8 February 2016

Hillary Clinton’s main problem: Voters simply don’t like her


Has anyone ever been better qualified to be president? Hillary Clinton was a player throughout her husband’s time as Governor of Arkansas, helping with appointments and reshaping education policy. When she was First Lady she had an office in the West Wing and political power to go with it. She then became Senator for New York with an influential membership of the Armed Services Committee. Then she became America’s top diplomat, serving as Secretary of State for four years. But, for the second time, her bid to become the Democratic Party’s nominee is running into unexpectedly significant difficulties. We asked the YouGov First Verdict panel which possible explanations they found most persuasive. Respondents were able to choose more than one.

Hillary Clinton is not likeable or trustworthy56%
Lots of people like Bernie Sanders’ promise of a “political revolution”51%
Hillary Clinton has been around too long and people want something and someone new37%
Iowa is not typical of the rest of America and we shouldn’t read too much into this one result29%
Hillary Clinton is better at policy and governing than campaigning13%
Parties across the world are being hijacked by their extreme wings11%
Many Americans are sexist and aren’t ready for a woman president10%

The argument that sexism is the key factor was the least persuasive of the seven explanations people had to chose from. Mrs Clinton’s likeability and trustworthiness appear to be her top weaknesses. Then a sense that she has been around too long and Senator Bernie Sanders is offering more of the change that people want. Only 29% of respondents thought her difficulties could be dismissed because “Iowa is not typical of the rest of America and we shouldn’t read too much into this one result”.

Tim Montgomerie is Editor of Portrait of America