Polls and Clinton for VP

I’ve seen a lot of polls cited which show that Democrats want Hillary Clinton for vice president or that Obama would do better with her on the ticket. There are some problems with this analysis. Clinton should be expected to poll well for the vice presidential spot due to name recognition. There is an excellent chance that who ever is eventually picked will be someone that most non-political junkies don’t even know of at present. Clinton is also at her strongest point with regards to polling for vice president having come off a campaign where Obama took the high road and did not bring up hardly any of the baggage which comes with Clinton. The Republicans will bring it all up (and probably find or invent a bit more), weakening her as a vice presidential candidate.

AP has a better take on the question, showing that Clinton both helps and hurts Obama with different groups:

Lots of Democrats love Hillary Rodham Clinton. Yet plenty of Republicans, conservatives and all-important independents can’t stand her, suggesting possible pitfalls for Barack Obama should he make her his vice presidential running mate.

The intense dislike for Clinton suggests that besides support from women and others she could bring to the ticket, she might make it harder for Obama to win over some independents, a pivotal swing group in the November election against Republican John McCain. It also means she might push some Republicans and conservatives to vote against the Democrats — or donate money to the GOP — who might otherwise lack motivation to do so because of tepid feelings toward McCain.

A substantial 32 percent of independents strongly dislike Clinton, 10 points more than say so about Obama, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll. Independents, a group that both Obama and McCain won during their party primaries this year, comprised a quarter of voters in the 2004 election and have been closely contested in every presidential election since 1992.

In addition, 67 percent of Republicans have very unfavorable views of Clinton, 24 percentage points more than feel that way about Obama. Among conservatives the spread is similar — 58 percent say they feel very negatively about her, 18 points more than say so about Obama.

Many of those who will not vote for a ticket with Clinton on it will not vote for a Democrat under any circumstance. There are many other voters who do support Obama but have an unfavorable view of Clinton. This should not come as a surprise after the primaries:

Other groups with significantly stronger negative feelings about Clinton than Obama include whites under age 30, male college graduates, white men and whites earning at least $100,000 a year.

Yes, us “elitists” don’t like Clinton at all. While I would still vote for any ticket headed by Barack Obama as opposed to John McCain, many others in these demographic groups will not. Another problem is that factors beyond what those expected often become more important:

History shows that vice presidential nominees don’t always work out as planned.

Gallup polls showed that when Rep. Geraldine Ferraro became the first female major party vice presidential candidate in 1984, over half said she made them likelier to back the party’s ticket, headed by Walter Mondale. By October, after much of the campaign ended up focusing on questions about her husband’s taxes, more people said her presence made them likelier to vote against Mondale than for him.

If Ferraro’s husband’s financial dealings were a problem, just wait until the voters learn about Bill Clinton’s financial activities after leaving office.

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  1. 1
    angusmerlin says:

    Roughly 30-40% of Democrats have said that they will not vote for Barrack Obama.  A Hillary Clinton V.P. joint ticket with Mr. Obama should significantly reduce the number of Democrats unwilling to vote Obama, myself included.  Look at it this way, Hillary Clinton comes with the other 18,000,000 Democratic voters.  A sound investment on Obama’s part, I think, regardless of polarizing of Independents and Republicans.  Then, too, a great many of the Republicans and Independents are totally fed up with the current Republican Party, to the point that I suspect that many will now be willing to vote a Obama/Clinton Democrat ticket.  Finally, polls have been consistently finding that Hillary Clinton, even alone, would beat McCain if voting were held today!  What is there to think about?

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    That’s total nonsense that 30-40% of Democrats will not vote for Obama. Even before the end of the primaries Clinton’s support was eroding and many people who voted for Clinton were favoring Obama. Nor does Clinton come with 18,000,000 votes which Obama could not otherwise get.

    Independents are fed up with the Republican Party, but Hillary Clinton represents virtually all the things we are fed up with the Republicans about. Putting Clinton on the ballot seriously compromises Obama’s message and risks giving the bulk of independents to McCain and costing Obama the election.

    Polls showing Clinton leading McCain now are meaningless. Under the best of situations polls from the spring and early summer have not meant much in the past. Obama took the high road in the campaign and did not hit her with hardly any of the stuff which the Republicans will. Besides, if you think that current polls mean anything, Obama also beats McCain on his own, so there is no need to compromise principles and put someone like Clinton on the ticket.

    What is there to think about? Besides the fact that putting Clinton on the ballot could be political suicide, Obama must think about who will be Vice President after the election. The VP should be someone who is fit to be President, which excludes Hillary Clinton.

  3. 3
    Lycosid says:

    Hillary would be the ultimate backseat driver. Leave her on the curb.

  4. 4
    Wayne says:

    I still feel that McCain will be the big winner if Clinton is on the ticket.  All the right-wingers that aren’t thrilled by McCain, to the point that a good many may stay home, will most likely vote against a ticket with a Clinton on it, buying McCain those votes, while at the same time Obama will lose some “Obama Republicans” because the hope of “change” will be diminished.  Also, I think a lot of independants will stay away from the ballot box, costing Obama more votes, which, combined with the right-wing not sold on McCain, but hate Clinton voters that do come out to vote, could be enough to give McCain the edge in some swing states.  And lets bear in mind that just like in the recent Democratic primaries, and in the 2000 general election, the popular vote doesn’t matter.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    Agree. Right now lots of conservatives are ambivalent towards Obama. They might not actually vote for him, but they aren’t terribly upset about the prospect of him winning as opposed to McCain. Put Clinton on the ticket, and then they will be motivated to vote for McCain.

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