Recently Charlie Cook of Cook’s Political Report assessed the chances that Hillary Clinton will run for the White House in 2016 a 60 – 70% probability, while saying that it’s likely she’ll run.
The Five-Thirty-Eight website has come behind that to look at some reasons why Hillary may yet decided not to run.
For starters, the overall political environment currently more friendly for Republicans, than it is for Democrats. That’s not surprising given the recent mid-term election results. But it also suggests Hillary would have to perform very well to be considered a favorite in the race, let alone win.
On top of that, in recent years, her own numbers have gone down, not up. That makes the challenge for her all the more difficult.
The current environment suggests Clinton would need to be stronger than a generic Democratic candidate to be considered the favorite. Instead, her standing has deteriorated. YouGov has been polling Clinton’s favorable ratings among adults over the past six years (adults overall tend to be more Democratic leaning than just registered voters).
Clinton was quite popular during her days as secretary of state. But since leaving that nonpartisan post in 2013, her net favorable rating has been falling. The most recent YouGov poll put her at an all-time low.
YouGov’s results have been echoed by other pollsters, including NBC/Wall Street Journal and Quinnipiac University. The most recent NBC survey found Clinton’s net favorable rating at +3 percentage points; Quinnipiac had it at +5 percentage points.
At a time when Hillary would want and even need her stock to be up, it’s at an all time low. She’s not even faring all that well against Republicans.
Clinton’s edge against Republicans in a potential 2016 matchup has also taken a hit. She once led by double-digits in matchups against most Republicans. But recent live telephone polls in the key swing states of Iowa and New Hampshire have Clinton neck and neck with 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Nationally, Quinnipiac found Romney leading Clinton 45 percent to 44 percent among registered voters. At a comparable point in the 2012 cycle, Romney was down 7 percentage points to Obama. Clinton led New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie by 1 percentage point, and she holds leads of 4 to 9 percentage points on the other Republican candidates.
Then there’s always the experience of 2008. Hillary was thought by many to be a lock back then, yet she was beaten by a virtual upstart, no matter how talented a politician is Obama. Now, eight years on – and either years older – it’s not impossible to imagine a scenario in which Hillary asks herself if she’s up for it and ultimately decides the answer is no.