Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Fastest Way to Turn a 57% Disapproval Rating into a 57% Approval Rating

This has been on my mind this year as the Beltway has made such a big issue over Hillary's low favorability numbers.

Obviously, in a perfect world you'd like them higher. But the media acts as if there is something metaphysical about Hillary Clinton that tattoos this number on her for all time.

In point of fact these numbers are not static, they're subject to change and fluctuate over time. In HRC's national life she did have weak numbers for a FLOTUS in Bill's first term, but they came back in the second term.

She won a NY Senate seat twice by landslide margins and was a popular Senator. Even at the nadir of her tough campaign against Obama in 2008 her personal approval numbers never got beneath 48 percent.

Then as Obama's Secretary of State she was more popular than he was at 64 percent. Indeed, we forget now, but in 2011 members of his campaign team were seriously considering dumping Joe Biden and replacing him with Hillary for VP. Which by the way would have been a big mistake, as this would come off as Obama repudiating his own term.

Now since she's started running in the 2016 race her numbers have taken a real hit, worse than 2008. She has routinely been in the low 40s-sometimes in the high 30s even.

President Obama, who was himself in the low 40s or even high 30s during much of 2013 and 2014 is now the popular one again.

So what gives? Basically this: you're more popular when you're not running for anything. When you are a nonpartisan figure, the press is not relentlessly negative and even the other party dislikes you less.

Also on a psychological level, a lot of people seem to distrust you once you admit the desire to be in charge. Maybe they like to think of themselves as against the powerful, etc.

But take LBJ. He was terribly unpopular in late 1967 and 1968. Everyone was mad at him over the war: the Left wanted to get out of Vietnam, the Right wanted to win-and felt we needed to escalate.

The conservatives hated the Great Society and there were riots and protesters asking him how many kids he killed today.

Then at the end of March: he quit and chose not to run a second term. Overnight his 57 percent disapproval rating became a 57 percent approval rating.

See, once he wasn't running anymore, they liked him again.

As for Hillary's numbers I think you might see them rise again as we ascertain her bounce after the weekend.

In any case, as Jennifer Rubin says the GOP is kidding itself that it can win solely by demonizing her.

I get why they focus on this so much. It's the only thing they have done with any success in this campaign. As Kevin McCarthy said, the point of all the Benghazi and Emailgate was to make her 'untrustable' and drive down her poll numbers.

This has been successful on the question of favorability and trust-thanks to the complicity of the MSM to once again fan the flames of scandal with zero sense of proportion.

But it's not nearly enough for Trump to win. His convention was much more focused on her than Trump. At the DNC because Trump disqualifies himself every time he opens his mouth, the Dems could spend a lot of time building up Hillary and correcting lies and distortions.

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