Hillary Inevitable in 2016? These Numbers Say “Not So Fast”
Since World War II, only one president has been so successful, his party’s brand name so enhanced during his two presidential terms, that his party’s subsequent nominee won a third consecutive presidency for his party: Ronald Reagan.
According to the old adage, although history doesn’t always repeat itself, it does tend to rhyme. Accordingly, that speaks to the steep uphill battle that the Democratic Party faces in winning the 2016 presidential election. On that note, this morning’s commentary from Bill Kristol highlights a numerical headwind facing Hillary Clinton, whom some consider “inevitable” in 2016 (just as she supposedly was in 2008):
Speaking of 2016, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll this summer had a couple of interesting findings on the question of who might be our next president. The good news is that while 38 percent of respondents say they ‘probably’ or ‘almost certainly’ will vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016, 37 percent say they ‘definitely’ will not vote for her. This means that Clinton, the candidate with by far the highest name recognition and the longest résumé, starts off at about 50-50. And while her approval numbers remain decent, they’re falling: Today, 44 percent view her positively against 37 percent negatively. Those numbers were once 48 percent positive, and only 32 percent negative.
By contrast, in the sixth year of the Bush administration, John McCain, the frontrunner and eventual nominee of the party in power, had a favorable rating in the mid-50s and an unfavorable number in the mid-20s. And of course he lost.”
Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan by any meaningful measure, and there’s a reason that Hillary’s “inevitability” evaporated in 2008. These numbers suggest that the “inevitability” narrative may prove just as ephemeral in 2016.