Poll finds “liar/dishonest” most frequent description of Hillary Clinton

By Dave Andrusko

dembubblesAs we end the week, a few thoughts about what the latest polls tell us about pro-abortion Hillary Clinton who, for now at least, remains the frontrunner for her party’s presidential nomination.

Everyone knows approval ratings for the former Secretary of State and senator from New York have been racing downhill. So what, if anything new, did this week’s USA Today/Suffolk poll tell us? Several interesting things, actually.

Philip Bump, over at the Washington Post, carefully hedges what he says about Mrs. Clinton and African-Americans, beginning with the large margin of error. But, after clearing his throat, we learn something very significant about how a segment of the electorate Mrs. Clinton was thought to have in her pocket is reassessing her.

We’ve added bars that show the 10 percent margin of error for the group, showing how much variability is at play. But even so, it’s a giant drop-off. Among white Democrats, Clinton is doing nine points worse since July. With black Democrats, this poll has her down 31.

(The question was “If the Democratic Primary for President was held today, and the candidates were (RANDOMIZE) Joe Biden, Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton, Larry Lessig, Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, or Jim Webb, for whom would you vote or lean toward?”)

A big reason is Clinton’s favorabilities continue to drop. Bump writes

Opinions of Clinton have dropped among all Democrats as we’ve seen before. Among blacks, the decline has been greater — and the increase in favorable views of [rival Sen. Bernie] Sanders has been stark. Clinton is down 16 points in net favorability, and Sanders is up 31.

Above and beyond its intrinsic importance , so what? The common response among Clinton supporters is that Democratic Socialist Sanders support is largely confined to white liberals, so once the contest moves to states with larger African-American populations, Sanders would fizzle. Clearly, that isn’t so obvious now, or obvious at all.

What else from the poll? Even though he has not announced–and may never, of course–Vice President Joe Biden is the preferred candidate of 20% of 1,000 likely Democratic primary voters. Sanders is at 23% and Clinton at 41%. And, as noted above, her favorabilities are headed in the wrong direction.

Writing for USA Today, Susan Page and Paulina Firozi observe

In July, for instance, her favorable-unfavorable rating was narrowly negative, at 43%-47%. Now that gap has grown to 12 points, at 39%-51%.

But it’s the way people instinctively respond to Clinton (and to Sanders and Biden, for that matter) that is so telling:

Asked for a single word that describes each contender, the most frequent response for Clinton was “liar/dishonest,” followed by “untrustworthy/fake.” For Sanders, the most frequent response was “socialist” and the second most frequent “favorable/good.” For Biden, the top response was “favorable/like,” followed by “honest/honorable,” although the top five answers for him also included “idiot/joke” and “fun/character/goofy.”

And, lest anyone forget, Page and Firozi note

By nearly 3-1, all those surveyed in the national poll predict that the controversy over her exclusive use of a private email server when she was secretary of State would hurt her prospects in a general election.

What makes that result even more important is that

Even about one-third of Democrats and two-thirds of independents are disturbed by the controversy, as well as nearly nine in 10 Republicans

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