A matter of trust
Well, Hillary could beat me
2008: Hillary hate in New Hampshire
Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 08:47:55 AM PDT
This doesn't surprise me, since I saw it first-hand in every corner of the country when on my book tour (and I hit over 40 cities).
Dick Bennett has been polling New Hampshire voters for 30 years. And he's never seen anything like it.
"Lying b** . . . shrew . . . Machiavellian . . . evil, power-mad witch . . . the ultimate self-serving politician."
No prizes for guessing which presidential front-runner drew these remarks in focus groups.
But these weren't Republicans talking about Hillary Clinton. They weren't even independents.
These were ordinary, grass-roots Democrats. People who identified themselves as "likely" voters in the pivotal state's Democratic primary. And, behind closed doors, this is what nearly half of them are saying.
"I was amazed," says Bennett. "I thought there might be some negatives, but I didn't know it would be as strong as this. It's stunning, the similarities between the Republicans and the Democrats, the comments they have about her."
Bennett runs American Research Group Inc., a highly regarded, independent polling company based in Manchester, N.H. He's been conducting voter surveys there since 1976. The polls are financed by subscribers and corporate sponsors [...]
His conclusion? "Forty-five percent of the Democrats are just as negative about her as Republicans are. More Republicans dislike her, but the Democrats dislike her in the same way."
Hillary's growing brain trust in the party's upper reaches already knows she has high "negatives" among ordinary Democrats. They think she can win those voters over with the right strategy and message.
But they should get out of D.C., New York and L.A. more often, and visit grassroots members.
Because we're not talking about "soft" negatives like, say, "out of touch" or "arrogant."
We're talking: "Criminal . . . megalomaniac . . . fraud . . . dangerous . . . devil incarnate . . . satanic . . . power freak."
And: "Political wh***." [...]
But Bennett says he's never before seen so many N.H. voters show so much hatred toward a member of their own party. He's never even seen anything close.
The DC crowd simply doesn't understand what is going out in the states. Whether it's the depth of antiwar sentiment, or the ambivalance (to put it nicely) toward Hillary. Most of that hatred is unfair and unwarranted, but it's real. As I've said before, one of the most common questions I got on the road was, "What do we do about Hillary?"
The Connecticut Senate race is just the first of many shocks they are sure to suffer in the coming several years. Things look a lot different out here than it does inside the beltway bubble.
I think her response to the affair didn't help matters, it looked like calculation. But her constant pandering to the right reenforced this.
Republican voters hate her for who they think she is, Democratic voters hate her for what she's stood for. Compromise and defeat. Flag burning, video games, nobody believes that's who Hillary Clinton is, they think she's a liberal like Teddy Kennedy and is lying for gain.
But it's clear and it will be clearer in 2007 that a Hillary run is a beltway/fanboy thing, and most Americans want nothing to do with it.
posted by Steve @ 12:28:00 PM