by Jon Schweppe
It’s been more than seven months since Election Day, but Americans’ opinions of Hillary Clinton remain the same.
A new Gallup poll finds just 41 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the former presidential candidate, with 57 percent expressing an unfavorable view.
It’s the same split that Gallup found in December 2016. Gallup said that historically, losing presidential candidates have gained popularity after the election.
The media, of course, remains obsessed with President Trump’s low approval rating. According to FiveThirtyEight, Trump’s average rating right now is 38.5 percent approval, 55.7 percent disapproval.
Political pundits often point to Trump’s “unpopularity” as evidence that the Democrats are likely to achieve big wins in 2018 and 2020. But Democrats have already had four chances to unseat House Republicans in 2017 special elections, including one that was heavily contested in Georgia’s 6th district, and they lost all of them.
Perhaps it’s time to de-emphasize the approval rating as a predictive metric. We learned from the 2016 GOP primary that a strong approval/disapproval split, like what Marco Rubio and Ben Carson had early in the campaign, is not nearly as predictive of future success as previously thought.
Electoral results continue to prove that a high disapproval rating for Donald Trump doesn’t necessarily mean approval for the Democrats; you can disapprove of one person or party and disapprove of another person or party even more. Indeed, the results of the most recent special elections bear this out.
As Frank Cannon pointed out in his piece on the Georgia 6th district results, while many Republicans and independents may dislike Trump, they clearly dislike Democrats far more. As long as that continues to be the case (and Hillary’s still-low approval rating is evidence of that) the Democrats’ high hopes for 2018 and 2020 are in trouble.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore