Posts Tagged U.S. Presidential race
Despite a storm of recent controversies, Hillary Clinton’s popularity is proving durable among likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire, home of the nation’s first presidential primary election in early 2016.
Nearly nine of 10 Granite State Democrats who are likely to vote in the primary say they had either a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” opinion of Clinton, according to a new Bloomberg Politics/Saint Anselm New Hampshire Poll. The number, 86 percent, is virtually unchanged from her 88 percent favorability rating among Democrats last November and an 89 percent rating in February.
She also fares about as well as her husband, the 42nd president and a popular figure in U.S. politics, on a host of qualities, the poll found.
“She’s the best of what I’ve seen so far,” said poll respondent Bruce Bonnette, a 79-year-old retiree from Northfield, N.H. “And she’s got Bill to back her up.”
There are also signs that Clinton shouldn’t take her support for granted, particularly among the state’s independent voters. Even among Democrats, there is considerable skepticism about her truth-telling.
“I’m not that happy about the private e-mail server,” said Walter Hamilton, a 64-year-old Democrat and retired civil servant from Portsmouth, N.H., referring to Clinton’s use of non-official e-mail while she served as secretary of state. He also expressed concerns about allegations of impropriety over foreign donations made to the Clinton Foundation during that same time.
But one thing stands out for Hamilton: “She’s the only one that can beat the Republicans, and my guess is that most Democrats feel the same way.”
Among likely general-election voters, Clinton is less popular. Nearly half of respondents had an unfavorable opinion of her, and her favorable rating has dropped 8 percentage points since February to 46 percent.
Still, only one politician in the survey had a higher favorability rating among general-election voters: Bill Clinton, at 53 percent.
Among likely Democratic primary voters, both Clintons and President Barack Obama are deeply popular, with more than 85 percent expressing either “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” opinions of them.
By contrast, independent Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist from neighboring Vermont who announced his candidacy for the nomination last week, has a 56 percent favorable rating among likely Democratic primary voters. Another potential Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, had a 25 percent favorable rating, a likely reflection of poor name recognition.
Yet the poll also suggests that voters believe the former first lady has a clear deficit in some of the qualities they consider most important in choosing a president.
Nearly six out of 10 likely general-election voters said neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton can be trusted to tell the truth. Nearly half, 47 percent, said neither Clinton shares their values. They rated somewhat better on questions about having a vision for the future and perceptions that they care about “people like you.”
While feeding a narrative about her truthfulness, criticism over Clinton’s handling of foreign donations to her family foundation has not created the firestorm that Republicans might have foreseen.
A solid majority, 60 percent, of likely general-election voters said they were either unsure about the allegations or believed they were just another example of overblown accusations by Republicans against the Clintons.
Others think the accustions have merit. Forty percent of those polled said they believed foreign governments and companies that donated to the Clinton Foundation or paid for Bill Clinton’s speaking fees were probably looking for favors and some of them got what they wanted.
Thomas Keach, a 50-year-old independent who said he voted for Obama in 2012, said Clinton’s foreign connections, along with the e-mail controversy, are evidence that she is “part of the old-school politics” in Washington.
“They don’t address real problems that people like I face every day,” said Keach, who now favors Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive.
Women voters are especially likely to support Hillary Clinton. Fifty-six percent of women who are likely to vote in the general election expressed a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” opinion of her, compared to 37 percent of men.
“I’m so glad she’s giving it a second shot,” said Spickler. “I felt strongly in 2008 that it was such a wonderful thing to see a woman as a serious candidate in my lifetime. Now, I think it’s more that I think she’s the best-qualified Democrat.”
But she faces a challenge among independent voters who can cast their ballots in either party’s primary. Just 41 percent of independents rate Clinton favorably, compared to 51 percent who expressed positive opinions of Bill Clinton.
Even so, she has a higher favorability rating among independents than many likely Republican presidential candidates, including Jeb Bush.
The poll, conducted May 2-6 by Washington-based Purple Insights, included 500 general-election voters as well as oversamples to include 400 Republican primary voters and 400 Democratic primary voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points on general-election questions and plus or minus 4.9 percentage points on primary questions.
Original Source: Bloomberg Politics
The Republican and Democratic potential presidential candidates are beginning to focus on 2016, evaluating their chances and building on the contacts they’ve accumulated over the last few years. Some have been at it for some time, some are still thinking about running. While many candidates are being discussed or having their supporters see about getting them discussed, this long list will shorten in the months ahead.
Some have already let it be known that they won’t be running. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, widely reported as considering running, announced last week that he would not be a candidate in 2016. While perhaps still pondering a race, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has begun talking about how he intends to focus on what he can do as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and his desire to spend more rather than less time in his home state.
The Democrats have, or think they have, a potential winner in Hillary Rodham Clinton. She leads all other potential contenders, but when the leading competitor is Vice President Joe Biden, the candidate every Republican would like to run against, that’s not surprising. We’re told by her supporters in the media that she’s a slam dunk for the nomination and, of course, would win handily against any Republican. Maybe, but we were told the same thing in 2007 before she was blown away by an obscure Illinois senator as voters discovered that she wasn’t a very good candidate. Now she’s eight years older, served an undistinguished stint at State, and may not be quite as ready for the presidency as those proclaiming themselves ready for her assume.
If Mrs. Clinton proves once again to have a political glass jaw, her party has a problem. VP Joe Biden doesn’t pass the giggle test; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be too busy dodging subpoenas; and Maryland’s Gov. Martin O’Malley went down in flames by proxy on Nov. 4 as he tried to build support for his successor and create a populist legacy. That leaves Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a modern day George McGovern in a skirt and without a war record, who appeals narrowly to leftist firebrands within her party, but has yet to establish any reach, or maybe Vermont’s Bernie Sanders who seems to actually believe that the Birkenstocked crowd that elects him in Vermont is representative of the broader American electorate.
If they were race horses, most of them would be left at the gate or turn up lame on the first turn. To paraphrase former Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld on countries and their armies, parties go to war with the candidates they have rather than those they might wish to have.
The Republicans seem better off. They have at least a half dozen credible contenders and more who are hoping lightning will strike if those who look like heavyweights today stumble early. Republicans have governors like New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Ohio’s John Kasich, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Indiana’s Mike Pence, along with former governors like Texas’ Rick Perry and Florida’s Jeb Bush, Arkansas’ Mike Huckabee and even 2012 nominee Mitt Romney and long shots like former Maryland Gov. Bob Erlich and Virginia’s Jim Gilmore being talked about or laying the groundwork for what each hopes will be a serious campaign.
That’s a lot of potential candidates, but there are also senators like Texas’ Ted Cruz, Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Florida’s Marco Rubio who may well run along with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and the aforementioned Paul Ryan.
Then there are “civilians” like U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, Dr. Ben Carson and former California Senate candidate and Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to name three. All in all, that’s quite a cadre of pols and before it’s over there may be more.
Today’s polls mean little because they reflect name identification and because normal people aren’t yet thinking seriously about who they will support when the time comes. So today’s polls would suggest that the “front runners” are Mrs. Clinton and either Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney.
These are the best known of the bunch and will no doubt attract a lot of big money early if they actually run, although the idea that Mr. Romney has the stomach for a rerun of 2012 seems far-fetched. Many believe that if the American people discover their choices are once again between a Clinton and a Bush, millions of voters may tune out or slit their wrists.
Pundits like to talk about the future as if historical trends will hold true, but we are living in a new age politically, culturally and technologically and the old rules may prove as useful as the polls taken before this fall’s elections in predicting what’s going to happen as the 2016 cycle begins.
Midterm elections are about the past; presidential races are about the future. One suspects that both of these wannabes fear that try as they might it may prove difficult if not impossible for the Bushes and Clintons to persuade a skeptical public that the future is what their candidacies are about.
The upsets last November demonstrated one thing hidden behind the name calling and negative attempts of candidates of both parties to paint their opponents as Satan’s representatives on earth: candidates who focused on real solutions to real problems did better than those who played by the old rules. That, above all, was a sign that voters have had enough. They know the country is facing some real challenges and are looking for leaders who will face them rather than spend their time blaming them on others.
Only a fool would predict at this stage who will prove up to that challenge, but one thing we can predict right now: The race for the presidency in 2016 is going to be one heckuva spectacle.
