A new poll from Bloomberg has supplied grist for operatives from both parties: Turns out, people don’t believe what Gov. Chris Christie or Hillary Clinton is saying about the respective scandals that continue to haunt them.
Sixty-three percent of the Bloomberg poll respondents said they don’t believe Christie’s assertion that he knew nothing of the unnecessary traffic jam in Fort Lee, N.J., that Christie’s staff may have planned as political payback against Fort Lee’s mayor.
And more than half of respondents said they don’t believe Clinton, who says she never saw requests for increased security at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, before the 2012 attack that left four Americans dead.
Republican lawmakers, led by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, continue to pursue Clinton’s involvement in Benghazi like a dog with a bone. But even left-leaning voters doubt Clinton’s story.
“I don’t believe that she did anything recklessly, but I tend to believe that there was something, and it just wasn’t realized at the time that it was significant,” said Lee Proctor, 49, a Democratic-leaning author and online consultant in Philadelphia who wants to see Clinton run. “I don’t think we’ve gotten the whole, true story.”
The Bloomberg poll also found that Clinton’s favorability has declined from 70 percent in December 2012 to 56 percent this month. That number still dwarfs President Obama’s current approval rating — 43 percent. And the credibility numbers could prove more damaging to Christie than to Clinton, who has built up an almost bulletproof national fan base and who is crushing her Republican competition in other speculative polls about 2016.
Nonetheless, Democrat or Republican, at least most Americans agree on one thing: The more politicians try to distance themselves from scandal, the less we’re inclined to believe a damn thing they say.
What We're Following See More »
President Obama has said he’ll nominate John King to fill out the last few months of Obama’s presidency as Secretary of Education. King has been in an acting secretary role since Arne Duncan stepped down in December. The White House is pressuring the Senate to act quickly on the nomination.
Bernie Sanders supporters aren’t taking this whole superdelegate thing lying down. Despite a tie a blowout win against Hillary Clinton, Sanders trails her by some 350 delegates in the overall count, thanks mostly to superdelegates pledging to support her. His backers have taken to creating a MoveOn.org petition to pressure the superdelegates to be flexible. It reads: “Commit to honoring the voters—let everyone know that you won’t allow your vote to defeat our votes. Announce that in the event of a close race, you’ll align yourself with regular voters—not party elites.” So far it’s attracted 162,000 signatures. Related: At FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver notes that in 2008, Clinton had a 154-50 superdelegate advantage over President Obama when New Hampshire voted. But “by the time Clinton ended her campaign on June 7, 2008, Obama had nearly a 2-to-1 superdelegate advantage over her,” owing in part to many pledged delegates who switched their support to Obama.
House Speaker Paul Ryan today is trying to convince his large but divided conference that they need to pass a budget under regular order. “Conservatives are revolting against higher top-line spending levels negotiated last fall by President Obama and Ryan’s predecessor, then-Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). GOP centrists are digging in on the other side, pledging to kill any budget that deviates from the two-year, bipartisan budget deal.” Ryan’s three options are to lower the budget numbers to appease the Freedom Caucus, “deem” a budget and move on to the appropriations process, or “preserve Obama-Boehner levels, but seek savings elsewhere.”
“A bill headed for President Barack Obama this week includes a provision that would ban U.S. imports of fish caught by slaves in Southeast Asia, gold mined by children in Africa and garments sewn by abused women in Bangladesh, closing a loophole in an 85-year-old tariff law.” The Senate approved the bill, which would also ban Internet taxes and overhaul trade laws, by a vote of 75-20. It now goes to President Obama.
Bernie Sanders has closed to within seven points of Hillary Clinton in a new Morning Consult survey. Clinton leads 46%-39%. Consistent with the New Hampshire voting results, Clinton does best with retirees, while Sanders leads by 20 percentage points among those under 30. On the Republican side, Donald Trump is far ahead with 44% support. Trailing by a huge margin are Ted Cruz (17%), Ben Carson (10%) and Marco Rubio (10%).