A field of 3
A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll shows that Hillary Clinton’s numbers have taken a dive since July, when she commanded 59% support for her nomination. This summer Bernie Sanders drew just 14% of the support of those polled, with an undeclared Joe Biden still raking in 8% support.
Now, polling shows that Clinton’s support has dropped almost 20 points to just 41% of likely Democratic primary voters. Sanders and Biden, meanwhile, have gained ground, earning 23% and 20%, respectively.
She’s still in the lead, but the field is spreading out—which could mean bad news for the left’s presumptive nominee.
More from The Hill:
Clinton is now viewed unfavorably by 51 percent of likely voters, and 39 percent view her favorably. That’s worse than in July, when the poll found those numbers at 43 percent to 47 percent.
Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley combine for less than 2 percent support in the latest poll.
The survey of 430 Democrats was conducted Sept. 24–28 via phone with a margin of error of 5 points. The poll of 1,000 likely voters has a margin of error of 3 points.
That unfavorability rating could be a problem, but fortunately for Clinton, she won’t be forced to immediately face off against a more charismatic (and infinitely more likable, even for this conservative) Joe Biden until later in the year. Biden reportedly isn’t preparing for the October 13 Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas, and has given himself a little more breathing room with regards to a deadline for declaring his candidacy.
Still, there’s movement:
For more than two months, Biden has been studying the mechanics of what it would take to launch a candidacy. He and his team have been inundated by mounds of research and battle plans, but his original end-of-summer deadline passed without him reaching a conclusion.
Campaign managers in key early-voting states have already been identified. Dozens of major donors have stepped forward. Domestic and foreign policy advisers are waiting in the wings.
The speculation about Biden’s future has reached a fever pitch, fueled by Democrats searching for an alternative to Hillary Clinton or a backup plan in case her candidacy falters. But with every passing week, many Democrats close to Biden are hardening in their beliefs that he will ultimately decide against challenging Clinton and the rest of the party’s field.
He has stopped short of asking his advisers to actually pull the trigger on any of their plans-in-waiting, including setting up the legal structure of a campaign organization and taking steps to qualify for ballots in Michigan, Texas and other states with early deadlines.
Any movement, though, should make Clinton nervous—which is probably why she’s looking towards pop culture to help revamp her image. She’s set to appear on Saturday Night Live this weekend for a little self-deprecating…catharsis…with Kate McKinnon, whose impersonations of Clinton have earned her praise (mostly because they’re so on the nose it’s scary.)
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