A new CNN poll found that most Americans believe that she will do a better job than President Obama on every issue, which means that Republicans are in a world of hurt if they believe that attacks on Obama will drag Clinton down.
Clinton served as America’s top diplomat during Obama’s first four years in office, so it may not be surprising that some of her best marks in the poll come on overseas issues: 63% say she would do a good job on foreign policy and 61% say the same on terrorism.
But it is notable that 63% say she’d do a good job handling the economy, and 57% believe she’d handle health care well.
Now compare those to Obama’s latest job approval ratings on those same issues.
Just 38% questioned in the CNN poll say that they approve of how the President’s handling the economy. That’s 25 percentage points lower than the number who think Clinton would do a good job on the economy. Only 40% approve of Obama’s foreign policy, 23 points lower than Clinton.
Republicans are quickly running out of lines of attack against Hillary Clinton. The age attack hasn’t worked. Bringing up the Lewinsky scandal bombed and an attempt to start a rumor about her health was a total disaster. The news that Bill Clinton is the most admired president of the last quarter century presents an enormous problem for Republicans, but the idea that Hillary Clinton is viewed as separate and as a change from President Obama is even worse.
Republicans were hoping that their candidate would at least have the change argument on their side but the Clinton brand is unique. Clinton can’t be lumped in with President Obama because the American people already know what Hillary Clinton is about. This is why attempts to politically define her will likely be fruitless efforts. She isn’t a blank slate like President Obama was during his first campaign. Voters already know and like the Clintons, so Republican attacks will likely be more preaching to the conservative choir.
If Hillary Clinton has the hope and change argument on her side, Republicans are totally screwed. Staying out of domestic politics has allowed former Sec. Clinton to remain in the public eye without getting stale. Since she previously ran against President Obama, voters are well aware that she and the current president have differences on policy.
Should Clinton keep the momentum going, Republicans will be in big trouble in 2016.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association