Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s Polling Trend Not Her Friend

Several polls out this week show Hillary Clinton trailing (to various degrees) in New Hampshire, and now, also falling behind in Iowa in the January Quinnipiac University poll taken after New Year's Day and completing Jan. 10th.

In a mid-November Quinnipiac University poll, Clinton had the support of 51 percent of likely Iowa caucus attendees to Sanders' 42 percent, for a 9 point lead. Quinnipiac last polled Iowa in December, at which point Hillary Clinton led Bernie Sanders by 11 points. That poll was completed Dec. 13.  The Iowa poll out on January 12, 2016 showed a five-point 49 percent to 44 percent advantage — for Sanders. That's a 16-point swing over the course of a month. This also wasn't the only poll to show Sanders with a lead. A survey from American Research Group this week has him up three points.

So what happened to Clinton? Well, part of it is that her favorability slipped. Among all voters, she dropped seven points in the head-to-head matchup (Sanders gained nine), but the percentage of people viewing her favorably fell from 81 to 74. Among groups that have preferred Sanders (like men), Sanders's lead increased.

Men back Sanders 61 - 30 percent, with 6 percent for O'Malley, while women among all ages groups back Clinton 55 - 39 percent, with 3 percent for O'Malley. Sanders also has a big lead on favorability as likely Democratic Caucus participants give him an 87 - 3 percent favorability rating, compared to Clinton's 74 - 21 percent score.

Among Iowa groups that have preferred Clinton (like moderates), her lead narrowed — usually in concert with shifts in favorability. "Iowa may well become Sen. Bernie Sanders' 'Field of Dreams,' said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll:
"After three months of Secretary Hillary Clinton holding an average 10-point lead among Iowa Democrats, the playing field has changed.

"Sen. Sanders' surge seems based on the perception by Iowa Democrats that he is a better fit for Iowans. They see him, by solid double digit margins as more sharing their values, more honest and trustworthy and viewed more favorably overall than is Secretary Clinton."

"Iowa likely Democratic Caucus-goers see Sanders as better able to handle the economy and climate change, two important issues for Democrats and a key asset for him in the home stretch," Brown added.

"The Democratic race is different than the GOP contest because it lacks a divisive tone. Iowa Democrats like both major candidates personally; they just like Sen. Sanders more.
As the caucus and primary kickoff month of February approaches, Clinton’s dominating lead nationally among Democrats has largely melted away, according to the latest New York Times / CBS News poll. Over all, the poll found 48 percent of Democratic primary voters across the country support Clinton, while 41 percent back Sanders. Just a month ago, she led Sanders by 20 percentage points nationally. The current poll further found Democratic Party primary voters under 45 favor Sanders by a roughly 2-to-1 ratio. In mid-November, Clinton had a 25 point 55 percent to 30 percent lead nationally over Sanders, according to a Bloomberg Politics poll.

And a new New Hampshire Monmouth University survey released on Tuesday finds the Sanders takes 53 percent support over Clinton's 39 percent. Clinton led the same poll in November with 48 percent support over Sanders, who was at 45 percent.

Trends matter in polling. It's possible the December surveys over polled Clinton's support and/or under polled Sanders' support, and January surveys reversed those polling faults, but it's clear the trend is not Hillary Clinton's friend.  And the media is starting to take notice that someone other than Hillary Clinton is in the Democratic primary race.

A mainstream media publication this week acknowledged Bernie Sanders’ actually poses a serious challenge to his main opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Today’s NYTimes’ article “Hillary Clinton Races to Close Enthusiasm Gap With Bernie Sanders in Iowa” opens with:

Iowa Democrats are displaying far less passion for Hillary Clinton than for Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont three weeks before the presidential caucuses, creating anxiety inside the Clinton campaign as she scrambles to energize supporters and to court wavering voters.

The enthusiasm gap spilled abundantly into view in recent days, from the cheering crowds and emotional outpourings that greeted Mr. Sanders, and in interviews with more than 50 Iowans at campaign stops for both candidates.

Voters have mobbed Mr. Sanders at events since Friday, some jumping over chairs to shake his hand, snap a selfie or thank him for speaking about the middle class. “Did you get to touch him?” asked one woman who could not get close enough after an event here on Saturday.

And continues:

Audiences for Mrs. Clinton have yet to grow to consistently match those for Mr. Sanders, and the typical reception for her was evident on Monday in Waterloo. About 300 people welcomed Mrs. Clinton enthusiastically and listened to her diligently, but many of them, still unsure, rebuffed Clinton aides trying to get them to sign “commitment cards” to caucus for her.

“I personally want to find out if she’s trustworthy or not,” said Katie Bailey, 71, of Cedar Falls. “There’s so much un-trust. I want to eyeball her.”

Matt Fagerlind, 36, also attended Mrs. Clinton’s Waterloo event, but he found himself thinking about how Mr. Sanders’s rallies had the same uplifting emotional intensity as Barack Obama’s in 2008. “I think Sanders is going to give her a good run,” he said, describing himself as unmoved by Mrs. Clinton and planning to vote for Mr. Sanders.

Finally acknowledging:

A Sanders victory in Iowa would be a shock given the institutional advantages held by Mrs. Clinton, a former secretary of state and a favorite of the Iowa Democratic establishment. It would also set off significant momentum for Mr. Sanders heading into the Feb. 9 primary in New Hampshire, where he is well known as a senator from neighboring Vermont and holds a slight lead in the polls.

The article then gives the usual obligatory statement that Clinton is the hard-to-beat front-runner, but ends up noting:

Many of the Sanders supporters interviewed said they felt personally moved by his message and by what they saw as his sincerity. Bert Permar, 86, a retired professor, said he had gone to four Sanders events and was now making calls to share the candidate’s message about tackling wealth disparities in America.

“I love to see him. He motivates me,” Mr. Permar said on Sunday, sitting in the front row at a Sanders forum on veterans’ issues in Marshalltown. “I get emotional. It brings tears that someone is talking about the issues that we should be concerned about.”

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