One of the things the Obama team did well in 2012 was to define Mitt Romney before he could really define himself. Rather than seeing Romney as an adventurous entrepreneur who took risks to help fund companies that eventually created tens of thousands of jobs,  the Obama team was able to portray him as  an out of touch oligarch who cared about only the wealthiest of the wealthy.

Republicans are using the same tactics thus far with Hillary Clinton (allowing Super PACs and the national party do most of the work), portraying her as out of touch as well as secretive and less than honest when it comes to money she and Bill Clinton have made, her handling of her emails from when she was Secretary of State, and the shenanigans going on within the Clinton foundation.

Her avoidance of the press and refusal to answer questions, combined with all of that, is taking its toll. From Politico:

Hillary Clinton is seeing her highest unfavorability ratings in 14 years, according to the latest CNN/ORC poll released Tuesday.

Just 46 percent said they view the Democratic presidential front-runner favorably, compared to 50 percent who said they have an unfavorable view. In the preceding April survey, Clinton polled with 53 percent favorable, compared to 44 percent unfavorable.

There’s more bad news:

Voters are also skeptical about Clinton in other ways — they are split on whether she “inspires confidence” (49 percent say that applies to her, 50 percent do not) and on whether she “cares about people like you” (47 percent say it applies, 52 percent it does not apply).

Consistent with other polls on the issue, just 42 percent say they think the former secretary of state is “honest and trustworthy,” compared with 57 percent who say they do not.

The numbers for “cares about people like you” should be especially worrisome. That was the question Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by a whopping 63 points (81% to 18%) despite Romney edging Obama on issues like the economy and foreign policy.

This is not the only poll showing Clinton has taken a hit. A Washington Post-ABC News poll found:

Meanwhile, Hillary Rodham Clinton continues to dominate the Democratic nomination contest. But her personal attributes continue to erode in the wake of stories about fundraising practices at the Clinton Foundation and her use of a personal e-mail server while at the State Department.

Clinton’s favorability ratings are the lowest in a Post-ABC poll since April 2008, when she was running for president the first time. Today, 41 percent of Americans say she is honest and trustworthy, compared with 52 percent who say she is not — a 22-point swing in the past year.


The decline in Clinton’s ratings as a candidate who is honest and trustworthy highlights a likely vulnerability as a general-election candidate. Half of all Americans disapprove of the way she has handled questions about the Clinton Foundation, and 55 percent disapprove of how she has handled questions about her personal e-mails as secretary of state.

Meanwhile, half also disapprove of the way she has dealt with questions about the attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

Majorities see the issues of the Clinton Foundation and Benghazi as fair game in the presidential election, while almost half of Americans say the e-mail issue is a legitimate topic.

This is why Republicans need to continue to go after Hillary Clinton on this. She is perhaps the most well known person in the entire race. With 6 months to go before a lot of people forget about politics for the holidays and just before the real campaign kicks in, conservatives would be wise to continue to define Hillary as they have.