Bad News for Hillary: Polls Show She Can’t Shake Benghazi

Both CNN/ORC and the Washington Post released polls this week with a strong warning for Democrats: half of Americans don’t like Hillary Clinton.

When the so-called bastions of the “liberal press” start spreading doom and gloom, politicos on both sides of the aisle had better start taking notice.

What the Polls Actually Say about Clinton

CNN’s poll found that Clinton is still suffering from the fallout of the Benghazi embassy attack, yet not in the way her Republican opponents would like to think. Over half (55 percent) of respondents stated they were dissatisfied with her handling of the entire event, yet 61 percent stated that her personal emails will show no wrong-doing.

Likewise, the respondents were split 48-44 when asked if the Republicans had gone too far in their investigations.

Overall trustworthiness was Clinton’s main problem, with 57 percent stating that she lacked trustworthiness.

Also taking a huge jump from polling data going back to 2007 was whether respondents felt Clinton “cares about people like you.” She lost a net of 11 points and has a 52 percent unfavorable opinion.

The Washington Post’s poll showed similar unpopularity, with Clinton hovering at a 50 percent disapproval rating.

The Post did have “good” news for Clinton. Its poll showed that 63 percent of registered Democrats still support her, and in a heads up scenario with Clinton v. Bush, Clinton comes out on top in the polls by an 8-point margin of victory.

What the Polls Actually Say about the Republicans

The Republican information is much trickier, primarily because of the vast number of candidates this cycle. One thing is absolutely certain, no one candidate has a clear advantage at the moment with the leading candidate (Jeb Bush) only having a 13 percent following when asked who Republican and Republican-leaning voters would vote for if the primary election was held today.

While many Democrats are ecstatic about the embattled Republican field, it’s also something that the left needs to be concerned about.

The last one standing in a political “tough man” contest usually has a surge of energy and popularity. President Obama honed his message considerably during his prolonged struggle with Clinton in 2008, and this sharpened his campaigning skills against McCain, who flew through the Republican Primary relatively unscathed.

Whoever winds up winning the Republican nomination is going to be tough, on message, and have a ton of “name recognition” from the prolonged primary battle.

A Great Election Map Can’t Save You With an Unpopular Candidate

The Democrats have one of the best election maps possible in the 2016 election, both for the Senate and presidential races. It will be almost impossible for the Republicans to retain the Senate under the current map, with so many vulnerable Republican seats up for grabs — and the presidential race is shaping up in such a way that it might come down to only eight battleground states.

While some Democratic strategists are almost giddy about the way the map is shaping up, these battleground states could be won or lost based on fractions of a percentage point.

President Obama had mass appeal with the left, independent, and swing voters, and swept the battleground states in 2008 by an average of 7.6 percent. By 2012, with both President Obama and Mitt Romney (R) facing huge popularity problems with swing voters and independents, that margin of victory had substantially narrowed to 2.8 percent. In the end, President Obama still swept the battleground states.

It is highly unlikely that Clinton or any of the Republicans will make a clean-sweep in the battleground states — no candidate in the field, as it stands today, has enough mass appeal.

Democrats need to focus on not getting over-confident; Republicans need to focus on honing a tough, likable candidate.

One thing is certain, the 2016 race is going to be a battle to the very last vote.