Hillary Clinton is losing ground with white women voters, a new poll shows, marking a potentially damaging development with a demographic important to her and which President Barack Obama fared poorly with in the 2012 election.
The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC Poll, conducted July 26-30 of 1,000 adults, showed that among white women with at least a college degree, the group sharing the most similarities with Clinton, the former secretary of state’s numbers had turned negative, with 47 percent holding an unfavorable view of her and 43 percent showing a positive view.
In comparison, in June, the same demographic showed 51 percent with a positive view and 38 percent negative, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
“There is no way you can say she’s in the same position this month compared to last month,” said Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who directs survey along with Democrat Fred Yang.
“She’s been dented and she’s in a weaker position.”
The poll numbers dipped amid negative reports of Clinton’s email practices, the millions of dollars she has earned through speaking fees, and donations to the Clinton Foundation, particularly those from foreign countries. Some experts are also seeing the numbers as an echo from the 2012 election, when Obama lost white female voters to GOP nominee Mitt Romney by 14 points even though he went on to win the election.
On Tuesday, Clinton’s first television ads for this cycle started airing in Iowa and New Hampshire. Both of the spots are likely to appeal to female voters, as they focus on the importance of families.
The first spot shares the story of Clinton’s late mother, Dorothy Rodham, who has long served as the former first lady’s role model. It tells of her mother’s tough upbringing and how it taught her that everybody needs someone to champion them.
In the second ad, Clinton’s career is spotlighted, along with photos of herself and husband Bill as younger adults, and reveals her reason to serve as secretary of state under Obama after he defeated her in 2008, saying “because when your president calls, you serve.”
Both ads put an emphasis on family values, marking a change from the experience and toughness themes her campaign put on her bid in 2008. This time around, the campaign is presenting Clinton as a mother- and grandmother-in-chief, while reminding voters that if elected, she would be the first female president.
Even with the ads, the latest poll numbers are particularly troubling to Clinton’s team, said the Journal, because she is not being seen as able to match the numbers of African-American voters who turned out for Obama.
So while it would be logical for her campaign to target women and encourage them to help vote in the nation’s first female president, the numbers aren’t matching up. In the past, Clinton has fared well with voters with a similar background to hers, but that appears to be changing.
In the first part of this year, suburban women had a positive view of her by 18 points, but by July, suburban women had changed their view, marking a five-point negative opinion.
Other results in the WSJ/NBC poll also showed trends that could cause Clinton’s campaign trouble:
- Independent voters’ support is dwindling. In the first quarter of this year, independents were nearly even, but in the new poll, only 27 percent had a positive opinion of Clinton, and 52 percent saw her negatively.
- African-American numbers are also dropping. In June, she had support of 81 percent to 3 percent; in July, the numbers went to 66 percent positive and 15 percent negative.
The poll also showed the numbers narrowing between Clinton and the second-place challenger, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. In the July poll, Clinton led Sanders by 59 percent to 25 percent, but in June, her lead was wider — 75 percent to 15 percent.
Her husband’s initial poll numbers were low in 1992, when he earned a 30-38 percent favorability rating the summer before the presidential election.