Hillary Clinton’s had a year and half to demonstrate to the American people that they elected the wrong candidate, a message reinforced in every way imaginable by a mournful media suffering from a bad case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Her endless book tour has explained again and again “What Happened” to her inevitable candidacy, including weak-willed women, widespread racism, Middle American ignorance and those sinister Russian bots. So how are Americans feeling about the woman they failed to elect in 2016? Even worse. In fact, a lot worse.
According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, Clinton’s favorability rating is even more grim than it was when she lost in 2016. Both Trump and Clinton made history in the election by being the least liked presidential candidates ever. Clinton staggered into the election with a 10-point deficit in her favorability rating (Trump was actually in worse shape). Now, Clinton’s at an abysmal -25.
The Wall Street Journal reports on what’s happened to public perception of the highly “unusual” political figure post-election:
Historical WSJ/NBC polling shows that recent losing presidential candidates — Mitt Romney, John McCain, John Kerry and Al Gore — experienced post-election declines in positive sentiment. But Mrs. Clinton’s dropoff is a bit steeper–her positive rating is at a new low of 27%, compared with 52% who have a negative opinion. That spread of 25 percentage points is greater than President Trump’s, who is under water by 18 points.
As the Journal notes, her extremely negative favorability rating makes her a far more toxic figure for political candidates in competitive areas than Trump. For that reason, Republicans have already begun looking for ways to tie embattled Democrats to Clinton:
Her negative numbers make her something of a natural target for Republicans who want to associate their opponents with her as the party heads into a potentially difficult midterm election this fall. In doing so, they have managed to put some vulnerable Democrats in states Mr. Trump easily won, like Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, on the defensive. That was driven home last month when Democrats took distance from comments Mrs. Clinton, attending a conference in India, made about middle-American Trump voters.
In fact, here’s an ad featuring Hillary created by McCaskill’s leading Republican opponent, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley:
So why is Clinton even more unpopular now than she was when she failed to beat a former reality TV show host with the worst favorability of any candidate in history? As HotAir’s John Sexton points out, Hillary’s favorability, as she admits herself, suffers when she’s campaigning. And since the election, “she never stopped campaigning” (formatting adjusted):
After the election, there were public appearances offering a myriad of excuses for her loss. Then she published a book putting the excuses for her loss in writing. Then she went on a book tour regaling her fans with the excuses for her loss found in the book. She also made clear that she intended to continue having a say in politics through her Onward Together organization. And then there were the campaign-like gaffes, such as her announcement last September that women were succumbing to pressure from men in their lives not to vote for a woman candidate. … Just last month Hillary said she won the election in places that weren’t “looking backward” thereby reviving the whole “basket of deplorables” statement which was one of the low points of her campaign.
Sexton’s exactly right. The feeling is that Hillary 2016 has never ended. While America has moved on, including her own party, Clinton appears to have convinced herself that if she just explains “What Happened” one more time, she’ll finally win the election we all knew was hers by right. And one thing Americans hate more than a loser is a loser who won’t accept that she lost.