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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

WASHINGTON — There are two majorities in the country right now. One disapproves of President Obama. The other is still inclined to vote Democratic. The key question for the 2014 elections is whether voting this fall — and Obama’s approval ratings — can come into line with the electorate’s broader Democratic leanings?

There is also this: Obama’s difficulties do not appear to be hurting Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency in 2016.

These are the findings just below the surface of the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll released last week. Obama’s approval rating in the survey was just 41 percent, both with the general public and among registered voters. But in a hypothetical matchup with Jeb Bush for the 2016 presidential race, Clinton was favored by 53 percent of registered voters, Bush by 41 percent.

The roughly one-eighth of voters who disapprove of Obama but nonetheless support Clinton for 2016 may be the most important group in the electorate. If Democratic candidates can collectively manage to corral Clinton’s share of the national electorate this fall, the party would likely keep control of the Senate and might take over the House of Representatives. The latter outcome is now seen (even by most Democrats) as a virtual impossibility. These Hillary Difference Voters, as we’ll call them, could find themselves the most courted contingent in this year’s contests.

Who are they? A comparison of those who back Clinton but disapprove of Obama with the group that is both pro-Clinton and pro-Obama suggests that the swing constituency is much more likely to be blue-collar and white — 71 percent of the mixed group are white, compared with only 57 percent of the pro-Obama, pro-Clinton group, and it is also somewhat more Latino. Whites without college degrees constitute 47 percent of the Hillary Difference Voters but only 30 percent of the pro-Clinton, pro-Obama group. In keeping with this, 62 percent of the Hillary Difference Voters have incomes of less than $50,000 annually.

Ideologically, the swing group includes significantly fewer self-described liberals. Among the Hillary Difference Voters, only 29 percent call themselves liberal; among those who both favor Clinton and approve of Obama, 43 percent are liberals. Nearly a third of the mixed group are white evangelical Protestants, compared with only 10 percent of those who react positively to both Democrats. Clinton also runs ahead of Obama’s approval rating among voters aged 30 to 49, among white Southerners, and among independents, including those who say they lean Republican.

Interestingly, while the swing group is 63 percent female — yes, Clinton does have particular appeal to women — this is not hugely different from the pro-Clinton, pro-Obama group, 59 percent of whom are female. Both numbers show how important women have become to the Democratic coalition.

  • Dominick Vila

    Hillary Clinton is, clearly, the candidate to beat in 2016, and the GOP is well aware of that. In addition to being well known, her professional achievements, and record make here a formidable candidate to win the Democratic party nomination and the election. Not surprisingly, Republican campaign strategists are already shifting their attack tactics from President Obama to Hillary. The fact that their attacks are limited to Benghazi, and the tired claims that appeal only to naive Tea Party supporters, highlight how difficult it will be for them to beat Hillary. I wonder who her running mate will be. Elizabeth Warren would be fantastic, but it would not surprise me if she chooses someone from the West Coast or Midwest.

    • FT66

      I agree with you Dominick that Hillary is a person to beat come 2016. If Hillary is still hesitating whether she should run or not, the offer is placed already infront of her. It has never happened in American history to see a Party which is fully united to support a candidate even before announcing whether she will run or not. On Benghazi issue, I am asking myself: who are advising GOP/Fox News to stick on Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi. If their candidate will be Jeb Bush, they must be rest assured Benghazi talk is going to revive the Iraq war memories, and this will be attached to anyone with the name BUSH. I can’t imagine how much material Dem have on Iraq war which will be brought to the lime light again and energise each and every individual from the Dem Party to go and vote. If they have brains, they might think again and again.

      • sigrid28

        For low-information voters this foreign name of a foreign place makes them feel empowered when they say it, as if they could really picture what it means, the way the picture of the queen on a coin makes her subjects feel close to her, though they could not be farther away. Benghazi is an enchantment for the Republican base, who love it each time they hear it, the way teens adore the top ten hits they can listen to over and over. These voters are beyond the reach of Democrats, whose enchantment may very well be Hillary herself.

        • FT66

          It is true they are playing with low-information voters. I do think we are also obliged to educate/inform them as well what they are not aware of. If GOP/Fox News are coming up with old news of past wars, why not come up with Iraq war as well. It is the passed war too. We need to fight fire with fire, at the same time combining with what our future vision we have in mind.

          • Garmin Woods

            Low-information voters: something upon which everyone agrees. 1) they are not me; and 2) they vote for different people than I do.

          • FT66

            I agree with you, low-information voter doesn’t include you. How can GOP/Fox News come up with the say of “lies” about Benghazi and pretend people have forgotten all lies going to Iraq war. Those talks of Mushroom clouds and Weapons Of Mass Distruction. They have to explain on Iraq war first, before they jump onto Benghazi issue. It is all about talking past wars.

