While the political world waits for the increasingly likely entry of Vice President Joe Biden into the presidential race, a new Quinnipiac poll points to an even more serious challenge facing Hillary Clinton. She is deeply unpopular with Independent voters, who don’t trust her.
Hillary is still popular with Democrats and continues to post a strong lead in the race for the Democrat nomination. Less than 30 percent of Independents, though, have a favorable impression of Clinton. Just over 60 percent have an unfavorable view of her. Fewer than 1-in-10 Independents aren’t sure how they view her, meaning she will have to change voters’ minds about her to be competitive next November.
She is even less popular with Independents than President Obama, who has always had some struggles with this fickle block of voters.
Clinton’s unpopularity with Independents rests on some very key considerations. Almost 70 percent of Independents don’t think she is honest or trustworthy. She is even held in lower esteem by voters on this question than Donald Trump, who is a real estate developer.
A majority of Independents also don’t believe she has the right temperament to handle a foreign policy crisis. This ought to be unsettling for a candidate who bases a lot of campaign on her recent service as Secretary of State.
Independents are also evenly divided on whether Hillary has strong leadership qualities. Just under half believe she does, but an almost equivalent 47 percent believe she doesn’t.
More surprising, given her chosen campaign platform, is that she is the candidate whom Independents think cares the least about their problems and concerns. Just 1-in-3 Independents believe she cares about their issues, while 60 percent believe she doesn’t.
Donald Trump, who claims he is worth $10 billion, scores better on this question with Independents than Hillary.
The inevitable result of these views is that Hillary loses Independents to every potential GOP rival. Among Independents, she does best against Jeb Bush, but she loses to Marco Rubio by 9 points and to Trump by 12.
Independents don’t necessarily decide the Presidential election, but they are critical to win competitive states like Colorado, Virginia and Nevada. Barack Obama overcame his weakness with Independents by managing historic turnout among the most loyal Democrat voters.
According to the latest Quinnipiac poll, though, Hillary needs to do even better than that. She begins the campaign in a worse place with Independents than Obama. To win next November, she would need to surpass Obama in turning out young and minority voters.
The current hand-wringing over the possible candidacy of Joe Biden suggests that seasoned Democrats doubt she can accomplish that feat.