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Tipsheet

Open Door: New Poll Shows Hillary Would Immediately Vault Into Top Tier of Democratic Field

I still don't think it's happening, but she and her acolytes have been teasing it just enough to suggest that the door isn't firmly shut.  If Hillary Clinton has any designs on launching a presidential run this cycle, this new poll from Fox News suggests that a sizable portion of the Democratic electorate would welcome her with open arms.  Third time's a charm?

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Fox's nonpartisan pollster isn't trying to "troll" or "bait her" into joining the race, in my view; as I've already mentioned, Clinton-tied figures (including Bill) have been fueling this speculation.  Why not poll it?  The 'good' news for Mrs. Clinton is that if she were to jump in, she'd instantly be near or at the top of the heap.  The bad is that 'Never Hillary' sentiment outpaces her support by three percentage points (also, Michelle Obama appears far more favorably situated to play the role of eleventh-hour savior).  The survey also shows Hillary hypothetically leading Trump by two points in a head-to-head.  That may seem like more positive news from her perspective...until you realize that the same poll shows Warren ahead by five points, Bernie up eight, and Biden leading by 11 (only Pete Buttigieg performs worse than Clinton on this measure).  Also, ahem.  And not to poke at a sore spot that is a source of endless blame and conspiratorial absurdity for her, but what did a two-point national edge get Hillary last time around?

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As I indicated from the start, I don't think an outsider is going to swoop in and dramatically change this race.  The Democratic nominee is almost certainly going to emerge from the existing, shrinking field.  Beto O'Rourke's woke culture warrior schtick is out, and things are really looking bleak for another one-time contender, who famously and arrogantly described herself as a 'top tier candidate' in order to dismiss a specific, searing critique from a lesser-known rival.  She's already attempted the stratagem of doubling down on Iowa, which did nothing to reverse her slide.  This is now a desperation triple down:


Meanwhile, for all the talk about Biden's weakness and Warren's gathering strength (for which the media is rooting hard), Grandpa Joe has again stabilized as the clear national frontrunner:

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That's a welcome reality for Biden (and an unwelcome truth for Hillary, whose only plausible opening would arise in the event of a total Biden meltdown).  On the flip side, as has been pointed out ad nauseam by every pundit in the country, there is no "national primary."  Biden is reportedly in serious danger of posting weak losses in the first three nominating contests of Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.  Waiting until round four for your firewall to kick in is risky stuff, as far as momentum and perceptions go.  Team Joe is going to need to hope and pray that the Boomer-plus stick with him:


And because the Fox poll mentioned above gave Biden a statistically-significant electability advantage over his top competitors, I'll leave you with this opposite finding from the latest NBC/WSJ survey.  Not a great spot for the incumbent:

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Again, consider these numbers compared to the stark NYT data from battlegrounds we discussed yesterday.  The general election is in 364 days.

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