Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hillarys Achilles Heel

Hillary Clinton leads all her rivals in the preseason polls for the Democratic Presidential nomination. She has been holding a double digit national lead for the last eight months. But before we hold the coronation, there is something that is worth taking a look at. It just might not be all over yet. And at least one candidate seems to be getting it.

What might Hillary's Achilles Heel be? And who is going after it? All this and more, below the fold...

Last month the Washington Post had this headline: Clinton Owes Lead in Poll To Support From Women . The lead for the story reads like this:
The consistent lead that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has maintained over Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and others in the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination is due largely to one factor: her support from women.
The story goes on to say:
Her 15-point lead in the poll is entirely attributable to that margin.
Entirely attributable to women. Remarkable. Or is it?

A Newsweek poll earlier this year found
86% say they would vote for a qualified woman candidate for president if their party nominated one. But when they were asked whether America is ready to elect a woman president, only 55% say yes.
Interestingly, Newsweek said
men are more likely than women to say the country is ready for a woman president.
To get only 55% support for the ready for a woman president question with men more likely than women to say yes, a majority of women polled must have said no.

And there is this little tidbit from the Washington Post again:
In a Post-ABC News poll conducted in April, 43 percent of female independents said they definitely will not vote for her if she is the Democratic nominee
So in a strange twist of fate, it seems that women are the Achilles Heel of Hillary Clintons' Presidential aspirations. A majority of women don't believe that the country is yet ready for a woman president. And a very significant number of independent women are definitely not ready for Hillary Clinton.

So, do any of the other campaigns seem to understand this about Clinton? Again from the Post:
Harrison Hickman, a pollster for Edwards, said he believes there is potential for Clinton's early bond with these voters to falter. "When you talk to women in more detail, they express doubts," Hickman said. Only when rival campaigns start trying to exploit those doubts, and when Clinton's camp starts addressing them, will the polls start to paint a more meaningful portrait of the race, he said.
So what is the Edwards camp doing about it? They are rolling out their not so secret weapon, Elizabeth Edwards:
The wife of the Democratic presidential hopeful from North Carolina, John Edwards, is taking the starring role in a new campaign commercial for her husband.

“You’re not going to outsmart him. He works harder than any human being that I know, always has, “ says Edwards, in the television ad now playing in the crucial early primary state of New Hampshire.
Elizabeth Edwards is also going directly after Hillary:
she fired away at Hillary Clinton, telling the on-line magazine Salon that “sometimes you feel you have to behave as a man and not talk about women’s issues. I’m sympathetic; she wants to be commander in chief. But she’s just not as vocal a women’s advocate as I want to see. John is.”
Here is something else from John Edwards about his wife speaking her own mind:
it appears he’s just fine with his wife speaking her mind, telling us that “nothing about Elizabeth surprises me. You can’t control what she says, nor would I ever want to, that’s one of the great things about her.”
Seems to me that is the kind of thing women voters would want to hear from a male candidate about his attitude towards women.

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