Poll fixation by the media has been a frequent topic of discussion for conservatives as the press have focused ad nauseum on the falling approval numbers of President Bush the past couple of years.
With that in mind, will the press show equal interest in a study just released by the Gallup Organization identifying Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating plummeting an astounding thirteen percentage points in two months to one of its lowest levels since 1993?
Given the truly shocking results reported on Wednesday, one could easily envision this being the lead story for network evening news programs if the data was about one of the Republican presidential frontrunners, and if not for the massacre at Virginia Tech (emphasis added throughout):
A majority of Americans have an unfavorable image of New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination. Clinton's current 45% favorable rating with the American public is her third consecutive reading below 50% in the past two months, and is one of the lowest Gallup has measured for her since 1993. The recent decline in her image appears to be broad-based, as it is evident among most key subgroups. Even after her image first showed signs of decline in early March, Clinton managed to maintain a healthy lead in Gallup's trial heat of Democratic preferences for the party's 2008 presidential nomination. However, the new poll shows her lead has shrunk to just five percentage points over Barack Obama.
Substitute Rudy Guiliani’s name for Hillary’s, and Mitt Romney’s for Obama’s. Think this would get a significant amount of attention?
Regardless of the answer, the particulars were quite astounding:
In the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted April 13-15, 2007, more Americans say they have an unfavorable (52%) than a favorable view (45%) of Clinton…As recently as February, her favorable rating was a solid 58%.
That’s a 13 percentage point decline in two months. And, the internals are even more telling:
What is immediately clear from the table is how broad-based the more negative views of Clinton are. Each group analyzed shows a decline in favorable ratings of Clinton compared with earlier this year. This includes groups that have generally very positive views of Clinton, such as Democrats, liberals, blacks, women, young adults, unmarried adults, and those living in low-income households -- as well as those who typically view Clinton negatively, like Republicans, conservatives, and frequent churchgoers.
And, this has ominous implications for her candidacy:
From a comparative perspective, Clinton is viewed less favorably by Americans than her two chief rivals for the Democratic nomination -- Barack Obama and John Edwards. Obama and Edwards both have 52% favorable ratings in the latest poll, slightly better than Clinton's 45%. But Obama's and Edwards' unfavorable ratings around 30% are much lower than Clinton's.
The two leading Republican presidential candidates -- Rudy Giuliani (57% favorable, 29% unfavorable) and John McCain (51% favorable, 32% unfavorable) -- are also viewed much more positively than Clinton.
Amazing stuff that seems quite likely to get buried by a media obsessed with the former first lady.