For the umpteenth time, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) stated unequivocally on Tuesday that she will not seek the presidency in 2016. In an appearance on NBC’s Today, Warren issued a vague and barely committal endorsement of the Democratic Party’s likely presidential standard-bearer, Hillary Clinton.
“I think we need to give her a chance,” Warren said, “if she is going to run and to declare.”
“I think that is her opportunity to champion issues the senators feels are important,” the Bay State senator added.
It was a tepid vote of support for Clinton’s likely White House bid, and it likely reflected Warren’s apprehension that Clinton might not be the Democrat best positioned to address what she called Washington’s excessive deference to “those who have money and power.” Warren’s decision to damn Clinton with faint praise may also have been an acknowledgment that the former secretary of state’s myriad scandals have hurt her standing with the presidential electorate.
A Quinnipiac University survey of the key swing states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania released on Tuesday revealed that Clinton’s controversial practices have taken a toll on her image.
In Florida, Clinton’s favorability/unfavorability rating has fallen from 53/39 percent in February to 49/46 percent today. In Pennsylvania, 48 percent have a favorable view of the former secretary of state while 47 percent have an unfavorable view. In February, 55 percent of Keystone voters viewed Clinton favorably while only 38 percent did not. In Ohio, 51 percent continue to view Clinton favorably while 43 disagree, down from 51 to 40 percent the month prior.
In head-to-head matchups in the Sunshine State against a slate of likely Republican presidential candidates, Clinton has fallen consistently below 50 percent support. Clinton polls within the margin of error now when tested against Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). In fact, Quinnipiac found Florida voters are now backing Bush over Clinton by 45 to 42 percent.
Similarly, Clinton fails to break the 50 percent mark in head-to-head matchups with likely GOP candidates in the Keystone State. The governor of neighboring New Jersey, Chris Christie, has always polled strongest in Pennsylvania against Clinton. But while his standing with conservatives has collapsed in recent months, the Garden State governor has gained ground in Pennsylvania relative to Clinton. Today, Christie polls at 40 percent support to 45 percent for Clinton, up from February when he secured the support of just 39 percent of Pennsylvania voters to Clinton’s 50 percent.
In the Buckeye State, Clinton remains unable to crack the 50 percent mark despite her relative popularity with Ohio voters. There, Paul polls the strongest against Clinton. 46 percent back the former secretary of state while 41 percent of Buckeye voters support Paul; up from February’s 48 to 36 percent.
“Majorities in each state think Clinton still has questions to answer about her e-mails,” said Quinnipiac Poll’s Assistant Director Peter Brown. “Voters in each state are evenly divided on whether Congressional hearings are warranted although a majority thinks such a hearing would be politically motivated rather than justified.”
“The good news for Hillary Clinton is that the e-mail controversy has not done huge violence to her presidential chances. But the matter is taking a toll on the former secretary of state’s public image,” he added.
“Fifty-one percent of Florida and Ohio voters and 52 percent of Pennsylvania said that news of Clinton’s use of a personal email address for official State Department business was ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’ to their choice,” read a Politico report on the results of Quinnipiac’s survey. “Still, 56 percent of Florida voters, 61 percent of Ohio voters and 54 percent of Pennsylvania voters said it would not affect their vote.”
“About half of voters in all three states said they did not see Clinton as honest and trustworthy,” the report continued.
It is hard to see how Clinton’s determination to remain largely silent about the new revelations regarding her email conduct and the Clinton Foundation’s unethical fundraising practices is helping to make these dueling scandals disappear. As the slow drip of information regarding her conduct goes unchallenged by Clinton, the 2016 electorate is increasingly showing signs of apprehension about her suitability for the presidency.