According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg survey, former president Bill Clinton is the only politician, Democratic or Republican that can swing voters towards a candidate in the midterm elections.
The survey found,
Former President Bill Clinton scored the best among eight prominent figures when registered voters were asked if a campaign endorsement would help or hurt a candidate.
An endorsement from Mr. Clinton would make 38% of people look at the candidate more favorably, compared to 24% who would take a less favorable view. No other politician in the survey had a net positive more than one percentage point, the mark earned by Mrs. Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama.
But with campaigns targeting base voters, the partisan numbers may be more instructive than the universe of registered voters. Among Democrats, 70% say an endorsement from Mr. Clinton would leave a more favorable view of a candidate. Mrs. Clinton’s score was 65%, Mr. Obama’s 60% and Mrs. Obama’s 56%.
Interestingly, the most popular Republican (Mitt Romney) is nowhere near as popular within his party as all of the top Democrats surveyed are in theirs. The message is that if you are a red state Democratic senator who is trying to keep your seat, a visit from Bill Clinton could be exactly what is needed to put you over the top. Any Democrat in a state that President Obama carried twice would benefit from a visit from the President and the First Lady.
Red state Democratic senators are walking a line. They can’t afford to alienate Obama supporting Democrats. The incumbent Democrats need African-American voters in Louisiana, Arkansas, and North Carolina to turn out, but they are trying to distance themselves from a president who is deeply unpopular in their home states.
Bill Clinton has been the frequently turned to answer to this dilemma during the 2014 campaign. The Clintons bring national attention and donor dollars to every candidate that they campaign for. Bill Clinton’s presence can be deeply felt in the Kentucky Senate election, and the Clintons have been stumping in Iowa for Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley.
Republicans have failed to make this election about Obama. They have tried everything from Obamacare to terrorism in order to nationalize the election. Republicans have struck out on every angle, so control of the Senate hinges on a handful of battlegrounds where Bill Clinton will be the biggest weapon the Democratic arsenal.
Control of the Senate may hinge on how many voters former president Clinton can persuade in these key states, and if there is one thing that Bill Clinton was put on this earth to do, it is to persuade voters.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a 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