Hillary Clinton has yet to Tweet her widely anticipated announcement that she’s again ready to run for president. Republicans have never let up on shelling her for who she is and what’s she’s done, and are expected to step up their barrage of anti-Hillary bombing once she finally does make it official she’s back on the political battlefield.
The unabated attacks on her continued Friday, when the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, focused his aim on her for her many transgressions.
“I vow on this day the NRA will stand shoulder to shoulder with you and good, honest decent Americans and we will stand and fight with everything we’ve got and in 2016, by God, we will elect the next great president of the United States of America and it will not be Hillary Rodham Clinton,” he said.
LaPierre anti-Hillary virulence is alive, well and growing for the GOP and its sprawling field of White House wannabees. And they have good reason to fear her. If Ohio in 2016 loves her as much as they did in 2008, and loved her presidential husband Bill in 1992 and 1996, the road to the White House for the unlucky candidate who has to face her next year will be very bumpy.
A little trip down memory lane shows that voters turned out for her before, and a new research report by Pew Research shows that is likely to happen again next year if the inevitable candidate is indeed inevitable.
Is Ohio Hillary’s?
On March 4, 2008, 46 percent or 3,603,523 of the 7,826,480 registered voters in Ohio in that presidential election year turned out to vote in the primary election. In that election, only 1,136,668 Republicans bothered to vote while nearly twice as many, 2,386,945, Democrats participated.
Republicans were choosing among a slate of candidates that included Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson. After running a campaign that seemed doomed but later revived, Arizona Senator John McCain won 570,453 votes or 50.1 percent in Ohio, and went on to become the GOP nominee but not president. Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, came in second with 338,838 GOP primary votes or 29.8 percent. Ron Paul, whose son Rand Paul was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and declared his candidacy for president this week, netted just 55,690 votes or less than one-half of one percent of voters.
Democrats on that 2008 primary ballot included Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton, wife of former two-term President Bill Clinton who won Ohio twice, pulled down 1,259,620 votes or 52.7 percent of the turnout. The former First Lady won Ohio but lost the nomination to Barack Obama, who went on to win Ohio in both 2008 and 2012.
In 2012, there were 7,987,203 registered voters in Ohio, a couple hundred thousand than now. Turnout was 70.53 percent or 5,633,246. Barack Obama claimed 2,827,709 votes or 50.67 percent of turnout. At 47.69 percent of turnout or 2,661,437 votes, Mitt Romney needed 166,272 more votes to break even with Obama, who pulled down nearly 70 percent [447,273] of the 650,437 votes cast in Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s most populous county. Winning big on the North Coast cancels out the majority of Ohio’s mostly rural GOP-strong counties.
Pew Research’s Hillary
So while republicans keep reloading their anti-Hillary guns, hoping to finally kill their bet nore, Hillary has plenty of upside even though the world awaits her tweet. In a report Friday from Pew Research’s “Factank,” 59 percent of Democratic voters said there was a “good chance” they would vote for Clinton, a number seven points higher than the 52 percent of Democrats who said there was a good chance they would back Clinton at a comparable point in 2007. In the report, “A Clinton candidacy: Voters’ early impressions” authored by Jocelyn Kiley, no more than about one-in-five Democratic voters see a good chance of voting for any other Democrat.
Pew Research found interesting insight when it comes to demographics. Even though 54 perdent of white Democratic voters say there’s a good chance they’d vote for Clinton, among non-white Democratic voters—including 74 percent of African-Americans, that number rises to 66 percent. Back in February 2007, 62 percent of African-American Democratic voters said there was a good chance they would vote for Clinton, so she’s doing better now than then.
For the broader electorate, Hillary has more strong support than any potential GOP contender in the 2016 general election, Kiley wrote, noting that a third of voters (33%) say there is a good chance they would vote for Clinton, while 52 percent say there is at least some chance.
When it comes to gender politics, Hillary has a leg up, so to speak, on any of her potential GOP challengers. Fully 61 percent of white Democratic women say there is a good chance they would vote for Clinton, compared with 43 percent of white Democratic men, Pew notes. Tuning into the history channel says that 69 percent of Democratic women compared to 46 percent of Democratic men want the U.S. to elect a female president in their lifetime. Republican women and men don’t share that hope, with most Republican men (80%) and women (76%) saying it’s not important to them if a female president is elected in their lifetime.
As Republicans try to muddy her future by dredging up dirty laundry from the past, they should understand what Pew found, that few people seem bothered by the Clinton family’s long involvement in Democratic politics, or by Hillary Clinton’s role in her husband’s administration. In similar fashion, most people (67%) approved of Clinton’s job performance as secretary of state. When Pew asked an open-ended question about the most positive and negative aspects of Clinton’s career, 12 percent volunteered her experience as secretary of state as the one thing they viewed most positively, while 15 percent cited Clinton’s handling of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya as the most negative aspect of her background.
Republicans, who have a field of 21 candidates including Sarah Palin to possibly choose from, depending on who has the political fortitude to declare their candidacy, will leave no stone unturned as they try to cut her legs out from under her as early as possible. But the more they do to trash her may actually strengthen her as a candidate women, seniors, students, workers, middle-class families, minorities including African-Americans, Asians and Latinos need to elect to keep a wrongheaded Republican from further defunding government in general and social safety nets in particular.
GOP Fears Well Based
Other sources point out that Hillary has “the most dominant poll numbers of any candidate at this point in the election cycle in the modern era.” Early primary polling says that candidates who are polling very well across the board early tend to win their nominations. Averaging polls taken since the beginning of the year, Hillary is above 50 percent in Iowa, New Hampshire and nationally. These reports show that no other non-incumbent in the modern era has done that in the first half of the year before the primaries began.