Hillary Clinton — as discussed earlier this week — brings her own set of challenges to winning the presidency. She isn’t being helped by the man she would replace.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal opinion poll released this week had some fairly predictable numbers for the most part. People are about as likely to disapprove of the job President Obama is doing, for example, as they have been for months. What surprised me, though — and what ought to surprise, and perhaps frighten, a lot of Democrats who talk about how much better things are now than when Obama took office — is how ready the public is for change.
In mid-2008, registered voters surveyed by NBC/WSJ said by a 55-40 margin they preferred as president “a person who will bring greater changes to the current policies” over “a more experienced and tested person.” That was a clear indication of what was to come that November, when Obama’s “hopenchange” candidacy defeated the GOP nominee, longtime senator John McCain.
In the poll released this week, registered voters said they had that same preference, only slightly more strongly: 59-38.
That’s right: Voters are even more ready for change now than they were when Hopenchange was running to succeed … George W. Bush.
As it turns out, this is not good news for a candidate named Clinton or Bush. By a 60-27 margin, Jeb Bush was deemed more past than future. The news was better, but not good, for Hillary: 51-44 in the wrong direction.
In short, it’s not a good thing this year if your last name means you can/must go by your first name.
Unfortunately for Hillary, this is likely to get worse. Approval of Obama’s handling of foreign policy remains stuck in the mid-30s. To break away from that, Hillary would have to stake out ground that’s decisively different from Obama’s, in a policy area she used to lead for him. And yet, two of the highest-profile fights between Obama and congressional Republicans of late have been on foreign policy: the Netanyahu speech, and the GOP senators’ letter to Iran. The more Obama fights the GOP about foreign policy, the more he makes that issue about him and continuing down the path he has been leading — with, in his first term, help from Hillary. That puts her in a virtually impossible position at a time when voters want someone to chart a different course.