Hillary Clinton Responds to 29-Point Drop in Support Among Women

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during an organizing event at the University of Northern Iowa, Sept. 14, 2015, in Cedar Falls, Iowa.Scott Morgan/AP Photo
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during an organizing event at the University of Northern Iowa, Sept. 14, 2015, in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Hillary Clinton today brushed off a new poll number showing a significant drop in support among women, telling reporters at a campaign stop in Iowa that the numbers are simply part of the natural “ebb and flow” of campaigns.

"You know, I’m not one of those who ever thought this was going to be a straight shot,” the Democratic presidential candidate told reporters following a “Women for Hillary” rally at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. "I’ve been and around enough campaigns to know there’s an ebb and flow. Polls go up and down, people’s attention and decision making changes over time.”

Clinton’s remark came in response to a reporter’s question about a new ABC News/Washington Post poll showing Clinton with 42 percent support among women -- a 29-point drop since mid-summer. (In July, the poll showed Clinton with 71 percent support among women.)

In addition, the poll shows Clinton virtually neck-and-neck with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in a hypothetical match-up.

Despite these dropping numbers, which many attribute in part to her handling of the email controversy throughout the summer, Clinton told reporters she remains “very confident” about the trajectory of her campaign.

"I feel very confident about where we are in the campaign and very committed to doing everything I can to make my case as effectively as possible to women and men, and I think that will be successful,” Clinton added at her event today -- the focus of which was women.

During her prepared remarks, which she delivered before a crowd of roughly 500 people at an auditorium on the college campus, Clinton outlined her plan to combat sexual assault on universities across the country.

"I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault,” Clinton said. “Don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed, and we are with you as you go forward."

Following the speech, Clinton was also asked twice -- once by a 20-year-old sophomore at the university and once by a local reporter -- about Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who is gaining on Clinton in the polls and seeing growing support among young people.

Clinton once again declined to note policy differences between the two candidates, but said she is not threatened by his surge.

“I’m not,” Clinton said when asked by a reporter if she is worried about him in Iowa. “I’m not because you’re supposed to have an election, you’re supposed to have a contest and I think it’s great there’s so much interest on the Democratic side.”

Earlier, Clinton noted that “he’s doing a great job” and said "there will be plenty of times for us to debate” (referring to the first Democratic debate next month).

Alexander Fox, the student who asked Clinton about Sanders, later told ABC News that he was hoping Clinton would have named some specific policy differences between the two candidates because he’s “kind of undecided.” But in the end, he's "really hoping a Democratic candidate wins. Just not Donald Trump," he said.

Clinton’s one-day swing through Iowa comes two days before the second Republican presidential debate on Wednesday. She told reporters that even if she has to watch on a delay, she does plan on watching.

“I do obviously watch it,” Clinton said, “And watch how each of the Republicans is out of touch and out of date.”