The Oracle of Omaha gave the maximum donation allowed to Ready for Hillary last quarter, his first-ever check to the sort of independent political groups that he’s scorned in the past. Buffett, who is the third richest man in the world, gave $25,000, the most any individual can donate under the committee’s self-imposed cap, according to a person familiar with Ready for Hillary’s post-election financial disclosure report. The group has raised more than $11 million to finance its efforts to lay the groundwork for a Clinton presidential campaign. Their latest report was due to be filed with the Federal Election Commission by midnight Thursday.
The contribution marks a major shift for one of the country’s most famous business leaders, who’s long been known in Democratic circles as a bit of a political tightwad. Though he’s given hundreds of thousands to party committees and candidates, Buffett has shunned super-political action committees and other groups that can take unlimited sums. Last cycle, he headlined fundraisers for Obama’s re-election, though he rebuffed solicitations by Priorities USA Action, a super-PAC supporting the president. “I don’t want to see democracy go in that direction,” he said in May 2012 when asked at his company’s annual shareholder meeting about his position on giving to outside groups. “You have to take a stand some place.”
Though he supported both Democratic candidates during the 2008 race, Buffett has long been an outspoken Clinton supporter, starting with his backing for her Senate campaign in 2000. Just days after President Barack Obama’s re-election, Buffett told CNN that there wasn’t anyone better qualified than Clinton for the job in 2016. He also said donating to super-PACs was simply “wrong,” an opinion that he apparently no longer holds. “Hillary is going to win, yeah,” he said at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in October. “I will bet money on it. And I don’t do that easily.”
Other notable donors to the group, which operates in a similar fashion as a super-PAC, include Irene Hirano, the widow of late Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye; former New York Representative Ed Towns; and John Zaccaro Jr., the son of Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run on a major presidential ticket.
Ready for Hillary has no official ties to Clinton. But they’ve become a campaign-in-waiting for the former secretary of state, amassing a list of 3 million supporters. The organization plans to begin shutting down as soon as Clinton formally announces, if she decides to run, of course. It will make its list of backers available to her campaign, giving Clinton the type of infrastructure any candidate would covet. “We will be at or beyond on Day One of the Clinton campaign, if and when it comes, where we ended up last time,” Jerry Crawford, an Iowa lawyer who’s advised Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaigns, told reporters at a Ready for Hillary donor summit in New York last month.
In a sign that Ready for Hillary doesn’t anticipate closing its doors in the immediate future, organizers took out a $1 million loan which they plan to repay by March to expand its direct mail operation, according to the documents. Letters touting its work on behalf of Clinton are being sent to every zip code in the country, according to a strategist involved with the operation, and the investment has doubled their number of donors who give an average of $10 more than those online.
Typically, the mail pieces include a pledge card, photo of Clinton being sworn in as secretary of state, and a solicitation letter from Craig Smith, a long-time Clinton confidant and adviser to Ready for Hillary. “In 2012, Republicans saw that an early, strong organization helped re-elect President Obama. They ignored it then, but I’m sure they won’t make that foolish mistake again,” writes Smith. “I believe we owe it to Hillary to show her we’ve got her back.”
“Don’t get too worked up about the latest polling. While some voters will feel a bit of a sugar-high from the conventions, the basic structure of the race has not changed significantly,” said Romney campaign pollster Neil Newhouse.
In his “State of the Race” memo, Newhouse argues that there are three sets of numbers that will ultimately affect the way people will vote in November: unemployment trends, how many Americans are looking for work, and how many are on food stamps.
“President Obama is the only president in modern American history to stand before the American people asking for re-election with this many Americans struggling to find work,” Newhouse writes. “The key numbers in this election are the 43 straight months of 8% or higher unemployment, the 23 million Americans struggling to find work, and the 47 million Americans who are on food stamps.” “The reality of the Obama economy will reassert itself as the ultimate downfall of the Obama presidency, and Mitt Romney will win this race.”
Following last week’s Democratic convention in North Carolina, a series of national polls showed Obama edging ahead of his Republican rival and a survey in the must-win swing state of Ohio put him five points clear.
Newhouse, however, argued that Romney was still the preferred candidate on the crucial issue of the economy and that all the signs pointed to a tight race in which the former Massachusetts governor had a money advantage.
The message was seen as an attempt to shore up support for the Republican candidate after some disappointing polls and after Obama outraised Romney in August for the first time in four months.
Newhouse said Romney’s supporters were more enthusiastic and that the campaign had crossed a 20 million volunteer threshold as they deploy an all-out “Ground Game” across the key states in the November 6 election.
“Mitt Romney will be the next president,” he said. “The outcome of this race will ultimately be determined in favor of governor Romney because he has the better leadership skills, the better record, and the better vision for where he wants to take the country.
“In short, the combination of having the superior candidate, being in a margin-of-error race with an incumbent president, having a cash advantage, and having an unprecedented grassroots effort and a winning message on the economy ensure that Americans will make a change in leadership in Washington on November 6.”
He results though may not be as bad as they suggest, The Gallup seven day tracking poll of 3050 registered voters, that has a margin of error of 2.0 percent, samples Democrats by about a 8 percent margin based on calculations from the reported data. If the data is properly weighted for the partisan makeup of the electorate, the data from this poll unskewed would show a Romney lead of 49 percent to 44. By skewing the poll, it gives Obama a five point lead instead of showing Romney leading by the same total.
The Gallup tracking poll has Democrats favoring Obama by a 90 percent to seven percent margin while Republicans surveyed in the poll favor Romney by a 91 percent to six percent margin. Independent voters to support Romney by a 43 percent to 42 percent edge. The significance of this is, somewhere along the way the weighting and sampling used by Gallup appears to have changed. The polling output resulting from this change demonstrates an apparent change that may not have happened at all, resulting in the showing of a Barack Obama post-convention “bounce” much larger than what might have actually occurred.
President Obama’s speech was lacking in detail, full of divisive rhetoric appealing to his base, and if anyone thinks this speech was a game changer, they are sadly mistaken. It lacked vision, conviction and really only promised more of the same renewable energy projects, and a wild promise to recruit another 100,000 teachers.
Obama used his nationally televised speech closing out the Democratic National Convention to try to revive the excitement that powered his first run for the presidency.
With just two months before election day, Mr Obama needs to win over undecided voters, especially those who had been swayed by his inspiring message of hope and change in 2008, but now feel disillusioned after years of economic weakness and persistent political bickering.
“The election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you,” he said. “My fellow citizens – you were the change.”
Obama implored Americans to grant him a second term in the world’s most important job, as he cast himself as a realist and said the US recovery was bound to be hard after the worst recession in generations.
“The truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades,” Obama said at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina.
Obama’s core message was I need more time. He compared America’s economic problems to the Great Depression of the 1930s, calling it the Great Recession. To overcome the challenges ahead will require “common effort, shared responsibility and the kind of bold persistent experimentation” that Franklin D Roosevelt once made the Democrats famous for.
He said the American people were the ones responsible for accomplishments on his watch, such as overhauling healthcare, changing immigration policies and ending the ban on gays in the military. If they turned away now, he warned, “you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible”. “Change,” he said, “will not happen”.
Mr Obama built on the message Democrats delivered throughout the convention: that America is on the road to recovery while Mr Romney would revive failed policies, cutting taxes for the rich and slashing programmes that give regular Americans a chance for a more prosperous future. “If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election,” he said.
Republicans, who nominated Mr Romney last week, argue that America’s high 8.3% unemployment rate is proof that Mr Obama’s policies have failed and that the president’s spendthrift, big-government policies have hurt business and caused the federal deficit to soar.
The two candidates are locked in a tight race. Polls show that Mr Romney, a wealthy businessman and former governor of Massachusetts, is seen as the better candidate for improving the economy, while Mr Obama is viewed as more likeable and having a better understanding of everyday Americans.
Mr Obama’s speech marked the climax of the three-day convention. First lady Michelle Obama highlighted the first day, talking about her husband’s humble roots and compassion for those living through tough times. Bill Clinton, the popular former president who led the United States during years of prosperity, gave a rousing speech on Thursday, vouching for Mr Obama’s economic policies and urging Americans not to turn back to Republicans.
