Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Clinton Struggling in Iowa and New Hampshire, But Strong Beyond

Hillary Clinton’s nomination appeared secure after the ten-day run of good news in October from her first debate performance (Oct. 13, Las Vegas), to Joe Biden dropping out (Oct. 21), and the uneventful Benghazi testimony (Oct. 22).

But a series of recent polls in Iowa and New Hampshire makes it appear she is struggling against Bernie Sanders, the septuagenarian socialist, while still dominating national polls. The most frequent explanation offered is that Iowa and New Hampshire are not representative of the national Democratic Party due to their mostly white liberal, and in New Hampshire independent, voters.

But should Clinton lose the two events, it will provide Sanders a significant windfall of publicity and reignite the discussion of Clinton’s flaws: her poor campaign style, the residual untrustworthiness, and her close identification with the DC and Wall Street establishments. But most importantly, like 2008 when she was beat by a 47-year-old first term senator with a message and passionate following, she is now in trouble with a 74-year-old who is motivating the same young voters and liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

In the debate, Hillary Clinton embraced Barack Obama to shore up her troubled campaign. Two weeks out from the Iowa caucus, it is clear that she lacks the loyalty of much of Obama’s younger voters and strong liberals. As a Clinton, she still holds and is reinforcing the remaining loyalty of older voters and minority Democrats, but nowhere does there appear to be passion.

Note: Two recent national polls have Clinton’s lead either collapsing or widening (NBC News/WSJ and NYT/CBS News). But watching the Clinton campaign go into aggressive, overdrive makes a tight race scenario more believable.

Washington Post: Can Clinton find the spark to fend off the challenge from Sanders?
New York Times: Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders slipping in new poll
Wall Street Journal: Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders widens

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