lots of opportunity to break from the pact (even Huckabee whom you labeled as having no chance for the nomination). But for the left, the message has been clear for some time that the democrats were coalescing behind Clinton.

    I would also point out that there is a third group for whom this news might not be considered good and who find the notion of a Clinton presidency unbearable (actually we can bear it, it is just a question of how much damage gets done). I personally would like to see Clinton nominated, but not elected.

  2. Patrick T McGuire says:

    I personally would like to see Clinton nominated, but not elected.

    I would like to see her nominated because she wouldn’t be elected! There are just too many people out there who have declared that they wouldn’t vote for her under any circumstances. I don’t know who that would put in the White House but anybody other than Clinton is acceptable.

  3. Anderson says:

    Those of us who hoped that Kerry might win in 2004 can warn you not to trust a Zogby poll.