What Are Clinton's Chances?

Pundits are, unsurprisingly, divided
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2015 12:57 PM CDT
What Are Clinton's Chances?
FILE - In this March 23, 2015 file photo, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks in Washington. Clinton will launch her long-awaited 2016 presidential campaign on Sunday, April 12, 2015, according to people familiar with her plans. The former secretary of state is making her second...   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

New York magazine doesn't beat around the bush: "Unless the economy goes into a recession over the next year and a half, Hillary Clinton is probably going to win the presidential election." But not everyone agrees. A sampling of what the pundits are saying:

  • In New York, Jonathan Chait argues that "the United States has polarized into stable voting blocs, and the Democratic bloc is a bit larger and growing at a faster rate." That should put Clinton in the White House, though it's not guaranteed. "She cannot promise her supporters a dramatic change or new possibilities," Chait notes. "Her worry is that ennui sets in among the base and yields a small electorate more like the kind that shows up at the midterms, which is an electorate Republicans can win."

  • But at Salon, a former aide for Bill Clinton is concerned about his wife's strategy so far. "Republicans love to paint Democrats as elitists. It’s how the first two Bushes took out Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry—and how Jeb plans to take out Hillary," Bill Curry writes. And Clinton isn't helping herself. "When she says she and Bill were broke when they left the White House; when she sets her own email rules and says it was only for her own convenience; when she hangs out with the Davos, Wall Street, or Hollywood crowds, she makes herself a more inviting target."
  • Meanwhile, statistician Nate Silver acknowledges that Clinton is "very likely to become the Democratic nominee." As for the general election, he writes at FiveThirtyEight, it could go either way. Silver questions the so-called "Emerging Democratic Majority" that plays a role in Chait's thinking. Right now, Clinton's favorability ratings are "break-even," and she's "so well-known … that it’s almost as if voters are dispensing with all the formalities and evaluating her as they might when she’s on the ballot next November. About half of them would like to see her become president and about half of them wouldn’t. Get ready for an extremely competitive election."
While the pundits debate, Clinton is heading out on the trail in a van named "Scooby." (More Election 2016 stories.)

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