The obvious damage here is to Hillary’s ability to appeal to independents and liberal Republicans. Her old approval ratings suggested that she had some of them on board. Her new approval ratings taken her into Obama 50-50 territory. And while Obama won last time around, despite being widely loathed outside his own base, organization and racial solidarity allowed him to bring out enough friendly voters to overcome his weak approval ratings.
Bill Clinton may have tried to pass as the first black president and Elizabeth Warren got by being Cherokee, those would be long shots for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
While her favorability rating in February was 61 percent, a new Quinnipiac University poll out Friday had it cobbled down to 52 percent and her once double-digit lead over potential GOP presidential challengers Jeb Bush and Sen. Rand Paul has been cut to less than 10 percent.
“Her score is down substantially from her all-time high score in February. The drop in her favorability is substantial among men, Republicans and independent voters. One reason for her drop may be that 48 percent of voters blame her either a little or a lot for the death of the American ambassador in Benghazi,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University polling Institute.
Those are serious weaknesses that would ordinarily raise questions about her ability to win an election, but after 2012, Dems have decided that all they need to do is focus on voter turnout for government class voters. And that overconfidence, if combined with a smart Republican Party, could take them down.
Obama lost independents and still won the election. Hillary might not have that much leeway. And while she can sail through the primaries armored with a wagonload of cash, the ghosts of Benghazi will haunt her in the general election.