Wednesday, August 19, 2015

CNN Poll: Primary Race Tightens as Clinton Keeps On Leading Republicans

The latest CNN/ORC poll is out, and Hillary Clinton continues to lead every Republican candidate in general election matchups:

Clinton 52% Bush 43%
Clinton 51% Trump 45%
Clinton 52% Walker 46%
Clinton 53% Fiorina 43%

Right off the bat, we see a couple of interesting things: the fall of Jeb and the rise of The Donald as a serious (hah!) GOP candidate.

And hey, if this is who Republican voters really want as their standard-bearer next year, who are we to stand in their way? Against Trump, Hillary leads with women by a whopping 23 points (60%-37%) and shows rock-solid support among Democrats and strong support from moderates while holding her own with independents as well. Trump doesn't fair as well with his own party, and we see that with the other GOP candidates as well.

What's also capturing some headlines is the tightening Democratic race, where Sanders continues to gain on Clinton and is now only trailing by 18 points (47%-29%). There are a couple of caveats to consider, however. CNN has Joe Biden at 14% here, a slightly better-than-average result when looking at the past few months of polls. But what if, as many expect, he doesn't run?
Should Biden decide not to make a run for the presidency, his supporters would largely flock to Clinton rather than Sanders, boosting her numbers. With Biden's backers re-allocated to their second choice, Clinton holds 56%, Sanders 33%, with support for O'Malley, Webb and Chafee unchanged.
Another salient point is that Sanders' real strength in this poll comes from self-described "independents who lean Democrat", whereas her lead among rank-and-file members of the party remains a very robust 38%:

Detractors may point to the tightening race and declare that it must mean that Hillary is a weaker candidate than many expected. However, despite the ridiculous months-long flood of negative press, Bernie rallies which could be mistaken for U2 concerts and the constantly entertaining reality TV spectacle of The Donald...this stubborn fact remains: Hillary still leads everyone.

Weak? On the contrary, I'd say that we're looking at evidence of a very strong candidate who can weather the inevitable political storms that anyone running for president must face. But if you are looking for a weak candidate, there's a fella by the name of Jeb who fits that particular bill quite nicely.

I have no doubt that the media will keep trying their darnest to create their own exciting narrative, but the data makes clear that the fundamentals of the race have not changed: If Democrats come out to vote in 2016, Hillary Rodham Clinton will make history as the first woman to win a major party presidential nomination and the first woman ever elected President of the United States.

1 comment:

  1. Can Democratic-leaning independents vote in many of the primaries/caucuses? I know they can't in PA, my home state.