Skip to comments.Winning over the Hillary haters
Posted on 12/06/2004 9:29:20 AM PST by Tumbleweed_Connection
In a race for the US presidency, Hillary Rodham Clinton faces a problem that has dogged her since her days as first lady: an entrenched bloc of voters who simply do not like her. And her experience as a senator in New York shows that despite vigorous campaigning around the state since taking office, she remains an extremely polarising figure who is unable to sway these voters to her side.
One poll after another shows that roughly one in three New Yorkers has an unfavourable opinion of her, a statistic that has not changed since she took office in 2001.
Nationally, her standing is worse, even as her aides prepare for what is emerging as a possible bid for president in 2008. Roughly four out of 10 Americans disapprove of her, according to a recent poll by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.
The voters who disapprove of the former first lady are numerous and unshakable, and they have been around so long that they even have a name in political circles - Hillary haters.
She offered a revealing answer when asked recently whether Republicans might be hoping that she becomes the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008, since it would give the Republicans a divisive figure to run against.
Clinton, who studiously avoids answering questions about her presidential ambitions, quickly responded. "We have a president who is quite polarising, and very successful, I might add," she said during an appearance on NBC's Today.
Her high unfavourability ratings may help explain why a discussion has begun among her advisers over whether she should skip a Senate re-election campaign in 2006 and instead focus all her energies on a race for the White House.
The most obvious challenge that Clinton faces in running for both jobs is a compressed political calendar that leaves her very little room to manoeuvre: the Iowa presidential caucuses are held just 14 months after election day in 2006.
If she sticks to the schedule that John Kerry followed during this presidential election cycle, she would have to give a clear indication of her desire to run for the presidency a mere month after her Senate race is over.
But that seems unlikely, some political analysts say, because the timing would be awkward.
Yet some people close to Clinton maintain that the tight calendar should not be a problem because she is such a big celebrity, and any presidential campaign she embarks on would instantly attract a huge amount of attention.
But other Democrats and independent political strategists say that her celebrity is a double-edged sword: while she does enjoy a level of name recognition other politicians crave, she has earned a reputation that, fairly or not, makes her a polarising figure among moderate swing voters, an important bloc nationally.
"There's work for her to do nationally," Marist Institute director Lee Miringoff says. "Beyond her appeal to the Democratic base, there is a need for her to build bridges to reach out to moderate Republicans and independent voters if she hopes to succeed."
The so-called Hillary haters became a harsh reality of political life for her when she ran for the Senate. Republicans built much of their campaign on trying to tap anti-Clinton sentiments in New York state.
No one factor accounts for the deep misgivings many voters express for Clinton, but to some degree it stems from a view that has taken hold, fairly or not, that she is a hugely ambitious woman with a liberal agenda that was most significantly illustrated in her efforts to overhaul the nation's health-care system during her husband's presidency.
She sought to counteract the damage posed by the anti-Clinton feeling by spending nearly two years travelling around the state in a calculated effort to force voters to re-examine what, if anything, is so objectionable about her.
Many Democrats and independent political strategists contend that she may have to do much the same nationally.
"To be successful nationally, she will have to defuse some of the negative feelings," Miringoff says. "One way to attempt that is to replicate what she did in New York with her listening tour."
A Democratic political strategist on Capitol Hill agrees. "She may have 100per cent name recognition," the strategist says. "But it comes with a certain amount of baggage."
Even after her victory in New York, Clinton has taken nothing for granted, continuing to travel around the state constantly, as if running a perpetual campaign.
The strategy has yielded dividends: her popularity rating among New Yorkers reached a notable 61per cent in September, compared with 38per cent in February 2001, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll.
Her approach has been particularly effective with undecided voters. The number of people who told Quinnipiac pollsters that they had no opinion of her has been dropping - to 7per cent in September from 33per cent in February 2001.
But tellingly enough, her tireless efforts around the state have done little to assuage the misgivings of many. The number of New Yorkers expressing an unfavourable opinion of her has been about the same - roughly one in three - in the 22 polls Quinnipiac University has conducted since 2001.
