Hillary: Still Unelectable?

Throughout her career in public life, Hillary Clinton has been plagued by high disapproval ratings. In recent months, there have been some indications that hostility to Mrs. Clinton is fading, but this Zogby poll raises again the question of her electability. The question asked was, “Whom would you NEVER vote for as President of the U.S.?” Here are the results:
Clinton: 50%
Kucinich: 49%
Gravel: 47%
Paul: 47%
Brownback: 47%
Tancredo: 46%
McCain: 45%
Hunter: 44%
Giuliani: 43%
Romney: 42%
Edwards: 42%
Thompson: 41%
Dodd: 41%
Biden: 40%
Obama: 37%
Huckabee: 35%
Richardson: 34%
Some of these results should be taken with a grain of salt. The reality is that in today’s political climate, every Presidential candidate begins with at least 35% to 40% of the population who will never vote for him or her. I, for example, would never vote for a Democrat for President; it really doesn’t matter whom they nominate. This question becomes important when there is something about a candidate that repels some voters who would normally be expected to vote for that candidate. When that happens, alienating even a small percentage of expected supporters is very important.
This is where Hillary could have a serious problem. In the Zogby poll, 59% of those 65 years old and over said they would never vote for her. That suggests a much worse showing in that demographic than any Democrat would normally expect.
Polls, especially at this stage, are of limited significance, even where, like this Zogby poll, they sample a considerable number of likely voters (here, 9,718). But the persistently large number of people who seem to be put off by Hillary must be worrisome to her campaign.
One other point emerges from this survey: note that Mitt Romney fares rather well. Since just about the only thing that most people know about Romney is that he is a Mormon, his supporters will take heart from the fact that he seems not to be ruled out by any more likely voters than his rivals.
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