If Democrats can’t get Pope Francis to come and campaign with them ahead of this year’s midterm elections, they’re at least already trotting out the next best thing: Bill Clinton.
It may seem like the former president has been weighing Democrats down as of late, with Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul raising the Monica Lewinsky specter in attempts to flip the “War on Women” narrative against Democrats. But, according to a new poll out from The Wall Street Journal and NBC, Bill Clinton has an approval rating as high as the pope’s. Yes, both Clinton and Francis net a 55 percent approval rating.
Clinton is an unparalleled weapon for Democrats running this year. According to the new poll, 37 percent of voters are more likely to vote for a candidate this year if he or she has Clinton’s endorsement. Only 27 percent say the opposite. That 10 percent net positive means that the Bill Clinton Stamp of Approval™ has the same positive impact on voters as a candidate having a abortion-rights stance (+11), or placing a major emphasis on conservative social and religious views (+13).
That ranking also confirms the former president is a vastly more powerful endorser than his wife. Hillary Clinton has a -9 percent net impact on voters, with 25 percent of voters more likely to vote for a candidate she endorses and 34 percent less likely. An endorsement from President Obama, meanwhile, has a solid net negative of 20 percent, about in line with what support for the tea party does for a candidate (-21).
Democrats aren’t holding their special power back. Bill Clinton campaigned for Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes late last month, and he is likely to pop up on campaign trails around the country. That includes coming in to help out Marjorie Margolies, Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law, who is in a tight primary for a House seat in Pennsylvania. Bill Clinton is also planning on stepping in on some more low-profile races, such as Seth Magaziner’s bid for Rhode Island general treasurer. Magaziner, like Margolies and Grimes, has close ties to the Clintons.
Bill Clinton’s popularity goes past his endorsement power. While 27 percent of registered voters view Clinton very positively, only 10 percent view him very negatively. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, is viewed very positively by 23 percent of respondents and very negatively by 22 percent. Of the people and parties WSJ/NBC asked voters about, only Pope Francis had lower “very negative” numbers than Bill Clinton. A Clinton assist isn’t going to clinch an election (just ask Florida’s Alex Sink), but it has more potential than that of almost anyone else a politician can bring on the trail.
That’s tough news for Republicans. It’s not just that the GOP doesn’t have a political analogue — even if George W. Bush could be helpful on the campaign trail, he’s shown very little interest in wading back into politics in his post-presidential life. The big problem here is that Clinton’s continued astronomical popularity undercuts attempts by Rand Paul and others to use him against Democratic candidates.
Just before Grimes brought Clinton to Kentucky to campaign, Paul lambasted the former president as a “predator,” and said Democrats “ought to be concerned about being associated with him.” In a February editorial, National Review wrote that “President Clinton used women for his own ends,” although they confess “the fact is that Republicans could not beat the Clintons with this material back when the president was sodomizing interns in the Oval Office and semen-stained dresses were being spirited around Washington.”
No matter how hard Paul and other conservatives have tried, Bill Clinton is just not a liability for Democrats heading into this year’s elections. He may just be their best asset.
What We're Following See More »
The New Yorker has endorsed Hillary Clinton, saying that "barring some astonishment," she will become the next president. Calling Clinton "distinctly capable," the magazine excoriates Donald Trump as a candidate who "favors conspiracy theory and fantasy, deriving his knowledge from the darker recesses of the Internet and 'the shows.'" Additionally, the historical nature of the possibility of "send[ing] a woman to the White House" is not lost on the editors, who note the possibility more than once in the endorsement.
AT&T agreed to a deal on Saturday to buy Time Warner Inc. for a reported $85.4 billion, a merger that would turn AT&T into a media giant. The two companies announced that they hope to have the deal closed by the end of 2017. However, the completion of the deal will likely not be smooth sailing, as the deal faces potential backlash from antitrust workers, as well as lawmakers. Following the merger's announcement, multiple lawmakers raised skepticism and said they plan to scrutinize the deal further, with Minn. Sen. Amy Klobuchar calling for a hearing.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal, owned by casino magnate and GOP donor Sheldon Adelson, became the first major city newspaper to endorse Donald Trump over the weekend.“Mr. Trump represents neither the danger his critics claim nor the magic elixir many of his supporters crave,” the editorial read, acknowledging concerns about Trump’s temperament. “But neither candidate will ever be called to the dais to accept an award for moral probity and character,” the paper said. “And we are already distressingly familiar with the Clinton way, which involves turning public service into an orgy of influence peddling and entitlement designed to line their own pockets — precisely what a disgruntled electorate now rises up to protest.”
Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 12 percentage points among likely voters, 50 to 38 percent, in a new ABC News tracking poll, "her highest support and his lowest to date in ABC News and ABC News/Washington Post polls. Gary Johnson has 5 percent support, Jill Stein 2 percent. Clinton led by only four points in the last ABC/Post poll on Oct. 13.
President Obama "will make a late splash into races for state senate and assembly over the next week, endorsing roughly 150 candidates across 20 states. He’ll also back a candidate for the North Carolina Supreme Court. The endorsements — which will come along with a variety of robocalls, social media posts, mailers, photos of Obama with the candidates taken as he’s been traveling to campaign in recent weeks, and even a few radio ads — are Obama’s biggest investment in state races ever by far."