          • Dominick Vila

            I agree, but would add that the GOP also counts on our tendency to forget what happened a few years ago and focus instead on whatever the media charlatans say. Short term memory can be lethal. That is why I believe that part of our strategy must focus on reminding a forgetful or ambivalent electorate of who controlled the White House and both Chambers of Congress when 9/11/01 occurred. When 12 U.S. diplomatic facilities were attacked by terrorists. When the mastermind of 9/11 remained at large until President Obama had the political courage to order the raid that ended his miserable life. We should also remind them of how the Bush administration reacted to the 9/11 attack carried out by members of the Saudi Arabian Wahabist sect: we declared Saudi Arabia a Most Favored Nation for trade purposes, and invaded two countries that had no direct involvement in 9/11. That decision made Judas look like a chump. While we are at it, we should remind them of ENRON, AIG, Bernie Maddoff, and the domestic policies that contributed to the near collapse of the U.S. economy.
            We have to stop dancing to the GOP tune. Forget Benghazi, and now the kidnapping of 200 girls in Nigeria, which some Republicans are already blaming on Hillary. I guess that’s what happens when you belong to a party that has nothing to offer and a record that should make everyone puke.

    • Garmin Woods

      GOP attacks are limited to Benghazi because they can’t find any other dirt on Clinton. They can’t attack her Secretary of State record, presiding over foreign affairs while we were waging two wars in countries filled with brown people and setting records for drone kills of brown people. The GOP loves war, too. And they hate brown people. They can’t attack her Senate record of cozying up to the big banks and Wall Street, because the GOP thinks that’s awesome. And they can’t attack the fact that her top campaign contributors were Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, MetLife, Time Warner, and JPMorgan Chase, because they wrote that playbook. Except for Time Warner (you know, the evil libs in the entertainment industry). IMO, the reason the Republicans are having a hard time attacking Hillary Clinton is that there is just so much about her for them to like.

      • sigrid28

        Garmin, Garmin, Garmin, with your little gun. You think you can win this one that easily, without getting down in the weeds of actual Republican policy? Keep it up. I think that approach will be a big winner in 2016!

        • Garmin Woods

          Guns? Winning this one? Winning in 2016? Short sights, IMO. Speaking of short-sightedness, did you notice you couldn’t rebut anything I said?

          • sigrid28

            We are not at the point where any rebuttal is required. The point we are at begins with “Please proceed, governor.”

          • Garmin Woods

            That’s twice you have introduced the word “win,” a word or concept I have yet to use. Your comments would seem less dissonant if they related to the idea I proposed: Republicans have limited reach in attacking Hillary Clinton because the areas in which she warrants the most criticism are hallmarks of GOP politics. Is that more clear?

          • sigrid28

            I’m agreeing with you, while at the same time suggesting that we keep it a secret between us, so Hillary can win with few Republican votes as well as Democratic. Rest assured, Republicans will have no problem making up the most outrageous lies about her if she is the candidate.

          • Garmin Woods

            LOL. OK, mum’s the word…for now. But I reserve the right to campaign during the primaries for liberal votes to support candidates less beholden to monied and military interests.

          • sigrid28

            Good for you. Every vote counts.

    • elw

      I love Hillary and would not hesitate to vote for her. However, I would be dishonest if I did not say that I am tired of the Clintons and Bushes and am hoping for a pleasant surprise – much as we got with President Obama. The only way we will ever really get change and continue to move in a more progressive line is to find and vote for people not so connected to the past; I think that is one reasonour current President was able to pass the ACA – he did not have as many debts to pay. I agree, Elizabeth would be fantastic – but as President and I just know there must be someone in the background who could also fill the shoes of President. We need fresh and not so jaded eyes to help us move forward. Hillary would do as best she could but it will another 8 years of craziness and scandals made up the right with the same ones from her husband’s turn in White House thrown in.

      • FT66

        Sorry. I do think there is something which you do not get it right. Yes you want to move forward. But if you would think as I do, I think what perfect past brought us where we are now. I try to think how the economy was those times of Bill Clinton. I try to compare to that one of the past two Bushes. I come up with the answer if given to make my Choice, I will go for the first Choice and the latter be dumped in a dustbin.

        • elw

          The Clinton years were not perfect. Yes, Bill did great on the economy, however – he actually had a Congress that worked with him. Something we will not see for years to come. One thing about President Obama is he is so clean the right had nothing to “get him on” so they had to make up things. We will never have that with Hillary (not that it is her fault) because to right she bears the blame for her husband mistakes. You are right about one thing I do not get what you are talking about because no where did I say it was a choice between Bush or Clinton – I am hoping for a choice between Choosing Clinton or some one else for the Democratic candidate. BTW your comment if very condescending – shame on you. Did ever dawn on you that you might have gotten what I said?

