The Corner

Politics & Policy

Hillary Clinton Isn’t Closing the Deal in the California Primary

From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Hillary Clinton Isn’t Closing the Deal in the California Primary

The Democrats are in trouble. Remember that fed-up feeling a few weeks ago, when you just felt fed up, exasperated, perpetually infuriated and besieged and just wanted to find people who dared disagree with your preferred candidate and punch them in the face? That’s how most tuned-in Democrats feel today.

No, really, the Hillary supporters can’t stand the Sanders supporters, and the Sanders supporters are spitting hot fire at the suggestion they should just fall in line.

With California voting Tuesday, there’s no sign that Hillary Clinton is closing the deal.

Hillary Clinton is clinging to a narrow two-point lead over Bernie Sanders in California ahead of the state’s June 7 primary, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll.

Clinton gets support from 49 percent of likely Democratic primary voters in the state, while Sanders gets 47 percent, which is within the survey’s statistical margin of error.

And among a wider electorate of all potential Democratic voters in California, Sanders is actually ahead by one point, 48 percent to 47 percent.

Clinton’s campaign is hitting the panic button – and they should be!

Faced with the prospect of what would be a demoralizing loss in California that would end the Democratic primary season on a low note for her,  Hillary Clinton is launching a barnstorming tour of the state in an effort to stop her rival’s momentum.  

She and former President  Bill Clinton plan to hold more than 30 campaign events starting Thursday in a scramble to eke out victory in a state they once were projected to win handily.

Richard Wolffe points out that nominating Hillary Clinton largely concedes the biggest advantage Democrats traditionally enjoy:

The one weak measure that she has a shot of overcoming relates to empathy. When asked ‘Which candidate understands people like you?’ in the YouGov poll, Clinton trails Sanders by 44 to 56 points.

This is a standard test where Democrats normally trounce Republicans: even John Kerry beat George W Bush on this question in 2004. Yet when translated to a contest against Trump, Clinton’s weakness is still evident.

In last week’s ABC News/Washington Post poll, which placed Trump ahead nationally (albeit within the margin of error), Clinton beats Trump on experience, temperament and having realistic policies. But when it comes to understanding voters problems and representing their values, she has only a single digit lead, within the margin of error, among registered voters.

Building a sense of empathy for voters – an emotional connection with working Americans – must be the Clinton campaign’s biggest priority as it re-introduces her to a skeptical public in the general election.

Her argument would be easier if she could point to any concrete, indisputable accomplishments in her time at the State Department. Bloomberg knocks over the “restored America’s reputation and rebuilt trust” claim: “If these three polls are any indication, by the time Clinton left Foggy Bottom, global opinion about the U.S. had fallen to, or below, where it was when she got there.”

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