But her advisers contend that the poll findings have, in fact, been very good news for her, saying that many undecided voters became supporters once they got to know her.
"Show me a poll where she has lost ground," said one Democrat who is close to Clinton. "You can't. They don't exist. She has been gaining supporters both in New York and nationally since she took office by virtue of her hard work."
I don't like Hillary Clinton. Let the Democrats nominate someone good, like Evan Bayh, Tom Daschle or John Edwards.
So long as Hillary is not President I do not hate her. I don't like her, but I don't hate her.
Sorry, But I am part of the group of Hillary Haters.
I don't like Hillary. I don't hate her, either. I simply find her quite overrated, both in her supporters' opinion and (from what I can tell) her own.
Way too low. We've got some educatin' to do before Nov 08.
"Roughly four out of 10 Americans disapprove of her . . ."
Frankly, I would've thought MORE disapproved of her. That figure is rather disappointing.
I'd say maybe 4 out of 10 approve, but not the other way around. No way. Unless you are polling the big cities only...
"an entrenched bloc of voters who simply do not like her."
What's to like? And why does the MSM treat this as a huge puzzlement without ever exploring the justification for it? Or why her husband is so habitually unfaithful to her??
She might start by describing her qualifications for her current political station, save of course for the fact that she rode her husband's coattails throughout his career. Her ascention at Rose law mirrored his rise in power in Arkansas politics, and her elevation to US Senate is as a result of Bill's presidential popularity among the far left.
Something to think about...Evan Bayh...as much as everyone adores a "pretty" boy...votes with Hillary Clinton 90% of the time.....(remember John Edwards)......
(((((((((((We have a president who is quite polarising, and very successful, I might add," she said during an appearance on NBC's Today)))))))))
President George Bush is not polarizing! He has never used "rich vs. poor, black vs.white, young vs.old, religious vs. secular" It's the Dems who have used those tactics for decades. Hilary Clinton is polarizing "coulda shoula woulda". What a poseur!
HA! Her very few parachute drops Upstate could hardly be called vigorous campaining. Sheesh.
She called me an asshole and I got rousted by her Secret Service detail during her little "Healthcare Express" tour pushing the HillaryCare debacle.
Yes, this bloc has no rhyme or reason, they "simply" don't like her.
I didn't read any farther than that idiotic statement.
Another Hillary fan who no doubt assumes people are "afraid" of a strong woman, but then cries when the woman is asked to explain and defend herself. Oh, the unfairness of it all! It must be these "bloc"heads who simply don't like her! She shouldn't be called to account for anything! Let's crown her QUEEN!!!
> Roughly four out of 10 Americans disapprove of her . . .
>>Frankly, I would've thought MORE disapproved of her. That figure is rather disappointing.
You take a poll for Hillary Rodham, and you tell her that her disapproval rating is more than 40%...and it's off with your head, dude.
She will skip the 2006 Senate election because she knows she will lose, just like Edwards did this year. Even IF she plans on running in 2008 she will run for re-election in 2006 if she thinks she can win.
Personally I don't think she can win her senate seat back, let alone the white house.
The problem is that she has a small percentage of voters that would elect her queen, and a larger block of democRATS that would vote for Donald Duck if he was on the ticket.
-Hillary Clinton- archives, comments, and opposition research --
-The Clinton Files--
-Murder, Inc. [repost] --
-Women in the Clinton Era: Abuse,Intimidation and Smears--
Hillary's delegates spit on and taunt Police Honor Guard at her Convention
Catastrophic intelligence Failure - Clinton's Bin Laden GATE
CIA Officials Reveal What Went Wrong Clinton to Blame
DOWNSIDE LEGACY AT TWO DEGREES OF PRESIDENT CLINTON
And yes, that picture is the one of Hill kissing Suha Arafat ( "wife" of The Littlest Terrorist ) after Suha had accused the Israelis of poisoning Palestinian children...