Hillary’s Electability

A Mason-Dixon poll came out in the last week showing Hillary Clinton as the only presidential candidate with more people saying they wouldn’t consider voting for her than would.  48% would consider voting for her, while 52% would not.  Compare that to Barack Obama (60%-40%) and John Edwards (59%-41%).  Relative to the other candidates, Clinton has limited upside.

Yet the gaps tighten in general election polling.  On average, Clinton leads Giuliani by 2.4% as does Edwards.  Obama only leads by 1.2%, but the difference is statistically insignificant.

Against Romney, Clinton leads by 11.7%, Obama by 16.6%, and Edwards by 22.4%.  Here, there’s a much bigger difference, but the Democratic candidates resoundingly win.

And matched against McCain, Clinton leads by 3.5%, Obama by 6%, and Edwards by 8.4%.  Again, Clinton is the weakest, but still wins.

Just to point out, Bill Clinton never received a majority of the popular vote, getting 43% in 1992 and 49% in 1996.  There was a third-party candidate back then, and there may well be one in the ’08 election.  Also,  Jimmy Carter won with just 50.1% of the vote in 1976.

Hillary has a generally fixed public image, which makes it hard for much traction in either direction.  Nonetheless, the Electoral College gives her a helping hand and a historical reminder: one candidate in 2000 won 47.9% of the vote and ended up in the White House.


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