July 17, 2015 — This week, two polling organizations released new data about presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. One provides results that should be discarded; another brings forth more methodologically sound data, which rings warning bells for her in six key swing states.
Earlier in the week Suffolk University released a small-sample poll showing Donald Trump leading the Republican field. As we noted in a previous column, those results were highly unreliable because only 349 likely Republican primary voters were questioned from across the country, and Trump’s “lead” consisted of exactly 60 people saying they would vote for him.
On Tuesday, Monmouth University publicized similarly flawed results, but this time regarding the Democratic nomination contest. Here, the pollsters and media are trying to indicate that Clinton’s support is dropping among Democrats based upon a survey that interviewed, during the July 9-12 period, only 357 people nationally who say they plan to vote in a Democratic primary or caucus. Even within this small group she topped 51 percent, while her closest opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, attracted only 17 percent support. Vice President Joe Biden, who is not a presidential candidate but may soon become one, notched 13 percent.
The analysis compares this result with previous data showing her in the high 50s and low 60s to make the claim that she is losing support. A poll with such a serious error factor should not be considered reliable to draw such a conclusion, however.
Fox News reported upon a new Vox Populi survey for Karl Rove’s American Crossroads organization that tested voters in six key swing states. In this instance, the data does appear well founded.
Here, the pollsters questioned 1,670 registered voters in Florida (38 percent of sample), Ohio (24 percent of sample), Virginia (16 percent), Colorado (11 percent%), Iowa (7 percent), and Nevada (5 percent). Usually, North Carolina and New Hampshire are also considered part of the quintessential swing group, but this Vox Populi poll did not include voters from those states.
Thirty-one percent of the sample identified themselves as Democrats, 30 percent Republicans, and 31 percent Independents. This suggests a slight skew favoring Republicans, but well within an acceptable error margin. The poll’s composition of 74 percent white respondents is high, particularly compared with Hispanics who comprised only 6 percent of the sampling universe. Considering the heavy Hispanic population in Florida (23.6 percent), Colorado (21.0 percent), and Nevada (27.5 percent), this demographic segment was seriously under-represented.
The data basically finds Clinton faring poorly in this critical group of states, a segment that could well decide the 2016 presidential election.
As with other polling data, Clinton is viewed as being untrustworthy. Asking the question, “generally speaking, do you trust Hillary Clinton”, a whopping 42 percent said they “completely distrust” her. An additional 14 percent said they “somewhat” distrust her. This compares with only 16 percent who say they “completely” trust her, and another 25 percent who say they “somewhat” trust her. Combined, a 56 percent majority has little or no faith in Clinton, another clear warning sign that she is a general election candidate with heavy negative baggage.
Her favorability ratio is a poor 38:54 percent favorable to unfavorable, and she trails a generic Republican in these six states 42-50 percent. By a margin of 54-40 percent, respondents from the six states say that Hillary Clinton does not share their values on most (19 percent), or all (35 percent) issues.
From a Clinton strategy point, it is this latter poll -– assuming accuracy and further surveys detecting similar numbers –- that the campaign organization must take seriously. Failure to begin correcting some of her major flaws could well cost her the Presidency.