Wheels Coming Off Clinton Campaign Bandwagon?
The stories about Hillary Clinton’s campaign woes continue to mount.
Al Hunt has a piece at Bloomberg entitled “Tension in Hillaryland Grows as Plan Goes Awry.” It details a recent focus group by legendary Democratic pollster Peter Hart which found that most Clinton supporters would much prefer to vote for Obama — and would do so in a minute if they could be persuaded he could win. They find him “inspirational, motivating, charismatic and compassionate” while she’s “devious,” “calculating,” “divisive,” “demanding, difficult, maybe even a little scary.” Hunt also cites tensions between Bill Clinton and his wife’s staff.
While that’s anecdotal, it’s not the first time those concerns have been raised. More concretely, though, Clinton’s huge lead in the polls is starting to vanish, too. Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Domenico Montanaro note that Obama is within the margin of error now in polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
It should be noted, though, that Clinton is doing much better in the aggregated polls than she is in the MSNBC/Mason Dixon poll. While Obama has a tiny lead in Iowa, Clinton is still leading by more than the margin of error in all the other early races when the polls are averaged to discount anomalies in a single poll. Indeed, her margin in most of those states is slightly higher than it was when her nomination was considered inevitable.
And, while conceding that the national numbers don’t mean a whole lot given the way the serial nature of the nomination process, the trend analysis is worth taking a look at:
Obama’s numbers have been essentially unchanged since March. Ditto Edwards. Clinton, who started with much higher name recognition and less room for improvement, has actually gained.
The path by which someone other than Hillary Clinton gets the nomination is easier to see than it was a month ago. But it’s still hers to lose.