The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Is Hillary Clinton fading in 2016? Sort of.

We have, at long last, reached the point in the 2016 cycle (what year is it, again?) in which we can start comparing apple-to-apples. Which is to say: We're starting to get good polls from reputable pollsters that allow us to track patterns over time.

Quinnipiac University put out a new poll Thursday that tracks Hillary Clinton's performance against the panoply of possible Republican challengers in three states: Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia. The nice thing is that they polled in the same states two months ago, so we can see what's changed.

In short: Clinton's lead against any or all of the tested Republicans has dropped in Colorado and Iowa and increased in Virginia.

The margins by which she leads (or doesn't) vary slightly, but the trends are all about the same. In other words, the movement here is on Clinton, not on the challengers. If, for example, Clinton was faring worse against Jeb Bush because people had rushed to embrace him, we'd expect to see his line looking significantly different than the other candidates. But with the exception of Scott Walker in Colorado, the lines are almost all the same slope. The change here is in opinions of Clinton, not the rest of the field.

That's made more evident when we look at favorability ratings for Clinton in the two polls. In Colorado and Iowa, her unfavorables spiked -- meaning that people were increasingly likely to view her unfavorably and decreasingly likely to view her favorably. In Virginia, they were relatively flat.

In part because they have lower name recognition, the favorables for many of the Republican challengers didn't change much. In the most recent poll, the average percentage of respondents who didn't know enough about Hillary Clinton to have an opinion was 6 percent. The lowest for any of the Republicans was Chris Christie in Colorado -- where a full quarter of the respondents didn't know enough to have an opinion.

We are so, so early in this thing, and these numbers will change. If nothing else, though, we know this: So far, this race is all about Hillary Clinton. Which, really, is not much of a surprise.