A survey from Morning Consult finds most voters unmoved by sentiments that Hillary Clinton’s nomination is an “historic” moment in American politics.
Just 38 percent of voters viewed Clinton becoming the first female nominee of a major party as “historic.” Even among the small number of voters who name “women’s issues” as their top political concern, far less than half (43 percent), felt Clinton’s nomination was “historic.”
When Hillary Clinton claimed victory in the Democrat nomination contest last week, though, she wrapped herself, and her campaign, within the women’s rights movement.
“Tonight’s victory is not about one person, it belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible,” Clinton said. “We’re all standing under a glass ceiling right now, but don’t worry — we’re not smashing this one. Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone.”
Clinton even took the stage for her victory speech against the pulsating backdrop of pop song “Brave,” by Sara Bareilles. One of the song’s co-writers has described it as a “civil rights anthem” for the LGBT community. Clinton certainly hopes that she can borrow some of the history-tinged feelings that propelled President Obama to the White House.
Only a very small and distinct subset of voters are buying it, though. According to the crosstabs of the Morning Consult survey, only older Democrat women feel Clinton’s nomination is in any way historic. Age, in fact, is a big determinant. Voters under the 30 are the least likely to feel that Clinton’s nomination is historic.
It is possible, of course, that President Obama’s election as the first African-American President has rendered the potential of the first female President as somewhat anti-climactic. Women in positions of power and authority isn’t exactly novel anymore.
At the end of May, Alex Swoyer Breitbart News reported that Hillary Clinton was downplaying the significance of being the first female presidential candidate. Research conducted on behalf of EMILY’s List, a left wing PAC for female candidates, had found the message didn’t move voters toward supporting Clinton.
The Morning Consult survey suggests another reason voters aren’t buying the “history” narrative of Clinton’s campaign, i.e. doubts about Hillary herself. More voters view her winning the Democrat nomination as a “step backward” for the country, rather than a “step foreward.”
More female voters, even, view Clinton’s nomination as a step backward, (25 percent), rather than a step forward (24 percent). While voters view Clinton as intellectual, successful, powerful and wealthy, they also find her unlikable.
More than half of voters, 52 percent, say Clinton is a liar. A similar number, 51 percent, say Clinton is untrustworthy. A large plurality of women, around 15 points, also think Clinton is a liar and untrustworty. Almost a third of women also think Clinton is “rude” and a “bully.”
A recent CNN poll found that 80 percent of American voters said the country was “ready” to have a female President. Interestingly, though, just 31 percent felt it was an important milestone for the country to achieve in their lifetimes. Voters, in other words, think the country should have a female president, but it just isn’t a priority.
Perhaps voters just don’t want Hillary Clinton to be president.