          • drdroad

            He had a Congress that worked with him? They shut down the Government twice!

          • elw

            Oh come on, in comparison to this Congress the answer is yes. 113th is the worst and laziest Congress in history. They had opposition syndrome to the parent in the room, President Obama.

  • atc333

    If the Democrats really want to win, they need to call the Right Wing GOP, including Boehner, and Ryan out. There needs to be repeated attempts to pass job creation legislation based upon a massive rebuilding of our failing infrastructure, (rated D+ in comparison to other industrialized nations, and killing far more people than Benghazi) including mass transportation, high speed rail, road builing and repair, upgrading the national electrical grid, development of more efficient energy sorces, wind, water, and solar, investing in more efficient educational systems, all which as a by product would create jobs, jobs, and more jobs. Those jobs would create Federal tax revenues, and also create more small businesses, who would sell to the new job holders, all which would create a much larger amount of money in circulation. To pay for it attempt to pass legislation increasing tax revenue though tax reform, removing unfair tax credits and subsides

    Explain to the American voters what this would accomplish, and dump it in Boehner’s lap. Let the GOP block and stall this legislation, and when they do this, name names and point fingers at them. Demonstrate that the GOP is part of the Problem, not part of the solution, which is what we have seen over the past 4 years..

  • john poldrugo

    I would never vote for her after she lieor Obama on benghsi

    • Paul Bass

      Wow! I’d comment, but the illiteracy of the statement speaks for itself!

      • sigrid28

        Yet we should pay attention. This is what we are up against.

      • Garmin Woods

        But you did comment. And you got fooled by a faker. 🙂

        • Paul Bass

          Correct, I should say “I’d further comment…”

          No, not fooled, just amazed at the laziness of some, since “spell check” is so easy… You have a great day.

          • Garmin Woods

            Well if that’s for real then it’s about the worst I’ve ever seen. You have a good one too!

    • elw

      Then don’t, however, you are a person who most likely would have never voted for her regardless.

  • Mark Sales

    What is perennially disturbing about pieces like Dionne’s is the speculation on a fantasy campaign sans issues. These elections should (ideally) all be slightly different for the citizenry charged with vetting the candidate(s). Should a Senator have the same skill-set as a Gubernatorial or Presidential candidate? I submit they should be; the Senatorial candidate needs to represent the people of their district or state. The prospective Governor or President should be vetted on the basis of management credentials and character.

    Does the media seem to have an interest in setting folks or groups of folks against each other? Where else does all this divisiveness come from?

  • sigrid28

    This slice of the electorate, voters who will vote for Hillary to improve the economy, is also deeply concerned for their children and about education for that reason. Here Hillary also has the edge over many Republican candidates, for she is widely known for having originated the term “It takes a village to raise a child.” Moderate Republicans and Independents are still on the fence about Common Core, Jeb’s darling that does not appeal to home schoolers, for example. Living among these voters, I think they will need to understand how Democratic policies improve their lives in very specific ways and how Democratic policies provide the best possible future for their children. Some have given up on themselves, or choose a way of life that circulates around church and family: Democrats have to acknowledge the beauty they see in this compromise, making a virtue of necessity.

  • terry b

    Because of the constant “war on women” that is pervasive in the republican party all intelligent people will have no choice but to vote for a democrat in congress or the presidency. Since ignorance has allowed the crazies (ie, the Tea Party) to take over the GOP, it also allows them to win elections that they should not. We definitely need more people voting as even the ignorant have to see what a horrible party the republicans have become. Hillary will hopefully save us from the CRAZIES in 2016 and longer!

  • ps0rjl

    For now Hillary is the best the Democrats have and the GOP has no one. The gerrymandered districts will allow the most insane GOP candidates to get elected to the House, but in the national election, this will work against the GOP. Furthermore they don’t have any candidate who can compete nationally as in a national election the GOP needs to appeal to a broad base and since the crazies control the party, they will eat any moderate candidate alive.

    • Allan Richardson

      Not only do the crazies control the party to the extent of blocking any “moderate” Presidential candidate from being nominated without SAYING something that would get him/her in trouble with truly moderate and independent voters (not to mention energizing the Democratic base to vote against them), but they control the VOTES in Congress and state legislatures to the extent that any Republican who gets elected on a moderate platform will be FORCED to vote WITH THE CRAZIES once in office. Moderate Republican voters, if you vote for someone who promises he/she will work with Democrats to fix America’s problems, be aware that BECAUSE of his/her party label, he/she will be FORCED TO BREAK that promise by the party leadership! The only way (for the last few election cycles, as you can see from the record, and for THIS and the NEXT few election cycles) to elect a Congressman, Senator, or state legislature who will NOT VOTE WITH THE FAR RIGHT CRAZIES, is to break your usual habit and VOTE DEMOCRATIC. This should NOT be about Dem vs Rep; it should be about what is best for the country, and these days, ANYONE elected as a Republican MUST vote their party line, which is NOT good for America or for the world. And, unless you happen to be a millionaire, NOT good for YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

