Is It Good News Or Bad News…

…that all of the Republican candidates run about the same against Hillary Clinton? Pollster Scott Rasmussen, via Jim Geraghty and Patrick Ruffini, notes the remarkable fact that in head-to-head polling against Ron Paul, Hillary is at 48%–pretty much where she is against any other Republican.
Patrick sees Hillary’s inability to get over 50% even against as weak a candidate as Ron Paul as good news. It means that we are “back to the 50-50 divide that marked our politics from 2000-2006. Basically, Republicans can run a stuffed animal against Hillary and still get 48% of the vote.” Further, in Patrick’s view, “Hillary not breaking 50% against a guy who wants to abolish the Federal Reserve is a leading indicator of her fundamental weakness in the general election.”
I think both observations are valid to some degree. The anti-Republican moment of 2006 is receding, and, in any event, it related mostly to Congressional hi-jinks and perhaps never had much to do with the 2008 Presidential race. And Hillary does have a serious problem with the half of the population, give or take, that can’t stand her.
But the Republicans have parallel problems. Doesn’t the fact that the Republicans with the broadest appeal don’t run a great deal better than the ones associated with the party’s fringes imply that about half the population can’t stand them, or their party, either? And Hillary will have a big advantage in next year’s race, assuming she is the nominee: the press will run interference for her to a degree never before seen in American history.
PAUL adds: In many of the head-to-head polls, 10 percent or more of the respondents say they are undecided. Thus, for Hillary to be at 46 to 48 percent isn’t bad for her. In addition, the latest Rasmussen poll gave the Dems a 12 point edge with respect to generic congressional preference, leaving it less than clear that we’re back to being a 50-50 nation. However, Republicans who see Clinton as virtually unbeatable can take comfort from the fact that she doesn’t crack 50 percent against Ron Paul or anyone else.


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