A new poll from Reuters shows Hillary Clinton dipping below 50 percent support in her race for the Democrat nomination. Just over a week ago, Hillary was pulling 55 percent support from Democrat primary voters. In Friday’s poll, her support had dropped to 49 percent.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders registered his highest support ever in the Reuters poll, winning the support of 23 percent of Democrats. Vice-President Joe Biden, who isn’t a candidate (yet), earns the support of 12 percent of Democrats. Almost 10 percent of Democrats say they wouldn’t vote in the primary, given the current choice of candidates.
In other words, “none of the above” is currently running 4th in the Democrat primary, just behind a candidate who isn’t running and ahead of three who are.
To say that Hillary Clinton has every institutional advantage for the nomination is an understatement. She has the backing of almost every Democrat elected official, an expansive political network built up over 20+ years on the national stage and an overwhelming fundraising edge.
Clinton remains the prohibitive favorite for the nomination, but, currently, Sanders, Biden and “none of the above” together poll almost equal to her among Democrats.
Interestingly, on August 22, 2007, Gallup showed Hillary earning a similar 48 percent among Democrats. Then-Sen. Barack Obama was polling 25 percent, around where Sanders is almost exactly eight years later.
That year, there were a total of 8 declared Democrat candidates. When Gallup polled a hypothetical two-person race, Hillary had 61 percent support against Obama’s 34 percent. Hillary, at this stage in the campaign, is faring worse against Sanders than she was against Obama in 2007.
In fact, in early September 2007, hard progressives were resigning themselves to a Hillary nomination. From Democrats.com:
There has been no change in the relative positions of the candidates in nearly a year, and in the past few months Hillary has only increased her solid lead. I know national polls don’t predict the results of state primaries, but haven’t seen any state-by-state scenario with a serious likelihood of nominating someone other than Hillary.
For most progressives, Hillary Clinton is our least-favorite candidate because she will not take on the powerful special interests on the issues we care about most. So is there anything we can do to beat her?
Among the biggest bloggers, only Chris Bowers of OpenLeft.com has tried to find a way. His strategy has been to highlight her unacceptable position on Iraq and try to rally anti-war progressives against her.
But there is a simple rule in politics: you can’t beat somebody with nobody. Bowers hasn’t picked his favorite candidate, and most of the biggest bloggers haven’t either. And that’s because there isn’t a perfect progressive candidate.
It is hard to remember now, but in late Summer 2007, Barack Obama was not the obvious, nor chosen, progressive challenger to Hillary. That would emerge later, as the campaign got underway in earnest.
Hillary’s position today, in many ways, is fundamentally the same as it was in 2007. Arguably, however, it is worse. Back then, she was drawing 48 percent, but she was running against two credible opponents, one of whom had been the Democrat Vice-Presidential candidate four years earlier.
Her relative weakness today is not due to a splintered vote in the primary, but her own inability to close the sale with Democrats. Her recent dips in the polls haven’t come from campaigning by opponents, but revelations about her own conduct. Her own scandal is bringing down her numbers. Imagine what will happen when she faces actual opposition.
Exactly eight years ago, hard-left Democrats lamented that they didn’t have a challenger against Hillary. In the subsequent months, one most definitely emerged.
Hillary supporters may face another somber Democrat convention next summer.