Friday, February 13, 2015

New PPP Poll Shows Democratic Base Lukewarm to Clinton


"Shine Bright, Jamie Dimon" — written and performed by Lauren Windsor

by Gaius Publius

I haven't seen this very widely reported, so I'll take it on here. This is a Warren story, a Clinton story, and a "What are we gonna do?" story.

The Warren part of the story is clear and clean. According to Politico, a group of people who are clearly Not Ready For Hillary have commissioned a poll by the highly respected firm PPP to find out just how vulnerable Hillary Clinton is. What's the Warren part? Politico wants us to know that the group commissioned the poll because, among other reasons, they want her hat in the ring. Politico spills much digital ink on this aspect, as you'll see below. Decide for yourself how much that matters.

It's the Clinton part of the story I find interesting though. Note what the pollsters found (and note also the difference between Politico's headline below, and mine above). Politico (my emphasis):
Elizabeth Warren backers fund poll stoking Hillary Clinton doubts

A group of major liberal donors who want Elizabeth Warren to run for president have paid for a poll intended to show that Hillary Clinton does not excite the Democratic base and would be vulnerable in a 2016 general election.

The automated poll of nearly 900 registered voters, conducted last week by Public Policy Polling, found that 48 percent of respondents had an unfavorable opinion of Clinton, compared to 43 percent who viewed the former secretary of State favorably.

While Clinton — the prospective favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination should she enter the race — holds leads over every major GOP candidate tested in the poll, she doesn’t break 50 percent against any, and some are well within striking distance. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker comes closest, with Clinton leading him by a margin of 45 percent to 42 percent (with 14 percent not sure who they’d vote for) – within the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percent. ...
The piece goes on to detail the inside-baseball aspect of the funding of the poll. Read if you like, but my summary above of the "Warren part" covers their point. If you do read, though, pay attention to the slight "these donors have a preference" tone in the article. Not to put too fine a point on it, Politico has a preference also — Warren is not an insider candidate, and Politico is as much an insider as Joe Scarborough and Chris Matthews — and as Hillary Clinton. And what's the first rule of insiders? (Click and read how insiders love them their insiders.)

Back to the "Clinton part" of the article:
Several questions in the poll cast Warren as a champion for the working and middle class, while others highlighted Clinton’s support for the invasions of Iraq and Libya, and suggested she is in Wall Street’s pocket.

One question – which found 49 percent of voters more likely to support a presidential candidate “who wanted to bring the big banks under more control” – began by noting that Warren “has said that special interests like Wall Street have rigged the system in their favor.”

Another – which found 57 percent of respondents less likely to support a candidate “who doesn’t want to hold Wall Street accountable for its financial speculation” – begins by pointing out that Clinton has been paid as much as $200,000 per speech from big banks. And, it asserts, she “has failed to call for accountability by banks for speculation which led to the financial collapse in 2008.” ...
David Brock, founder of Media Matters, author of Blinded By the Right (a terrific book, by the way), and a "Clinton ally," disputes the poll's conclusions (of course; that's his job) and points to several offsetting Clintonian positions. Decide for yourself about whether those points matter.

For those who, like Politico, find some of the poll questions leading, consider that everything mentioned by the pollsters — for example, "Clinton has been paid as much as $200,000 per speech from big banks" — will be mentioned again and again during any political campaign featuring Ms. Clinton.

Again, decide for yourself what you think this adds to. For those who commissioned the poll, this could add to the prospect of insider bank-friendly Democrats nominating a third insider bank-friendly Democrat — Hillary Clinton — and losing the White House to the "hated" Republicans ... all on their own and with no help from progressives. If Clinton really is vulnerable, you'd think actual party-first Democrats might care.

The third part of this story, which I called the "What are we gonna do?" part, is unaddressed in the article, but hanging in the open like a full load of bedroom sheets on a neighbor's clothes line. There clearly is a group, including some big Democratic donors, who are very Not Ready for Hillary, so not-ready that they're working hard to pull Elizabeth Warren into the race.


The argument against Clinton, is on principle (i.e., "It's immoral, almost criminal, what mainstream Democrats are doing"), not just on practical politics ("Could Clinton actually lose?").

If Warren doesn't enter the race, many of these people are prepared to stand aside, to vote by not voting, to rebel against the coming blackmail alongside the disenchanted and rebellious Democratic voters the poll was commissioned to sample.

Now pretend you're one of them — if my test-of-the-waters at Netroots Nation is any guide, you may well be one of them, even if you're not ready to tell your friends quite yet. So ask yourself ... "If Elizabeth Warren doesn't enter the race, what are we gonna do?"

It's a problem, isn't it? If eight more years of enabling rule by bankers, rule by predators, rule by billionaires, eight more years of unprosecuted looting by the virtual "40 families," is a prospect you can no longer stomach, and if Elizabeth Warren is not a choice ... what are we gonna do?

The time to think about that might be soon, right? Just a thought.


Cross-posted with permission from Digby's Hullabaloo.

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At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am no fan of Hillary, yet I do not support a Warren candidacy. Warren needs to remain in the Senate where she can lead the effort to restore the rule of law on Wall St. She can't do that from the White House. She would be out of her element there.

As for voting Hillary, I faced a similar dilemma in 2000. I was not happy with the way Al Gore ran his campaign, yet the threat of George W Bush caused me to swallow my gorge and vote for Lieberman anyway. Bush did prove later that was the wise choice, didn't he?

I hate to have to vote the lesser of evils, but I have before and will again when it's clear there is no other option.

At 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I walked the snows of Iowa for HRC in 2007-08. Although she wasn't my kind of Democrat, I figured she would run a competent administration, and that probably would be enough to cure the disasters that Bush had brought on.

I didn't know at the time that being in favor of a looser regulation of the financial industry meant granting them complete impunity to commit and continue committing any and all crimes they wished.

Now we are 12 years down the road from her disastrous vote for the AUMF, which has been stretched to justify killing American citizens without any due process, along with many other crimes and mistakes. She is still a warmonger, and the last 12 years have the US much less able to withstand more stupid warmongering.

I'm sorry but Hill's competence - which I still do not doubt, especially compared to the current occupant - is no longer going to be enough for me. She doesn't meet my minimum standard anymore. This leaves me in a quandary, but I can't vote for her.

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question: Can any US hopeful presidential nominee achieve that goal without Wall Street Money?

If not, then why consider Warren a possibility (especially when she has repeatedly said she in not running)?

John Puma

At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Ford Prefect said...

Hillary will most likely buy the nomination outright. Then, if current disastrous trends keep apace, she'll lose the General due to Democratic voters being terminally pissed off. Remember, Obama/Pelosi/Reid still have another two years with which to kick Democratic voters in the teeth.

It's remarkable to think she could lose to Jebbie, but since they're all such great pals, she might not even mind so much.

Hillary's not a done deal. She can lock up the nomination, no doubt--she practically has already. Indeed, the biggest problem for the DNC will be finding a stalking horse they can use to get liberals out of their frolicking depression long enough to vote for Hillary after said stalking horse concedes at the convention. Warren is out and she should be out. Sanders seems keen, although if he doesn't run as an independent, that means he's just a stalking horse and should be ignored.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Clif Brown said...

Clinton is dependable, reliable, predictable...for the lobbies. She would carry on carrying on. She is part of the Washington machinery and functions smoothly within it. She has no public credibility as Warren does and from what I have heard never says anything that is in the slightest way risky. The country needs someone to upset the comfy status quo that benefits the few. It needs a challenger in the oval office and that is the last thing that Clinton would be.

At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's very simple, really. I won't vote for Clinton for any reason.


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