In Bad Data for Democrats, Better News for One

By Gary Langer

May 1, 2014 12:55pm

Our latest ABC News/Washington Post poll makes it an unhappy week for Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats, save one: Hillary Clinton.

Clinton not only leads Jeb Bush in a two-way match-up for the presidency in 2016, she does so with a support profile that marks the challenging equation for Republicans should she run. That includes her backing among women – including white women, notably, across education levels.

Comparisons to Barack Obama in 2012 are telling. He lost white men to Mitt Romney by 27 percentage points; among registered voters in our poll, Clinton loses white men to Bush by 22 points. Not a big difference there.

But Obama also lost white women, by 14 points. Clinton’s +10 in that group today.

Obama lost white women who don’t have a college degree by 20 points. A key to his victory was his more competitive showing among college-educated white women; he lost them by 6 points. Clinton, by contrast, is +6 among non-college white women – and +16 among those with a college degree.

None of this is predictive; we’re comparing registered voters in our poll to voters in the exit poll, the 2016 election is a political lifetime away and a different GOP candidate could produce different results. That said, Obama’s path to re-election in 2012 was a comparatively narrow one, relying on the growing nonwhite population, his broad support among millennials and his competitiveness among specific subsets of women voters – unmarried women (a strongly Democratic group) and college-educated white women. If Clinton runs, the playing field well could widen.

(Thanks for suggesting this cut of the data to the National Journal’s estimable Ron Brownstein.)

 

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