The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Why Hillary Clinton’s numbers are down in the states that matter

Recent surveys suggest that Hillary Clinton may be more reliant on the non-white vote in November 2016 than you might have assumed.

A poll released Sunday from NBC/Marist reinforces one from last week by Quinnipiac University that found her to be as unpopular as Donald Trump in key swing states. In Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton's net favorability — those who view her positively minus those who don't — was negative-23 and negative-20, respectively.

Among Democrats, we'll point out, the numbers were much, much better -- a fact that comports with her first-place position in caucus/primary polling in those states. But among all voters? It sinks, matching what Quinnipiac found in Colorado, Iowa and, to a lesser extent, Virginia. (Blue bars indicate favorability ratings; red, unfavorability. Net favorability is in a lighter color and indicated with a number.)

Part of this, as we've explained before, is that Clinton's favorability tends to swell when she's not running for office and dip when she is. CNN, in partnership with ORC, released its own poll Sunday, which included a long-term track of Clinton's favorability. If you look at it since 2006, when she was widely expected to be the 2008 Democratic nominee, to today, you can see that trend.

But notice, too, that her net favorability now is lower than at any point over the last 10 years. Why?

CNN also broke out Clinton's favorability by demographic. She's very, very popular among Democrats and very, very unpopular among Republicans. Among independents? Let's say very unpopular -- with only one "very" this time.

We also included the wide split between white and non-white voters. The NBC/Marist and CNN/ORC polls are different polls at different times, talking to different people. But it's still interesting that Clinton gets plus-70 favorability among Democrats nationally and plus-50 or so among Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Part of that may be related to those numbers on white/non-white approvals. Iowa is about 93 percent white, per 2013 Census estimates. New Hampshire is 94 percent white. (By comparison, Colorado is 88 percent white, while Virginia is 71 percent. The country, on the whole, is about 77.7 percent white.) In summation: Support for Clinton is stronger in states with less-dense white populations.

We knew that Clinton needed strong support from non-white voters, a group that has been a larger share of the electorate in recent elections. These recent polls suggest that she may need that support more than we might have anticipated at first.