Published on TheHill.com on January 12, 2016
All polls are now pointing in the same direction: Hillary Clinton is tanking.
The most recent Fox News poll, taken after the new year began, shows her losing to Ted Cruz, 50 percent to 43 percent; to Marco Rubio, 50 percent to 41 percent; and even to Donald Trump, 47 percent to 43 percent. The latest Democratic primary poll, by Investor’s Business Daily, shows the former secretary of State nursing only a 4-point lead over Bernie Sanders, 43 percent to 39 percent. The RealClearPolitics average of New Hampshire polls has Sanders ahead by 6 points — and in Iowa, the candidates are tied in the RCP average, which Clinton led for months.
Beneath the overall head-to-head data, the internals of the polling show a sharp erosion of support for Clinton among women and very little change among male voters.
Among women, she has lost her lead over Cruz, falling from 13 points ahead in a Fox News poll on Dec. 17 to 3 points behind in Fox’s Jan. 7 survey. Among men, she moved from 15 points behind Cruz in December to 14 points back in January.
So while Clinton has lost 16 points among women against Cruz, she is essentially unchanged among men.
The Fox News poll had similar findings for a match-up between Clinton and Rubio. And against Trump, she went from beating The Donald among women by 26 points in December to only 12 points in January.
So why are women leaving Hillary?
The only difference between mid-December and now is the Bill Clinton issue. Trump’s exposure of her husband’s record of abusing women, combined with reports of the former first lady’s efforts to cow them into silence, are creating an image of the Clintons as predatory against women. Indeed, as the Bill Cosby scandal escalates into an indictment for rape, the two Bills seem to have more than a name in common.
Young voters are only now learning about what went on during the Clinton presidency. Those under the age of 35 were, at most, teenagers when the Lewinsky scandal broke.
Democrats are almost totally dependent on young voters. 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney defeated President Obama among older voters. If young voters, particularly young women, find fault with Clinton, her candidacy is doomed.
With Bill Clinton becoming radioactive among female voters, Hillary Clinton is in danger of losing her best weapon. She had hoped that trotting out the ex-president, even in his current weakened condition, would give her the boost she needs to win in Iowa and New Hampshire. But her effort backfired. Putting him out there triggered all the stories of his past and nullified any bounce he may have generated.
Not only is Hillary Clinton losing her best weapon on the stump, she is likely also losing her top adviser. The fact is, Bill Clinton is the only one in her camp who understands politics. If he is driven to the dog house by one of their frequent marital spats — and Hillary Clinton is not likely to be forgiving if he costs her votes — she could be cut off from advice that would save her.
Sanders does not need to use the Bill Clinton issue. Trump is doing it for him and the media is carrying the ball. Bill Clinton cannot appear anywhere without being surrounded by questions he doesn’t want to answer, and his victims — Gennifer Flowers, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, and Paula Jones among them — have a new platform from which to tell their stories.
If Hillary Clinton loses New Hampshire and Iowa and trails in national polls behind Trump, Cruz and Rubio, can a call to the bullpen for Joe Biden be far away?
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