Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hillary beats Christie among white women, seniors

Quinnipiac unleashes a numeric torrent of new 2016 polls today, measuring head-to-head matchups between prospective 2016 candidates.

We'll start out today with Hillary Clinton vs. Chris Christie because that's both the marquee matchup and closest battle out there.

In that head-to-head, Hillary beats Christie, 45%-37%.

Here are the key numbers:

a. Hillary takes 12% of Republicans; Christie takes 9% of Democrats. 

Hillary's number is a bit high and fairly unrealistic.

To wit: In 2012, Obama only won 6% of Republicans, and even in 2008, when he was ostensibly picking off Republicans every time he trotted out Colin Powell, he only won 9% of Republicans which was slightly less than even the 10% of Democrats that McCain won! (I added the exclamation mark, because I never knew that).

Interestingly, McCain did better among Democrats (10%) than Romney did (7%). Reagan Democrat effect and the case of those missing Ohio votes?

So anyway, I think it's unlikely Hillary poaches 12% of Republicans. In the heat of a general election, most party members generally come home by the time November happens.

b. Christie and Hillary tie among independents, 36%-36%.

With the Democratic party's continual expansion, Republicans are going to have to solidly win independents to win presidential elections. Romney won by 5%, and if Christie merely ties Hillary, that's not going to cut it.

If Hillary can keep it close with indies, she's back in The White House.

c. Christie inches out Hillary among men, 41%-38%.

That's also a problem for Christie. He's GOT to win men by more than 3%. But things aren't so salubrious here for Hillary as you might think.

Sure, she's only down 3%, but with sky high name ID, she hits just 38%. That suggests she doesn't have a ton more upside in this category.

d. White women pick Hillary.

Women, overall, back Hillary, 51%-32%, but you know what's a much more interesting and encouraging number for Hillary?

WHITE women actually back her, 44%-40%.

Why's that a big deal? Romney beat Obama among white women, 56%-42%!

You rarely hear that, because it suggests the GOP's problem with women is based more on ethnicity than gender, and therefore, doesn't fit into the convenient narrative that the GOP is waging a war on women, but the numbers are the numbers.

 So if Hillary can actually win white women, the GOP candidate is definitely going down.

e. Whites, overall, support Christie by just 44%-38%. 

That suggests quite a few haven't made up their mind, but again, what applied in 2012 will apply in 2016: Christie will need to get at least 60% among whites to overcome a Democrat's lead with minorities.

But the big question is this -- will minorities turn out as massively for Hillary as they did Obama, and will the margins be as big?

There's no guarantee.

Until Obama, the Republican nominee generally took 10% of blacks. Obama nearly cut that in half, along with inspiring larger turnout.

The Clintons are very popular with blacks, but when Bill Clinton was winning his two terms, they weren't abnormally supportive of him over other Democratic nominees.

f. Clinton gets 25% of the born again vote; Christie gets 56%.

Here's a good category for Hillary. Obama only picked up 21% of white, born again evangelicals, but Hillary is already at 25% with plenty of voters still undecided. If Hillary can inch toward the 30% region, Christie's toast.

A big questions (which I've written about before) is whether Christie can inspire sufficient evangelical turnout, considering his past apostasies on abortion and un-Golden Rule disposition (to wit: he's prone to saying things like, literally, "If you're not nice to me, I'm not going to be nice to you." )

Having said that, there were questions about Romney and evangelicals, too, but ultimately they turned out big for him, and preferred him by a margin that was consistent with W's performance.

Will Christie get there? If Romney did, I'm thinking Christie can, too.

g. Seniors for Clinton.

Here are new numbers backing up something I wrote about earlier this week -- Hillary Clinton might actually be able to win seniors.

If so, it's curtains for the GOP. In this poll, Hillary is up 48%-36% among the golden oldies. Romney won that group by 12% in 2012, and it was the only age group that McCain won in 2008.

So really, this is the second bullish internal sign for Hillary. The first was that she led among white women (rare for a Democrat) and now among seniors (also rare for a Democrat).

To me, that's more instructive than the topline numbers.

Now the obligatory caveat to all this is that we're four years away from a presidential matchup that might not happen, and Hillary is sitting very tall with nowhere to go but down. The question is how far down.