Is it possible that Hillary Clinton’s star among her most ardent political supporters is on the wane?
A poll released last week by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News suggests the former First Lady and Benghazi-botching Secretary of State has lost major clout with the very demographic groups that progressives commonly take for granted: declared Democrats and young people.
The poll, which gauged the opinions of 800 people, found only 46 percent held a positive general opinion of Clinton, while 33 percent viewed her negatively. That’s a 10 percent drop since the last iteration of the same poll in April:
Overall, 46 percent registered a positive view of the ex-secretary of state, compared to 33 percent who expressed a negative opinion. As recently as April, 56 percent saw Mrs. Clinton in a positive light.
Crucially, though, Clinton’s appeal to people the mainstream press lazily associates with Democratic success appears to be fading:
The new survey shows some weakness among independents, Democrats and people between the age of 18 and 34.
In April, for example, 53% of 18-to-34-year olds had a positive image of Mrs. Clinton in the Journal’s polling. That figure fell to 38% in the new survey.
In that same period, Mrs. Clinton’s support among independents fell from 46% to 35%. Her support among Democrats fell 12 points — from 88% to 76%.
Despite the ephemeral nature of political polls, across-the board drops like those have to be indicative of something. Losing 12 percent with your party base in a six-month period is particularly problematic for a would-be candidate The Wall Street Journal deemed, in the accompanying article, as “the solid front-runner in the Democratic field” for the 2016 Presidential nomination.
Other political figures, such as Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) fared worse than Clinton in the same poll. But in every case, a significant portion of those surveyed said they simply weren’t familiar with the names of relative political newcomers like Cruz or even Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Clinton’s name, by contrast, was familiar to nearly everyone surveyed — a fact that reveals more deeply entrenched opinions cultivated over her long career hanging out in or around the halls of political power.
“Pure and simple, she’s gone from being the nonpartisan secretary of state to potentially a partisan Democratic nominee for president,” survey consultant Peter Hart told the Journal. “It’s not that voters all of the sudden have seen a new side of Hillary that has caused them to take a second look. She is no longer the non-partisan secretary of state and that brings out the partisan fangs on the part of former supporters.”
Time will tell if the latest poll indicates a real trend, or a mere blip on Clinton’s way to a supposedly inevitable coronation at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.