While Clinton maintains her lead in national polling among Democrats, in direct matchups against Republican presidential candidates, she consistently runs behind both Barack Obama and John Edwards. In the recent national Zogby Poll (Nov. 26, 2007), every major Republican presidential candidate beats Clinton: McCain beats her 42 percent to 38 percent; Giuliani beats her 43 percent to 40 percent; Romney beats her 43 percent to 40 percent; Huckabee beats her 44 percent to 39 percent; and Thompson beats her 44 percent to 40 percent, despite the fact Thompson barely appears to be awake most of the time.
By contrast, Obama beats every major Republican candidate: He beats McCain 45 percent to 38 percent; Guiliani 46 percent to 41 percent; Romney 46 percent to 40 percent; Huckabee 46 percent to 40 percent; and, Thompson 47 percent to 40 percent. In other words, Obama consistently runs 8 to 11 percent stronger than Clinton when matched against Republicans. To state the obvious: The Democratic presidential candidate will have to run against a Republican.
And what about the congressional races? Does she help? Does she hurt?
Clinton’s inherent weakness as a candidate shows up in other ways. In direct matchups for congressional seats, Democrats currently are running 10 percent to 15 percent ahead of Republicans, depending on the poll, while Clinton runs 3 percent to 7 percent behind — a net deficit ranging from 13 to 22 percent. No candidate in presidential polling history ever has run so far behind his or her party. […]
I had occasion last week to speak for an hour and a half with a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in a battleground state. Without revealing who I favored in the Democratic primary, I asked, “Who would help you the most at the top of the Democratic ticket in November 2008?” Without hesitation, the candidate [who cannot take a public position in the presidential primary] responded: “I can tell you who would hurt me the most — Hillary Clinton. She has 30-40 percent of voters in my state who never would vote for her under any circumstances, and she is no one’s second choice. Her support is lukewarm, at best.”
Is this the beginning of the end or just a momentary blip on the Hillary Inevitability Tour 2008? Something tells me she’s in for a rough road because people are just tired of the Clintons and tired of the Bushes. For better or worse, America seems to want something new.