Hillary Clinton, who most Democrats originally thought would coast to the Democratic nomination, finds herself in the uneasy position of facing an extremely close race against the most unlikely of candidates, socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). New polls, with less than a month before the first votes of the 2016 campaign are cast, show Sanders ahead of Mrs. Clinton by 14 points in New Hampshire, and five in Iowa.
Clinton told the Des Moines Register editorial board onTuesday that she “always expected it would [be] close,” adding that she doesn’t pay attention to polls because “there’s just no guarantee.” She cited problems with various polls over the years.
Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, who has been critical of the lack of transparency by Clinton during the height of her email scandal, seemed puzzled that Clinton would say she doesn’t pay attention to polls. Brzezinski noted that Hillary is now attacking Bernie and “trying to show a real differentiation between her and him like she never has before.”
Scarborough chimed in, saying that Hillary can’t afford to lose Iowa and New Hampshire back-to-back, especially if you’re the “massive presumed frontrunner a year out” to a guy who’s a socialist from Vermont.
Any politician who says they don’t pay attention to polls, especially if they are running for president, is lying. That’s almost all they pay attention to, along with contributions and media coverage.
For all her name recognition and fundraising advantage, Clinton can’t shake Sanders and his mix of populism and socialism that have attracted large crowds of enthusiastic supporters. And that has her clearly worried. She has gone on the offensive against Sanders, and started to use her husband Bill on the campaign trail to try and gin up some excitement for her candidacy. But with his history of sexual infidelities, it could be a risky move.
Polling can be flawed, as Clinton alluded to, but they are a pretty good measure of public sentiment, and in many cases can make or break a campaign. In Hillary’s case it looks more like breaking than making.