By nearly every political metric besides holding the actual title, a resurgent Hillary Clinton has matched or passed President Obama, only six years after she originally hoped to do so. At the secret White House lunch between the two on Thursday, Clinton might have offered Obama a few tips on likability, assuming she wasn't too busy holding paint chips against the wall.
As we noted on Wednesday, two recent Post-ABC News polls make pretty clear that Clinton is the more popular of the two. Polling guru Scott Clement wrote:
At 61 percent, women are far more supportive of Hillary Clinton than the 44 percent of women who approved of Obama in April. Crucially, 50 percent of whites and 51 percent of senior citizens say they would support her as a candidate; Obama's job approval stood at just 32 percent among whites and 42 percent among seniors last month.
There is not much utility in playing the who-would-people-vote-for-if-this-election-scenario-were-to-take-place-today game. But if the 2008 election scenario were to take place today, etc. etc.
Obama still gets far more interest from the press, being the president and all. (In the last month, a search on Google News yields 127,000 returns for Clinton and 117 million for Obama.) But Google Trends, which tracks search interest in particular topics, shows that Clinton is about as popular as Obama among searchers — even surpassing him sometimes.
Neither Obama nor Clinton is actually running a campaign right now, so we can only evaluate donations through proxies. For Obama, that's Organizing For Action, the non-profit advocacy organization that has been advocating the president's agenda since its launch early last year.
Clinton has two. There's the now-famous Ready For Hillary, which was formed in 2013, as the legend goes, out of sheer excitement for a 2016 Clinton campaign. And then there's Priorities USA, an existing PAC that has made a commitment to supporting Clinton. There is an agreement between the two groups: RFH gets the small donors; Priorities gets the big ones.
|Group||2013 total (millions)||Q1 2014 total||Q1 total from $25,000-plus|
|Organizing For Action||$26.49||$5.88||$1.9|
|Ready For Hillary||$4.1||$1.7||--|
OFA has raised substantially more money, but it's worth noting that the group takes large-dollar donations. And the trends are different: RFH's first quarter total is more than it raised in the first half of 2013. OFA's is a bit under the average it raised in the first two quarters of 2013.
The two Clinton groups have started to absorb a number of former Obama staffers. Most notably, Jim Messina, chair of the OFA advisory board, signed on to co-chair the board of Priorities USA Action. (Politico reported that John Podesta was likely to join him; Podesta joined the White House instead. The group is run by Buffy Wicks — who worked on the 2008 Obama campaign.
Ready For Hillary, meanwhile, hired a firm led by Obama campaign veterans Jeremy Bird and Mitch Stewart. It's partnered with former Obama advisers and hired Obama campaign field staff to improve its organizing footprint.
And then there are the endorsements. We are very well aware that Barack Obama is not running for anything, so endorsing him at this point seems a bit superfluous. But one-time Obama supporters — particularly those who spurned Hillary in 2008 — have rushed to back Hillary. According to The Hill, 60 congressional Democrats were ready to endorse Hillary as of January if she announced a 2016 run. And that list doesn't include recent endorsements, like that from staunch Obama ally Rahm Emmanuel.
Just yesterday, in fact, Hillary picked up a key vote of confidence: one Barack Obama of Chicago declared that she would be "very effective" as president.
The center of gravity has shifted. At long last, after six long years, Hillary Clinton has moved ahead of Barack Obama.