The political story-line of the moment is that Hillary Clinton’s numbers are sliding, and in truth, they probably are, particularly in comparison to where they were before she was a presidential candidate.
And yet, at the same time, new polling shows overwhelming support for the economic prescriptions she’s been talking about, as well as for the general story she’s been telling about the economy.
New Washington Post/ABC News polling finds Clinton losing ground on personal attributes and in the realm of preferred media narratives. Only 45 percent of Americans have a favorable view of her; only 41 percent say she is honest and trustworthy; 50 percent disapprove of her handling of the Clinton Foundation stories; and 55 percent disapprove of her handling of her emails. Majorities see the Clinton Foundation and her handling of Benghazi as legit fodder in the election.
Meanwhile, a new New York Times/CBS News poll finds:
— 85 percent of Americans favor requiring employers to offer paid sick leave.
— 80 percent favor requiring employers to offer paid leave to parents of new children.
— 71 percent support raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
— 68 percent support raising taxes on those making more than $1 million per year.
— 66 percent say money and wealth in this country should be more evenly distributed among more people.
— 57 percent say government should do more to reduce the gap between rich and poor.
Hillary Clinton recently declared support for mandated paid sick leave, and her campaign launch video called for paid family leave. She supports a minimum wage hike. She has called for closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy. She has repeatedly criticized soaring income inequality and a tax code gamed to protect certain types of high-end wealth.
The Clinton camp seems to be operating from the assumption that it can speak directly to voters with little regard for complaints from the news media about restricted access to the candidate. Generally speaking, news organizations have devoted far more attention to the Clinton Foundation, her emails, and Benghazi than they have to her positions on issues and to her overall critique of the economy. It’s very early, so the polling doesn’t tell us all that much, but if the above numbers are at all accurate, for the time being the former may be influencing public opinion a good deal more than the latter.
* REPUBLICANS OPPOSE GOV’T ACTION ON WEALTH GAP: The NYT/CBS poll also finds that unlike Americans overall, independents included, 64 percent of Republicans think government should not be doing more to reduce the gap between rich and poor. That mirrors yesterday’s Post poll finding the same.
* AMERICANS OPPOSE FAST TRACK: The NYT/CBS poll may be the first reputable national survey to test Fast Track:
Do you favor or oppose giving the president authority to negotiate international trade deals that Congress can only approve or disapprove, but not change?
However, on the underlying Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, a huge majority of Americans either don’t think it will impact American jobs either way or don’t have an opinion on it, so it’s unclear whether there would be a big price to pay for backing the deal itself.
* HILLARY TO BLAST REPUBLICANS ON VOTING RIGHTS: Today Clinton will give a speech calling for a national 20-day early-voting period and blasting restrictive GOP voting laws in states like Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida and Texas. As CNN’s Dan Merica notes, the move is partly designed to appeal to core Dem voter groups like minorities and young voters — key pillars in the Obama coalition.
So add voting rights to other issues, such as immigration, criminal justice reform and climate change, that Clinton is emphasizing to appeal to that coalition.
* CONSERVATIVES OPEN TO EXTENDING SUBSIDIES? REALLY? The Hill reports that House conservatives are eying their own plan to extend subsidies for the millions that lose them if the Supreme Court rules against the ACA. The idea is to influence whatever contingency plan House Republicans eventually produce.
The question: Will their fix also repeal the mandate, as the leading plan from Senator Ron Johnson does? If so, it is probably about drawing a presidential veto, to allow Republicans to argue they tried to help all those people, but Obama wouldn’t let them.
* OUTSIDE GROUPS GEAR UP ON TRADE: Politico reports that American Action Network, a group aligned with GOP leaders, is launching a six-figure TV, radio, mail and digital ad campaign to give House Republicans cover to back Obama’s trade deal. Script:
“China is trying to stack the deck on international trade. And America must respond if we’re to stay No. 1,” the narrator says. “Predictably, the liberals and labor unions advocate weakness abroad. But conservatives need to stand up for American jobs and rebuild U.S. credibility around the world by passing the trade promotion authority.”
Apparently one way to win conservative support for this trade deal is to say it’s a good way to stick it to liberals and unions…
* KEEPING TRACK OF ALL THE GOP CANDIDATES: The Associated Press offers a helpful scorecard. Officially in the race: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina. Almost in the race: Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry.
And the fact that Jeb Bush and Scott Walker — probably the two most serious candidates — are seen as merely “waiting for their moment” to enter, when they have actually been running for months, and raising money all along, only underscores the absurdity of the whole spectacle.
* JEB TO ‘OFFICIALLY’ ANNOUNCE ON JUNE 15TH: Jeb Bush tweets out the news of his impending “announcement.” How much money has he raised as an “undeclared” candidate thus far?
* AND RICK PERRY STEPS FORTH TO SAVE AMERICA: Today Texas governor Rick Perry will officially enter the presidential race. His announcement video declares that he is here to save America from its current “weakness abroad” and a “slow recovery” at home. His number one selling point — that he is a proven leader — suggests, perhaps, that he sees his governance of Texas as a blueprint for rescuing the country.
In one bit of good news for Perry, he seems to have gotten through the taping of his announcement video without another relapse into brain freeze.