Preceding Mr Obama was vice president Joe Biden, who was formally re-nominated. Mr Biden proclaimed in his acceptance speech that “America has turned the corner” after experiencing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Mitt Romney’s campaign accused President Barack Obama of glossing over broken promises in his speech Thursday, saying he offered “more of the same” instead of admitting failure.
“President Obama laid out the choice in this election, making the case for more of the same policies that haven’t worked for the past four years,” Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades said in a statement issued in the middle of Obama’s speech accepting the Democratic nomination for president.
“He offered more promises, but he hasn’t kept the promises he made four years ago,” Rhoades added.
“Americans will hold President Obama accountable for his record. They know they’re not better off and that it’s time to change direction.”
Overall, the speech while decent was far below some of the other speakers over the three days most notably First Lady Michele Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and President Clinton. While the auditorium crowd were delirious, one cannot help but to feel disillusioned if you were sitting at home.
People need to be convinced that whoever they elect has a firm and detailed plan for the next four years and will deliver with actions, not speeches. President and Obama need to rise to the challenge and whoever is successful in that task will win this election.
First Lady Michelle Obama made the hard sell on Tuesday that the change her husband Barack Obama championed in his White House campaign four years ago has proven difficult but urged voters to give him four more years to fix the struggling U.S. economy.
“He reminds me that we are playing a long game here, and that change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once,” she told the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. “But eventually we get there. We always do.”
The popular first lady was the highest-profile advocate for her husband in the first of three days of speeches that will conclude with Obama’s address on Thursday to accept the Democratic presidential nomination to face Mitt Romney on November 6.
Obama’s economic argument got a little tougher on Tuesday. New surveys showed U.S. manufacturing shrank at its sharpest clip in more than three years last month, while exports and hiring in the sector also slumped.
The president is trying to use his convention to recapture the magic that carried him to victory in 2008 but he admitted to a Colorado television reporter that he would give himself a grade of “incomplete” for his first term.
The First-Lady spoke a week after Romney’s wife, Ann, hurled some zingers at Obama in promoting her husband at the Republican convention in Tampa. “For Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives,” Michelle Obama said, perhaps a reference to multimillionaire Romney’s past as a private equity executive.
The Democrats even choreographed a swipe at the former Massachusetts governor from beyond the grave, by playing a video of late Senator Ted Kennedy getting the better of Romney during a debate in the 1994 election campaign for Kennedy’s Senate seat.
One of the most exuberant attackers was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who recently made a controversial claim that Romney had paid no income taxes for 10 years, which was shot down by Romney.
Reid took up the tax argument again.
“Mitt Romney says we should take his word that he paid his fair share? His word? Trust comes from transparency, and Mitt Romney comes up short on both,” Reid said.
The Democrats highlighted Obama’s successes during his first term – from ordering the mission that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to the bailout of the auto industry – while reminding voters of the difficulties Obama faced when he took office.
“Four years ago, America stood on the brink of a depression,” said Julian Castro, mayor of the Texas city of San Antonio and a rising star in the party. “Despite incredible odds and united Republican opposition, our president took action. And now we’ve seen 4.5 million new jobs.”
Republicans complain that the Democrats are trying to concentrate on women’s issues and other topics so as to avoid talking about the economy.
“On the first night of President Obama’s convention, not a single speaker uttered the words ‘Americans are better off than they were four years ago,'” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.
Obama went into the convention getting high marks from voters on personal attributes but facing doubts about his handling of the U.S. economy, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found.
Overall, Romney led Obama 46 percent to 45 percent among likely voters.
With Democrats anxious about the tight race, Mrs. Obama urged party activists to rally around the president.
“We must work like never before, and we must once again come together and stand together for the man we can trust to keep moving this great country forward, my husband, our president, Barack Obama,” she said.
Obama will make his acceptance speech in a 74,000-capacity football stadium on Thursday night.
Romney is ceding the political spotlight to Obama and staying off the campaign trail for most of this week. He spent Tuesday in Vermont, preparing for the three presidential debates that begin on October 3.
Former President Bill Clinton, who presided over economic boom times in his 1990s White House years, is the main Wednesday speaker.