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:

Wheels Coming Off Clinton Campaign Bandwagon?

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.

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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 and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DeDe King says:

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  3. Dave Schuler says:

    It’ll be interesting if Oprah’s support of Obama changes any minds. Unless that happens short of a concerted “Dump Hillary” campaign, the nomination is hers in all likelihood.

  4. Christopher says:

    I dislike Hillary as much as the next guy, but I think it is unfair to characterize her campaign as the wheels coming off. The front runner is always going to lose a bit of support. But she is smart and has plenty of smart people around her, and certainly knows what she is doing.

    My question is, who will be the nominee, the muslim or the woman?

  5. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Chris, do you mean the Muslim or the Stalinist?

  6. MoreMoxie says:

    The coverage on Hillary emphasizes the negative. If she is leading but by a smaller amount, the headline is Obama is coming up and it’s a dead heat. And when Obama leads, the emphasis is Obama has overtaken Hillary, with no concession that it’s a statistical dead heat. There is nothing surprising about some abrasions between a candidate’s staff and her very powerful spouse. The coverage builds on an anti-Hillary meme, ignoring what she still does right and gushing about Obama. I think the coverage has had an effect, but I’m not clear if it can be a decisive factor. Can someone tell me?