Tuesday, June 02, 2015


A new CNN poll has some less-than-spectacular Hillary Clinton numbers. I'll leave it to others to discuss the meaning of all that, though I'll point out that Clinton still has a commanding lead in the Democratic primary race and still beats every Republican challenger CNN polled her against.

But here's something that caught my eye: A lot of observers are wondering whether this will be a generational election, with an older, twentieth-century-rooted Democrat, Hillary Clinton, running against a much younger Republican, possibly Marco Rubio. How does that particular matchup play out now, according to CNN? Specifically, how do voters at either end of the age curve respond to the matchup?

Let's go to the numbers:

Overall, Clinton beats Rubio by 3 -- yes, he'd be a strong challenger against her. But among younger voters, the young guy loses to the older woman by 20 points. Among older voters, the young guy wins by 7.

I've pointed out that Rubio seems surprisingly popular among the elderly (something Hot Air's Allahpundit has also noticed) -- but Hillary Clinton's appeal to younger voters seems clear across the board in the CNN poll. With 18-34-year-old voters, she beats Jeb Bush by a whopping 67%-28% margin, beats Scott Walker 60%-37%, beats Ted Cruz (who's also quite young) 61%-33%, and even beats Rand Paul 55%-43% (despite his dudebro appeal). What's more , 18-34-year-old voters think Clinton represents the future rather than the past by a 64%-33% margin. (Senior citizens say she represents the past, 56%-40%.)

So, yes, this could be a generation battle -- with the older candidate winning the young and the younger candidate doing better among the old. That could be worrisome for Clinton -- older people are more likely to vote. But if she loses in 2016, it's not going to be because the young think she's a has-been.


Victor said...

I've written this before, but I think the older conservatives look at Rubio, and see a young Ricky Ricardo - a guy who they're ok with marrying a white woman.

And time has treated Hillary well.
She's softened up a bit - though a lot of conservatives still think of her as a shrill and evil shrew.

And maybe younger people might see a slightly tougher version of Grandma?

flipyrwhig said...

Meh. Younger people are Democrats and older people are Republicans. I don't think younger people are going to favor a young Republican, nor are older people going to favor an older Democrat.

mlbxxxxxx said...

Voting for the first woman president trumps generational appeal, imo. The fact that Rubio would be the first latino president is not relevant to most young voters and, anyway, would also, I think, be trumped by the first woman president. Being the first makes her seem fresh and new even though her chronological age is somewhat advanced. I also don't think that younger voters are turned off by old candidates, per se. Old ideas, maybe, but not just because the candidate is old. History is replete with charismatic guru-types who drew crowds of young supporters despite being elderly.

I think HRC's age will be a non-issue and candidates that try to make one will suffer. I also think that O'Malley would be wise to drop the line about the Clinton/Bush dynasties. HRC has proved herself worthy of running for president independently of her last name. Also, I do not see an endless line of Clintons lined up for future campaigns. Bushes, certainly, but not Clintons, so the comparison is hardly apt. If he can't engage on the issues, I'd suggest he withdraw before he embarrasses himself.

Steve M. said...

Also, I do not see an endless line of Clintons lined up for future campaigns. Bushes, certainly, but not Clintons....

Chelsea might run for office someday. But as for Jeb's son George P., currently the Texas land commissioner, the question isn't whether he's going to run for governor or senator, then president, but when.

petrilli said...

"HRC has proved herself worthy of running for president independently of her last name."
To do that, she really has to start taking some non triangulating, non-DLC positions. She hasn't. She largely relies on the same Clinton brain trust that her husband did for policy advice. And the Clinton Foundation was taking huge donations from nations that had direct business with her as secretary of state. It stinks. Probably legal, but it stinks.

That said, your concern about Governor O'Malley is noted, and I thank you for your concern.

Steve M. said...

To do that, she really has to start taking some non triangulating, non-DLC positions. She hasn't.

She's notably to the left of Bill's administration on criminal justice, immigration, and same-sex marriage. She says her vote for the Iraq War was a mistake. Does all that count for nothing? Yes, it's fair to ask whether she'd walk the walk on these issues as president. But she's saying some progressive things.

Even if she weren't, the contemporary GOP is far to the right of even the Clinton-era GOP. So an exact clone of Bill Clinton, running in the general election, would be the obvious choice. (And no, I'm not making an exception for Rand Paul, who may be swell (at least rhetorically) on the national security state, but who'd massively increase inequality and the economic insecurity of the poor if given his way.

petrilli said...

Criminal justice. Bill Clinton took time off from his campaign to personally execute a mentally retarded man, so yeah, Hillary might improve the Clinton brand in that area. TPP? Banks? Patriot Act? Crickets. Immigration? She's staking out the real estate that Republicans abandoned. Net gain for her, no loss. I'm happy for the Latinos. Maybe they'll finally catch a break. I agree that there is no reasonable comparison between Clinton and any Republican anywhere.

But that's not the context of my comment. My context was within a response to an earlier comment questioning the appropriateness of Governor O'Malley's criticism of Clinton. I believe his criticism to be appropriate and fair game. Everybody loves the idea of the presence of opposition to pull Hillary to the left. This is what it looks like.

petrilli said...

Sorry, I neglected to address your point about Clinton's Iraq war vote. No. Admitting the mistake is not enough. Not now after all that has happened and the terrible price levied. She owes more. Everyone who sold that stinking lie owes more.

Steve M. said...

IIf she defeats a Republican who's hell-bent on starting the next senseless war (which is all of them, possibly with the exception of Rand Paul), and then exercises restraint herself, that would go a long way toward atoning as far as I'm concerned.

petrilli said...

And there is no reason at all for her not to give those assurances unambiguously, in the primary. Until then, I hope Bernie, O'Malley, and everyone else with a progressive audience makes her life a living hell until she does.