The Corner

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Hillary Clinton’s “Negatives”


I keep hearing Republicans crowing about Hillary Clinton’s “high negatives”–about, that is, the fact that a large proportion of Americans regard her unfavorably.

But I remember talking to a Bush strategist right after Kerry had clinched the Democratic nomination in 2004. At the time Kerry had low negatives, and the strategist was pleased. Kerry wasn’t crushing Bush in head-to-head match-ups even with those low negatives, he pointed out. And by the end of the campaign Kerry’s negatives would be a lot higher. As people who were neutral or even favorable toward Kerry turned against him, his numbers against Bush would drop.

It made sense. But Clinton is in the opposite position. She’s doing pretty well in match-ups with Republican candidates even with her high negatives–and it would be hard to drive those negatives up much.