August 13, 2007



From AP: Clinton a drag? Dems fear her negatives.

Looking past the presidential nomination fight, Democratic leaders quietly fret that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton at the top of their 2008 ticket could hurt candidates at the bottom.

They say the former first lady may be too polarizing for much of the country. She could jeopardize the party's standing with independent voters and give Republicans who otherwise might stay home on Election Day a reason to vote, they worry.

In more than 40 interviews, Democratic candidates, consultants and party chairs from every region pointed to internal polls that give Clinton strikingly high unfavorable ratings in places with key congressional and state races.

"I'm not sure it would be fatal in Indiana, but she would be a drag" on many candidates, said Democratic state Rep. Dave Crooks of Washington, Ind. ...

The chairman of a Midwest state party called Clinton a nightmare for congressional and state legislative candidates.

A Democratic congressman from the West, locked in a close re-election fight, said Clinton is the Democratic candidate most likely to cost him his seat.

A strategist with close ties to leaders in Congress said Democratic Senate candidates in competitive races would be strongly urged to distance themselves from Clinton.

"The argument with Hillary right now in some of these red states is she's so damn unpopular," said Andy Arnold, chairman of the Greenville, S.C., Democratic Party. "I think Hillary is someone who could drive folks on the other side out to vote who otherwise wouldn't."

"Republicans are upset with their candidates," Arnold added, "but she will make up for that by essentially scaring folks to the polls." ...

The problem is her political baggage: A whopping 49 percent of the public says they have an unfavorable view of Clinton compared to 47 percent who say they hold her in high regard, according to a Gallup Poll survey Aug. 3-5. ...

Her baggage is heaviest in those states. Private polling conducted in Colorado, for example, shows that Clinton's negative rating is 16 percentage points higher than her favorability score.

UDPATE: From CNN: Clinton: Strong, yes; likeable, maybe.

Posted by Forkum at August 13, 2007 03:09 PM