Monday, February 29, 2016

IS HILLARY A PAPER TIGER?

Hillary appears to be a strong candidate, but that's only if you look at her through colored glasses handed out by the Democratic Establishment.

A look at the Big Picture (the general election) reveals something much different.

The case against Hillary Clinton: This is the disaster Democrats must avoid - Salon.com

Contrary to conventional pundit wisdom, Hillary is not the stronger general-election candidate.

So far Clinton seems to have retained the status of favorite for the Democratic nomination. But there are strong signs that it’s Sanders who would fare better against the eventual GOP nominee.

Recent polling shows Sanders doing better than Clinton against each of the Republican contenders. One can question the relevance of early-stage match ups such as these, but as Princeton’s Matt Karp recently noted in his eye-opening piece on Sanders and Clinton’s comparative electability:

We may be skeptical about the predictive power of these findings, nine months before Election Day. But it’s wrong to call them “absolutely worthless” … In a comprehensive analysis of elections between 1952 and 2008, Robert Erikson and Christopher Wleizen found that matchup polls as early as April have generally produced results close to the outcome in November.

Even much earlier “trial heats” seem to be far from meaningless. As partisan polarization has increased over the last three decades, there’s some evidence that early polling has become more predictive than ever. In all five elections since 1996, February matchup polls yielded average results within two points of the final outcome.

Still skeptical? Consider the candidates’ favorability ratings: Sanders is the only one of the leading candidates—from either party—with a greater favorable than unfavorable rating. Hillary’s 53-percent unfavorable rating would, as Karp noted, “make her the most disliked presidential nominee in modern history.” (See all of the candidates’ ratings here.)

A look at party identification is also revealing: Independents now vastly outnumber Democrats or Republicans, and among independents, Sanders is far and away the favorite. Meanwhile, as statistician Joshua Loftus notes: “Dangerously, even Donald Trump and Ted Cruz get a much greater proportion of independent voters than Clinton.