CBS/New York Times has a new poll showing rare good news for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. She still posts a solid 20-point lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democrat nomination, earning 47 percent of Democrats’ support against Sanders’ 27 percent.
Unfortunately for Hillary, though, her lead has been cut in half since last month.
It is hard to find another modern campaign where voters have moved 20 points against the dominant, 100-percent name-recognition candidate in a single month. Especially in a campaign that spends freely while the opponents can’t afford any advertising.
This may be even worse that her 2007 race. In mid-August, 2007, a CBS news poll showed Clinton leading then-Sen. Barack Obama by 20 points, 45 percent to 25 percent. She had held a similar lead throughout 2007 in the same CBS poll, beating Obama 45 percent to 28 percent in January 2007. It wasn’t until December 2007, that independent political observers such as Jay Cost started noting that Hillary’s campaign was in trouble.
Hillary’s surprise loss to Barack Obama in 2008 was the result of an erosion of support that developed over months of the campaign. In hindsight, her loss to Obama seems obvious, but it was a hard-fought slog through dozens of states. Obama raised and spent tens of millions of dollars and mobilized one of the most impressive grass-roots operations in modern politics.
Today, however, Hillary has lost half her support, in just one month, against a septuagenarian socialist who looks more at home at a drum-circle or Allen Ginsburg ‘Howl competition than in the Oval Office.
Sanders has yet to broadcast any TV advertising criticizing Hillary’s record. He has not built anything beyond the most rudimentary campaign organization.
Sanders’ campaign operation includes only 64 full-time staff and 15 paid interns. Last quarter, his campaign spent a total of around $3 million.
By contrast, Clinton has well over 300 full-time staffers and spent some $19 million.
That comparison is only a small glimpse of the Clinton collapse.
In Iowa and New Hampshire, the first states to vote, Hillary spent over $2 million on TV ads just last month promoting her background and life story. She had the airwaves to herself, as Sanders hasn’t run any advertising yet. The most recent CBS poll in Iowa, however, shows Sanders now leading Clinton by 10 points in the Hawkeye State. In New Hampshire, CBS has Sanders up by a massive 22 points.
At the beginning of August, when Clinton launched her advertising in the first two states, she had an average lead of 25 points in Iowa and 13 points in New Hampshire. So she’s lost more than 30 points of support in each state, at the same time she was blanketing the airwaves and canvassing precincts with an army of staffers.
What, pray tell, is her Plan B in these states?
Her campaign is planning to double its TV investment in the two states this month. Her first ad, aired while she was hemorrhaging support, featured her own mother. If a candidate can’t count on their own mother to win them some votes, what is left in the messaging bag of tricks?
In the most recent national CBS poll, Hillary has lost ground with every voter demographic. She has even lost support among women. Most critically, though, she has shed 20 points from liberal voters and younger voters. She isn’t failing to win these demographics, mind you. She was winning these voters by a large margin and now has lost their support. Getting voters to change their mind again, once they’ve turned away from a candidate, is almost impossible in politics.
Perhaps the most devastating poll number for Hillary is one buried deep within the polls. Two-thirds of Democrat voters say they are satisfied with her explanations of the email scandal currently undercutting her campaign with general election voters. While only 32% of voters believe Hillary is “honest and trustworthy”, 60% of Democrats believe she is. That is down 18 points from last month, but it is still a large majority of the Democrat electorate.
Democrat voters, it seems, are really not turned off by Clinton’s email controversy.
Instead, they are really turned off by Hillary Clinton.