Of all modern day politicians, few have had the rise and fall and subsequent rise of Hillary Clinton. From a rise from first lady to New York senator, eventually Clinton peaked as the presumed frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. It seemed as though the world was her oyster.
The Clinton campaign got blindsided, unfortunately, by the rising supernova of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, stumbling in the Iowa caucuses and finally crashing the day after the Super Tuesday primaries. After playing second fiddle to Barack Obama during the general election, Clinton’s faded star began to burn brightly again as his secretary of state and has risen to the point to where she could ride its trajectory into the White House.
Despite the attempts of the Republican Party to hammer her public profile on issues such as the Benghazi attack, Hillary Clinton left her position at secretary of state in the beginning of 2013 with extraordinarily high approval ratings. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll had her approval at 69%, with a 25% disapproval rate. Clinton’s high profile has led to a flurry of speculation that she will run again.
A slew of recent polls on Clinton's chances for winning the Presidency in 2016 seems to aid to this sensation of momentum. A Washington Post/ABC News poll had 57% of respondents nationally backing a Hillary Clinton run for the White House. While obviously scoring high among Democratic men and women, 80% and 84% respectively, other categories show strong support as well. Among independent women Clinton scores 68% compared to 52% percent of independent men. Perhaps most surprisingly, Clinton has the support of 35% of Republican women compared to 13% of Republican men. Overall, Clinton has 82% Democratic support, 59% independent support, and 23% Republican support.
Public Policy Polling, the most accurate pollster of the 2012 election, has done several state polls of a hypothetical Clinton presidential run; their analysis only further adds to the impression of a Clinton avalanche. A poll of the critical swing state of Florida has Clinton ahead of two of the strongest candidates, current Florida Senator Marco Rubio and former Governor Jeb Bush. She leads Rubio 50% to 46% and leads Jeb Bush by 5 points — 49% to 44%. In the swing state of Virginia, she leads Republican Governor Bob McDonnell 49% to 44%.
Even in traditionally Republican states, Clinton has some surprising numbers. In Texas she leads Texas Governor Rick Perry (50% to 42%), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (45% to 43%), and Marco Rubio (46% to 45%). In Louisiana Clinton ties or beats all Republican contenders. Same story in Kentucky as Rand Paul, the current senator and son of Ron Paul, is beaten badly, 47% to 42%. Even in far off Alaska Clinton is strong, trailing Chris Christie by one point (43% to 42%) and leading Marco Rubio one point (44% to 43%). Alaska's most infamous politician, Sarah Palin, is crushed in a head to head poll, losing 53% to 37%.
The primary takeaway information from all of these polls is that a Hillary Clinton presidential run would have enormous crossover voter base versus virtually every Republican hopeful. Hillary has an appeal that fits the entire United States, including both red and blue states. A Hillary Clinton presidential run may accomplish a repeat of the worst-case scenario that emerged in the 2012 Republican Primary, with stronger GOP candidates choosing not to run in order to not face Clinton. A weaker candidate combined with a vigorous campaign on the Democratic side could affect the downticket races and possibly threaten to wide out any gains made by the Republicans in the 2014 midterm races.
However 2016 is very far away, and the Clinton juggernaut has been derailed in the past. But barring self-inflicted injury or the rise of a Barack Obama-level campaigner in the Democratic or Republican primary, the White House seems like the new pearl in Hillary Clinton's oyster if she wishes to take it.