The Corner

Hillary’s Honeymoon Is Over

I go back and forth on Hillary Clinton. Sometimes, I think that the sheer power of the Clinton network, Hillary’s being a woman (yes, in our weird identity-politics world, this will matter), and the enthusiasm that the Democratic party is already showing for her nomination will make her formidable in 2016. And then I remember that she’s a Clinton, that she’s really not that likeable, and that I thought she was going to be the nominee and possibly the president back in 2008.

Either way, as Dave Weigel notes over at Slate, whatever bipartisan goodwill Hillary had achieved while Secretary of State seems to have disappeared when she relinquished the office. As Weigel observes, it’s not only the president who is dropping in the polls:

But the Democrats’ long-term survival plan involves the coronation of Hillary Clinton in 2016, and her easy defeat of whatever goober the Republicans put up. That’s looking (yes, yes, in October 2013) less preordained. Clinton’s approval is down to 46 percent favorable, 33 percent unfavorable. That’s the lowest number she’s scored since she became Secretary of State; she left the office this year with a 56/25 rating.

Obama’s swoon is easy enough to explain. Forty percent of voters say that the Obamacare rollout has made them less confident in the law, and 31 percent doubt the problems can be fixed. Those are actually lower than the overall disapproval numbers for the law, but they’re a reaction to something Obama is actually doing. Clinton’s only just emerged to make some speeches and do one interview with New York magazine, and yet there’s been a net 18-point swing against her in a year.

This is a relative drop, of course. Secretaries of State are almost always more popular than partisan politicians, and this certainly doesn’t mean that she won’t be much more popular than whomever the GOP nominates. But all of that inevitability stuff? Time to reconsider, perhaps.

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