If Hillary Clinton hoped that she would have the same appeal among white women voters as Barack Obama did among black voters, those hopes are coming down in a hurry. According to a new poll done by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, Clinton’s favorability numbers are sliding within that key demographic. Her campaign, beset by scandal after controversy, is beginning to turn off even those who like the idea of electing the first female president in history.
The poll shows that only 34% of white women have a favorable view of Clinton, down ten percent since June. That’s a precipitous decline for someone who has been a public figure since the early 1990s. One would think that most Americans already know where they stand on Hillary to one degree or another. To see her poll numbers plummet this quickly is a sign that her scandals are catching up to her.
If Clinton winds up doing poorly among white women, it doesn’t necessarily mean the end for her presidential hopes. Mitt Romney creamed Obama among the same demographic but was still unable to make up the difference. On the other hand, Clinton is unlikely to enjoy the same kind of dominance among black voters. If even one or two percent of black voters who pulled for Obama stay home or switch camps, it could spell doom for Clinton’s aspirations.
A President of Substance
This probably comes as a shock to the Clinton camp, seeing as how much faith Democrats put into identity politics, but white women – like all Americans – base their vote off more than the gender/racial constitution of their candidates. There’s this tendency on the part of politicians (both Republicans and Democrats can be guilty of this) to boil every demographic down to an overly-simplistic formula. Hispanics care mostly about immigration. Blacks care mostly about civil rights. White men care mostly about the economy. White women care mostly about pay inequality. It just isn’t true. These Americans are guided to the polls by a range of issues and concerns, and they aren’t going to (knowingly) vote against their own interests just to make a statement.
If Clinton wants to win back the support of white women, she’s going to have to prove that she has more substance to bring to the table. Right now, she is little more than a collection of feminist “rah-rah” speeches that pander to the most extreme liberals in the party. White women aren’t impressed by that. Only college liberals who want to make history think that Clinton’s gender is sufficient reason to support her. The rest of America – hopefully – wants a little more from their president.