  • elw

    When looking at the potential GOP candidates for 2016, it is clear that the DNC could run just about any moderate to progressive candidate and win. I would vote for Hillary if she got the nomination, but I as much as I love the woman, I really do not want to relive the Clinton myths of the 90s + Bengasi. I am not saying the crazy, 12 year-old minds of the GOP Radical Right will not come up with some new silly myths to yell about – it is just at this time even that would be better than hearing our 60+ President called a lesbian, murderer and blamed for unproven, pretend scandals that go back decades or to pay again for the same failed investigation from the last time. Hey the streets in my area need the pot hole fix, our bridges are falling down and our schools need more money; all of which are a much better place to put money instead of in make believed scandal investigations that go no where.

  • Bryan Blake

    Can we please wait at least until mid 2015 to hold the Clinton coronation? A lot can happen. I think way too many Democrats are getting smug about the inevitability of her winning. If the economy goes into the crapper then the whole game changes. As we know the Great Obstructionists and Penalizers have been doing their best to make just that happen. The Dems need to re-engage those of us who are fed up with the economic games that Washington has been playing if they wish to return to being a strong, viable and dominating party.

    When the Party sold out to the now defunct DLC it lost a lot of solid support. We all know that taxes need to be fair in order to sustain our economy. But the rates on the rich are ridiculously low and the economy does nothing but sputter. I have no problem with Mitt Romney and his ilk paying a 50% rate on his income. So what if his children’s trusts aren’t gigantic when he dies. Have him contact Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffet about the subject. Without adequate tax flow investments cannot be made in infrastructure, education, leveling the playing field for us all and research and development of new medicines and cures for diseases. All of the things that the federal government used to do in whole or in part before the wild-eyed crazies took over (circa Ronald W. Reagan forward).

    Secretary Clinton is going to have to convince a lot of people that she has turned her back on the so-called free market which holds very little hope for any but the rich and ultra-rich.

  • bcarreiro

    America needs a Congress that is willing to work with our President . END CORRUPTION and see how honesty pays off !!!

  • FT66

    I am astonished when I hear from the right wing that it was the intelligence which was obtained from different countries which led us to Iraq war. Well and good, intelligence from all over the world! Why didn’t the then US admin in power didn’t check whether the intelligence were true or not? If the whole world would come up now with any intelligence, do they think US will take it as true and act accordingly? If not, the right wing should ask themselves why?

  • Eric
    • JPHALL

      Nice website for the right. But without her making a big political mistake, the Republicans are dead meat against her in a national election. Lies only go so far now that more people are fact checking.
      You quoted the father of one of the men who went to Benghazi, what about the statement from the Ambassador’s mother? She realizes that the lack of security was due to Republican budget cuts. The father refuses to understand that they were in Benghazi not because they had to be there. Since 9/11/2001, most Consulates and many Embassies are closed and personnel sent out of the suspect country on 9/11.
      Unfortunately, you are the one drinking the Kool aid.

  • Phillip Wilson (Zerocks Globe)

    The rate at which progress in the West has nearly halted, due to socialist tendencies, is one of the prominent features of recent history.

  • BRT

    This is the biggest “abandon ship” article and answer to whether Obama has been a failure I’ve seen thus far. Also, I’ve known only a few democratic front runners to ever win the primary. Wonder what unknown will come outta the wood work for this one. If the trend continues, Hillary doesn’t have a chance.

  • Chris C.

    President Obama spent a great deal of Political capital getting the affordable care act passed,whch I think was a big deal that is gaining legs.Benghazi is so obviously just a cheap political ploy,to throw mud on Hillary Clinton that no normal thinking person could possibly be hoodwinked.Excepting of course people who refute the theory of relativity,think global warming is tree hugging hog wash and claim black people were better off as slaves,they lost the art of picking cotton according to one of the GOP’S finest ,a man Fox News tried to prop up as a hero.
    Hillary is running and thanks to Bridgegate is polling over 10 points ahead of all GOP possibles.Marco Rubio,a man who lied about his parents being exiles from Cuba,just announced he was Presidential timber,no matter the termites.I have fond memories of the 2008 AND 2012 GOP Presidential primaries,Rick Perry now wears glasses to promote a more intellectual appearance,hoping we forget his inebriated interviews and forgetting 2 of the 3 departments he was going to AX. WHEN HE WAS ELECTED.Obamas polling is low,however he has plenty of time and has to be considered a better person than Rick Santorum for petes sakes